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Chronicles of PAWA Activities (1989 -2013)



From its founding in November 1989, PAWA has engaged in a variety of activities within and outside Africa. These activities have included conferences, readings, lectures, performances and visits. PAWA has also organised specific programmes that target issues of major concern to Africa and humanity as a whole. Thus PAWA has organised writing competitions on HIV/AIDS and also encouraged writers to explore the themes of war and peace, discrimination, gender and development.


PAWA has been especially active in honouring African writers and encouraging/providing training to younger generations of writers to build upon and extend the best literary achievements of African and other writers in the world. In these and other activities, PAWA has collaborated with and received the support major institutions and individuals across the world. Thus the African Union and various African governments - those of Ghana, Libya, have provided tremendous support for the work of PAWA. Africa’s most prominent thinkers and writers including her Nobel Laureates - Wole Soyinka and Nadine Gordimer, - have played prominent roles in the activities of PAWA. Below, is a list some of the major activities of PAWA since its foundation in November 1989.



Planned for November 2013


An International Conference on the theme: “Celebrating The Life and Works of Chinua Achebe: The Coming Age Of African Literature?” to be attended by over 300 writers and guests from all over the world, the International Conference is planned for 5th – 8th November, 2013, at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana.


August 2013


The PAWA Secretary-General, chaired the Closing Ceremony of the OAU/AU @ 50 High Level Africa Forum (10th Edition and 21st Year Anniversary of Panafest/Emancipation, 3rd Think Africa Forum) at the Accra International Conference Centre on 3rd August, 2013.


August 2913


The (AU) Diaspora African Forum on 2nd August, 2013, presents to the PAWA Secretary-General, Prof. Atukwei Okai, the “Salute To The Diaspora Award, given for leadership and commitment to advocating, supporting and championing the cause of the African Union its development of Africa” on 2nd August, 2013, at the Homowo Conference Center of the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana.


May 2013


The Pan-African Writers’ Association (PAWA) delivered a Solidarity Message at a flag-raising Ceremony in Accra, Ghana, to mark the 50th anniversary of the African Union or the Organization of African Unity (AU/OAU) on 25 May, 2013.


May 2013


The African Union Commission invited the PAWA Secretary-General to join in the Special Anniversary Summit on 25th May, 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in celebration of the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU under the theme “Pan Africanism and African Renaissance.”


May 2013


The PAWA Secretary-General participated in the Celebration of Life Carnival in the Alex Ekueme Square in Awka, Anambra State, in honour of the late Prof. Chinua Achebe, on May 22, 2013 after which his coffin was accompanied to his ancestral home in Ogidi. Prof. Chukwemeka Ike, whose oration started the official ceremony of tributes in “Celebration of Prof. Chinua Achebe,” on 22nd May, 2013, at the Ekueme Square in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. Prof. Ike acknowledged “the warmly appreciated presence and participation of my friend, Prof. Atukwei Okai, the Secretary-General of the Pan-African Writers’ Association, who had come all the way from Accra, Ghana, to join us in celebrating the life of this great Son of Anambra, Nigeria and Africa, Chinua Achebe.”


April 2013


The PAWA Secretary-General, Prof. Atukwei Okai, as Chairman of the Anniversary National Planning Committee for the year long celebration of the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary, received Ghana’s torch to signify the perpetual flame of hope for the continent and the spirit of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance. He pledged the commitment of the Committee to work towards the achievement of its objectives. This was at a press briefing in Accra by Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on 23rd April, 2013.


February 2012


Celebration of the 20th International African Writers’ Day and the 5th PAWA Annual Lecture by Emeritus Professor J.H. Kwabena Nketia on the theme: “Creative Transformations in Contemporary Contexts: Pan-Africansim as a Paradigmatic Strategy” Chair: Nana Kobena Nketsia V, Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Area, Western Region.


November 2011


Celebration of the 19th International African Writers’ Day; an International Colloquium on the theme: “Publishing, Copyright and the Rights of the African Writer in a Globalised World” Chaired by Akilagpa Sawyerr. Participants: Madam Akoss Ofori-Mensah; Mr. Albert Ocran, Mr. Charles Crabbe, Mr. Lawrence Darmani, Mr. Elliot Agyare, Mr. Asare Konedu-Yiadom and Prof. Atukwei Okai.


May 2011


In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Ethiopian Writers’ Association, an International Conference of African Writers was organised jointly by the Ethiopian Writers’ Association, the Academy of Ethiopian Languages and Cultures, the institute of African Studies of the Addis Ababa University and the Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA) from May 2 – 4, 2011, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 35 delegates. Participated the following countries. Tog, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Libya, Gabon, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. The others were Liberia, Uganda, Sudan, Western Sahara, Senegal, Rwanda, Kenya and Swaziland.


November 2010


Celebration of the 18th International African Writers’ Day; a Colloquium on “The Rights Of The African Writer in a Globalised Electronic Era”, featuring: Mr. Elliot Agyare; Sambalikagwa Mvona; and Kwesi Gyan-Appenteng.


October 2010


The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) invites the PAWA Secretary-General to deliver the Keynote Address at the International Conference on 50 years of Writing of J.P. Clark at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, on 30th October, 2010: “Casualties, Innovations and Perspectives.” Prof. Okai’s theme was: “Historical Chamelionisation and the Anti-palanquinity Consciousness; Human beings as Casualties of the Womb and Writers as Murderers of the Gods – the Creational Marathon of J.P. Clark.” Chairman: Elech Amadi


December 2009


The PAWA Secretary-General attended the Third World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal.


November 2009


The PAWA Secretary-General, as a veteran of the First Pan-African Cultural Festival of 1969, was invited as a Guest of Honour by the Algerian Ministry of Culture to the Second Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algiers, Algeria.


November 2009


PAWA organizes the 17th International African Writers’ Day, (established by the OAU) and the 20th PAWA Anniversary celebration, on the theme, Languages, Literature and Society In A Fractured World in Accra. The keynote address was delivered by Wole Soyinka. It also organized the 20th PAWA Anniversary Banquet and Awards Ceremony. Writers honoured were Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah; John Coetzoe, Nobel Literature Laurate from South Africa. Maya Angelou of the USA; Gabriel Okara, J.P. Clarke, Chukwuemeka Ike all of Nigeria. Omar Salem Elhadji of Libya; Nawal El Saadawi and Mohammed Salmawy, both of Egypt; Keoropetse Kgositle of South Africa; and D.D. Phiri of Malawi. Writers who attended included: Prof. Abiola Irele, Prof. Festus Iyayi, Ayebia Clark, Lawal Solarin, and David Mungoshi of Zimbabwe. The PAWA delegation comprised the PAWA Secretary-General, Prof. Atukwei Okai, Prof. Noureini Tidjani-Serpos, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO (for Africa), Prof. Femi Osofisan, PAWA Vice-President for West Africa, Koumanthio Zeinab Diallo, Guinean poetess, and Prof. Justine Mintsa, Honorary President of the Writers’ Association of Gabon. The others were Mr. Alioune Badara Beye, President of the Senegalese Writers’ Association and Coordinator – General of FESMAN III, Prof. Andries Oliphant, President of the South African Writers’ Association, Ambassador Silcarneyni Gueye, Vice-President of the Senegalese Writers’ Association and Mr. Mamadou Traore Diop, General Secretary of the Senegalese Writers’ Association and Deputy Secretary-General of PAWA.


March 2009


Presentation of the PAWA Bronze Portrait Plaque of Honour to H.E. President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal by the PAWA Delegation, during the third meeting of the International Orientation Committee of the third edition of the World Festival of Black Arts (FESMAN III – 2009) on 2nd March, 2009, in Dakar, Senegal. This was in appreciation of the inspiring level of support the President has been giving to the promotion of African culture as well as for his dedication to the development of the African literary world.


November 2008


The 4th PAWA World Poetry Festival on the theme: “ A gathering of the family, in the middle of a century, at the centre of the Earth: Accra”, at the Wole Soyinka and Naguib Mahfouz Courtyards, PAWA House, Accra (4th, 6th November, 2008). Guest of Honour: Prof. Noureini Tidjani-Serpos, Deputy Director–General of UNESCO (for Africa). The participants included: Denja Abdulai, Arundhathi Subramanian (India) Tanure Ojaide, Kwame Dawes, Omar Salem El Hadji, and Setheli Ashong-Katai. Others were Nii Anum Telfer, Klorkor Okai, Wale Okediran, Silcarneyni Gueye, and Fred Agbobli.


November 2008


International Writers’ Seminar on the theme: “Manufacturing the New African Future: The Factor of Culture,” at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, (4th, 5th, 7th November, 2008). Participants included: Prof. Noureini Tidjani-Serpos, Deputy Director General (for Africa) of UNESCO, Hon. Mr. S.K. Boafo (the Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture of Ghana), Hon. Prince Adetokumbo, (the Federal Minister of Culture and Tourism of Nigeria) Hon. Mr. Mame Birame Diouf (the Minister of Culture, Historic Patrimony, National Languages and Francophonie of Senegal), Prof. Emeritus J.H. Nketia of Ghana, Prof. Andries Oliphant of South Africa, Hon. Dr. Wale Okediran, President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and Dr. Elizabeth Moundo, country Director of UNESCO, Ghana. Others were Prof. Asare Opoku, Ayesha H. Atta, Dr. Klorkor Okai, Meshack Asare, Dr. Lesley Lokko, Prof. Emerita Anne Adams and Mr. Elie Charles Moreau, Mr. Elliot Agyare, Dr. Esi Sutherland Addy, Ambassador Silcarneyni, Baffour Ankomah, Mrs. Madiguene Niang and Dr. Ahmed Fagih. Prof. Emeritus J.H.K. Nketia delivered the keynote Address: “Consolidating The African Experience in contemporary contexts: Prospects and Challenges.”


April 2008


The Secretary-General paid a working visit to Lome, Togo from 18 – 23 April, 2008, where he met with the Togolese Minister of Communication, Culture and Civic Education as well as the Executives of the Association of Togolese Men of Letter (AGLT). Guests of Honour: Hon. Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrissu, Minister of Education, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, and the Illustrator, Mr. Philip Amanoo. PAWA hosted the launch of three volumes of verses and chants for children by the Secretary-General, Prof. Atukwei Okai: “The Anthill In The Sea”, “A Slim Queen In A Palanquin” and “A Papwpaw On A Mango Tree.” Chairperson: Dr. Joyce Aryee; Special Guest of Honour: HRM King Tackie Tawia III, Ga Mantse, represented by Oberimpong Nii Kojo Ababio, Ngleshi Mantse.


March 2008


The Secretary-General attends Regional Institutional Capacity Development Dissemination Workshop organized by Family Health International in Cotonou, Benin, from March 26 – 28, 2008.


March 2008


PAWA Secretary-General attends Regional Workshop on HIV/AIDS which was organized by the AWARE – HIV/AIDS/FUTURE GROUP INTERNATIONAL held in Bamako, Mali, from March 11 – 14, 2008.


February 2008


PAWA, in collaboration with the German Writers Union (GWU), organized a two-day writers’ meeting in Accra at PAWA House from 10 – 11 February, 2008, on the theme, “Writers Meeting In Accra: Looking Ahead”. A Memorandum Of Understanding was signed between GWU and PAWA.


November 2007


The Secretary-General on 27th November, 2007, held discussions with Dr. Sohair Matwasty, the Chief Librarian of Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandriana, Egypt.


November 2007


The PAWA Secretary-General was invited to attend the inaugural Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in Africa Leadership Ceremony at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Alexandria, in Egypt on 26th November, 2007.


November 2007


The 15th International African Writers’ Day was celebrated at PAWA House on 7th November, 2007, with the launching of the PAWA official website, www.panafricanwritersassociation.org as the highlight. The Minister of State at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, Hon. Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, was the Special Guest of Honour.


November 2007


The 4th PAWA Annual Lecture which was on the theme “Shifting the gains of the glass: The African Dictator and the making of African Unity” was delivered by the PAWA Vice-President for West Africa, Prof. Femi Osofisan, under the chairmanship of Prof. Akilakgpa Sawyerr, the Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities (AAU), on 6th November, 2007, at PAWA House.


September 2007


Reading sessions were held for the winners of the “Writers Against HIV/AIDS” competition in some selected schools in Accra from 26th – 29th September, 2007.


September 2007


The “Writer Against HIV/AIDS” awards night was held at PAWA House on 26th September, 2007. The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Mrs. Gladys Ashitey, was the Special Guest of Honour.


September 2007


A delegation of distinguished African writers from across the continent led by the Secretary-General attended an international symposium on the theme “The Black Continent – From the Organization of African Unity to the African Union,” in Sirte, Libya from 6th – 7th September, 2007, which was organized by the General Council for Culture of Libya.


July 2007


The President of the Republic of Ghana H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor conferred on the PAWA Secretary-General a “Member of the Order of the Star of the Volta” award during the National Awards Day on July 1, 2007 at the Accra International Conference Centre.


May 2007


PAWA, with support from UNESCO and in collaboration with the Ghana Association of Writers, organized a workshop with the theme “Copyright, The Creator and National Development” at PAWA House from 1 – 2 May, 2007.


June 2006


The Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA) is appointed by His Excellency President Abdoulaye Wade to serve as a member of the International Orientation Committee for the Third World Festival of Black Arts (Fesman III) in Dakar, Senegal in 2008.


June 2006


The Pan African Writers’ Association (PAWA) launches a PAWA’s Writers Against HIV/AIDS In Africa Project in order to raise consciousness of African writers about the role that they can and need to play in an effort to roll back the footprints of the scourge.


June 2006


The Secretary-General of the Pan African Writers’ Association is granted audience by His Excellency, the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Mohamad Gaas, at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 23rd June, 2006.


June 2006


The Commission of the African Union invited the Pan African Writers’ Association to attend the Launching of the 2006 As The Year of African Languages and Inauguration of the Interim Governing Board of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) on 20th – 22nd June, 2006, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


May 2006


At the invitation of the Malawian Writers Union (MAWU), the PAWA Secretary-General, Prof. Atukwei Okai, paid a five-day working visit to Malawi from 30th May to 4th June, 2006. It was meant for him to hold consultations with the Malawian Writers, on their programmes, achievements and challenges, and to offer them encouragement and guidance. On behalf of the President of the Republic, Dr. Mutharika, the PAWA Secretary-General was granted audience by the Leader of Government Business who is also Minister of Energy and Mining, Honourable Chimunthu Banda, M.P., at his Ministry in Lilongwe. Present at the meeting were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, the Commissioner for Culture, Dr. Elizabeth Gomani, the MAWU President, Mr. Stanley O. Kenani, who is also the Acting PAWA Treasurer as well as the MAWU General Secretary and Treasurer.


May 2006


PAWA and the Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) hosted 700 delegates of the 32nd Annual Conference of the African Literature Association (ALA) at a WRITERS’ SOIREE, an Evening of readings and performances. It was under the chairmanship of Prof. Atukwei Okai, the PAWA Secretary-General, at the Wole Soyinka and Naguib Mahfouz Courtyards of PAWA House, on 19th May, 2006. The listed readers included Prof. Kamau Brathwaite, Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’O, Prof. Niyi Osundare, Lawrence Dramani, Dr. Rex Quartey, Prof. Abena Busia, Dr. Benjamin Kwakye, and Setheli Ashong-Katai. The evening’s programme included (a) The Fonlon-Nicholas Prize Awards Ceremony and (b) the presentation of the 1st African Edition of African Literature Today.


April 2006


The Pan African Writers’ Association participated in a meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference for Afro-Asian Writers, on the theme,” Culture and Intellectuals Under Hegemony” in Cairo, Egypt. It was organised by the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO), the Arab Writers’ General Association, the Russian Writers’ Association and the Progressive Writers’ Association of India.