African writers key to peace on the continent
African writers should help young people think for themselves and not just follow rabble rousers.
This was said by Nigerian Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo in his keynote speech delivered by Director General – Development Agenda for Nigeria Hon Seye Oyeleye at the just ended Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) general assembly and conference held in Ibadan, Nigeria.
“Writers should use their pens to weave narratives that will help to build critical thinking skills especially among young people so that they are not taken advantage of by war and insurgency-mongers,” said Nigerian Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
Zimbabwe is a member of PAWA as one of the 36 official signatories to the Declaration and Constitution that led to the establishment of PAWA in 1989 at the Constituent Congress held in Ghana.
In his opening remarks, University of Ibadan vice chancellor Prof Kayode Adebowale highlighted the importance of academia in building democratic states and decolonising the African continent.
The assembly confirmed Dr Wale Okediran as substantive secretary-general, the post he has held after Professor Atukwei Oka died in office in 2018. Dr Okediran urged African governments to honour their obligations to PAWA so the continent’s writers can use their formidable power effectively for the development and peace building story.
Mr. John Rusimbi from Rwanda was elected substantive president after holding the same position for two years in the interim committee. Ms Monica Cheru from Zimbabwe was elected vice president (South).
PAWA secretariat was granted full diplomatic status by the government of Ghana where it is housed. PAWA now comprises the 52 national writers’ associations on the African continent.
In 1991, the Conference of African Ministers of Education and Culture, meeting in Cotonou, Benin, resolved to establish 7 November, the day on which PAWA was founded, as International African Writers’ Day, which is now celebrated throughout the continent.
PAWA has engaged in activities that have included conferences, readings, lectures, performances, visits, writing competitions and training, as well as honouring African writers. Many leading African thinkers and writers have played prominent roles PAWA’s activities, including Nobel Laureates Wole Soyinka and Nadine Gordimer, Emeritus Professor J. H. Kwabena Nketia, Professor Femi Osofisan, Prof. Ali Mazrui, and others.