By Godwin Okondo
IN order to promote reading culture among young people and improve literacy in Africa, the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) commemorated World Kids Literature Day 2021, a programme for children on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at its Roman Ridge, Accra, Ghana headquarters. It had dignitaries from around the globe, who read and motivated students to read and enjoined them to form the habit of reading. The programme featured a host of ambassadors from Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, India, including Nigeria’s Deputy High Commissioner to Ghana, Hamza Gambo, and the Acting Deputy Ambassador of U.S. to Ghana, Virginia Elliott as well as the Ghana’s UNESCO representative, and students from various schools were also in attendance among others.
The programme kicked off with a poetry reading session, and students were called upon to recite poetry pieces, followed by the introduction of the dignitaries, who were also invited to read poems to the students.
While addressing the students, Gambo said, “We left our offices to be with you today. Personally, I have a number of meetings scheduled, but I had to cancel and come here, just to inspire you, because of the importance of literacy. Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, just as the chairperson said, Nelson Mandela said the greatest weapon you can have is that of education. You cannot be educated if you don’t dedicate time to read. The world has advanced; we have ICT and social media, and unfortunately, most of our youths devote more time to these. I want to advise you today, as a father, to dedicate more time to reading.
“It is good to use social media, but more of the time spent should be dedicated to our reading. It educates us, shapes our behaviour, sharpens our skills and minds, and it’s also a form of entertainment.”
In a few words of encouragement, Elliot said, “It’s really nice to attend programmes like these. Reading goes a long way; it can inspire you, and you can harness this to create a bright future for yourselves. You can also become a writer yourself, so you can be an inspiration to other children.”
The programme also featured a workshop session and programmes such as ‘Blast a Balloon’ and ‘Read Along’, ‘Read to Play Video Games’, ‘Pick and Read’ and ‘DigiRead Xperience’, among others.