Q: What does ‘Sauúti’ mean?

A: You’re a curious one. The word ‘Sauúti’ is inspired by the Swahili word ‘sauti’, which means voice or sound. The Sauúti shared world or universe, which we fondly call the Sauútiverse, is a fictional civilisation based on a blend of African cultural worldviews and inspirations.

Q: How did the ‘Sauúti’ collective start?

A: Creative writing can be a pretty lonely business, and we felt it was about time we shaped our own destiny as African writers. We came together as a group of like-minded authors from the African grassroot and sought to create a unique shared world for and by Africans and the African diaspora.

Q: What do the planet names in the Sauútiverse mean?

A: The Sauútiverse has five main planets, each named to mean ‘song’ in an African language, how cool is that? The planets are:

    • Zezépfeni—from the Amharic word ‘zefeni’ meaning song

    • Wiimb-ó—from the Swahili word ‘wimbo’ meaning song—while the closing ó represents the planet’s Spirit Moon

    • Órino-Rin—from the Yoruba word ‘orin’ meaning song—here we use rhyme and repetition

    • Mahwé—from the Kirundi word ‘mawe’ meaning mother

    • Ekwukwe—from the Igbo word ‘ukwe’ meaning song or anthem—it’s the echo planet, we speak the word ukwe backward then forward: Ekwukwe.

    • There is also an inhabited moon, Pinaa:
      • Pinaa—from the Setswana word ‘pina’ meaning song.

Q: Is the Sauútiverse a primary or a secondary world?

A: The Sauútiverse is a secondary Afrocentric world, which means it’s a world that’s nothing like the Earth we know.

For example, it has two suns (Zuúv’ah—from the Shona word ‘zuva’ meaning sun or day, and Juah-āju—from the Swahili word ‘jua’ meaning sun) and two spirit moons (Vuiili-ki and Vuiili-ku, located on Wiimb-ó). The Sauútiverse comprises humanoid and non-humanoid creatures.

This secondary world is different from a primary world that resembles Earth as we know it, with its rules, cultures, food, language, clothing and socio-political systems.

Q: Is there written language in the Sauútiverse?

A: Now, that’s the right question. All use of language is oral in the Sauútiverse. Nothing is written.

Q: Can all planets in the Sauútiverse see the two suns?

A: You’re catching on pretty fast. Pinaa, sometimes referred to as Mahwé-Pinaa, is the inhabited moon of a dead planet and is situated in a tidally locked rotation around the sun Zuúv’ah. This renders it impossible for inhabitants to see the second sun, Juah-āju, but they feel its effects.

Q: Is there an elevator pitch about each planet in the Sauútiverse?

A: That’s the best question. Okay, there are a few really good ones, and this one is ace.

See the fun and colorful planetary cards we have created for you—they’re the simplest, playful guides to the Sauútiverse.

See also:

Q: Who owns the Sauútiverse?

A: The Sauúti world, as described in the Story Bible, is owned by the Sauúti Collective. Check out who are founding members of the collective on Syllble online.

We’re pretty cool people, ranging from surgeons, lawyers, engineers, scholars, musicians, artists, bloggers and everything in between. We are the funnest introverts you could ever come across, and we know how to reach and touch the world rather than burrow in a shell.

How to Work/Create with Us

Q: Who is eligible to be a Sauúti contributor?

A: Any creator who identifies as African or Afrocentric, whether living on the continent or in the Diaspora.

Q: Do I have to join the collective to become a Sauútiverse contributor?

A: No. We invite anyone of African descent to write a Sauúti story that may be part of our anthologies or to be separately sold, in alignment with the Sauúti agreements. Please see our contributor agreement.

Q: How do I pitch a Sauúti idea?

A: In three (3) easy steps:

  1. Read the story bible to familiarize yourself with the universe and the canon.
  2. Develop a pitch.
  3. Send your pitch to the Sauúti Collective (sauutiverse@gmail.com)—we’ll review it to make sure your idea doesn’t unduly reproduce or contradict something already explored.

Q: Can I pitch a Sauúti idea in any genre?

A: Yes, within speculative fiction! This means we welcome any story that comprises fantasy, science fiction, horror or subgenres, as well as genre benders that cross genres.

Q: Can I develop a story in a part of the Sauútiverse no one has explored yet?

A: Yes! Depending on the scope and nature of the contribution, we may even accept your development as a substantial contribution to the Sauútiverse, and add it to the story bible, in alignment with the contributor agreement.

Q: Can I create a new Sauútiverse planet?

A: The existing homing planets—Zezépfeni, Wiimb-ó, Órino-Rin, Pinaa (the inhabited moon of a dead planet) and Ekwukwe—are constants in the Sauútiverse. But you can create new countries and cities, even a new group of inhabitants, on existing planets and moons.

The Sauútiverse is a shared world with immense possibility! We’re excited to expand it.

Q: Who owns copyright of my Sauúti work?

A: You own the copyright to your specific, individual work, but the copyright to the Sauútiverse remains with the Collective.

Q: Can I put on a Sauúti event?

A: No. Not an official one at least, and not without the written permission of the collective. But if you want to gather your friends to discuss works in the Sauútiverse, you are welcome to do so!

Q: What if my pitch is not accepted. Can I still write a Sauúti story using the concepts anyway and just change the names?

A: No. If you do, you will be in breach of the copyright laws which asserts the moral right of the collective to this world and setting. You will have to make a lot of changes to ensure whatever you write outside of the Sauútiverse does not directly borrow from our settings and concepts but of course whatever original ideas you proposed still belong to you and you can do with them as you wish.

Q: Do I need to read all the previous Sauúti before pitching/writing my own?

A: Not really. That’s what the pitching process is for. We will do the hard work for you and tell you if any of your ideas are too similar or too contradictory to the established stories in the universe, and we may recommend one or two for you to read if it’s relevant to your idea. Now if you want to read all the Sauúti stories for fun and enjoyment, then please do!

Q: Is there anything you might not accept in a pitch?

A: We’re committed to diversity and engaging with difference. We are open to experimental ideas, formats and exciting new ways to explore this shared universe, but we are also passionate about building a world that is inclusive. We will not accept works that promote prejudice against others based on gender, religion, race, colour, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, etc. If you’re uncertain, send us your pitch and we’re happy to give you feedback that will help your work fit better with the Sauútiverse ideals.

Do you want to collaborate, partner, publish?