Current situation for writing and publishing Creative writing for children in Africa


Current situation for writing and publishing Creative writing for children in Africa
Foto : Pixabay

Africa is characterized by scarcity books, especially illustrated story books for young people who reflect the African environment in context and textual illustrations. Enemy issues with the rapid growth in writing and publishing for children in Africa include the following:

  • Most reading material for African children is a textbook rather than a book for fun and pleasure.
  • Most children's books are still being imported. Such works are mostly insensitive to local culture and do not reflect the social reality of African children and their aspirations.
  • There are not enough Afrikaans children's books available.
  •  If available, the illustrations in them are also good
  1. Poor quality
  2. Not in full color
  3. Do not have a beautiful fabric jacket.
  •  And if they are colorful and of good quality, they are too expensive or a little elitistic and far out of reach of most African children, especially in rural areas.
  • The most serious African writers do not bother children to write because they do not get the same status as writing for adults.


Africa has little concern about written literature. Even Nigeria, which is rich in writers awarding awards, is characterized by the neglect of its writers. Writers are rarely respected. As a soccer player. There is hardly any basis for improving the creativity of African writers. Literature prices are also not widely available. The book development board does not seem to exist or collapse except in Ghana. In Sierra Leone and Gambia, his absence is still criticized. Whereas in Nigeria where someone formed is the development of indigenous book publishing,It had almost no impact until it was incorporated by the Nigerian Council for Education Research and Development. In Africa, adults rarely read children's books - even parents. Compared with more than 2000 titles published annually for children in the UK, output in Nigeria is barely up to 60
.
Apart from more than 100 publishers in Nigeria, the situation remains critical for children's literature. This was mainly due to the orientation of their textbooks which made them unwilling to rely on the prison school market. It has been shown that only Afrikaans children have access to more books they will read outside of the classroom. An illustration of this can be seen from the 1985 Ife Book Exhibition in which the Nigerian Children's Literature Society (CLAN) held a special exhibition of books.

Visitors standing are fascinated by the colorful poster depictions of popular confidence that decorate the walls, the top and the back of the shelves. Some even want to make illustrated posters made by highly talented female artists from Nigerian television governments.
The festive air decorated with balloons, decorated with colorful posters, many children. There was an incredible face of three children of different ages who read a picture book at the same time, and is very fascinated by this photo book entitled Without Bread for Eze by Ifeoma Okoye and published by the Fourth Dimension in Enugu.

 It is a picture book where stories and illustrations are ideally integrated. It's about the Eze boy who loves bread and can not eat enough. He always wants bread. So his parents who were annoyed ate him nothing but bread. Eze was initially very happy. There is no pressure on him to eat nutritious food. But soon he was tired of eating bread all the time and begining his parents to give him other kinds of food. But they did not want to give up. So Eze gets tired of bread and stops eating.

He became hungry and weak and could not even play football with his friends. In the end, she bore parents and Eze started enjoying a balanced diet knowing that boys would not live alone with bread alone. It emphasizes the importance of illustrations in children's books, because the children are not only fascinated by Eze's story, but also by imaginative and sometimes funny images.

 If children want to get used to reading, they need to get interesting books that also mean that picture books are good. Even two-year-olds can enjoy picture books. Picture books can indeed be a bit expensive if one urges to print in four very ideal colors, as can be seen in the extravagant folklore specifically written for children by Chinua Achebe. But even lines and wax photographs can be so well drawn that they can also be charming.

Half-tone illustrations such as in Adagbonyin The Singing As (1981) can also be effective due to the extraordinary architecture. Even children's books with one color can infect young readers as in the case (1983) by Sandra Slater, illustrated by A.L. Satti.

Other good picture books include colorful Amina the Milkmaid (1988) by Fatima Pam illustrated by K. Ofori Pam, a Ghanaian, The First Coin (1989) by Mabel Segun .The same artist and the leopard's cloak (1982) by Chinua Achebe and John Iroaganachi. It has two illustrated versions in full color by Adrienne Kennaway

Although Nigeria has some good illustrators, most good illustrations are done by foreigners. It appears that many Nigerian illustrators can not draw children's faces and experience problems with the interpretation of texts. To correct this defect, CLAN has done two illustrative training workshops with UNESCO funding and published a book on Illustrating For Children (1988), published by Mabel Segun.

But this problem can only be solved permanently by combining text and illustrations, the best achievement achieved by writer illustrators. The cost of publishing in full color can even be reduced by publishing, and some publishers work together to improve printing and reduce unit costs. Sometimes a book of text is published in different languages ​​with the same color illustrations. In Nairobi, five publishers in Africa, including Nigeria Daystar Press, gathered in 1983 under the auspices of the World Association for Christian Communities (WACC) and jointly published a number of children's books in full color under DUCCA print.

The scarcity of good child writers also became militant against the publication of children's literature in Africa. Because it is written for children is much more difficult than writing for adults because not many adults can enter the world of children and communicate with them with understanding and lack of condescension while adapting the content and language of their writing to children's age, experience and background. behind ... A good writer for children must understand the child's psychology for the story so it's not wrong. 

Children's literature that wakes both children's imagination and expanding their horizons gives them knowledge of the past in relation to the present and establishes the ideals and values ​​needed for national development. Work ethic. unselfishness, loving relationships, acceptance of responsibility is one of the values ​​that can be taught in such a way, not in a didactic way, but with subtlety so that children can be mobilized in the direction of national and international development. Children's literature is good at developing children's creativity and creativity, without people being able to move towards the technological era
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Good literature can also provide the personal identity of children on the continent who experienced cultural imperialism through massive literary input. Achebe does it through well-written folk stories such as The Flute, The Drum, and earlier. How his Leopard Claws was written with John Iroaganachi and published in 1972 by the Nwamife Publisher. The latter is one of the first childrens stories published in Nigeria and remains one of the best and most successful with the East African Publishing House. Chinua Achebe said, "Is one of the best things I've ever done." Mabel Segun does this through character development books such as Olu and Broken Statue (1985).

In neighboring Ghana there are many other issues, including the country's balance of payments problems that caused a substantial supply of essential commodities and inventories
spare parts to repair damaged prints. Among the Ghana Publishing Corporation, a large number of published children's books, one of the earliest and most interesting, the Mesheck Asare picture book, Tawia Goes to Sea, was published in 1970. 

It is probably the first Afrikaans children's book to be published to gain global recognition and it was also the first book of African publishers to be translated into Japanese. Better yet, the good news is that the Ghana children's book is the winner of the 1982 Noma Award. This price of 243,000 was given to Mesheck Asare for his interesting Brass Story Secret Photo Book published by Kumasi's Educational Press and Manufacturers United in 1981. 

Para the jury in its choice was impressed by the interesting and unusual children's stories portrayed beautifully and imaginatively. by the author, himself an artist, to bring out important aspects of his Asante culture. They also thought it was extraordinary that such a high-quality book produced under such difficult circumstances generally occurs in Ghana. Just like Achebe, the thoughts of African children rehabilitated literature to reveal its cultural heritage through all these fantasies and the adventurous books Chipo and Bird on the Hill and new Sosu calls.

Other G.P.C. The item The Mercy Owusu-Nimoh The Walking Calabash, published in 1977, was chosen for the Honorable mention at the first Noma Award for Publishing in African Competition.
Despite many problems, Ghana managed to maintain a viable and viable domestic book industry. Companies such as Afram Publications, Adwinsa Publishers and Wielerville Publishing Houses are among those who include a list of children's books.

In East Africa, most of the children's children's output comes from Kenya. The East African Publishing House in Nairobi in particular has illustrated a long list of picture books in full color, as well as readers, and traditional stories and folk stories. Especially interesting is their series called 'Lioncubs'. Charity Waciuma, Pamela Kola, Asenath Odaga and Cynthia Hunter are one of the most productive writers on the EAPH list. Another productive author of children is Barbara Kimenye who publishes with the East African branch of Oxford University Press, some of Martha telling the Millipede of Martha's story who is tired of foot pain and decides to have time to take her shoes get.

The Kenya Literature Bureau has taken over from the East African Literature Bureau, which includes various children's books, including Ray Prather A for Africa. The Color Book for Africa, which contains forty full pages depicting different people in Africa, with small maps. indicate their geographical location.

Kenyan headwriter Ngugi Wa'Thiongo wrote his Nigerian counterpart, Achebe, and published his first children's books, but unlike Achebe in his original Gikuyu language, but later transformed as Great Hero and Aircraft.

In South Africa, Zimbabwe Publishing House has built the impressive collection. A government supported by private commercial enterprises publishes books on education, politics, creative literature and writing, Zimbabwe's history, but with books for prominent children. It sponsors a wonderful magazine for children's ANTS started by a Zimbabwean children's panel, but what I regret learned has ceased to publish for more than 15 years.

Other publishers serving children here are Mamba Press and the Zimbabwe Literature Bureau. The latter has different material in Shona and Ndebele, which consists of novels, poems, short story books, children's works and literacy development material.

In Malawi another company that actively developed children's books in native languages ​​published popular publications in Limbe.
In Lesotho, church-sponsored Mazodod book centers also have a large list of books for children in African languages,
In Zambia and Tanzania, some children's materials came from the National Educational Company of Zambia and the Tanzania publishing house.

In South Africa, the small local market was not initially possible to publish local children's books in English. English children's books written in South African or South African backgrounds are usually published in England. Jock van de Bosveld (1907) written by Sir Percy Fitz Patrick, regarded as the first South African children's book in England. It was published in South Africa in the second half of the twentieth century. It was only in the 1970s that local publishers realized the needs of native children's books in English and began to exploit the market.

This change was performed once by the author of the Polish Marguerite with Mantis and the Moon published in 1979. The increase in prices of imported children's books made domestic material publications more competitive. Political changes during the 1980s led to an increase in the quality of education of African children and the decision that they could receive money in English.

 It creates a huge potential market for British children's books where several publishers specialize. In the late 1980's, British children's books went out to address political and socio-economic conditions in the country. English children's books are more explicit in terms of apartheid criticism. with authors such as Lesley Beake, Dianne Case and Lawrence Bransby in charge.

Due to small local markets, some original bookmate published full color illustrations. Collaboration with foreign publishers and simultaneous publications in different native languages ​​is often the only way to publish a publication. In addition,concentrate children's book publishers on the publication of series, beginner and second-rate readers.

Changes in government in the country and an increase in African language to official status, which is expected to lead to the development of children's literature in African languages, but for some reason it has not yet happened. The rise of African consciousness and nationalism in the struggle against apartheid has led to the identification of English as a language of education and freedom.

For many African children, they prefer to read in English, and many African writers prefer to write in this language. Also, just a small minority of African children who read for relaxation. But some publishers try to publish high-quality children's books in African languages, but as a result of a lack of native writers, most books are translations of English or African.

It shows the problem of language as another factor that impedes the development of children's literature in Africa. Language problems caused by writers forced to write in foreign languages ​​that they did not really master, gave rise to the problem of writers who were trained in their mother tongue to write. But then it creates another problem because some authors of books written in African languages ​​can not distinguish between concepts for adults and concepts beyond children's experiences. Similarly, they use adult language that is not appropriate.

There is also unbalanced attention at different ages in childhood. For more books are written for middle age (8-12) while many young children are still largely neglected. There are very few books written for teenagers. One of them is Tolulope Angi Ossai (1979). Another is Joining Love by Joy Ikede. The Kenyan Asenath Odaga's work Ambisie Jande is about career choices that should be a major concern at that age. The Macmillan Pacesetter series is also attractive to young adults, but their work is said to have different characteristics, with crime, spying and entangled love.

In addition, there is no children's magazine in most of Africa. In Sierra Leone, the efforts of Sierra Leonean writer and illustrators to establish it did not survive the second edition. But the valuable role they can play in adapting reading habits to children due to various subjects, presentations and the fact that children like to read what their colleagues wrote, thus developing the same creative impulses.

Most Afrikaners are not books because there are several bookstores when Afrikaans children can buy books. Not only access to the library, especially in rural areas, it is easy. School libraries are a phenomenon of the distant past. Where public libraries are still available and functional, some of their children are not well organized, poor furniture, poor ventilation, poor equipment, poor staff and poor maintenance. Therefore, there is a clear need for a complete refurbishment of library services in Africa. And there must be an attempt to provide public services of central importance to local government, giving each community the opportunity to access the book. Likewise, every school must have a well-equipped and well-equipped libraryhave.

Book distribution is another difficult area. It is usually left to private companies, although some governments buy large amounts of textbooks distributed to schools. Ledger stores are best dealt with by private entrepreneurs who are trained in discipline. But the biggest problem that obstructs is that book distributors restrict themselves to the use of dissemination methods that are more suitable for countries with high literacy levels where larger citizens are converted into books. In Africa, publishers and book distributors can not wait for buyers to come to them. They must bring their products to people wherever they are. In Tanzania, therefore, publishers who bring books actively to the local market. There are buyers who mix with books and enjoy conversations with publishers on all aspects of the book. Massive sales at this exhibition demonstrated the usefulness of these innovative activities. This kind of promotion will undoubtedly make adults aware of the need for literature.

Attempts to promote and sell books in the West can be expanded by adjusting, if necessary, for intra-African book distribution, so printing will take longer to pay for the expensive cost of books. Why can children in Nairobi not read literature published by indigenous publishers in Nigeria? Many are lost by the compartmentalisation of Afrikaans children's literature. In 1976, an attempt to sell African books from all parts of the mainland at the Pan-Second African Trade Fair in Algiers collapsed when 4 000 such books had to be returned because Algeria's government imposed tax on a 120% tax has made them too expensive. Such tariffs must be removed with improved communication and transport systems to facilitate the movement of trans-African books.

But the situation is ready for major changes with interventions from a variety of agencies and institutions to complement the efforts of others such as UNESCO who worked well in the field. There is an extensive network of organizations aimed at supporting growth in Africa. One of them is the existing APNET network to help book publishing by Africans in Africa. APNET has worked closely with the Education Development Association in Africa (ADEA) and has been supported by Bellagio. The Bellagio Donor Group has investigated several ways to increase support for a number of cultural industries. It is expected that it will eventually include African books for African children, because politicians now recognize that the culture in which books are an integral part. , key to development.

The Book Exhibition in Africa quickly became an institution established with a series of integrated initiatives to reorganize the situation of parish books in Africa. The Pan African Children's Book Exhibition (PACBF) began in 1991 in Nairobi, Kenya, through the Foundation's initiative for Children's Childhood Promotion in Africa (GHISCI).

 The exhibition sought to stimulate a learning environment that captures and maintains the quality of imagination, curiosity and creativity of African children. It has created a dynamic atmosphere to increase the value of books in children's learning life. Through various activities like art, toys, fun with science, debate, quizzes, creative writing, storytelling and reading aloud, Kenyan children have identified love and comfort with this event with more and more people coming every year.

In 1994, thechildren's library at the exhibition set further children's taste by allowing children who could not buy books to have the opportunity to read several books at the exhibition. Since 1994, Tenda Baca has become the main attraction for all the children visiting the exhibition. As a result, other African book exhibitions significantly mimic this innovation.

Exhibitors have also continued to improve their marketing skills to reach out to children in a more proactive manner, which they include in books with new titles. PACBK 1998 had spectacular progress with any mini-library status. Another innovation - the Children's Home Campaign Campaign - was launched with children who responded with extraordinary enthusiasm, bought books and promised to launch their own home library.

The Zimbabwe International Book Show has become an important stimulus for the development of the book industry in Africa. The 1998 scholarship was very important because the theme and theme of Indaba was 'BOOKS AND CHILDREN'.

During the first Indaba session it was emphasized that the production of books for children until the 1990s was poor if it did not exist in several countries. But since 1987, the spectacular growth in children's publishers, in European and African languages, has been reported. In Kenya, the production of Uganda and Nigeria has increased over the past ten to twenty years. Pressures also increased significantly by an average of 3,000 to 5,000 copies per title with the possibility of regular reprints.

This progress is linked to the following:
  1. The creativity of African publishers enables them to make children's books that are made well in terms of content, production quality and price.
  2. Continued to increase the purchase of books by the state for schools and libraries.
  3. Extraordinary support is given for the issuing and ordering of acquisitions by development agencies, international organizations and NGOs.
  4. Very high sales growth generated by efforts by publishers to promote their books nationally and internationally.
  5. Co-operatives between publishers and distributors that enable export development sales.
  • A marked difference between countries. The situation in South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania is much better than in other countries in their region. It was clear in the Francophon, West Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Mali and Togo.
  • D problems in finding good writers and illustrators still exist.
  • Readers have not developed sufficiently, given the illiteracy and lack of culture or reading habits.
  • Although there are readers, the purchasing power is limited. Books are not as high as basic priorities as basic needs.
  • Library networks are not developed, especially in rural areas.
  • Distribution networks are not being developed.
  • The intense political situation in Zimbabwe had a negative impact on the most favorable climate created for the growth of books, not only there, but throughout Africa and weakened the Zimbabwean International Bookshow of its international flavor.


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