by Ndukwe-Nwoke Chiziterem
Millennials (also known as Generation X) are persons born between the 1980s and the 2000s. They have been known to be the truly digital generation. A lot of advent and inventions that have been made in the information sector (social media, messaging, internet content interactivity) has occurred during – and has mostly been due to – this time period.
Today we have facebook, twitter, snapchat, instagram, and a continual and rapid discarding of information as plain text. This has dropped appreciation levels for the written word, and hence, people would rather watch a movie about The Great Gatsby than read the timeless classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald; they would rather have a snapchat or instagram story or a periscope feed inform them about a natural disaster or a terrorist attack than information on Times or Guardian or Vanguard (even if the information is sharing the same digital space as the video stories or feeds they run to).
Nobody is condemning this action. It is simply a call to any who hasn’t yet observed and known this—the times has indeed changed, and methodology to approach things must with it. News companies now incorporate strategies like Eye-Reports to cater for the desire to have a smart-phone recorded video story or feed be the source of news. Radio presenters have tilted more towards facebook comments and tweets to engage their audiences on their shows than the traditional phone-ins. It is everywhere—reading culture is dwindling, or rather, drastically changing.
In Africa, where effective education is scarce, and phone companies that produce low-budget smart phones as their business strategy (Infinix, Tecno, Innjoo, etc) have made into their biggest market, this lack, or inadvertent negligence, of reading poses a much greater problem. Africa is in dire need of persons who would not only catch up with the western world in R&D (Research and Development), but will overtake them and build Africa into a fierce economy. When we have Africans who aren’t reading and depend on those 1% who can afford education in diaspora to come home and perform magic for us, then, regrettably, Africa will remain the pity case for the western world. So, it is obvious there is a need for the efforts to get people to read in Africa is far greater than these efforts elsewhere.
This millennial syndrome – pardon the coined term – of preferring images, gifs, memes, videos, to text can only be solved if there is an efficient way where these texts, no matter how lengthy, can be treated the same way the videos, gifs, memes, and still captivating images are treated. The answer is speed reading.
Now, this is not speed reading as you may picture it, but instead, a scientifically-providential means to have a person appreciate long texts as he does a movie by comprehending fully and reading faster. There’s a lot to be said about how this is possible, and how efforts have already been made, and are still being improved upon to make this experience work for everybody, but this article is not about it. To learn more about speed reading, visit readfaster.com .
The Reading Revolution in Africa Project, RRIAP (a movement founded by Festus Azarah)
is dedicated to seeing Africa through in this respect. Since it began full operation in 2012, the movement has approached secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria to introduce speed and efficient reading to students, and as well, motivate them to read and research more.
The latest workshop conducted by RRIAP was in the Federal University of Technology Owerri, which was done in collaboration with Route Africa Writers Organization, FUTO (the FUTO club for Route Africa Writers Organization, a non-profit organization for emerging African writers) on Saturday, the 28th of January, 2017.
The workshop, tagged The Efficient Reading Skills Workshop and campaigned with the hashtag #ReadRevFUTO, was graced by World-renowned researcher on Space Neuroscience and author of over 200 books, as well as proponent of the Igbo Heritage as Mediators of Yahweh, Academician Prince (Dr.) Phil Njemanze,
who spoke extensively on his controversial and game-changing research and findings on the Igbo Culture (See this YouTube video for an interview with him where he explains this) and challenged participants to read wide and see joy in research. The event also hosted Dr. Uchenna Uwakwe,
coordinator of Read to Write Right movement and staff adviser of Route Africa FUTO. Mr. Festus Azarah
gave his workshop training on speed reading, and the event was wrapped up really nicely with a challenge to partipants to purchase the speed reading software introduced on the event day, read wider, and not accept limits.
Other highlights of the day was an introductory speech by Route Africa’s founder, Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke,
titled “Speak” where he challenged participants to always use their voices, and not be silent on matters. Route Africa member, Stanley Ekpegbue
gave a moving spoken word performance, Book promotions was done by Emizon Group‘s founder, Emma Ekeke,
and finally, people left motivated, and pumped to bring back our reading culture. Not an African cry alone, but a global one indeed.
The event was anchored by Route Africa member, Okwuosa Chidike, an up-and-coming rapper and songwriter.
Here are other photos from the event:
(Route Africa Founder with Oyim Theresa, Reporter from De Lumen Press FUTO)