Sony Labou Tansi

Sony Labou Tansi (Source: English picture, copyrighted picture)On 14 June 1995, Congolese novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and poet Sony Labou Tansi, born Marcel Ntsoni, died at the age of 47 in Brazzaville.

Tansi was born on 5 July 1947, in the village of Kimwaanza, just south of the city now known as Kinshasa in the modern day Democratic Republic of the Congo. When he was twelve years old, his family moved to Congo-Brazzaville, today known as the Republic of the Congo. Tansi completed his studies at the École Normale Supérieure d'Afrique Centrale in Brazzaville. He qualified as a French and English teacher. After teaching for many years, Tansi moved on to government work, serving as an administrator in several ministries in Brazzaville. 

Sony Labou Tansi is the author of numerous plays performed since 1979 by his theatre company, the Rocado Zulu Théâtre of Brazzaville, Congo, and of a series of novels and short stories. His work received extensive critical acclaim and several literary prizes, including the Prix Spécial du Festival de la Francophonie in 1979 for 'La vie et demie', and the Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Afrique Noire in 1983 for 'L’anté-peuple'. He also received a number of awards for his theatrical productions which featured regularly at the Festival International des Francophonies in Limoges and were also staged in number of other African and European countries and the United States.

In the late 1980s Tansi became an opposition-party activist in the Mouvement Congolais pour le Développement de la Démocratie Intégrale (MCDDI). He was elected a deputy for Makélékélé arrondissement in Brazzaville in 1992, but his participation in opposition politics angered President Lissouba, and his passport was withdrawn in 1994. Tansi was sick at the time and Lissouba's travel restrictions prevented him from going abroad to seek treatment. He died of complications from AIDS on June 14, 1995.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Selected publications

Publications by Sony Labou Tansi

La chair et l'idée : théâtre et poèmes inédits, lettres, témoignages écrits et regards critiques / Sony Labou Tansi; Nicolas Martin-Granel; Julie Peghini. - Besançon : Les Solitaires intempestifs, cop. 2015

Poèmes / Sony Labou Tansi; Claire Riffard; Nicolas Martin-Granel; Céline Gahunhgu. - Paris : CNRS Editions, cop. 2015

L'autre monde : écrits inédits / Sony Labou Tansi; Nicolas Martin-Granel. - Paris : Éditions Revue Noire, 1997

Théâtre 1 & Théâtre 2 / Sony Labou Tansi. - Carnières-Morlanwelz : Lansman. [ca. 1995]

Les yeux du volcan : roman  / Sony Labou Tansi. - Paris : Seuil. 1988

Les sept solitudes de Lorsa Lopez : roman  / Sony Labou Tansi. - Paris : Éditions du seuil, 1985

Publications on Sony Labou Tansi and his work

Sony Labou Tansi : folies romanesques / Bessem Aloui. - Paris : L'Harmattan, [2021]

Sony Labou Tansi : naissance d'un écrivain / Céline Gahungu. - Paris : CNRS éditions, [2019]

Dossier le théâtre de Sony Labou Tansi / Julie Peghini; Xavier Garnier.
In: Études littéraires africaines , no. 41, pages 9-84, 2016

À propos de Sony Labou Tansi à l'oeuvre, vingt ans après / David Van Reybrouck; Claude Mouchard; Bernard Mouralis; Tina Harpin.
In: Études littéraires africaines , no 40, pages 178-202.

Sony Labou Tansi / Phyllis Clark; Alain Ricard.
In: Research in African literatures, vol. 31, no. 3, p. 37-146 : ill, 2000

Hommage à Sony Labou Tansi, Maison de la Poésie, à Paris, le 12 octobre 2019

Writers of the Republic of the Congo via DBpedia and Wikidata