Our cultural assets: use them or lose them.

Author:Thomson-Ferrera, Majid
Position:Letter to the editor

I have just returned from taking part in a three day Pan African Cultural Congress at the headquarters of the African Union in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. It raised some interesting points regarding the use of one of our greatest assets, African culture, in promoting development.

The AU chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare officially opened the congress, with a call for Africa to promote its culture as the basis for development. He told us that "Africa is facing an identity crisis because we are working without reference to our history. Africa should realise that the foundations of development ought to be based on culture".

Quoting Professor Kizebo, Professor Konare reiterated that culture in Africa is both a source and a resource. As such, governments and all stakeholders should do everything to promote it.

He lamented the lack of resources and political will to support cultural development, saying this affects many aspects of development such as promotion of African languages, protection of intellectual property, film making, literature, theatre, and even the media.

This was not a new message, indeed it is one that goes back to the very start of Africa's liberation movements. But the fact is that never has the need been greater for our younger generations to understand that our culture identities are crucially important to our...

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