Authors emphasise the importance of books written in African languages

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As the world marks International African Writers’ Day on the 7th of November, writers have emphasised the importance of literature for the continent.

The day was first commemorated in 1991 to celebrate the formation of the Pan African Writers’ Association, which is a Ghana-based cultural institution.

Writers say writing and reading books written in African languages remains one of the important pillars for African society. Literature plays an important role in preserving and restoring Africa’s identity and dignity. This is one of the common utterances among writers as the International African Writers’ Day is celebrated throughout the continent. It has now been celebrated for almost three decades.

At the heart of its existence is the diverse, but rich cultural, political and economic heritage of Africa.

Author, Ace Moloi, says literature is one of the key elements to impart African knowledge and culture.

“In general, it’s about the preservation of history, but it’s also about the sharpening of the mind and critical thinking, and I think that’s one aspect we don’t always explore the fact there’s a huge difference between a person that consumes literature and a person that has no relationship whatsoever with books or with reading at large.”

Author, Sekhobo Moshe, agrees that African literature has exposed themes around liberation and independence.

“I write the books because I want to retain African stories as well as African history, not only for us, but also for the upcoming generation, to get those stories as well as our history as Africans in general.”

Sesotho Literature Museum’s, Shuping Molale, says museums preserve the written word for generations to come.

“I think writing is still very important recently because it preserves the culture, it preserves the knowledge as well as sharpening the skills of the writers.”

Mangaung Metro spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, says the municipality is investing in the preservation of African literature.

“They work with universities and museums and preserve knowledge and encourage youth to generate knowledge… They will also have virtual meetings.”

African literature offers an opportunity to hear the voices of African people.

Influential Africans: