English teacher Christopher Wise translation of Hawad’s book-length poem On the Internet was recently published with the African Poetry Series, edited by Kwame Dawes, at the University of Nebraska Press. Hawad is a Tuareg poet and painter from the Sahara, who writes in Tajaght, which he transcribes with Tifinagh, the Tuareg alphabet. The Tuareg are semi-nomadic Berbers (also called “Amazighs”), non-black “blue men”, who have lived since prehistoric times in the Sahara Desert on lands that were later divided by French colonizers into five states. postcolonial: Mauritania, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Hawad’s epic poem On the Internet chronicles the fall of the newly independent Tuareg state of Azawad in northern Mali in 2012 and the agonizing death march of the Tuareg people as they fled into exile.
Excerpts from Wise’s translation were originally published in a special issue of Bellingham Review, “Scribes, Griots, Poets: New Writing From West Africa”, edited by Suzanne Paola, Kristiana Kahakauwila and Wise. Wise’s book is accompanied by a brief film directed by his daughter, Ayesha Wise, which can be viewed on Wise’s YouTube channel: “Hawad’s Atelier in Provence”.
See the PDF below for more information.