‘Pen is mightier than the sword’
For far too long, people of African descent have allowed others to tell our stories and decide on our worldview.
Back in the early 1900s Marcus Garvey knew that intelligence ruled the world and ignorance carried the burden. He believed that Black people would be eternally, abused, mistreated and taken advantage of if they did not acquire education and understood that Black people were starting with the handicap of slavery, with over 400 years of not being allowed to read and write. He believed that despite 400/500 years of mental and physical oppression, Black people should learn with urgency.
This need for a literate population is obvious, as is the need for our communities to tell our stories. We have a voice, we have imagination, we all have a story to tell. Yes I said all of us. It is time that we document our own ‘World View’ in books.
We have a rich legacy of writing and publishing our work - before transatlantic enslavement and colonisation of Africa, our ancestors invented paper from papyrus and inks from plants. Our published works go back thousands upon thousands of years, and can be found in great temples and pyramids in Egypt and in universities in Timbuktu. Thousands of years later when people of African descent were enslaved, and caught trying to learn to read or write they would be punished by the chopping off of a limb or worse death. Many of the enslaved soon learnt that the ‘Pen Was Mightier Than The Sword’. After all it was the pen that wrote the laws that made slavery legal. So being competent in letters they could challenge and re-write the laws that bound them. They sacrificed their lives to read and write, so I believe when we read and write we are paying respect to those who gave so much so that we could be here today and also to our ancient ancestors who thousands of years earlier left their mark on the great pyramids, temples and universities to let us know they were here first, they did it first and their descendants can do it again.
So whether it is an autobiography, biography, novel, How to do book or children’s story we must take up the pen and write now.
For more information on how to develop your skills as a writer, BIS Publications are organising a 1 Day Intensive Self-Publishing Course for African / African Caribbean Writers who want to self publish successfully. Please click here for more details.
Cindy Soso, BIS publications
(Please note that this is not an OBV event and OBV are not linked in any way to this event or to BIS publications).