‘100 YEARS UNHEARD’ is the title of the first anthology by the Afrikan Heritage Writers. It is a collection of new poetry and prose based on the likely experiences of women of Afrika and the Diaspora, left behind when their husbands, sweethearts, sons, brothers and other male folk, went off to fight for desperate armies on one side or the other, of the Great War (WW1).
Until fairly recently, relatively few publications acknowledged the impact of WW1 on either women or non-white people across the globe. This was partially addressed when research and campaigning by women and some supportive men, led to an increase in the number of books that included the significant female contributions to the war effort. More and more written material started to appear concerning the role of for instance; the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) which when founded in 1917 (during WW1), became the first of the three services to officially recruit women. However, there was still little that looked at the role of or impact of the war on the Afrikan Heritage world communities and other non-white people – women or men. This changed slowly when various Afrikan Heritage and other groups and writers, actively set about redressing the balance to some extent.
The Afrikan Heritage Writers individually holding a wide range of views on the participation of Afrikan Heritage people in the conflict, decided to add our own take on the matter. Much of what we learned as we carried out our own research was courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, London. In general, we were surprised by how little material existed though. However, what really shocked us was the fact that the relatively sparse data and photographs we did find, were almost exclusively about the male experience. We decided that we would produce our anthology from a mainly female perspective and knew that with little to draw on that it would have to be from a creative point of view.
It is hoped that our small contribution to the telling of our stories as they might have been, encourages discussion and debate and that this anthology encourages further work, creative or otherwise.