"Activism works. So what I’m telling you to do now is to act, because no one is too small to make a difference.”
It is line with and in response to the above witty saying by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist and Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience, that this masterpiece has stormed the literary world, to question and quench the issues of human rights abuses and violations in Africa.
A collection of twenty essays, this anthology was birthed out of mutual quest by some concerned and ardent minds, who are interested and are determined to make a difference in the 'stories' of human rights in Africa, and, in fact, in the world at large. These humans were committed to rooting out the noxious and lethal malady called 'Human Right Abuse' which has eaten deep into the root, the soul, the freedom and the general existence of humanity, both in Africa and in the entire world in general.
This ardency was first registered, when, in March 2021, the African Chapter of the International Human Rights Arts Festival (IHRAF), headed by Wole Adedoyin, made a call for submission, seeking for essays from writers in Africa, on human rights abuse and violation in the continent and beyond.
This initiative and the ‘call for submissions’ were not only focused on positively ‘re-writing the stories' and bettering the situation of human rights in Africa; it also assembled some benefits for the subscribers, by ways of certification, honourable mention, and publication. The call also came with cash prizes mapped for the authors of the best three essays, which were endowed in honour of some Africa human rights heroes and activists, as follow: Nelson Mandela Prize —1st prize ($100), Thomas Sankara Prize —2nd prize ($75), and Omoyele Sowore Prize —3rd prize ($50).
In response to this call, forty-five (45) essays were received from writers from different African countries, which are all thematic, responsive, and efficacious, with regards to the rules of the Call and purpose of the initiative.
Independently judged by Nigerian author and journalist, Izunna Okafor, and American author, artist and playwright, Tom Block, twenty (20) of these essays were longlisted based on specific criteria, out of which thirteen (13) were further shortlisted (still on based specific criteria); while three were meritoriously declared winners (also on specific criteria). There were also some honourable mentions.
These three essays and essayists adjudged winners and awarded the respective prizes earlier mentioned are: "Human Rights Abuse and Violations in Africa: It’s a Crime to be Happy in My Country" (by Ugochukwu Anadi) —1st prize; "Teenage Sexual Molestation: Rethinking the Havoc on the Girl Child" (by Charles Iornumbe) —2nd prize; and "Human Rights Abuse and Violations in Africa: Gross Domestic Violence Against Women" (by Osho Tunde) — 3rd prize.
Following the awarding of these promised cash prizes to their respective winners, and with the 'honourable mention' and 'certification' promises also fulfilled, the next promised item that apparently remain is the 'publication' promise; and that is what this anthology has come to fulfil.
Although only the shortlisted essays and essayists were promised publication during the 'call for submissions', it became really wise to adjust further to accommodate all the longlisted essays and essayists in this publication, beholding the perceived extraordinary quality, relevance and efficacy of their contents in actualising the overall goal of the initiative, which is to promote human rights values in Africa and positively influence the betterment of the human rights situation in the continent.
It is the conglomeration, editing and publication of these twenty longlisted essays that gave birth to this classic anthology, entitled "The Malady and the Remedy".
The essays published herein take both the form of stories/narratives, analyses, etc, to x-ray, bemoan, condemn and challenge the incessant abuse and violation of human rights in Africa, the unsafeness of Africa for human rights activists and freedom fighters, as well as recommend the elixirs to all these ills against humanity.
Aside its intriguing, thought-provoking, informative, educative and didactic qualities, another most outstanding feature of this anthology is that the essays published therein do not just condemn human rights violations and make recommendations; they are research-based and deep-rooted.
In other words, these essays experientially and comparably look deep into the history of human rights and human rights abuse/violation in Africa, the causes, the types, what and what have been done so far to better the situation, why those things are not yielding the expected results, and finally propose/present better and more efficacious alternatives to addressing this age-long issue of human rights abuse, borrowing from the experience of yesterday, the situation of today, and the projection for tomorrow.
Indeed, this anthology is a must-read for everyone who loves human rights and freedom. Every human being deserves to be treated as a human, for his being. Freedom fighting and right activism should be for all and for everyone. Human rights are for every human; and Africans are humans. For every other thing regarding that, flip through the pages of this anthology, and come out a better activist.