Declaration of the WPM Africa, Resolution on the Promotion of Poetry and the Freedom of Expression
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We, the Poets in Africa, gathered in a Virtual Congress Meeting from 21 to 22 January 2023 under the banner of the World Poetry Movement (WPM). The Congress was attended by Poets from several African counties, representatives of Governments of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Colombia, and graced by the attendance of Poets from other Continents; Asia, Europe, Latin America, et al. Under the leadership of the WPM Coordinator and founder Comrade Fernando Rendon, the Congress was officiated.
1. In realizing the importance of poetry in our cultures and indigenous languages, the role and function it plays in social cohesion and in healing the ills of societal challenges and moral decay,
2. In noting the need for us to work collectively to enrich the work of the WPM in the mother continent for the development of poetry in particular and literature in general, in order to conscientize the people of Africa about a myriad of strategic perspectives on freedom, peace, justice and unity of purpose, we, therefore, resolve to undertake the following action plans:
(a) to promote that poetry be made compulsory in all African primary schools and secondary education as part of the syllabus.
(b) to use poetry as an instrument that can best protect, preserve and promote indigenous languages in Africa.
(c) to use poetry platforms to highlight our resolve against neo-colonization and imperialism that continues to exploit the masses politically and economically.
(d) to champion the cause of decolonization in all spheres of life in Africa.
(e) to hold the Congress on an annual basis
(f) to elect an executive committee that is representative of the 5 regions of Africa annually.
This year, during the 1st Congress, which took place from 21st January 2023 to 22nd January 2023, the WPM Africa approved three resolutions. The first resolution is continental-specific and is geared towards increasing the visibility of poetry virtually and face-to-face in our various countries in Africa by holding an annual WPM African Poetry Festival and Congress. The publishing of an annual WPM Africa anthology with an adult and a school version augments students’ understanding and appreciation of poetry, as well as provides opportunities for the creative writing of poetry to cater to the needs of the young.
The second resolution highlights the importance of making poetry accessible to everyone by institutionalizing poetry through policies that make poetry and literature a part of curricula in early education and secondary schools.
The third resolution is dedicated to the need to call out the systematic repression of poets and writers and the lack of freedom of expression in Africa and across the globe.
Create a WPM Africa Youtube channel- Upload poetic material- poems, events, publications etc.
Commence an annual Africa poetry chain and have it digitally collaged and published on the Youtube channel proposed.
Publish an African Poem Anthology annually -A school’s version and an adult version concurrently.
Hold an annual WPM African Poetry Festival and Congress (virtually & face-to-face).
Poetry workshops and sessions, inclusive of schools, are to be uploaded on social media platforms
Poetry competitions-internal and collaborative with other African countries, also to be uploaded onto social media platforms.
Continuous recruitment of poets and poetry lovers per country.
Freedom of Expression
The need to call out the systematic repression of poets and writers and the lack of freedom of expression in Africa and across the globe.
The Assembly of Delegates of WPM Africa calls on all states in Africa to:
• Recognize the fundamental human rights and the freedom of expression of poets and writers and desist from the violation of free expression, and take all necessary steps to safeguard against this;
• Maintain transparency in government actions regarding activist poets and writers.
• Refrain from infringing on the freedom of expression.
Resolution on the Promotion of Poetry and the Freedom of Expression
Adopted by the Assembly of Delegates of WPM Africa during its Ist Preparatory Congress, held from 21st January 2023 to 22nd January 2023.