President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged African writers to be ‘’brutally frank’’ in their publications.
He also admonished them to desist from writing false and negative stories about people and the continent for their selfish interest. He said when you write, it must have integrity and African writers should project Africa in a positive light through their publications. According to him, when the integrity of the writer is compromised, the library is ‘’well and truly burnt’’.
The generation today has a special responsibility to be responsible writers, tell the true African stories without compromising themselves since that will be the only way our stories would be told positively.
He made the remarks at the opening of the 24th International African Writers’ Day by the Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA) Continental Colloquium under the theme, ‘’Language, Library and the Book Industry: the Urgent Agenda for Africa’s Destiny.’’ General Secretary of PAWA, Prof. Atukwei Okai on his part said, the association has over the past faced challenges and support from individuals and corporate bodies have contributed to their survival. Leading writers, librarians, and language arts experts from within and outside Africa are expected to participate at the colloquium, he said.
On his part, Prof. Beban Sammy Chumbow, President, African Academy of Languages, African Union who delivered a statement on the Conference on the theme, ‘’Language, Library and the Book Industry: the urgent Agenda for Africa’s Destiny’’ and on the sub theme, ‘’Language for African Literature? Language of the heart or language of the head? underscored the need for African writers to use the African language in partnership with the foreign language in their publications.
He said, the use of both languages of the heart and head is complementary, ensuring a greater outreach and exploiting the advantages of both. ‘’This underscores the partnership between African languages and official languages of the colonial legacy envisaged by the African Union’s Language they master, for a more effective mobilization to ensure participatory development, whereas the use of one of the two will, unwittingly, lead to exclusions and marginalization in the enterprise of development,’’ he said.
President Nana Akufo-Addo was later at the opening decorated with PAWA’s Nobel Patron of the Arts Award. He was presented with a medallion, a certificate and a stool by PAWA. The presentation was done by PAWA General Secretary, Prof. Atukwei Okai and Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey. The historic PAWA continental colloquium which coincides with the 28th anniversary of the existence of PAWA is dedicated to the exploration and discussion of answers to these and related questions including: the national policies on languages, books, libraries and the book industry in general.