Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé
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Course summary

This 3-week online study is an invitation to use African literature and storytelling as technologies for ancestral knowledge-sharing, healing and revelation. Curated and taught by Ivorian literary curator, Keren Lasme, Meeting Our Griots: Sobonfu Somé is a multi-dimensional, multi-sensorial exploration of African indigenous philosophies on intimacy, kinship and community, centring the work of Burkinabé author, Sobonfu Somé. Immerse yourself into Dagara philosophy, belief systems and frame of being. Tend to the garden of your imagination with ancestral ways of seeing, apprehending and cultivating intimacy with life, spirit, the self and our community, human and non-human.‍

learning Outcomes

  • Map out our existing or non-existing relationship with African literatures.
  • Broaden our understanding of intimacy, kinship and community from an African indigenous perspective.
  • Understand and envision new myths about African spirituality
  • Learn about ancestor Sobonfu Somé and the Dagara people of West Africa.
  • Co-design poetic approaches to conflict resolution.

Course modules

Opening circle: The Library as a Site of Initiation
In the first part of the course, we will ignite the first flames of our study circle by delving into the notion of 'initiation' in relation to epistemology while pushing the boundaries of what is considered real, true or a valid source of knowledge. A book and an unborn child can be altars of knowledge just like reading and ritual-making can be knowledge activation methods and practices.
Sobonfu, Keeper of the Rituals
Our collective study is grounded and inspired by the teachings of ancestor Sobonfu Somé. In this session, we will learn about her and her people — the Dagara tribe of West Africa. By reflecting on her life and legacy as the “the keeper of rituals”, we will explore our own names and roles in community.
Intimacy as A Spiritual Practice
The embers of our metaphorical fire crackle and with them, we will share our ideas on intimacy which in turn will be enriched by the Dagara’s conception of intimacy. What is it ? How does it manifest itself ? What purpose does it serve ?
The Ash Circle of Intimacy: Conflict Resolution as Ceremony
We will identify our types of relationship based on Dagara belief systems and learn about rituals that pacify the heart and serve as intention-setting tools for healthy and effective communication and conflict resolution.
Mythmaking and The Poetics of African Spirituality
On this journey of ancestral remembering and listening, we filled our medicine bag with stories that restore timeless wisdom on the sacredness of existence and on our infinite interconnectedness with all things alive: with spirit. In this final week, we are invited to bring our own twigs, branches and logs to the fireplace to revive its flames and to spell new myths on African spirituality rooted in care and collective dreaming.

Meet our instructors

Keren Lasme
Course curator
Interdisciplinary artist, writer, and literary curator. With a foundation in African Studies from SOAS University of London, Keren merges mythopoetic identity with the transformative power of reading. She envisions learning spaces as portals to freedom, healing, and societal reimagination, intertwining education, care politics, and African literature as praxis..

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Recordings of sessions will be available for all registered participants. As long you have an account with Ijeruka, you can login and watch the recordings at any point.
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