In this lecture, Equatoguinean writer, intellectual and historian Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo traces a literary journey on the history of Equatorial Guinea, from the era of Spanish colonisation to its independence and subsequent evolution towards an authoritarian regime and its experience of diaspora. The title of the activity alludes to his novel Las tinieblas de tu memoria negra (Shadows of Your Black Memory, Editorial Fundamentos, 1987), with the encounter concluding with a conversation between Ndongo-Bidyogo and journalist and researcher Tania Safura Adam which explores the lack of public reflection on Black presence in Spain and the dilemmas of post-colonial literary creation.
The activity takes place within the framework of the research project Black Spain, propelled by the platform Radio África and forming the seminar Black Iberian Studies in the Museo Reina Sofía’s Study Programme Connective Tissue. Its members put forward encounters to reflect on Black experience and presence in the Iberian peninsula through the legacies of slavery, colonisation and immigration. The group’s pursuit is linked inextricably to Spain’s presence in Equatorial Guinea and Black experiences crossed-linked by narratives of power, resistance and negotiations between past and present, perpetually imbued with raciality and violence. Ndongo-Bidyogo has spent decades taking on these questions, narrating the shadows of historical colonial memory, alliances, searches and commitments of African people shaped by a diaspora culture permeated with life-based and cultural contradictions.
Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo is a writer, journalist and political exile. He was a correspondent and delegate for the Spanish news Agency EFE in Central Africa from 1987 to 1995, director of the Centre of African Studies at the University of Murcia between 2000 and 2004, and visiting lecturer at the University of Missouri–Columbia from 2005 to 2008, as well as working as head professor at different American, African and European universities. He is the author of the essays Historia y tragedia de Guinea Ecuatorial (The History and Tragedy of Equatorial Guinea, Editorial Cambio 16, 1977), Antología de la literatura guineana (An Anthology of Equatoguinean Literature, Editora Nacional, 1984) and the co-author of España en Guinea (Spain in Equatorial Guinea, Ediciones Sequitur, 1998), in addition to four novels: Las tinieblas de tu memoria negra (Shadows of Your Black Memory, Editorial Fundamentos, 1987), Los poderes de la tempestad (Powers of the Tempest, Morandi Editores, 1997), El metro (The Subway, El Cobre Ediciones, 2007) and ¿Qué mató al joven Abdoulaye Cissé? (Who Killed Young Abdoulaye Cissé?, Editorial Sequitur, 2023).
Tania Safura Adam is a journalist, curator and researcher whose work explores Black diaspora, migrations and African music. She is the founder of Radio África, a cultural platform of critical thought and the dissemination of Black art and cultures.