President John Mahama has challenged all citizens to support the works of African writers by improving on reading habits to derive in-depth knowledge which leads to social development.
Speaking at the opening of this year’s International African Writers Day in Accra, he said the youth must also be encouraged to interact with seasoned writers so they could appreciate the morals African authors highlighted in their literature.
Members of the Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) dedicated the 22nd edition of the International African Writers Day to reflect on the contribution of the late Chinua Achebe.
The ceremony which brought together renowned writers from countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mali and other African countries, was under the theme: ‘Celebrating the Life and Works of Chinua Achebe: The Coming of Age of African Literature’.
President Mahama in the address delivered on his behalf by Elvis Afriyie, Minister of State at the Presidency, indicated the satisfaction he derived from reading Achebe’s books as well as the impact of the writer towards the publication of his maiden book ‘My First Coup d’État.’
According to him, Chinua Achebe was passionate about the African continent and, therefore, sought to highlight some of the challenges of the continent in many of his narratives.
“Achebe’s works mirror the challenges of societal integrity, cultural sovereignty and the dilemma of self awareness and self confidence in us as a people,” he said.
President Mahama added, “Achebe may be dead and gone but his thoughts, works and books are eternally with us.
“For the right education of our children, and the mind revolution which we Africans so desire to spur our development, our societies must make a conscious effort to seek knowledge for worthwhile leaving and the development of our societies from the Achebe’s of this world.”
He also advised people not to only read books written by African writers but should interact with them while they are alive.
Professor Atukwei Okai, Secretary General of PAWA, emphasized the need for the Ministry of Education to engage book publishers in an agreement in which 2,000 copies of books would be bought and distributed to libraries across the country.
He said such a policy would support the publishing industry and enable writers to devote much time to producing books to enlighten all members of society.
Henri Lopes, the Ambassador of the Republic of Congo to France, in reviewing parts of Chinua Achebe’s books said the famous author was “more than an African writer.”