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Sunday, May 8, 2011

My CelebrityRead Africa: Edition 8

A friend was at the CelebrityRead Africa, edition 8. His experience at the literary reading is what he has desired to share with us on this blog. Read and savour the highlight of Isaac Anyaogu.


Venue: Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Salvage, Opp. Bar-Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Date and Time held: 30/04/11; 3:00pm.



©Isaac Anyaogu


Television, video games and recently Facebook long thought to be reasons why students do not read were absolved of blame at the 8th edition of CelebrityRead Africa which held on Saturday, April 30 at Terra Kulture, Lagos. Rather, blame was directed at parents' penchant for forcing reading on their children.


The monthly not-for-profit reading event hosted by Bede Okoro, had as guests: Bisila Bokoko, Executive Director of The SpainUnited States Chamber of Commerce located in New York City, R&B artiste Olanrewaju Fasasi (Sound Sultan), Onyi Sunday, broadcaster at Silverbird Television, novelist Michael Afenfia and Teresa Ameh author of five published books for children.



Celebrities thrilled the audience of over sixty with readings of sections of their chosen works. Sound Sultan, read from Wole Soyinka's You Must Set Forth at Dawn pausing for effect and emphasizing the author's preference for arcane words. Teresa Ameh and Michael Afenfia read from their published works. Onyi Sunday read from Chimamanda Adichie's Purple Hibiscus.

After reading each passage, the celebrities discussed the section of the work and what they find remarkable.


Onyi Sunday recounted an experience Chimamanda narrated to her in an interview, as what motivated her to explore African themes in her writing. She visited her nanny's village and realized that contrary to her view, she was not dirt poor and had a remarkable story.


Michael Afenfia said that the title of his work, When the Moon Caught Fire was borne out of the need to provoke attention.


Benefits Of Reading

Most people dread reading the way Superman fear Kryptonite, said Sound Sultan in an address to students of Liham Schools who formed a quarter of the audience. While denouncing the view, he said reading opens one's worldview, sharpens the intellect and gives him ideas for his song.


All the celebrities agreed that reading can help to improve one's ability in any chosen trade or profession. Onyi Sunday said her job entails extensive reading hence good reading skills are vital.


Obstacles To Reading

A heated debate arose over why students do not read. It began during the questions and answer session when a member of the audience accused parents who force reading on their children as the major reason why they grow an aversion for books.


Some in the audience wanted to hold video games, the internet and television responsible but a sample opinion poll conducted by Chinenye Offor, the event moderator on the students of Liham Schools indicated that the key factor that discourages reading is when it is required under duress.


Both the students and adults narrated experiences of how such an approach kills a desire for books. 


Other obstacles identified included the non-availability of high quality illustrated books for children, parent's poor example when it comes to reading, government's apathy towards education, uncontrolled television viewing, video games and inaccessibility of books and other reading materials.


Parents were advised to inculcate a reading culture in their children by making books available in their homes. All levels of governments were enjoined to equip local libraries and create programmes that promote a reading culture.



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