President ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEH being decorated by John Rusimbi, President of PAWA in the presence of PAWA Secretary General Dr.

Under the theme ‘African Literature in the New Normal: Technology and Creative Writing’, the 2022 International African Writers’ Day kicked off today in Djibouti, the eponymous capital of Djibouti.

During the conference, the President of Djibouti ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEH was awarded the medal of Grand Patron of African Literature from Nov. 2022-Nov. 2023.

He was decorated by John Rusimbi, President of Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) in the presence of PAWA Secretary General Dr. Wale Okedran.

African Literature in the New Normal

African Literature in the New Normal adapts to historical challenges of writing and publishing the African story, according to PAWA President John Rusimbi.

In his opening remarks, Mr Rusimbi said that from Print to Digital Publishing, African literature was explored exclusively by western elites and scholars until 1962 when Pan-African writers met at Makerere University to change the course of history.

“Since then many more writers in different genres emerged in all the African countries and publishing houses were also set up to meet the challenge,” he added.

Sponsored by the Government of Djibouti, the on-going International African Writer’s Day is a mark of development in bringing African writers together to deliver presentations and discuss the state of authorship in Africa, challenges and of course possible solutions to advance the course of writers and promote literacy for national development.

Mr Rusimbi noted that the Digital Divide also emphasized more of e-book publishing and marketing in Western countries and less in Africa.

Nonetheless, Africa as a new market attracted investment in digital technology and publishing of the African story in the continent.

The global pandemic of COVID-19 crisis in 2020 with its stringent measures including lockdowns left Africa with no other choice but to rely on technology and the internet for communication and doing business.

According to Rusimbi, “it has become the new normal for creative writing too. Many books are written and published digitally as e-books, marketed and purchased online.”

He further added that “the obvious advantage in electronic books is that they reach a bigger world market for the promotion of the author and the publisher.”

“Today it is easy to search website engines online and get to know African authors and publishers that have walked the journey. Pan African Writers Association has been organizing more zoom meetings than physical meetings since the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

However, the journey to digital publishing is not easy with poor internet network and lack of sufficient electricity supply and electronic equipment in most communities.

Rusimbi said there are still a few publishing companies with insufficient capacity to harness book value chain players for quality production and marketing of African books.

The international African Writers’ day conference in Djibouti is a demonstration of the political will by your Excellency to support African writers in search for durable solutions to improve quality of books that tell African stories through creative writing and digital technology.

John Rusimbi is a Rwandan national, internationally acclaimed for his novels that are sold on Amazon including ‘By the Time she Returned’ and ‘The Hyena’s Wedding’ on refugees and the Genocide against the Tutsi, respectively.

Towards the end of June 2022, he elected to head the Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) in a ceremony held at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.

Those who voted for him stressed that they recognize his skills and the fact that he will use his international experience for the betterment of the book industry in Rwanda.

Read also: Rusimbi John elected President of Rwanda Book Industry Federation