May 25, 2024
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Fanning the spirit, ideology of Sankara’s pan-Africanism to 11 African countries

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  • May 2, 2024
  • 4 min read
Fanning the spirit, ideology of Sankara’s pan-Africanism to 11 African countries

ReadingRide 2024: Fostering Patriotic African Spirit via Literary Connections

By Editor

WHEN last year the former Head of Information and Library services at Goethe Institut Mr. Georges Gambadatoun embarked on his novel trip on a motorbike with sackloads of books just to spread the gospel of books and reading among West African people, old and young, many probably scoffed at the quaint idea. But it turned out quite a remarkable journey of books and fun-reading in what was dubbed ‘ReadingRide: A Transformative Road Trip from Lagos to Liberia!’ Gambadatoun would later leave Goethe Institut to pursue his dream of biking across West African countries just to read and donate books to the people. He will be joined along the way by whoever is willing in this adventurous literary journey with his team of reading-riders. He’s hoping fellow book adventurers will swell his ranks along the route in a transformative manner to cause a reading revolution in Africa.

The second edition of ReadingRide has ‘Fostering Patriotic African Spirit via Literary Connections’.

Since he rode, read and donated books along the way in some five countries, Gambadatoun has expanded his ReadingRide message and has infused it with a revolutionary fervour to capture the spirit of renewed pan-Africanism after the revolutionary fervour of Thomas Sankaro that is sweeping through three African countries – Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso – in upturning their political status quo to rid them of foreign domination. It was this quintessential Sankari ideology of overthrowing European subjugation of Africa that led to Sankara’s untimely death – that quest to free Africa from the yoke of Western domination. Gambadatoun and his team will ride, read and donate books on that Sankaraist ideology of remaining true to that which is deeply African.

The official launch of ReadingRide 2024 will take place on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at Didi Museum, Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos by the stage reading of Jude Idada’s play titled Sankara dubbed ‘The official Flag-off of the Multi-Country Pan-Africanism Bicycle Ride’, just as the public is being invited to ‘immerse yourself in a captivating stage reading of the play Sankara; come and share this unique literary experience with us. Time is 4:00pm.’

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Georges Gambadatoun reading to a captivated children and adult audience during his first ReadingRide trip last year

A statement from the organisers say, “The stage reading will feature only one play, Sankara. Currently, the spirit of Sankara, his ideology is alive again more than it has ever been after his death. We have Ibrahim Traore of Burkina Faso who is ‘the new Sankara’, Sonko, the current Prime Minister of Senegal, is also a Sankaraist and Kemi Seba, famous across Francophone Africa and in France, is a Sankaraist for his activism. All these young leaders have contributed to creating a new era for pan-Africanism. By staging this play in 11 African countries, we will fuel the debate, nourish the youth with pan-Africanism ideology…

“ReadingRide is a unique cross-countries bicycle travel initiative by Georges Gambadotoun designed to promote and foster a robust reading culture to embolden the patriotic African spirit across West Africa. The primary objective of the 2024 edition is to engage diverse communities in literary conversations, promote local and international literature, and create a platform for cultural exchange through the love of reading.

“This second edition of the ReadingRide will feature a stage reading of Sankara by Jude Idada. The play will be performed in some places and read in others. Every session will be followed by a panel discussion. A focal point of this trip is the advocacy for the establishment of a Library of the African Patriot, which is hoped to be established in Burkina Faso which will be the last stop on this trip. The ReadingRide welcomes ground-station volunteers in the countries and interested cyclists who want to embark on the ReadingRide cross-country trips (including short trips within countries).

“Countries to be covered include Nigeria, Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, The Gambia and Senegal. In Burkina Faso, we plan to have a proper theatre performance. Activities during the trip include keynote speeches in every capital visited, advocate and mobilize books and donations for the Sankara Cultural Centre in Burkina Faso.”

To achieve their ambitious and arduous ReadingRide task in the 11 countries, the tourist-cum-readers have pleaded for assistance in various ways from booklovers and cultural enthusiasts alike in the form of financial support, sundry provisions like food, first aid, protective clothing, accommodation, helping with flyers, banners, stickers, etc. They can be reached on social media platforms @ReadingRideAfrica.

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