Africa: In a World of Turbulence, Writers Reaffirm Their Role for Enlightenment and Information


An article from the Senegalese News Agency

Members of the Writers’ Union of Africa, Asia and Latin America (AAAWU) can play the role of “literary enlightenment and information” in a turbulent world . “Literature can play a very important role not only by interpreting but also by information,” said Lamine Kamara, president of the Writers’ Association of Guinea, at the opening on Monday in Dakar of the meeting of the AAAWU.

Former Guinean Foreign Minister, Kamara stressed the need “to open a space of debate through writing, so that the different points of view can confront each other.” According to him, we must “invite the reader and especially the general public to have more tolerance and intercomprehension and to avoid the spirit of violence, hatred and intolerance”.

“Facing this world of turbulence and particularly in Africa, writers have much to say,” adds Chadian poet Samafou Diguilou, president of the Association of Friends of Literature in Chad.

“I come from Chad (where), we have a very dramatic situation with the Boko Haram, a group of terrorists that is rampant in Chad and in neighboring countries such as Cameroon and Mali … the Chadian or African writer must take his pen to denounce this injustice, “continued Mr. Diguilou. The Chadian writer says he still finds it hard to understand the rationality of the members of this group. “You attack people who did not do anything to you, you come, you kill, you explode bombs, you take lives away from innocent people,” he criticized. In the face of this, “the writer, whether Chadian, Senegalese or even African is called upon to intervene.”

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(Click here for the original version of this article in French)

Question for this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?, What is, or should be, their role in our movement?

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“We do not have weapons or explosive devices like them, but we have our pen, and with this we can appeal to major international organizations like the UN, the African Union to support the actions of our countries that are concerned,’ explains the Chadian poet.

Taking as an example the role played by the first African poets in the struggle against slavery and colonization or the march towards independence, Chadian Samafou Diguilou considers that the author can use all literary genres to be hear.

Aware of the fact that literacy has been an obstacle to access to books in African countries, he proposed that we privilege works translated into local languages ​​or interpreted by artists.

The Senegalese writer Aissatou Cissé advocates “readings of peace in this world context of turbulence, verbal and physical violence”. “Every morning, when we get up, we read on the Internet, or through a newspaper or a book, and what we read does not promote the culture of peace, it disrupts even more and creates zizanie [discord], “she said.

“Children, adolescents and adults who read us need to read positive things that can boost their creativity, and it is in peace that we can create,” said the Special Advisor to the President of the Republic, Macky Sall.

The president of the club “Poetists, essayists and novelists” (PEN), Colonel Moumar Guèye invites “writers and journalists to have a responsible pen, to ensure to safeguard national cohesion and social peace”.