The Director of the Cervantes Institute, Luis García Montero, inaugurated the Tribune of Equatoguinean Hispanism in Malabo, a forum for dialogue with Hispanists from the African country, a region where "the Observatory of Spanish for Sub-Saharan Africa - a project under study - has its natural place", said the Director. The Director also held a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and took part in a session of the Equatoguinean Academy of the Spanish Language (AEGLE), where he met with its President and gave a lecture entitled "The future of Spanish in the world".
The institutional agenda of the Director of Cervantes began with a meeting with the Secretary General for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Equatorial Guinea, Matías Nguema Mba Medja, and with the Director General for Europe and America, Josefina Nguema Ayaga. The Secretary emphasised that "Guinea is the home of Spaniards in Africa and proudly represents Spanish on the continent", for which he said he was "very grateful that Equatorial Guinea has been chosen for this Observatory".
In addition, the Director of the Cervantes Institute will hold meetings with the First Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of the Ministry of Education, University Education and Sports; Clemente Engonga Nguema Onguene; and with the Rector of the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE), Filiberto Ntututmu Nguema, as well as with several Equatoguinean writers.
The director of the Cervantes Institute defined the Tribuna del Hispanismo Ecuatoguineano, held at the Spanish Cultural Centre in the Equatoguinean capital, as "an exceptional opportunity that recognises the value of Equatorial Guinea as the only African country in which Spanish is the native language".
The president of AEGLE, Agustín Nze Nfumu, expressed his joy at "participating in a defining act of the beautiful and rich language that unites us, above colours and perishable considerations". He also stressed that "Spanish in Equatorial Guinea is not a language, it is the language" and "despite the linguistic threat posed by English or French, we are determined to ensure that our language grows ever more vigorously".
The Spanish ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Alfonso Barnuevo Sebastián de Erice, also took part in the inauguration of this forum, the second to be held outside Spain - after the one held in Dakar in 2020. The diplomat recalled how at the First International Hispanic-African Culture Congress, held in Bata (Equatorial Guinea) in 1984, "the concept of Afro-Ibero-Americanism was launched with enthusiasm and conviction", in permanent validity when "the Spanish language is no longer the language of Spain, as it is the language of the Equatoguinean, the Mexican or the Uruguayan".
With regard to the creation of a Spanish Observatory for sub-Saharan Africa, García Montero stressed the importance of setting it up "to study and support the consolidation in Africa of a language that today represents a horizon of very important opportunities in globalisation and international cultural dialogue". In this sense, he advanced that the institution is working in collaboration with the Complutense University - and the latter's relations with universities in Equatorial Guinea - and would consider it "very natural to start this project in a country that has Spanish as its language and has fought so hard for its importance".
The round table, moderated by the Academic Director of the Cervantes Institute, Carmen Pastor Villalba, was attended by the specialists Juan Bautista Osubita, academic and director of the Regional Antenna of the AEGLE; Filomena Avomo Esono, director of the Directorate of Information of the National University of Equatorial Guinea; José Fernando Siale Djangany, jurist and writer, academic of the AEGLE and collaborator of the Centre for Afro-Hispanic Studies of the National University of Distance Education (UNED) and Mikel Larre Muñoz, professor of the Faculty of Humanities and collaborator of the AEGLE in the town of Bata.
Organised by Cervantes since 2017, the Tribuna del Hispanismo programme has so far examined British, French, Italian, Judeo-Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, German, Moroccan, Irish, Senegalese, Dutch, Russian, Thai and Canadian Hispanism. The Equatoguinean, for its part, is the fifteenth edition, and can be seen on the Cervantes Institute's YouTube channel.
After the forum, the Director of the Instituto Cervantes and the Academic Director of Cervantes will participate in a session of the Equatoguinean Academy of the Spanish Language and will meet with its President.
There will also be a conference entitled "The future of Spanish in the world" given by the director García Montero at the Equatoguinean Cultural Centre, in which he will talk about the institution's priorities, including the focus on sub-Saharan Africa, a key strategic area for academic missions due to its demographic and economic growth, with the launch of the Centre in Dakar (Senegal) and the Aula Cervantes in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), as well as the future Observatory of Spanish for sub-Saharan Africa.
This Friday, the director will also attend a meeting with Equatoguinean writers, Estanislao Medina Huesca (1990), winner of the AEGLE Miguel de Cervantes Literary Prize (2017) and the first African to be included by Granta magazine in its list of the 25 best Spanish-language writers under the age of 35; Trifonia Melibea Obono Ntutumu (1982), writer, teacher and researcher on women's and gender issues in Africa; Juliana Mbengono Elá Avomo (1996), writer and cultural journalist, winner of the Amadou Ndoye Short Story Prize; Leoncio Márquez Merino (1995), poet recognised with the 12 de Octubre Día de la Hispanidad Prize (2019); Teresa Casandra Abeng Esono Nchama (1999), runner-up in the Miguel de Cervantes Narrative Prize organised by AEGLE (2020); and Isabel Mikue Rope (1987), writer of social works and director of an NGO that develops programmes for children.
As a sign of the institution's commitment to raising awareness of Equatoguinean literature in Spanish, next Tuesday 26 July (at 12 noon), La Caja de las Letras del Cervantes will receive the legacy of the writer Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo (Niefang, Equatorial Guinea, 1950), a major figure in African literature in Spanish and nominated - in a candidacy put forward by Casa África - for the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts in 2022.
In a subsequent round table discussion, in addition to the honoree himself, the director of Casa África, José Segura Clavell; Professor Mbuyi Kabunda Badi, specialising in the problems of regional integration, development and gender and human rights; and the writer Gloria Nistal, a specialist in African literature and member of the Spanish Association of Africanists, will participate.
Submitted by José Antonio Sierra, Hispanismo advisor.