African Book Club
Whites Can Dance Too by Kalaf Epalanga
Jun 23, 2024
12:00 pm
1:30 pm
Pay What You Can
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Join us for African Book Club, an ongoing series at MoAD, facilitated by co-Founder Faith Adiele. June's selection is Whites Can Dance Too by Kalaf Epalanga, an exhilarating debut novel told through three different voices, reflecting on and celebrating the music of Epalanga's homeland.

How to participate: Get a copy of the book (you can see all the titles we’ve previously discussed on the MoAD Bookshop), read as much as you can (warning: we will talk about the end), and then join us online to discuss. The program will feature a live conversation between author Kalaf Epalanga and host Faith Adiele.

About the Book

An exhilarating debut novel told through three different voices, Whites Can Dance Too is Kalaf Epalanga's reflection on and celebration of the music of his homeland, the intertwining of cultural roots, and freedom and love.

It took being caught at a border without proper documents for me to realise I'd always been a prisoner of sorts. Kuduro had been my passport to the world, thanks to it I'd travelled to places I'd never dreamed of visiting. But the chickens had come home to roost . . .

Hours before performing at one of Europe's most iconic music festivals, Kalaf Epalanga is detained at the border on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. Trapped, his thoughts soon thrum to the beat of kuduro, the blistering, techno-infused Angolan music which has taken him from Luanda to Kristiansund, Beirut to Rio de Janeiro, Paris to Lisbon. Shifting between his reflections while incarcerated, and the stories of Sofia - Kalaf's friend at the heart of the Lisbon dance scene - and the 'Viking', the immigration official holding Kalaf's fate in his hands, Whites Can Dance Too is a celebration of the music of Epalanga's homeland, and a hypnotic paean to cultural roots, to freedom and love.

About the Author

Photo credit: Matthew Pandolfe

Kalaf Epalanga is an Angolan musician and writer. Best known internationally for fronting the Lisbon-based dance collective Buraka Som Sistema, he is a celebrated columnist in Angola and Portugal. Whites Can Dance Too is his acclaimed debut novel; it was first published in Portugal by Editorial Caminho (2017). Epalanga is currently based in Berlin.

About the Host

Faith Adiele co-founded and hosts MoAD’s African Book Club, and her monthly column for Detour: Best Stories in Black Travel is syndicated in The Miami Herald. An award-winning memoirist, she contributes to the CALM app, HBO-Max, Alta Magazine, Hyperallergic and others, and her recent work has received Emmy and SoCal Journalism Award nominations. Faith graduated from Harvard College and the University of Iowa’s Writing Workshop and Nonfiction Writing programs. She has a set of hybrid chapbooks about her Nigerian-Nordic-American family forthcoming from Texas Review Press and a travel writing craft guide from Columbia Univ Press. She lives in Oakland and chairs the Writing & Literature program at California College for the Arts.

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