President Akufo-Addo almost moved his audience to tears yesterday when he spoke about the strains that the youth of the African continent sometimes have to go through in life to make ends meet.
“When our young people do not see a future in their countries and cross the Sahara Desert on foot and drown in the Mediterranean Sea in a desperate bid to reach the mirage of a better life in Europe, no amount of beautiful lyrics will change our image,” he noted with concern.
This was when he delivered the keynote address at a colloquium put together by the Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA) as part of events to mark the 24th International African Writers’ Day.
In a speech that evoked emotions, he underscored, “When our economies grow and improve, our young people get educated and are self-confident and full of hope, the world finds its way to our doors and the language and history of our countries become attractive to our own and foreign universities. When the African economies improve and there is increasing prosperity, we will find that more and more people will care about the environment and the arts and indeed the sciences will thrive.”
President Akufo-Addo charged members of the PAWA to “tell the African story truthfully and with flair; give praise where it is being earned and criticism where it is deserved.”
His basis was, “When the integrity of the writer is compromised, the library is well and truly burnt.”
President Akufo-Addo has therefore made a clarion call to all and sundry to keep alive the libraries in their communities, saying, “Our generation has a special responsibility to be the harbingers of the new African civilization, founded on the values of liberty, common humanity and solidarity, which will lift the long-suffering African masses out of poverty into prosperity; an African which no longer depends on charity, aid and handouts; an Africa which mobilises Africa’s own immeasurable resources to address Africa’s problems; an Africa that has the capacity to deal with other continents on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”
The president noted, “It is sad to boast about a rich past, if poverty defines your contemporary reality,” insisting that “If Africa is to gain respect and be accorded its rightful place in the world, we have to shed the cloak of poverty that currently defines us.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent