Nana Konadu Urges Authors To Be Guided By Social Responsibility

8 05 2011

Nana Konadu addressing the book launchFormer First Lady and President of the 31st December Women’s Movement, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings says Ghanaian authors should always be guided by social responsibility in books they publish.

 

She also called on authors to expose socio-cultural issues that affect the development of our communities.

Speaking at the launch of two books, “Tongue of Promise” and “Shadow of Shame” by the Akwaboahene of Akropong Akuapem, Nana Otua Owusuaa I, in Accra on Saturday, Nana Konadu said writers should endeavour to set a positive agenda for the youth with their works.

The two books tackle the issue of arranged marriage and teenage pregnancy respectively and Nana Konadu said: “Due to my extensive work on women’s empowerment, I know that the problem of arranged marriage still persists in certain communities within Ghana, despite the law we fought hard to get passed in Parliament preventing the marriage of a girl under 18.

Nana Otua Owusuaa explaining what motivated her to write the two novels

Nana Otua Owusuaa explaining what motivated her to write the two novels

“But until the media picked up on a high profile case of a rich Nigerian attempting to marry a teenage girl recently, many in our society thought this was a matter of the past.

“Teenage pregnancy has received a lot of attention over the past two decades, but unfortunately we are saddled with a certain level of moral depravation that requires a different form of educational campaign.”

Nana Otua Owusuaa said she was motivated by the plight of young women who face human rights abuses of varied forms and hoped the books will go a long way to expose the harm many of these young people endure.

Below is the full text of Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings’ address.

ADDRESS BY NANA KONADU AGYEMAN-RAWLINGS ON THE TOPIC “THE AFRICAN WOMAN WRITER AND THE CHALLENGES OF GENDER” AT THE LAUNCH OF TWO BOOKS BY NANA OTUA OWUSUAA, AKWABOAHENE OF AKROPONG AKUAPEM – SATURDAY, MAY 7, 2011

Mr Chairman, Nana Otua Owusuaa I, Akwaboahene of Akropong Akwapim, members of the media, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I am honoured to join you to launch two new books by Nana Otua Owusuaa titled

“Tongue of Promise” and “Shadow of Shame”.

Nana’s books touch on the subjects of arranged marriage and teenage pregnancy, which are issues of great concern in Ghana.

I will be speaking on the topic, “The African Woman Writer and the Challenges of Gender.”

Authors are by definition supposed to put out reading material that serves as sources of learning, entertainment, history and culture. Most writers choose at least one of these categories, a combination or even all of them.

It is important, however, that whatever style a writer chooses to apply, a conscious effort is made to adapt societal issues as a way of setting a positive agenda for our youth who are mostly the target group of these books.

So whether it is a fictional story or based on facts, it is imperative that deep research is undertaken to ensure that the end material is very resourceful, topical, culturally relevant and in these days of indiscipline, morally insightful.

The issues of gender awareness, equality between the sexes and women advocacy aresurely important issues that should come up for consideration.

However, tackling such topics can be tricky because there is always the fear that they are targeted towards women and thus men may shy away from them.

In our society where the sale of locally authored books is so low the temptation is to author mundane fictional topics that mainly entertain and do little to educate. Authors however have a social responsibility that transcends economic gain and credit has to go to Nana Otua Owusuaa for touching on pertinent issues like arranged marriage in “Tongue of Promise” and teenage pregnancy in “Shadow of Shame.”

Chairman David Dontoh welcomes the audience while Nana Konadu and Nana Otua look on

Chairman David Dontoh welcomes the audience while Nana Konadu and Nana Otua look on

Due to my extensive work on women’s empowerment, I know that the problem of arranged marriage still persists in certain communities within Ghana, despite the law we fought hard to get passed in Parliament preventing the marriage of a girl under 18.

But until the media picked up on a high profile case of a rich Nigerian attempting to marry a teenage girl recently, many in our society thought this was a matter of the past.

Teenage pregnancy has received a lot of attention over the past two decades, but unfortunately we are saddled with a certain level of moral depravation that requires a different form of educational campaign.

The recent report of 17 pregnant girls being sacked from Aduman Senior High School further highlights the problem.

It is also important that parents do not hide behind the pressures of work to shirk their responsibility of being the most important teacher and example of morality to their children.

Our writers face a major problem of marketing their books because our local publishers fail to adopt innovative concepts to market books and are wooed by the Westernisation of our society to pursue books with more Western concepts.

Publishers have a responsibility to boost the local book industry by using the media to sensitise our society on the deeper values of books such as those being launched today.

I know the educational authorities have a policy of adopting books with moral values and by so doing create a market for authors, but a lot more needs to be done in terms of widening the scope so a lot more authors can fall into that net.

It is also important that such authors are supported to obtain resources from financial and other donor organisations to produce their books.

Nana, I take this opportunity to congratulate you for your campaign to author books that expose the challenges of our youth and I hope that you will continue to be guided by the quest to contribute to education and a positive change to the socio-cultural problems still engulfing many of our communities.

Thank you.

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