ZIBF: Indaba with a difference

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VERY insightful discussions were lined up for this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) indaba held in Harare this week.
Running under the theme, ‘The Book: Creating the Future!’, the 2018 edition of the book fair indaba is one to remember.
Different presenters took to the podium to discuss various issues concerning the future of the book industry.
While renowned writer Ignatius Mabasa focused on updating folktales using the traditional template and fusing it with contemporary issues, Roseline Torai Kumvekera also stressed that Early Childhood Development (ECD) must be reflective of our culture.
Interesting among the presentations was Kenyan’s Professor Peter Wasamba’s deliberation titled ‘The role of books in defining a people‘s future.’
His presentation was unique.
It was a presentation prepared by an African for Africans as it focused on the future of Africans as the biggest consumers of books.
With confidence and emphasis, Prof Wasamba highlighted that the existing future of the book lies in the growing population of Africa.
“The future is in Africa in terms of innovation because numbers never lie,” he said.
Africa is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent and therefore has the capacity of being the major consumer of various aspects in the global village including the future of book development.
The growing population of Africa has, however, sent ‘shivers’ to developed nations who do not only rely on Africa’s resources but are having their ‘plan’ of re-colonisation disturbed.
According to Prof Wasamba, this has also contributed to some European countries taking desperate measures to suppress development in Africa.
Prof Wasamba highlighted the desperate measures by Europeans, to grow their populations, that has seen one University in Germany encouraging white students to get pregnant so they do not pay fees.
Developed nations thus continue to formulate ideas to hinder social development by adding more ‘poison’ in the minds of Africans.
Prof Wasamba stressed that although the future of the book industry is in the hands of Africans, developed nations were coming up with ways to corrupt the mind of the African.
“We are being subtly coerced to develop texts which are contrary to African thinking,” he said.
“We have been corrupted; we worship materialism of the West to the extent of praising a thief or murderer as long as he has money.”
The texts, said Prof Wasamba, are being used by the West to recolonise Africa.
To recolonise Africa, the West ‘captures’ the minds of Africans by providing unnecessary material things in order to infiltrate Africans.
Prof Wasamba thus asks interesting questions that can assist in maintaining a stable future for the book industry in Africa.
The pertinent questions:
Why, as Africans, are we chasing after other nations’ trinkets instead of developing our own?
Parents, said Prof Wasamba, must initiate a reading culture in their children by buying them books.
He said relying on the internet was detrimental to Africans and that Africans must discard what he termed the ‘google syndrome’.
“We are killing our reading culture by going online permanently,” he said.
African authors, he said, must write books that celebrate the African ethos.
The ZIBF is an annual event that is held for a week and has gained its recognition through celebrating the existence of the book industry in all works of life.
It opens with a two-day indaba in which various scholars and artistes converge to discuss certain subjects promoting and affecting the book industry.
Workshops for publishers, librarians and writers are also held.
Exhibitions of local and international books, magazines, journals, CDs and DVDs usually wrap up the ZIBF.

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