African Literary NGOs: Power, Politics, and Participation by Doreen Strauhs

By Doreen Strauhs

Featuring the radical notion of the "literary NGO," this examine combines interviews with modern East African writers with an research in their specialist actions and the cultural investment region to make an unique contribution to African literary feedback and cultural reviews.

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In contrast to this hybrid construct, commercial publishing houses are generally solely for-profit businesses. 31 While it is therefore correct to state that LINGOs—like publishing houses—certainly can have the ingenuity and efficiency of profitable enterprises, it is, however, more important to consider that LINGOs not only are legally registered as nonprofit organizations but also have the care and concern of nonprofit organizations in view of their interest in benefitting others. 7. LINGOs and Their Nonprofit or For-Profit Status Nevertheless, it is possible that LINGOs can change their domestic nonprofit status from NGO, foundation, or trust and at some point in their existence develop into solely for-profit businesses or into businesses that contain both for-profit and nonprofit elements, like a kind of not-for-profit company.

LINGOs, as defined in this study, are not government-operated NGOs (GONGOs). Established independently from the government, LINGOs rather function as intermediary organizations, mobilizing resources and facilitating the development and interaction of individuals, 26 O African Literary NGOs groups, organizations, and communities in terms of their creative writing and reading skills. LINGOs thus contribute to the enhancement of literacy in the languages and countries of their operation. 4. LINGOs and Their Transnational Dimensions To realize their ideas, LINGOs establish transnational networks online and offline with authors, stakeholders in the book industry, and the public education sector both locally as well as from elsewhere in order to strengthen the role and impact of writers and creative writing within their societies, as well as to promote writers and publications from within their countries and beyond.

Nevertheless, all nodes—despite their varying levels of authority— are relevant for the network’s performance. 46 Unlike governmental institutions or bigger publishing houses, NGOs are generally viewed as not caught up in many debilitating hierarchies. 47 In support of this common belief about NGOs, this book therefore proposes that LINGOs are not static bodies but in fact are highly dynamic social networks of heterogeneous individuals, either voluntarily committed or permanent staff members, who do not oppose the LINGOs’ agenda, who have excellent links in the area of their concern, and who operate in flat organizational hierarchies within the LINGO.

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