President Tasks Africans To Tell Their Own Stories
President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday appealed to the Institute of African Studies and other African organisations to tell positive stories about the continent in order to help erase negative impressions.
He said if Africans allowed others to tell their stories, the media landscape would be inundated with stories of political strife, hunger, civil wars, oppression and dictatorship, disease and deprivation on the continent.
President Mahama said this when he opened the 50th Anniversary celebration of the International Conference on African Studies on the theme:”Re-visiting the First International Congress of Africanists in a Globalized World”
The programme attracted people from the academia, Africans in the diaspora, members of the Diplomatic Corps and Professor Ngugi Wa Th’ongo, a prolific Kenyan writer and academician.
The celebration, which also coincides with the 65th Anniversary of the University of Ghana, would among other activities, hold lectures on African Culture and its relevance in the socio-economic development of Ghana and the African continent as a whole.
An exhibition would be mounted on African fashion, a session for students of Senior High Schools on African Heritage and Renaissance and the formation of an Association of African Studies.
President Mahama said it was gratifying that Africa was now playing positive roles in the areas of democracy, sports, economic development, literature and literary works and therefore tasked Africans to take advantage of these performances and advertise the good side of the continent.
He said it was regrettable that Africans had, over the years, left the destiny of the continent into the hands of others for them to expose only the negatives side.
President Mahama said it was imperative therefore for Africanists to step up their activities to rebrand the socio-cultural activities of the continent to create indelible marks on the minds of other continents.
President Mahama also appealed to the continent to continue to highlight the good and interesting traditions that have held the continent together for others to emulate
“Africa believes in utility, Africa believes in continuity, and that is why we need to let others know much about our culture, our upbringings and the values that have placed us in a good position on the international world,” the President said.
Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Director of the Institute of the African Studies, said late President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s mission for establishing the Institute was still relevant and should therefore be adhered to in order to achieve the objectives and goals of the African Renaissance.
She said the institute was engaged in two projects, namely; the biographical research on the lives of important contributors to Ghana’s social and political life and though and a survey of Ghanaian Tales and storytelling traditions.
The Director said:”The educated man should be so sensitive to the conditions around him and he makes it his ‘chief’ endeavour to improve those conditions for the good of all”
She pledged to re-invigorate the academic activities on African Studies to make it more relevant for both Africans and non-Africans beyond the confines of the continent.