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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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Leso Design Workshop by Mshai Mwangola

2021-11-15 12:00 to 14:00
Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth

There is no single textile so intimately associated with the Eastern Africanregion, particularly the nations of Kenya and Tanzania, as the rectangularpieces of cloth known as leso (also known as kanga). Popular discourseand much academic research on its origin focus primarily on itsemergence in the latter part of the nineteenth century to the SwahiliCoast seaports of Mombasa (historically known as Mvita) in Kenya andUnguja (the main island of Zanzibar) in Tanzania. In the century or sosince then, leso has become ubiquitous in these two countries, and isalso found in many others in the eastern African region.

Apart from the performance lecture “Hadithi Njoo. Leso as Palimpsest”on 13th November, Mshai Mwangola will hold a workshop
on 15th November from 12.00 to 2 p.m. at Iwalewahaus.

The workshopwill be a practical introduction to some of the design elements, withparticipants coming up with individual designs. Everybody is welcometo attend the workshop. To sign up for the workshop, just write an email to clarissa.vierke@uni-bayreuth.de


Mshai Mwangola holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University (USA). Her thesis on Kenya’s “Uhuru Generation”, titled ‘Performing Our Stories, Performing OurSelves’, approaches the idea of a generational historical mission through the re-creation, invocation and facilitation of performance as a site of individual and communal reflection. Prior to this, she obtained an MCA (Masters of Creative Arts) from the School of Studies in the Creative Arts, University of Melbourne (Australia) and a Bachelor of Education (Hons) from Kenyatta University (Kenya). She is currently an African, African American and Diaspora Studies (AAAD Studies) Fellow at James Madison University; and a member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Development of Social Science Research in Africa. Mwangola’s pedagogy, research and creative work is grounded in understanding performance as both the process and product of meaning-making. In addition to her academic work, she is a founder-director of The Orature Collective, incorporating The Performance Collective; and is one of the co-founders of the intellectual platform, The Elepphant.info. An oraturist who uses story in her work as an academic, artist and activist, she is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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