Writing is a powerful way to express the mind. It is a potent instrument of thought. Interesting to note in this context, a majority of people consider writing is an act of the hands. In fact, it is our mind that actually enables us to compose or write. Through the act of writing one reiterates one’s ideas to one’s audience. It proves to be an effective tool to initiate and engage members of the public in civic discourse. It is also helpful in developing social networks. Writing also helps people to reflect on their experiences, supporting both personal and spiritual growth. Aesthetic joy and satisfaction that writing provides cannot be denied at any cost. The effort that goes in writing helps to bond with strangers and cement human relationships.
Education proves to be helpful for the society in ways more than one. It not only drives the curse of illiteracy away but also contributes to the foundation of an enlightened society based on knowledge and skill. Only an educated society is capable to appreciate the aesthetic contributions that writers make to the mankind. The continent of Africa has a lengthy and impressive literary history. Unfortunately, the continent is more popular because of its unbelievable wilderness and primitive way of life. Only a handful of folks actually care about the rich literary heritage that the region possesses.
Literature has existed in Africa since the historic times – though, in oral form. Oral literature in Africa dates back to hundreds of years and existed in form of myths, epics, proverbs, dirges and poems. Perhaps, because of the high illiteracy rate existing in the society, oral literature could not flourish itself into any written form before the Celtic and Germanic languages reached the coasts of Ethiopia. Then again, waves of Islamic conquest reached the continent sometime in the 7th century. During this phase, African literature was severely dominated by Arabian languages and literature.
However, modern African writers and poets started claiming the limelight only in the recent times. Colonialism and missionary activities carried throughout the length and breadth of the continent during the eighteenth and the nineteenth exposed the people of Africa to modern European languages, mostly English, French and German. The twentieth century saw emergence of a series of African nations from the shackles of colonialism. It was during this time, a number of gifted and powerful African authors and poets started becoming the cynosure on the world literary stage.
The Association of Nigerian authors (ANA) was established in 1981 with the objective of promoting and preserving the literary heritage of Nigeria as well as that of entire African continent. Since its inception, the ANA has contributed heavily in exposing African literary heritage to the global community. The contemporary genre of African poets and authors is more committed towards depicting the socioeconomic conditions of the society they live in. In fact, the talented fraternity shoulders the dual role of dedicated political activists and sensitive literary geniuses. These talented souls have an ever expanding reader base covering all corners of the world. These folks are showcasing a different Africa, which the larger world is certainly not accustomed with.