There have been some interesting developments recently coming out of the Central African country of Equatorial Guinea. Karl Whiteside, an African American who immigrated to the country four years ago to do social work has been making waves on the small country by helping to promote education and increase the cultural level of the society at large. He is currently working as a third grade teacher for a grade school called Maria Cano which is located in the country’s capital of Malabo.
Some of his projects include implementing a National Spelling Bee which he modeled after the Scripps National Spelling Bee in America. The contest ran from January through March of 2017 and had a David & Goliath like result which garnered national media attention.
He also implemented a national writing contest which also gained national media attention:
His current project involves a cultural interchange between Africans and Americans. What does the project entail? Mr. Karl will organize a writing workshop and put out a call for submissions for short stories to be included in an anthology of Guinean short stories. He will serve as acquisition editor which will involve creating contracts for each author to receive a profit from his or her work. Mr. Karl will choose the best stories, compile them, and oversee the editing and production process. He will meet with the bookstores in New York with the aim of carrying the finished book.
Mr. Karl is currently in talks with the Guinean Ministry of Culture and Craft Promotion. With their assistance he hopes to publicize the project nationwide with the goal and objective of increasing the cultural level of the Equato-Guinean society and reducing delinquency by giving juveniles a creative outlet.
When asked what he was trying to accomplish with all this, the teacher responded, “I want to prove that there is a market for Guinean literature by selling the anthology in digital format internationally and selling 3,000 paperback copies in America and Equatorial Guinea. Once these goals are achieved I would like to help pioneer the publication of literary fiction in Equatorial Guinea.”
African literature is a history of struggle against oppression and exploitation, and for liberty and self-determination. In the past the natural belief of whites was that slavery was the natural occupation of blacks because blacks were intellectually inferior to whites, and that the incontrovertible evidence of the intellectual inferiority of blacks was their inability to write and publish any intellectual works like their white masters. Much has changed since then, but in many African countries reading and writing is still a challenge. As a developing nation many people would not identify Equatorial Guinea as a nation of readers. Mr. Karl disagrees. We’re going to be following this story and as it progresses we’ll keep you posted.
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