IF WE ALL COULD READ
TOWARD A ZAMBIAN GENRE
Developing literary arts in Zambia-focus on fiction writing
IF WE ALL COULD READ
The adage, ‘if wishes were horses, even beggars could ride’, makes one think about some issues critically. For example, could things have been different for this country in terms of development in general if literacy levels were higher? If the percentage of literate Zambians was higher, would we have had a better Zambia? There are many drivers of country’s development and literacy is one of them. ‘A reading nation is a leading nation’; it is a nation that is able to understand basics that lead to growth. For instance, it is believed that about half of women’s health issues can be resolved if women could read. Unfortunately, women comprise a larger percentage of the population that can neither read nor write. It is this section of women who are also burdened with the larger share of caring for the family, yet they fall in the bracket of the people that cannot access most of the services including education and other literacy programmes.
Hypothetically, if more people could read, write and understand, perhaps we would have cleaner streets in the capital city that has now been transformed into rubble. The beauty that was once on most of the major streets has disappeared into some ‘concoction’ conjured by the cadre spirit. Yes, there are authorities that should ideally be bringing law and order but laws should be applied on a populace that should understand and use them.
Imagine a society with parents who can commit to inculcating a reading culture into the next generation. Imagine a world where instead of jobless youth waking up to drowning in liquor, they opt to pick up a book to read, a society that puts in effort and makes time to learn how to read. Even though we live in a technological era, the ability to read and write remains important in our day to day transactions. A quick survey on social media platforms will show you just how illiterate the younger generation is. Many can hardly engage in meaningful discussions but would rather post pictures without captions; this is the generation that cannot utilise the spell-check because they would not even know how to choose the correct and appropriate word.
Imagine a world in which more children could read and write and understand their rights. These would be the ambassadors who would advocate for the less privileged, what a better world, in which children would enjoy their childhood.
But these are just thoughts, the work of imagination and perhaps wishful thinking that if we all could read and write the world might just be a better place, not a utopia but just better.