Former President John Dramani Mahama has been inducted as an Honorary Fellow of the African Public Relations Association (APRA), at the ongoing 31st Annual Conference in Kigali, Rwanda.
His investiture was conducted by the President of APRA, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, assisted by the Vice-President, Robyn de Villars and the Secretary General of APRA Jane Gitau on Tuesday, 14 May 2019.
Already an Honorary Member of the Institute of Public Relations, Ghana, and a Communications Practitioner, Mr Mahama chaired the Opening Ceremony of the Conference.
Speaking at the event Mr Mahama encouraged Africans to tell their own stories.
According to the former Ghanaian leader, Africans are the best people to tell their own stories when they are able to gain control over themselves and ground their identities in a sense of pride of who they are and where they have come from.
He said: “New media, and the knowledge feast it has engendered, offers us the opportunity to brand our continent appropriately, to establish a different narrative of our beautiful continent. Today, just armed with a smart phone, one can tell the story of Africa, the story of our community, the story of our family to millions across the world.
“Positive engagements such as this conference, in which we tell our story and supported by the professional practitioners like you should help with improving the advocacy and changing the narrative about Africa.
“We can best tell our stories when we gain control over ourselves; when we ground our identities in a sense of pride of who we are and where we have come from.
“But we need an admission as Africans that we have often-times not been true to ourselves; that we have not paid sufficient attention to who we are. We have easily discarded our traditions and embraced foreign cultures that have eroded the high moral values bequeathed us by our forebears.
“We must retrace our steps. We have examples we can learn from and those we can avoid. Our narratives must hold the mirror to what we can be.
“We need to evaluate the stories out there about us, and who has had the power to tell our story while that person tells his or her own story too.
“We Africans have tongues in our mouths; let us also tell our own stories.”
The three-day conference which opened today is on the theme: “Africa and storytelling, changing the narratives” and will discuss among others, new trends in Public Relations, the influence of New Media and Technology on the practice of Public Relations, creativity and storytelling, false narratives about Africa: an evidential rebuttal and a review of a reputation matters survey