John Rusimbi

The new interim council of the Pan African Writers Association, headed by Rwandan John Rusimbi, was appointed on June 26, 2022.

The Pan African Writers Association, popularly known as PAWA, is a Ghana-based cultural institution that is an umbrella body of writers’ associations on the African continent and the Diaspora. The Accra, Ghana-based organisation was founded “to strengthen the cultural and economic bonds between the people on the African continent against the background of the continent’s acknowledged diverse but rich cultural, political and economic heritage” in 1989.

The Secretary General of the organisation from 1989 until he died in 2018 was Prof Atukwei Okai. Wale Okediran was appointed to his position in 2020 in an interim role. In 2021, the then council was dissolved when Interim President Vice President (West Africa) of PAWA, Prof Femi Osofisan resigned from the organisation on January 22, 2021.

The first general assembly of the Pan African Writers Association was hosted in Ibadan from June 23 – 25 with many from across the continent attending. PAWA National Writer’s Associations from Ghana, Congo Kinshasa, Togo, Nigeria, Gabon, Cameroun, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Rwanda, Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia, Liberia, Mauritania, South Africa, Tanzania, Chad, Botswana, Burundi, Benin, Somaliland, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Niger, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Gambia, Mozambique, Angola and Algeria took part.

The event examining the progress of African Literature since Makerere had the theme “Literature Since Makerere 1962: The African Writers’ Pan-African Agenda For Peace, Security, and Cultural Development.” It had several activities including a book exhibition, keynote lectures, panel discussions, business meetings, and loads more.

One of its key activities was selecting a new Interim council to run the activities until a new congress was convened. The following were appointed after consultations with PAWA Country Members;

  • John Rusimbi (Rwanda) — President
  • Secretary-General – Dr Wale Okediran
  • Dr Omar Gaddour (Sudan) — Vice President (North Africa)
  • Prof Mrs. Koumeato Anate (Togo) -Vice President (West Africa)
  • Prof Egara Kabaji (Kenya) –Vice President (East Africa)
  • Dr Lebogang Nawa (South Africa) – Vice President (South Africa)
  • Madam Imela Oyono Ayingono (Equatorial Guinea) – Vice President (Central Africa)
  • Vice President (Diaspora) – to be announced

John Rusimbi is the author of By The Time She Returned (1994), By the Time She Returned: A Refugee’s Tale (1999), and The Hyena’s Wedding: The Untold Horrors of Genocide (2007). Prior to being elected as the president of PAWA, Rusimbi has been the President of the National Youth Council and the first representative of youth in the Rwandan Parliament. He has also worked with different civil society organisations across the country.