Chimurenga Library

Literature and debate

Bibliothèque publique d’information
Place Georges-Pompidou
75004 Paris

In collaboration with the Centre Pompidou and the Bibliothèque publique d'information (Bpi), the South African Chimurenga collective, proposing a new edition of The Chimurenga Library to study the production and sharing of the Black Studies in Atlantic French area.

Black Study denotes all the methods and the corpus of knowledge that Black people have developed in order to survive and thwart western modernity, the construction and consolidation of which are founded on slavery, colonisation and forms of apartheid. It is a fundamentally undisciplined way of learning that is based on relationships, group improvisation and reconnecting with a rooted knowledge of freedom. As the poet Fred Moten says, Black Study implies "to refuse that which has been refused to you". Black Study means engaging with the homeless, pushing back against a long history of forced movement, and necessitates a polyrhythmic attitude. Black Study constitutes the practice of "Blackness" – the socio-historic trajectory of Afro-descendant peoples, an experience that is lived and embodied, a method and a way of being in the world.

The Chimurenga Library is a long-term action that set out to reimagine the library as a laboratory of wide-ranging curiosity, critical thinking, daydreaming, political commitment, partying and reading. Like an investigation into the genealogy of black radical thinking in the francophone world, it presents a map of its "visible" archive in the Bpi, but also of its hidden archive derived from the intellectual, artistic and political production of Black people in the francophone world.The Chimurenga Library works by disseminating knowledge and infiltrating tools through. A bibliographic installation that produces an alternative classification system for the content of the Bpi, which can be seen in the bookmarks in books featuring important Black Studies works. Then, lines on the floor forming new reading routes, punctuated by quotes selected by the collective of researchers, invite visitors to explore the library. An exhibition, or reading space, a meeting place for reading routes in level 2 of the Bpi. This space presents a range of diagrams, images, facsimiles of books, reviews and records relating to the collective’s research.

The participants :

Collectif Chimurenga : Ntone Edjabe (Cameroon), Moses März (Germany), Stacy
Hardy (South Africa), Graeme Arendse (South Africa), Mamadou Diallo (USA).

Pascale Obolo (France), Amandine Nana (France), Rosanna Puyol (France), Paul-Aimé William (France), Amzat Boukari-Yabara (France), Amina Belghiti (France), Maboula Soumahoro (France), Olivier Marboeuf (France), Sarah Fila Bakabadio (France), Brice Ahounou (France), Yala Kisukidi (France), Mawena Yehouessi (France), Penda Diouf (France), Françoise Verges (France).

To enter the Bpi between 11am and 3.30pm, you must reserve an entry slot via the Affluences application. All the information on the Bpi website.

The program

In order to highlight the transnational aspect of Black studies in the French Atlantic area, Chimurenga proposes three meeting places around the Pan African Space Station (PASS):

15-18 April : « Petit Musée », Conakry (Guinea)
29 April -2 May : « Artocarpe », Le Moule (Guadeloupe)
12-16 May : « Un lieu pour respirer », Les Lilas (Ile-de-France)


About  Chimurenga magazine (South Africa) :

The Chimurenga collective was founded in 2002 by Ntone Edjabe, a journalist and musician from Cameroon who was born in Douala in 1970. He lives and works in Cape Town in South Africa – Chimurenga is a constantly-changing entity and a Pan-African platform that combines art and politics. Its current members are Graeme Arendse, Mamadou Diallo, Ntone Edjabe, Asanda Kaka, Bongani Kona, Moses Marz, Eva Munyiri and Bianca Van Rooi.


About  Centre Pompidou and Bibliothèque d'information (BPI) : 

The Centre national d'art et de culture Georges-Pompidou (CNAC) is a multidisciplinary institution The CNAC is a multidisciplinary institution born of the desire of President Georges Pompidou, a great lover of modern art, to create in the heart of Paris an original cultural institution entirely devoted to modern and contemporary modern and contemporary creation, where the plastic arts would be combined with books, drawing, music performing arts, activities for young audiences, and cinema.

As a public reading library, the Bpi is open to anyone seeking information or for information or training, whether for personal, professional, academic school or university. It offers reading and working areas, encyclopaedic collections on all media for on-site consultation, cultural activities cultural activities organised inside the Centre Pompidou.

Crédit photo : Routes de lecture
© 2020 Chimurenga
"Black literature has generated an abundant criticism, even too abundant in the beginning, to be sincere. It’s as if there was a deliberate effort to drown out the still frail-timbred voice of a young literature with a parasitical deluge of plethoric commentary so that it is heard as little as possible. The fact is that the print runs of the works themselves are quite often smaller than those of the main publications discussing them, which constitutes a completely unique case in literature. It is thus no longer a question of criticism as such, but a downright counter-voice."
Odile Tobner, "La Parole Noire face au pouvoir et à la critique francophone" (Black Voices confronted with power and Francophone criticism)
Peuples Noirs, Peuples Africains, number 11, 1979

Opening hours

12h-22h : wednesday, thursday, friday
11h-22h : saturday, sunday and days off

Sponsored by

  • République Française
  • Institut Français
  • Agence Française de développement
  • Conseil présidentiel pour l'Afrique