The art of writing and the pursuit of survival across Africa in the 21st century

November 30, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Ogunniyi Abayomi

The struggle to find our feet in society against the unruly demeanor of individuals occupying certain positions unopposed has been a subject and theme of discourse among writers in Africa.

The challenges we encounter across the sphere of society clearly exhibit the strains and discordant atmosphere that eludes our stories  and resonates the voice of African Literature, born out of the pressure of dwelling in a timid environment.

African voices in the literary landscape built a platform for generations to uphold towards talents that are discovered and nurtured under the wings and guidance of editors and publishers, whose responsibility is to ensure they soar higher and edify the beauty of African literature that it may compete with the standard of literature globally.

The development of writing as a tool for sustainability on the African continent has been declining, the situation raising a question of doubt over the survival and requirement of writers to meet up with their needs against the rigours that encapsulate society. The poor patronage of audiences who are not concerned with books contributes negatively to the declination in the art of writing across the continent, the focus delusive among our writers and we consequently lose our best hands to soar in the western world.

Could it be the subject or the structure? Our education sector should also be concerned when there are students and young adults, neither who are interested to read. The poor state of educational pursuits and the desire to download music rather than literary books and academic materials and among youths cannot be overlooked when we consider the reason behind the declination.

Various writers and literary critics have questioned the state of society aside from the declining culture of reading. The poor state of infrastructure and low supply of electricity were basic threats to the development of the art that has produced the late Professor Chinua Achebe, Professor Wole Soyinka, Professor Niyi Osundare, Ahmed Yerima, Chimamanda Adichie and a host of writers who have contributed to the development of literature outside African society.

The story remains the same when instability turns our best hands away from us, it should never be the same scenario encountered. We need visionaries like Ulli Beier who garnered various talents in respect of Professor Wole Soyinka, the late Professor Chinua Achebe, the late Christopher Okigbo, Mabel Segun, John Pepper Clark Bekederemo, Ezekiel Mphele, Duro Ladipo  and the host of literary giants, building a platform of the Mbari Literary group to harness their talent and soar.

If amenities are in place and our environment is conducive, the publishing industry would thrive and editors would be readily available if our culture of reading is enacted.

Our education sector needs to improve so writers can educate the masses.











Ogunniyi Abayomi

Ogunniyi Abayomi was born July 11, 1991 in the city of Lagos, where he resides. A poet and essayist whose works have been published in various journals.


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