The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called on the new Secretary General of the Pan-African Writers’ Association (PAWA), Dr. Wale Okediran, to strive to revive the golden age of African writers, who actively worked for the unity, development and decolonization of Africa.
The Minister, who made the call when he received Dr. Okediran on a courtesy visit to his office on Friday, said the main challenge that confronted African writers in the pre-decolonization era was the struggle for political independence.
He, however, said today’s crop of African writers have to contend with economic challenges and the inculcation, in the youth, of pride in African culture.
“I will urge Dr. Okediran to do his best in his new position to revive that golden age of African writers, that age where African writers collaborated with our politicians to attain independence. The challenge before our writers today is not about political independence but it is about how we take Africa out of the morass of despair and how we take Africa out of the economic challenges we are facing
”It is about how we instill in our young ones pride in their culture, pride in their tradition and how we use technology to promote our rich culture and traditions,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
The Minister, who paid tribute to African literary giants such as Chinua Achebe, Ayi Kwei Armah and Ngugi Wa Thiang’o, said they did not only serve as role models but were also beacons of hope for the continent.
He therefore urged the Secretary General of PAWA to encourage African writers to continue to tell the African story in order to guard against distortion of facts by foreign writers.
“I want to appeal to Dr. Okediran to please use his exalted office to ensure that African writers continue to tell our stories in the best African tradition, because if they don’t do it, others will do it in a manner that will not be pleasant to us,” Alhaji Mohammed said
He said African culture and traditions provide enough materials for any writer to explore and advised PAWA to work with the private sector to ensure that some of the books written by African authors are adapted into films in order to reach out to the young population.
In his remarks, Dr. Okediran said the African Union had since recognized the power of literature and it’s using it effectively to promote unity on the continent.
He said PAWA recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with some international organizations to leverage literature for the promotion of African cultures.
Dr. Okediran appealed to the Federal Government to support the Accra-based PAWA through the payment of yearly subvention as approved by the African Union.