Entertainment of Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Source: GNA

Conference of African Literature Association opens

Accra, May 17, GNA - Professor Adzei Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State on Wednesday said without a philosophy that could provide a sound grounding and a vision for Africa, the continent was likely fall into two traps.
These included being torn apart by following agendas they did not possibly own because they did not initiate them and therefore benefit very little from and secondly would also be unable to create relevant institutions accountable to the people.
Prof Bekoe said this when he opened the 32nd Annual Meeting and Conference of the African Literature Association (ALA) in Accra, under the theme: "Pan-Africanism in the 21st Century: Generations in Creative Dialogue".
Prof Bekoe said in the absence of opportunities to create relevant institutions accountable to Africans, there was the need to recognise and examine through the Pan-African prism, the current efforts being made to create a unity of purpose and action on the Continent.
The four-day conference is co-hosted by the New York University's Institute of African-American Affairs and the University of Ghana=92s COSDRESIA African Humanities Institute Programme; Departments of English and Modern Languages; Institute of African Studies and School of Performing Arts together with W.E.B. duBois Memorial Centre.
It brought together scholars, writers, dramatists, film makers from African countries and the Diaspora to discuss topics such as =93Representing Africa in the 21st Century, Envisioning an African Future in Film, Literature and Music Theatre and Dance.
He said the theme for the conference should remind Ghanaians, as the country celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence to recollect the inspiration that its independence gave to the African race, saying that Ghana came into being with the filled spirit of an African people that had endured calamity.
=93He said as we celebrate the anniversary , the country should also review how we have faired 50 years after our leadership at the fore front of the struggle for independence, to fight the cause of African where ever they may find themselves.=94
Prof Bekoe stated that there was no question that arts played a role in development, because arts were integrated into the lives of the people, and should be used in any attempt to address perennial challenges of the Continent.
=93We expect that as many writers have done, some of you may take advantage of the favourable environment to show policy makers, technocrats and activists how to interpret in our current circumstances the profound role that literature and the arts played in the lives of Africans and indeed many societies for so long=94, he said.
The Council of State Chairman said as the 21st century stretched; there was the need for policy measures that would bring the body of philosophical and literary thought to the attention of its people, in order to engage the African generation in a truly empowering dialogue.
Professor Manthia Diawara, Lecturer of Comparative Literature, New York University, said the meeting would provide the platform for players in literary arts to discuss and review their performance and an opportunity for young writers to introduce and market themselves to the international community.
He said the conference had received greater participation because it was hosted in Ghana and expressed the hope that the conference would encourage members to join the country to celebrate its anniversary. Professor Clifford Tagoe, Incoming Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, who chaired the opening, announced that the University in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property would establish an office in Ghana to protect literary works.
He said the University had also set up a Planning Committee to examine the role it could play in the country's independence anniversary celebration and invited all participants to come back and join the celebration.