The #WaxNBooks campaign aims to reclaim libraries, typically seen as white, academic, and elite institutions, by showcasing Africans in traditional wear being at home in these spaces.
The images, which juxtapose the traditional with the contemporary, the African with the ostensibly Western, disrupt notions of who owns knowledge, who produces it, and who has a right to access it and claim it. They assert the compatibility of being African with books and libraries by merging African culture with the culture of reading. The idea is to make libraries accessible by decolonising the space and turning them into African spaces and, in so doing, promote literacy.
By capturing a range of social scenes featuring individuals of all ages and social backgrounds in the library interacting with books, the images will highlight the library as an African place.
The campaign will be promoted on social media, primarily on Instagram, but also on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag, #WaxNBooks.
There will be an exhibition of the images from the campaign at a local cultural institute or at Libreria Ghana. As part of the activities around the exhibition, there will be a talk/s about the issues raised by the campaign and the importance of Africans unapologetically engaging in literary spaces.
Though the campaign will begin in Ghana, the aim is for it to go international by encouraging followers in other African countries, and countries outside of the continent with large diasporas, to photograph themselves wearing African wax print in their local libraries and to post to social using the #WaxNBooks hashtag.
The #WaxNBooks campaign is an initiative of Libreria Ghana, a literacy promotion agency with a uniquely African twist.