A Personal Overview−Central and East Africa

Wanjala CL;, Wanjala AN. "A Personal Overview−Central and East Africa.". 2005.


Ever since Professor G.D. Killam of the University of Guelph edited The
Writings of East and Central Africa (1984),and the conferences that lead
to the changes in the English syllabi of Secondary Schools, nothing has
brought the writers,booksellers,librarians,literary critics,journalists,and
intellectual property lawyers of the region together more than book fairs
which take place annually in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Nairobi, Kenya.
Names like Ali A. Mazrui, Njabulo Ndebele, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, David
Rubadiri, Charles Mungoshi, Chenjerai Hove, Micere Githae Mugo,
which one sees on book covers suddenly stick into one’s mind as one
meets their owners at either the Zimbabwe or Nairobi International
Book Fairs.
During the years under review (2000–4), Jared Angira, the internationally
known Kenyan poet and chairman of the Kenya Organization
of Writers Association (KOWA) could be seen with Dr. Jack Mapanje,
the famous Malawian linguist and poet, at the international book fair
almost every day. At the meetings of the National Book Development
Council of Kenya,one met the stakeholders in the book production and
book marketing industry meeting under the aegis of the East African
Book Development Association (EABDA),a consortium comprising of
the National Book Development Councils of Kenya, Uganda, and
Tanzania. As constituent bodies,these councils and the organizers of the
book fairs in Nairobi and Harare argue that the challenges facing all the
stakeholders of the books is the fight against the monster of illiteracy. A
nation that has to operate satisfactorily in the twenty-first century has to
be a reading nation. It must celebrate the book.


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