Atukwei Okai

Hargeysa International Book Fair 2016: Ghana and Leadership

The 9th Hargeysa International Book Fair is set to happen in Hargeysa, Somaliland from 23 to 28 July. The festival theme for this year is Leadership and the partner country is Ghana.

The book fair will explore the theme of leadership, and its connection to art, culture, and creativity. Who are our leaders, past and present? Do we need leaders, and if so what are the qualities of a good leader? The building blocks of leadership, the image and expectation we have of our leaders and the courage and ability that makes a leader will be discussed.

This year the guest country is Ghana and it allows Somaliland artists to exchange their work and ideas with artists and writers the West African country. Ghana’s history offers inspiring examples of great leadership, including for example Kwame Nkrumah who led Ghana towards independence from Britain in 1957, and pioneered the pan-Africanism intellectual movement in the 1960s.

One of the guests is Professor Kwame Karikari is the former Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa. He has been for several years, a professor in journalism and mass communication at the School of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana.  He has also been involved in training journalists in several countries in Africa over the years.

Also featuring will be poet, writer, cultural activist and academic Atukwei Okai. Okai is the Secretary-General of the Pan African Writers’ Association, and former president of the Ghana Association of Writers. Some of his books are Flowerfall (1969), Oath of the Fontonfrom and Other Poems (1971), Lorgorligi: Logarithms and Other Poems (1974) and Freedom Symphony: Selected and New Love Poems (2008) and Mandela the Spear and Other Poems (2013).

Apart from the Ghanaians, there will be over 40 international guests from 12 countries, including poets, writers, musicians, film makers and journalists. 60 Somaliland based artists will also perform their art production during the six days program. The program and full list of participants will be released soon.

We shall be keeping you posted as the day comes closer. You can follow our in depth coverage of the festival last year where Nigeria was the partner country here.

Updated: In an earlier version of this story posted on 23rd February 2016, we had posted that other guests had been invited to the event. The blog has been updated as they declined an invitation to the festival.

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