National anthem books point African readers to God
This year schoolchildren across Ghana are reading The Heritage, a story centered on the national anthem by award-winning author and publisher Lawrence Darmani, MAI's regional trainer for Africa. The title became a bestseller when the Ministry of Education purchased more than 100,000 copies for schools nationwide.
Lawrence hit upon the idea for The Heritage after learning that books on everyday issues were needed for adult literacy classes. A book about the Ghana National Anthem, written from a Christian worldview would inspire all Ghanaians, he believed. “Even more striking was that…the lyrics of the anthem pointed to God as the source of life,” he said.
Following the title’s success, Lawrence realized similar books could be valuable across the continent. “African anthems mention the people, the land, the rivers, the mountains, and all these are God’s provisions,” he said. The books would point readers to Christ and help create patriotic citizens. The contents would highlight “stories of the countries, profiles of heroes, exemplary deeds of citizens, national hopes, African proverbs, folktales, and other fillers to make the reading easy and lively.”
Since last year, he has challenged writers in various African countries to create a national anthem book with the rich contents of their unique heritage. So far, manuscripts are well underway in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa, with potential books commissioned in Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, and some French-speaking countries.
Besides turning readers’ hearts to God, Lawrence envisions that each book will promote new African authors. In a beautiful cycle, any proceeds will provide seed money for more Christian publishing in each country.