Creative Writing: Importance and Impact for Girls and Women of South Sudan

Feature Article Creative Writing: Importance and Impact for Girls and Women of South Sudan

The team of educators, artists, business owners and entrepreneurs of One Africa Forum, are continuing to feed into the creativity and development of South Sudan girls and women. Each Tuesday afternoon they are expanding the writing initiative to shed light on the significance of creative writing in the lives of the girls and women in South Sudan. How their lives and how the skill of writing can be shared with the millions of girls and women of South Sudan using the process of "Creative Writing: Importance and Impact" program.

The emphasis that writing can empower and allow South Sudan girls and women to express their thoughts, imagination, explore creativity, address social issues, emotions, and ideas in a powerful and impactful way. Writing can empower and magnify the voices of girls and women. The use of writing allows the mind to expand beyond where the physical limitations of creativity may be, writing opens doors of literary innovation, self-expression and build self-respect and the mastery of language development. The mastery of language is not just English, but the native and indigenous languages of South Sudan that are spoken each day. South Sudan has over 60 indigenous languages that are spoken. The official language of the country is English, but the indigenous languages are Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Bari, Zande, and Juba Arabic.

Historically African writers have unique perspectives of the world around them and how the world is impacted by African innovation, achievements, and the transfer of knowledge and discovery. The "cradle of civilization" and the impact of writing that has followed man since cave drawings as a form of expression.

Writing in the form of storytelling is a powerful tool to build historical relevancy in the contributions that have been made by Africans not just across the continent, but globally. Recognizing and respecting that African writers and storytellers are just as important as European, Asian, and other cultures. From the writings of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Ngugi wa Thiong'o and many others, women and men have created a dynamic legacy in writing that has influenced the social structure of political power, economic influences between the rich and poor across Africa and even the educational infrastructures that are still adapting to digital technologies that are changing how African boys and girls are taught and their access to information and knowledge. Access is important, the next phase is the application of that new knowledge. How to apply it to building businesses, empowering entrepreneurs and even the process of improving economies and governments.

Ngara, Emmanuel 1985 has stated that, "to fulfill its social function adequately, literature must be able to speak to the wildest spectrum of society possible... It must reach the masses of the people in the writer's society and at the same time speak to universal men and women equally."

We must not forget the children of Africa, too many times they are forgotten and only seen as structural necessities and often invisible. Children must represent a vision of the possibilities for changing the colonized mind-sets and communities that are present across South Sudan and even all of the African continent. Education across Africa needs to be decolonized from European thinking, children should be seen as a path to a better future for Africa as a continent. A nation’s future successes and failures are based on the educational levels of each generation. If a nation does not value the education of its children from infant to adults, ultimately that nation may stay at the lowest levels of poverty, because its children will not be employed in careers that will allow for investments for growth, development, and elevation. The economic structure of that nation will be poverty stricken and lack investment and re-investment opportunities by its own people because the people of that nation will not have the capital to invest in themselves.

Poverty is the result of the lack of educational respect and opportunities, there needs to be infrastructures in place that can adapt to and blend with the ecosystems of technological growth and achievements.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o has commented that “the process of unique educational experiences for girls and women grows, education can be used as a tool to prepare them for the changing world of information, intellectualism, and intelligence.” Using this example that is happening in South Sudan with the writing initiative, it represents the hope of South Sudan to grow as the girls and women grow. Women are the foundation of education; they are the first educators in the family, they show by teaching, modeling, collaborating, and practicing strategies that have been handed down through the ages of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and other women across the family structure.

Africa can build on its independence and stay independent across education and economics from the foundations of its educational building blocks of literature and information sharing. Storytelling that brings the building blocks of connections and family to one another. The words of Charles Cantalupo, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, English, Comparative Literature, and African Studies shares the value of writing stating, "Writing has always been my way of reconnecting myself to the landscape of my birth and upbringing. Providing the stories that encourage family connections, bonding and even community path was to social order.”

The writings that the girls and women will be engaging in will ultimately influence social engagements because it will encourage conversations on levels not done before with girls and women sharing their experiences and even visions for their futures. Their visions will ultimately change and influence their futures because their writings will open their souls to potentials of freedoms not known before. Lead Educator Emma Kwaje

By William Jackson CEO MetaverseWP / One Africa Forum Technology Education

Director and Aida Correa Jackson of One Africa Forum, Author, and Artist