Information is precious. History is essential and a source of pride. Preserving and disseminating information to educate people is the number one goal of Africa World Books.
It has come to our attention that a few individuals aim to frighten writers. These actions could come from good intentions or bad depending on the motivation of the individual.
I believe that writing is the art of healing, the power of the present day, and a book written today is the path to guide generations to take the next step. As man continues to live, there are many stories, both bad and good.
There are many challenges in South Sudan. Writers who sacrifice treasured time and resources to record memoirs before losing them, contend with negative criticism, and this criticism creates unease among potential authors.
Nothing was written in the 60 years of the war between Sudan and South Sudan because of the liberation struggle and a high degree of illiteracy. Heroes, martyrs, and veterans have come and gone with no written memoirs. They are soon to be forgotten by the next generation because no one talks about their immense contributions. This is very unfortunate. History must take into account everyone’s actions, whether positive or negative. What would be the incentive to contribute if they knew they would not be recognised? They fought for over sixty years with no wages or salaries.
Many vanished after the CPA was signed and we continue to lose many. Valuable knowledge is lost, and the next generations will be left with incomplete or biased information, which could be the cause of another crisis in the future.
To wait until retirement to put pen to paper is not necessarily wise as living in the bush has left many of them with health issues that prevent them from writing.
We should celebrate and encourage freedom of speech and expression. Whether you are actively working or retired, share your memories. Why do people judge books by their covers? Please read the book before perhaps leaping into criticism.
How shall we learn if our history is vanishing? Our president has continued to mourn and receive the bodies of veterans whose immense contributions remain undocumented. Is this to be their legacy?
The challenge for South Sudan is the twofold lack of literacy and democracy.
I am the Commander-in-chief of writers’ forces combating illiteracy across Africa, and without hesitation I urge you to discontinue criticising writers. President Kiir and I are fighting different wars. Choose one or the other, SPLMS or AWB.
Founder/CEO of Africa World Books.