The Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) on Tuesday launched a book to celebrate the late Jerry John Rawlings for the contributions he made and the influence he had in the development of Ghana and the African Continent.
Titled, “J. J. Rawlings Memories and Mementos,” the book is a bilingual collection of poems and essays written by 52 writers from 12 African countries.
The book is written in English and French with the aim of making sure non-English speaking countries embrace and appreciate the good works and contributions of the late Former President of Ghana.
Speaking at the launch, Mrs Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings regretted failure by Africans to adequately record the positive achievements of its “sons and daughters.”
According to her, the writing of stories of Africans by non-Africans gave room for unfair and biased reportage as these writers had little or no knowledge about the African continent.
She, therefore, called on African writers to improve their efforts in the writing of African stories in order to clear the misconception created by non-African writers.
Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings further stressed on the need to educate Africans, especially, the youth about the African culture and history as this would make them appreciate Africa and contribute to its development.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, decried the decline in the reading and writing culture among Ghanaians and Africans which had made them susceptible to foreign influence.
He noted that the launch of the book by PAWA was an opportunity for African writers to change this narrative by improving the “spoilt writing and reading culture.”
Mr Nitiwul also spoke on how digitisation had played a role in improving and sharpening the writing and research skills of African writers, adding “Africa is benefiting from the modern technology of communication which will keep our writers abreast with current global development.”
He said in line with government’s desire to improve literature, it would continue to support PAWA to enable it to perform its objectives.
Mr Nitiwul indicated that the government was aware of some challenges faced by book writers, such as piracy and that measures were being put in place to curb them.
Dr Wale Okediran, Secretary-General of PAWA, in his welcome address commended the various writers for the effort put in writing about the late J. J. Rawlings.
According to him, most narratives about African leaders had been “unjust” as they were always portrayed in a negative way.
He, however, said the launch of the book was vital as the late J. J. Rawlings was the founder of PAWA and an art lover.
The launch had in attendance Ministers of State, publishers among others from different African countries.
BY BENJAMIN ARCTON-TETTEY