Connect with us

Interview

How Poor Mental Health Costs Nigerian Economy N21.6 billion Yearly – Merino

Published

on

Becoming A Better Boss: Leadership
Professor Akindotun Merino

Dr Akindotun Merino is a professor of psychology based in the United States. She is the president of Jars Education Group whose goal is to help restore people and organisations to optimal well-being and productivity. She is also the founder of African Mental Health Alliance. In this interview, she talks about her mental health programme holding in Lagos on Friday, the importance of mental health and the various roles government, institutions and individuals can play to have citizens with sound mental health. Excerpts:

Why are you in Nigeria now?

I am in Nigeria to push this mental health advocacy. We do have programmes in mental health, a round table, a symposium of sort and we are gathering legislators and stakeholders, psychiatrists, psychologists, policy makers and anyone who has interest in mental health to see how we can as a nation move forward in making this a structured and systemic part of the nation. When we talk about mental health, we are talking about the mental wellbeing of people, one needs to know that mental health issues contribute a lot to human right violation, premature death, all kinds of deterioration of health, global and national economic loss. A study says that over $6trillion is lost as a result of mental. Mental health has to do with anything about health.

What do you tend to achieve with the symposium?

The vision of the programme is to gather practitioners, gather advocates, legislators, gather laypeople interested so that we can start to talk about mental health. It is for both awareness and policy development. Our goal is that people achieve the highest standard of health and wellbeing they can achieve in this world. It is important that socially, in your marriage, academically anywhere, mental health is very important. We are trying to reduce the stigma, reduce the discrimination, we are ready to talk about it.

There are a lot of issues around mental health ailments in the US despite the awareness, what’s your take on that?

When we talk about people killing themselves or carrying guns, they have to deal with the second amendment in the US that allows you to protect yourself. People committing suicide is a global thing and the reason why we do not hear about it so much in this country and Africa is because there is no much report on that. People are committing suicide here, domestic violence. There is nothing much that is going on in the outside world that is not happening here, just that we are not talking about it. Most people do not even know it is trauma, most people do not even know it is mental health. When you see someone who cannot keep a job, always angry, tends to be crying all the time or something like that if you do not address it the way it ought to be, it could lead to serious mental problems. Even in the United States we still do outreach to the minority communities, African communities, religious communities because these communities we need to train them and make sure we begin to address the impact of all the mental health in the society.

Do you think we have enough structures to manage mental health ?

We are having this symposium to see what is out there, what people are doing, not like there is no structure but just that individuals will like to manage it in their own spaces, there is no guidance. If there is no mental health, there won’t be a sustainable economy. Depression and anxiety in Nigeria cost the economy N21.6billion annually. The treatment coverage is low, that is why we are doing this, to stop losing people to this pandemic, there is a mental health pandemic that we need to make sure that we address it. We hear of few cases of suicide, we want to tell people that this is treatable, no one has to die from it. Do you know that when you have mental health issues, it lowers your life by 10 to 15 years? This is so serious that we need to talk about it. What I do tell people is that if you are experiencing any sort of suicidal thoughts, some kind of anxiety, you have to talk about it. One of the cures for depression is connection to check on people. In Nigeria, people connect together. But it feels people are getting isolated, people need to be checked on.

READ ALSO: OneBank Digitises Peer-to-peer Lending For Family, Friends

Which states do you think are investing in mental health?

The Kaduna State government is doing a lot, they have a structure, we are having a conversation with them and Lagos State has done somethings in mental health too. Everybody is at the beginning of putting structures together so that people can have access. The most fundamental thing is training, especially in trauma care so that they can care for people who are traumatized and when people are trained to know what to look for it tends to help a lot. One of the basic things we have to do as a nation is to know what to look out for. It is important to train staff members and teachers, it is just a little thing that is to be done in the system, to create a structure that is sustainable.

What’s your take on criminalizing suicide in Nigeria?

Criminalizing suicide, most states said they do not implement that legislation, it is an old law that needs to be changed, it has no business being in any kind of law in our land. It needs to be removed, it does not speak well for us a nation. It is like if you have cancer and somebody said they are going to put you in prison for having cancer, that does not make sense. People who commit suicide, it is not that they wake up one morning and decide to jump off the bridge, no, there are extreme mental issues that have impacted them. Sometimes it could be environmental, biological issue, it could be psychological issues and they do not just happen. It is one of the reasons we are having this symposium, it is very important so that we can talk about how to get our voices heard so that that particular law should be taken out.

A lot has been done n the area of mental health but yet not much outcome. What innovative approach are you bringing to ensure sustainability?

I am not sure a lot has been done, a little has been done in mental health in Africa. We have not implemented the WHO expectation of twenty something years ago, we have not allocated money to mental health. Saying that a lot has been done, I do not agree with that, we have not even done the bare minimum for mental health. What we need to do first, professionals have to come together, have a national resource and number two, we have a national mental health number so that everybody knows the number to get access to. We need to train all the medical staff so that they can know what to look for. We can start with these two basic things. Awareness, make sure medical personnel are trained in trauma and mental health 101 and also make sure that we have advocates who are championing the legislation.

People feel stigmatized and often seek refuge in faith-based institutions. How can these institutions be integrated into mental health care?

One of the things we need to do and are doing is to talk to faith-based institutions. We talk to churches about mental health that it is not opposed to faith. Mental health is everyone’s responsibilities. As a Christian, talking about mental health Jesus did not just die for our physical health but emotional and psychological health. So we connect with people with large congregations. We let them know we are not bringing anything, rather it is scriptural. We educate them on the importance of mental health wellness. Again, the faith-based institution need to get trained or hire trained personnel. We salute the work being done in some faith-based institutions who have done well in this area but one of the issues is that we need more rehabilitation centres and be monitored. Individuals, faith-based institutions need to be trained or hire trained people so that they can know what to do. If you want to have a mental health programme in your church, make sure you have to follow the mental health protocol.

What are the effective roles the government can play?

Government roles, create awareness, we need a mental health campaign, we need trauma-informed campaign, we need national and statewide campaigns, even at the local government. All hands have to be on deck. It is not a one-man show so that people will know that it is there. Trauma-informed care matters will need this sort of care. People need to know the symptoms to look out for regarding mental health issues, like if you see yourself yelling all the time, if you see yourself sleeping more than you should, if you notice you are crying when you are not supposed to, you have thought in your head you cannot go on, you need to talk to somebody. Persistent headache and stomach ache should also be looked out for.

Read more authentic news on our social media platforms 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Interview

Rethinking African Literature

Published

on

rethinking African literature

The Toyin Falola Interviews

Panel Discussion On African Literature (2)

Rethinking African Literature
By Toyin Falola

Every culture has its agencies of cultural and information transmission, written, spoken or demonstrated through various means. At one point or the other, nearly all civilizations of the world have depended on the spoken medium to communicate their thoughts and ideas. The evolution of other means came with the innovation of technology, the earliest one being orthography itself. With the invention of writing, information preservation and exchanges changed radically. People now have the opportunity to preserve their knowledge and immortalize their ideas through the agency of the new technology―writing.

Notably, this revolutionary development began in many places simultaneously, but the character of writing differed from culture to culture. For example, the primordial African civilizations had an orthographic system, but that knowledge was not widespread. Only people who belonged to a particular group knew to decode information lurked in their writing then, but such an approach to information preservation was not embraced in some other societies. Rather than being secretive, some civilizations opened their orthography to their populace, and writing became an instrument of communication. Consequently, literature became redefined. Beyond the pedestrian definition of literature as a body of written works, the concept is associated with the process of documenting one’s worldview and cultural orientations and customs by adding some creative ideas to support the argument made in the works.

To this extent, literature became an instrument of cultural or political re-engineering that (re)conditions the people’s psychological domain for various purposes. In essence, reading some literary text can progressively change one’s ideological convictions. If used in this case, literature would be a veritable instrument for controlling a people’s mind. In some other cases, when literature documents people’s past experiences, arts, and culture, it is believed to have been used as a compass for history to give people the opportunity to connect with their past and make sense of their evolving present. After colonialism, many African writers entered into the business of writing literary works, banking on their cultural resources as the materials of their intellectual productions. Unlike the past oral communication system used with their audience, written literature gradually displaced oral literature with its peculiarities and sociological imports.

Rethinking African Literature

With the aggressive progression of technology in the twentieth century, the world seemed to have faced another imminent transformation of the practice of storytelling, not through writing alone this time, but through visual and virtual interaction. Technology has made it inescapable to organize the exchanges of information, cultural ideas, and intellectual creativity using the digital technology manifested in internet culture, cloud computing and technology, and ICT. Meanwhile, it is noted that African literature, which earlier on graduated from predominantly spoken form to written ones, has suffered mutilations and injuries that many scholars have sometimes suggested that some form of surgical treatment should be recommended. Some have argued that this treatment should be linguistic remodelling, where the African language would be used as the means of the interface in writing. But African languages are numerous, and using several of them would betray its political mission (to challenge the hegemon), particularly as it was a response not to the Africans but to the controlling imperialists. This phase of African literature passed, but the challenges remain—African literary writers battle with this when education moves from the physical to the virtual world. To be relevant in that evolution, their literature must shift to reflect this.

Suppose African literature continues to make meaning to the people and connect with the rising generation whose lifestyle revolves around the internet and the ICT. In that case, writers must come to terms with writing and use the available medium to transfer their information. We should not make a hasty conclusion that because global literature has evolved from what it used to be to what it is today and Africans are gradually incorporating their literary productions into these systems, the problems lurking around African literature have suddenly disappeared. More problems can be imagined; the problems have been redefined and have become deadlier than before. For example, this conclusion is triggered by the awareness that there are challenges with accurately containing the cultural traditions and expressions that people want to make and the challenge of semiotic inadequacies that literature expressed in another language would bring. These problems do not disappear; they have been recreated into the current system that humans now operate with. The gravity of their challenge in the survival of African literature would be understood when one realizes that the younger generation has no preferences other than the internet, and their access to information stored there would mean they will be re-engineered in some ways.

Consider that the cartoon field is another potent literary mine that scholars are mining in contemporary times. Meanwhile, in some ways, cartoons represent a collapse of cultural ideas built into a technological system for consumption. African children, as innocent as they are, become active foragers of the internet, and social media, among others, to seek cartoons that will provide them with relaxation and knowledge. Cartoon stories are generally similar to the Afrocentric storytelling of the pre-colonial time when aged people arranged willing audiences and began to relay important messages to them. Through stories, these children were introduced to their society’s philosophical, cultural and ideological bloodstream, where they accessed a body of information and then used it to build their intellectual system. This practice has been remodelled into the internet, and the narrator of these stories is, in most cases, not the African aged that used to dish out knowledge to their people. It is the western narrators who build narratives that will condition the minds of readers and make them Western in orientation. The children will become enablers of colonization because they were exposed predominantly to cultural ideas that were not African. To challenge this, African literature deserves a rethinking.

The benefits of moulding the African child this way are manifold. The information acquired and stored at their tender age will always be with them for a very long time. They will continue to navigate their existence with the information they have taken in during their formative years. In essence, getting them to understand African philosophical leanings, religious identities, cultural traditions, moral values, and collective virtues will help them develop a permanent ideological base that will help them when they meet different cultural perspectives in the future. There is the possibility that Africans have continued to distance themselves from the cultural inheritance in the understanding that they are weak and perhaps subordinate to others. However, the perspective will not remain the same if they are worked on earlier than imagined.

Meanwhile, the literature of a people continues to prove itself as the best instrument with which they can redesign their lives. Access to the culture through technology will have a multiplier effect on the people and their political existentialism. For instance, they will be able to develop inventions on the internet that are useful to reveal other aspects of African culture to the world while simultaneously influencing world affairs in some ways. All these are inherent advantages that underlie rethinking the literature.

Beyond the transformation of written literature into the digital one is the understanding that writers of African narratives should challenge the status quo with their works. Writers across all generations have different epistemic battles that they must engage in so that the African identity will not die. There was a time the Empire wrote back to the European imperialists to correct the erroneous notions about the African people and their cultural inclinations. During that time, the collective attention of writers was drawn to the exploration of various African civilizations and cultures for proper documentation. It appeared during the period that a chunk of the history and great efforts of the pre-colonial African people have been displaced, distorted by false narratives, or lost completely in some cases. Therefore, continuing to listen to the perspectives of the colonizers about their identity was similar to watching serial assassins subjecting one’s relatives to homicidal adventures.

Apart from the emotional problems one would get from that experience, the psychological consequences cannot be overemphasized. In essence, the period experienced the surge of literary activities that wrestled and won the freedom to existence that Africans would later enjoy. Interestingly, the contemporary generation has a different assignment. The writer in the African context is naturally saddled with the responsibility of seeking to renegotiate African identity through their works as they have suffered untold injuries and severe injustices at the hands of external visitors. Despite this glaring responsibility, the quest for economic and financial stability also cuts in the way of excellently discharging their duties to the motherland.

By dwelling essentially on the diaspora experiences, these writers sometimes find themselves in the murky water of using the West as the nucleus of their writing. This unavoidably leaves the African people, culture, concern, agitations, and cause to be left unattended or given minimum attention. Meanwhile, helpless African culture suffers from the vestiges of corruption and humanitarian atrocities perpetrated, if not exclusively by their bad leaders, but also in collaboration with foreign companies. Problems continue in their countries while writers pick topics that suit Western literary markets to satisfy the urge for capitalist culture at the detriment of the in-house Africans undergoing pestilence, poverty, pensive violence, and violation of unknown magnitude.

Here, some scholars have come up with the idea of disruptive narratives. This is an evolving concept that depicts the employment of narratives to inspire social changes and revolutions by producing works that reveal social injustices and political ineffectiveness that have fostered poverty and diseases of an unknown kind; narratives that empower the people by identifying the underlying greatness in coming together for the restoration of social justice and values; and narratives that educate people about their fundamental responsibilities and the rights that come with them. All of these are ways contemporary literary writers are considering rethinking African literature.

One can logically ask where or how African writers fit in. The layers of undemocratic challenges facing African people come first from their intellectual deficit about the histories and cultures of their forebears, which would otherwise have given them the materials with which they could structure a strong civilization. The problems facing the people are not unconnected to the fact that culturally, they are gradually becoming orphans, making them powerless to construct social bonds that can be used to repudiate all social immoralities that have plagued the continent.

Technology is a great addition to the world, but Africans’ addiction to it brings cultural entrapment. And then we ask, in all of these, what is the role of a critic, or in a more defined form, what makes the writer different from the critic? Writers are the gifted individuals who gather resources together, process and transform them into abstract products ready for intellectual consumption. They refine these resources by sifting out the ones considered harmful for consumption by the people. However, there has been a surge of African writers as there are limitless cultural and ideological resources from which they can draw for their creative enterprise. They have continued to forage into the past African epistemological terrain, ontological reality and moral principles as the base of their works.

READ ALSO: The Toyin Falola Interviews Holds Panel Discussion on Rethinking African Literature In The Modern Era

To that extent, some African writers fit into the definition of creative writers whose works are inspired by the almost unending histories of their forebears and the great exploits that usually stand them out, among others. Their contemporary stories are tailored along the foundational ideals, principles, and knowledge handed down with a semiotic intelligence. Thus, one can take African fictional work and begin to draw out interpretations irrespective of the generation in question. Writers are seen as intelligent creators who have the vision of their community imposed as surveillance on their creativity, guiding them in the process of their artful engagement. However, the critic at the end of the rope interprets the work of arts using theoretical understanding and suppositions as the compass for interpretative engagements. These theories are an accumulation of ideas or sets of them that explain observed facts or situations. Although the professional assignment of the critic and the writer differs in this context, both of them appear to indulge in deep intellectual gymnastics. A critic’s interpretation is thus different from a layman’s reading, underscored by the fact that they use different interrogation techniques from other people.

In African literature, there has been controversy about the importance of a critic using Western theoretical understanding and knowledge to interpret African literature. The argument is that if theories are a set of ideas that explain a phenomenon, how can European facts or phenomena that differ in character and approach to African experience be adequate in interpreting the African narrative and, by implication, the African world? To understand the beauty of this argument, one cannot but look at the composition, the thematic, the epistemic, and the soul of African literature and see how glaringly different they are from their Western counterparts.

In addition, the critic, as opposed to the writer, has the opportunity to get rewarded even in schools and institutions. In many universities, they are employed as faculty members who take students through academic engagements to increase their intellectual values. It, therefore, opens the writers to the destructive hands of politics. Apart from the possibility of insufficient reinforcement for producing intellectually stimulating narratives, the writer may not attract much attention to be employed in corporate organizations for their skills. The logic in that situation is denied its voice as people find nothing bad in having writers relegated to the background as opposed to the critics who use their works. Therefore, when we talk about rethinking literature, we must accommodate thoughts and conversations that address these issues. For instance, some have argued that the writers place themselves at a vulnerable point when they fail to capitalize on their skills as their income sources. They can deliberately withhold their intellectual property if the necessary bodies do not recognize them. The underlying problems in this thinking are numerous, including the fact that the writer is a writer because they are motivated by the action of writing. In other words, they choose that trajectory to fulfil their potential. Critics perform differently as they give meaning to works already perfected by the writers.

Rethinking African Literature

At a grand level, rethinking African literature without reconsidering the language of expression would amount to a fruitless engagement frustrated by the unwillingness to address critical issues. Language is central to the propagation of literature. Apart from being the instrument through which writers send information to their audience, it facilitates understanding of what is being transferred from writers to the world. Notably, the current global community has seen the brutal hands of globalization occasioned by the imperialists’ continued determination to promote and enhance capitalism. Extending one’s economic and political domination to others a few centuries ago led to the large-scale imposition of colonial languages to the world, where colonies were forced to embrace respective language reservations. They continued in the assimilation of the Western languages and their culture, which brought about the postcolonial extension of this extant domination.

READ ALSO: Alternative Paths To Ghana’s Success

African languages have been subjected to the pressure of every kind. Apart from being considered inadequate and unwanted in handing down the information and knowledge of its epistemic environment, they are also derided based on their international acceptability. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the African writers have been compelled to write in the language of their colonizers for one reason or the other. So, if we are considering rethinking African literature, the place of language deserves respect in that conversation. In the distant and proximal history, African scholars have engaged in this controversial debate where leading African creative writers hold an opposing side of the intellectual debate. Some concede that colonial languages can be domesticated and, in some situations, redacted. The ones in this category believe they are themselves products of postcolonial knot and were exposed to only the colonial languages in their development process. It would, therefore, be as counter-productive as it is impractical to use a language for which one lacks the necessary professionalism to pass across their messages.

Furthermore, their ambition to correct the erroneous impression of the West would be immediately frustrated when they wrote in a language their targets do not understand. In other words, the West would be barely convinced (although I am confused as to understand the logic in convincing the West in the first place) of the intellectual capacity of the African people. Those on the other side argue that writing in the colonial language alienates the people from the resources from which writing is drawn. It begs the question if the focus that compelled the African people to write back to the West is still the dominant focus of their texts today.

.This is the interview report with a panel of African writers on August 7. For the transcripts: YouTube:

Facebook: https://fb.watch/eLOPycx-MF/)

 

Read more authentic news on our social media platforms

Continue Reading

Interview

Panel Discussion On Rethinking African Literature Holds On Sunday

Published

on

A Panel Discussion On Rethinking African Literature Holds

Please join us for a panel discussion on Rethinking African Literature in the Modern Era by the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA)

Tomorrow, Sunday, August 7, 2022
4:00 PM GMT // 5:00 PM Nigeria // 11:00AM Austin CST // 6:00 PM SAT // 7:00 PM EAT

READ ALSO: The Toyin Falola Interviews Holds Panel Discussion on Rethinking African Literature In The Modern Era

Join via Zoom:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81910990284

Watch on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tfinterviews/live

Watch on YouTube:

https://youtube.com/channel/UC2lvX7A2iVndiCq0NfFcb0w/live

 

Read more authentic news on our social media platforms

Continue Reading

Interview

Trends In African Literature

Published

on

"Cut Soap For Me!"
Prof. Toyin Falola

The Toyin Falola Interviews

A PANEL DISCUSSION ON AFRICAN LITERATURE, PART 1

By Toyin Falola
I eagerly await the conversation with prominent members of the Pan-African Writers Association under the leadership of the prominent and visible writer, Dr. Wale Okediran. This first piece is to set the historical background to the conversation. The relationship between literature as a human endeavor and society is symbiotic, where the influence flows both ways, and one is shaped by the other. It is an interesting relationship to study, especially when one considers how literature changes form and intent over time, depending on society’s state of decay or otherwise, and also how society changes over time, sometimes due to the fierceness and unrelenting clamoring of literary figures and the body of work they have produced. It is not certain which has more influence on the other; however, it is established that literature, being the mirror of life and human societies, draws the inspiration for its content from societal happenings. Notwithstanding, literature acts as society’s conscience, bringing to light the ills in the darkest parts of society, critiquing, acting as a medium for the call to change, and bringing about the needed revolution.

In African literature, society has a rich timeline and has enjoyed many defining moments that we cannot possibly fully expound. For Africans, literature has been a significant part of our societies for longer than the western world represented in their earliest literature of Africa. Long before the colonial and the pseudo-civilization eras, Africa had its proper literature, although this form of literature was not always documented in the written form. In some communities, pre-colonial African literature was preserved by griots, praise-singers, poets, drummers, and priests, who were the custodians of our collective literature. This was passed down through their family, from father to child.

READ ALSO: Monica Cheru Joins Toyin Falola Interviews’ Panel Discussion On African Literature

Literature was a means for several endeavors then. It served as a way of orally preserving the histories of clans, villages, cities and their peoples and guarding the societal norms and beliefs that were the fibers holding the cultures of several African societies together. Beyond this, literature was also a means of interpreting the mystic and divine and showing reverence to the divine. The creation story and the existence of the divine are native to several African cultures and languages.

Trends In African Literature

Photo: Chinua Achebe

Furthermore, literature served as a medium for acculturation and enculturation, helping the new members of society to understand the modus operandi and what they needed to know to develop into acceptable members of society. In Africa oral literature was didactic. No matter how entertaining the story or how intriguing the ballad is, regular pieces contain some lessons between their lines and statements. Many of the written literature by African writers during the colonial and early post-colonial era was targeted at correcting the erroneous narratives that non-African writers and explorers had written about Africans.

With the encounter with the West, Africans had begun to receive standardized and formalized education, which meant that many Africans had become skilled at writing. As a result of the continent’s colonization, several regions had their newly acquired languages elevated to the positions of official languages like English, French, Arabic, and some other European languages. Thus, the emerging African and Caribbean writers largely wrote in their country and region’s official languages for some reasons. First, to reach more people than they could with their local language and to unify their audience. Second, to ensure that their writings reached the colonizers, who had misrepresented African cultures and traditions, and to correct the anomalies in the stories they told of Africa.

Consequently, African writers of this era were tasked with finding their voice, discovering their identity, and what the identity of African literature should be, revisiting falsely told stories of Africa, and orchestrating a literary rebellion to support the fight against colonialism and for independence across African regions. Ahmadou Kourouma and some other francophone authors led the charge for the Africanization of French through written literature during this period. Chinua Achebe of Nigeria also had his novel, Things Fall Apart, to depict civilized African societies before colonization and the real effects of and reason for colonization. This was also a period when African authors joined forces with political movements and other organizations and associations across the continent to push for the independence of African states.

READ ALSO: The Toyin Falola Interviews Holds Panel Discussion on Rethinking African Literature In The Modern Era

The role of African literature in the struggle for independence cannot be sidelined, as movements like the Negritude of Sedar Senghor, Leon Damas, and Aime Cesaire contributed to the earliest early political consciousness among Africans, and Sedar Senghor went on to become the first elected president of independent Senegal. Independence came for Africa, heralding a turn in the trend for African literature. This was not so much different from what writers were tasked with during the colonial era. The earliest period of the post-colonial era jolted African writers to the reality that freedom from colonialism and European rule was not necessarily freedom.

Trends In African Literature

Photo: Sedar Senghor

Several African leaders who had championed their countries’ independence and were also writers who contributed literature to speak out against colonialists’ oppression soon became what they fought against. The leaders who took over the reins became subjected to neo-colonialism, selfishness, and greed, all at the expense of their country’s development. Thus, writers became tasked with representing this oppressive and regressive turn of events for several African countries — albeit now independent — through literature. Some of the writers tasked with this work, using prose, poetry and drama, include Wole Soyinka, Ken Saro Wiwa, Remi Raji, Niyi Osundare, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Femi Osofisan, Nadine Gordimer, and Abdulrazak Gurnah. It did not help matters that civil wars and intermittent military takeovers rocked some of these newly independent African countries. There were cases of gross violation of human rights, corruption, and a heart-rending lack of direction. Many of these writers braced incarceration, and some had to relocate to other countries. They were fierce and held the fort to make literature one of the few things the world respected Africa for during the early to mid-post-colonial era.

Africa’s case is so peculiar that the problems of decades ago, which served as the subject of many a literary work, largely remain the problems of the contemporary African continent. Among other things, contemporary African writers are tasked with writing about the issues their literary ancestors and mentors addressed. Much of contemporary African literature still centers on political ills, the underdevelopment of several African countries, and neo-colonialism, and it circles back to the identity of the African person in a dynamic and fiercely conscious world that is more conscious and sensitive than it has ever been.

Contemporary African writers, from Kwame Dawes to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Assia Djebar, and Sello Duiker, among others, write about identity, feminism, and the backward cultural and religious practices that marginalize some African women, especially in Northern Africa. One trend that has stood the test of time among African writers is that they do not stop at writing. They grant interviews, speak at events, and hold discourses all channeled at bringing about some development and improvement to the African continent and the lives of the African people. It was the same with the earliest African writers of the colonial and early post-colonial era, which is how it is with contemporary writers.

Trends In African Literature

Photo: Kwame Dawes

Technology and the digitization of literature is another trend worth noting in the African literature space. This has increased the number of self-published authors, making writing a profession easier to venture into. In a period where writers do not need to depend on publishing houses and elaborate marketing and book promotion strategies, the freedom to express and influence is becoming more accessible. There is also the embalming of literature in the digital footprints of the metaverse using non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The questions for ardent followers, critics, lovers, stakeholders, and enthusiasts of African literature are: What is next for literature in Africa? What needs to be done? How are writers being made? What should be rethought?

On Sunday, August 7, 2022, the Pan-African Writers Association, in collaboration with the Toyin Falola Interviews, will hold a discourse on “Rethinking African Literature.” The goal is to extrapolate issues and arrive at progressive solutions. Join us.
Sunday, August 7, 2022
4:00 PM GMT
5:00 PM Nigeria
11:00AM Austin CST
6:00 PM SAT
7:00 PM EAT

 

Read more authentic news on our social media platforms

Continue Reading

Top Stories

%d bloggers like this: