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What is PAWA





Several decades ago and well before the independence of African countries, writers and other intellectuals of our continent made several undertakings in vain to organise themselves into a Pan African Writers’ Union, ever since the first Conference of Black People’s Culture held in Paris in 1956.  Since then this subject has been raised  and deliberated on in different fora at various places such as Rome, Algiers, Dakar, Lagos, Luanda, Tashkent, Cologne, Alma Atta, Pyongyang and recently in Brazzervile (Congo).


In 1986, an Extraordinary Assembly of 61 African Writers representing 46 African Writers’ Unions and Associations met and decided that Africa needed a long-overdue Continental Literary Organisation and therefore set up an International Preparatory Committee (IPC) and mandated it with the dual mission of organising the symposium “International Literary Symposium Against Apartheid” in 1987 and to realise the old dream of the Writers’ Union as a dynamic association of Writers of Africa.


In working towards the formation of PAWA, the IPC sensitised African Writers’ Unions and Associations as well as African and non-African governments, called on the then Chairman of the OAU, the OAU Secretary-General and attended the Ougadougou Conference of African Ministers of Culture in April, 1988, at which the OAU pledged support for the creation of PAWA. Other African leaders included the Presidents of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Congo.  An IPC delegation met Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, then Egyptian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, while others went to Algeria, Libya, Ethiopia, Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Tunisia.


With OAU and UNESCO’s support, the Constituent Congress of PAWA was held at the Kwame Nkrumah Conference Centre, Accra from 7th – 11th November, 1989 under the theme:  “African Unity; A Liberation of the Mind.” Representatives from over 36 countries formally signed the Declaration and Constitution that led to the establishment of PAWA.