Writing and Storytelling for Africans
by William Jackson, M.Ed.
“Writers have to recognize the works of the artist and
those of the activist. Creating content is more than just
throwing words, video, pictures on a digital sheet of
paper. There is serious intellectual thought during the
writing process. Sometimes writing will be in a zone of
creativity and innovation to create new content that has
an intended outcome, but sometimes the outcomes are
unknown.” William Jackson
Professor Soyinka “Just sit down and write….” as he has
stated to growing African writers across the continent.
The ability of a blogger / writer to write also means that
they have a responsibility to tell the story of those that
cannot write, those that are silent and have no voice.
Digital content is powerful and enabling to bring recog-
nition, attention and urgency to civic issues that need
to be addressed.
The growth of the blogger / writer is composed of periods
of growth, reconciliation, enlightenment and a civic
responsibility to write / blog not just for oneself, but for
those that do not have a voice and will not be heard.
The ability to share a story comes from the ability to listen
and apply knowledge from a person’s experiences,
interactions, goals for growth and even how mistakes are
made and learned from.
The diversity of culture influences a writer’s ability to
“touch” the people they are writing to or writing for.
When past writers applied their skills they shared stories
that could be connected to real life, to the experiences
that many knew they could connect to.
The diversity of African bloggers represents the diversity of
a continent that influences not just the global weather, but
has digital extensions that influence business, commerce,
entrepreneurial spirits of the dreamers, creators and
innovators that have ideas to change the world around them.
Africa is in a constant state of flux economically, educationally,
culturally and the future is unknown, but it is becoming
brighter and brighter as business and entrepreneurial
opportunities become available.
Writers like author and Professor Wole Soyinka who are
involved in civic issues, governmental policies and the
educational growth of youth, teens and adults. He
is of the past, but influences the present.
There are modern writers waiting to be read.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has been nominated for a Nobel
Peace Prize in 2017 and is a strong contender to win
one in literature.
The African continent has birthed intellectual and
intelligent writers that have embraced and applied
digital platforms to awaken and encourage others in
the African diaspora to spread their digital wings and
take flight. The storytellers of the past have grown and
adapted to the Bloggers, Vbloggers, Podcasters,
Facebook Live and Instagram visionaries building,
creating, designing and posting content that influences
thought not just emotions.
Stated by Soyinka, “when Africans learn the power they
have in their hands in writing, they can influence their
communities and make important and needed changes
because they will have a voice that others can hear and
Writing is a grassroots process that builds knowledge in
Africans of all ages and can influence generations. The
educational process is key because as can be seen in Africa
it is dangerous to allow your colonizers to educate your
children. Their goals are not the goals of those being
oppressed. The goal of the oppressor is the keep the
oppressed ignorant. So that their resources can be drained
dry before the oppressed realize what is happening
to their lands, to their people and their very existence.
Stated by Prof. William Jackson of My Quest to Teach
“If we (Blacks) are not speaking for ourselves or writing
for ourselves, someone else is going to describe who we
are, where we came from and ultimately where we are going.”
This creates identity problems because those that are doing
the writing are not looking through the eyes of those being
written about. The people are not seen as people they are
seen as little things with no value, as Chinua Achebe states,
“as funny things.”
Too many stories are wrong in their direction to offer solutions
to issues that Africans are experiencing. Africans must be able
to tell their own stories because there is a story to tell…..
“Your pen has to be on fire.” Chinua Achebe
Social Media has opened more doors to express, share
and even demand change.
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