By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has charged African authors to revive the golden age of writing in solving modern challenges facing the continent.
The minister gave the charge on Friday when Dr Wale Okediran, the new Secretary-General of the Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA), paid him a courtesy visit.
Mohammed said the golden era when African writers effectively used their writings and collaborated with politicians to attain independence should be revived to address present challenges.
Specifically, he said the writers should find solutions to the economic challenges facing the continent.
He added that they should use their writings to instill pride in the youth in order to embrace their culture and tradition as well as deployment of technology to promote African rich culture.
The minister said African writers should continue “to tell our stories in the best African tradition” and should not leave it in the hands of foreigners who would distort them.”
“African writers should continue on the paths set by Chinua Achebe, Ngugi Wa Thiongo and Ayi-Kweh Amah.
“These are African writers that many of us saw not just as role models but also as beacons that piloted us through adulthood.
“They made us very proud as Africans and at the same time they drew our attention to the fact that after decolonisation, there were still many challenges,’’ he said.
Mohammed said new authors had greater role to play in ensuring that they mentor youths correctly and instill in them patriotism.
“Any nation that does not treasure its past and cultural values will be lost in sands of time,’’ he said.
For writers who have attained global prominence, the minister said they had become the barometers by which the global community would measure their countries.
He, therefore, charged them to ensure that they, at all times, be positive mentors for the youths as well as good ambassadors of the continent.
Earlier, Okediran had solicited the support of the minister for a successful tenure.
He specifically asked the minister to use his office in getting Nigeria to pay its arrears of subvention due to PAWA as mandated by the AU.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PAWA is an umbrella body of writers’ associations in Africa and the Diaspora
It was established in 1989 to strengthen the cultural and economic bonds among people in Africa.
Okediran, a Nigerian medical doctor, writer and cinematographer is the new Secretary-General of PAWA.
Following the death of the founding Secretary-General of PAWA, Prof. Atukwei Okai, the position had remained vacant for about two years before the eventual appointment of Okediran.
Prior to the PAWA appointment, Okediran had been a one-time President of Association of Nigerian Authors and a member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives. (NAN)