The Bishop of Oyo Diocese and president of the Pan African Episcopal committee for Social Communication, Emmanuel Badejo has tasked African writers and storytellers to identify and never give up on projecting the positive stories of African icons who have contributed immensely to the development of the continent and impacted the world positively. Bishop Badejo spoke via the webinar as a participant to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Vatican radio broadcast to Africa. The theme of his paper entitled “Storytelling as a tool to manage racial tribulations in Africa and has as sub-theme “Master weavers of African stories- promoting everyday heroes as a solution to African challenges” paid glowing tributes to those he described as African martyrs and heroes. He specifically mentioned some personalities of African heritage worth celebrating: the martyrs of Uganda, late President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Blessed Iwene Tansi and the teenager, Leah Sharibu of Nigeria who refused to renounce her Christian faith to regain her freedom under threat of death, whose exemplary lives should inspire others.
The prelate recalled the Holy Father, Pope Francis’ message for the 54th World Communication Day entitled “That you may tell your children and grandchildren” (Ex 10:2) as fitting in the circumstance. He said the Holy Father rightly affirmed that human beings are storytellers irrespective of the means and age. We are not only storytellers but stories “on the move.” He therefore challenged African writers to tell their own stories. The stories of our heroes, in his words, “offer us positive content around which we must weave our experiences.” Bishop Badejo therefore asked African writers and storytellers to tell their experiences from the perspective of a true African Quoting him, “We must deploy the cultural and literary resources of Africa to ensure that when writing the story of our life and content we do not allow anyone else to hold the pen.” He said Africa should tell its stories through the means of riddles, drama, songs and mimes.