“One can’t imagine a thriving society, a thriving economy, a society with a healthy outlook on life, without books.” —Ed Elliott, Tyndale House Foundation
In March 2018, Tyndale House Foundation hosted an international conference with the stated goal of facilitating a network of likeminded people and organizations committed to working together to foster a flourishing publishing industry in Africa. According to Tyndale House Foundation board member Ed Elliott, “There have been real challenges over the years for publishers of books in Africa. People who really want to read books written by Africans can’t find them. A major reason for that is that there’s no one to publish books written by Africans.”
To help address these challenges, Tyndale House Foundation hosted the Africa Speaks conference in March 2018. The conference took place on the campus of Trinity International University in Bannockburn, Illinois, and included delegates from nine African countries, the UK, Brazil, and the US. Participants spent several days together, collaborating, sharing successes, identifying challenges, and dreaming for the future.
According to Daniel Bourdanné, executive director for IFES, “Africa is in a state of mega-transition between orality and reading.” This means publishing in Africa is needed now more than ever. Turning the dream into reality will require collaboration. Nigerian publisher and author Pusonnam Yiri says, “Africa is in need of a community of people working together to make that happen.” Author Modupe Ehirim, also from Nigeria, agrees: “We need to listen to people with perspectives different from our own.”
At the end of the conference, delegates joined together in signing the Africa Speaks Accord, committing to working together toward the common goal. Daniel Dama, a writer from Benin, believes the ultimate results will be eternal. Because of the collaboration of so many from Africa and around the world, “I believe one of my sisters there or one of my brothers there will one day sing the songs of salvation and the songs of the kingdom together with Jesus in heaven.”
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