ROLLING BACK THE TEARS

I sit in awe

My heart is sore

My life is not in the fore

Everything is a bore

 

But fingers point at me

Ancestral fingers I cannot see

Societal fingers with huge eyes glare

All saying one thing

“Men do not cry”

 

I have no dime

This sharpness in my guts, I wince with mock mime

I am not supposed to cry

And not allowed to commit a crime

 

But fingers point at me

Ancestral fingers I cannot see

Societal fingers with huge eyes glare

All saying one thing

“Men do not cry”

 

So the companion leaves

The children cheer in leaps

In the dark lonely night

All I see are women in everything from furniture to toiletries

 

But fingers point at me

Ancestral fingers I cannot see

Societal fingers with huge eyes glare

All saying one thing

“Men do not cry”

 

Men do not cry

My face is clear

While my soul is full

Full of tears that rolled back into the soul’s drum

 

But fingers point at me

Ancestral fingers I cannot see

Societal fingers with huge eyes glare

All saying one thing

“Men do not cry”

 

I just hope this doom

Will end soon

While the tear bags are still strong

Because it may burst

And the huge man

Will become that little woman

Who is like a child

Hope I don’t live that long.

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

 

WHIP ME, OH LIFE.

Baby steps develops into big steps

I sat before I crawled

Crawled before I stood

Stood before I walked

Walked before I ran

So it will be perfect with time

Yes, no matter the situation now

The same walls that laugh will look upon me with such reverence

The same fear in my heart peeping through my face

Will turn into satisfaction

The same tears in my eyes you see

Will be there, but it’ll be because of happiness

So life’s mill, grind me

Grind me to your satisfaction

And if you can, mould me into a human beef

That is something you can do only now

Like the seeds, I’ll die and be revived

By the lands that turned me over

Laughter must be sweet when tasted at the end.

SELF QUESTIONING

A new day

What must I do to push myself forward in this hungry life?

A life where hopelessness is attractive in its own right

A life where the footsteps of rain bring sluggishness

A life where money speaks and walks as it likes

A life where masters and money makers are the servants

A life where no one sees your worth while you live

A life where bad deeds travel farther than the good

A many wish to abort but fear its transportation route

This life, this day, this fate, what must I do to move on?

To feel strong?

To be me and be happy?

I do not know much, except

This life goes on.

ASIBI THE WORKING WITCH (NOT A DRAMA, NOT A POEM, JUST A HAPPENING)

“She was a witch from her childhood

While the girls played

She coveted the boys’ sticks

While girls cried for dolls

She wept for a machete and a catapult

While her fellow girls held their mothers’ skirts

She cut her father’s knickers to fit her

I tell you, she was a witch from her mother’s womb” Aduko says

 

Fire is hot

Ice is cold

Life is too short

For me to hold

I am a woman but I have the zeal

And I’m not backing out until life’s deal is sealed (Asibi sings whiles working)

 

“Ei! No wonder she is the richest farmer in the whole of Adukro

I bet she has charmed all of us and taken our glory

Now men are boys in her presence, begging this and begging that

Almost everyone in this village owes her

Asibi must be what you say she is;

A witch who does not even fear flying in broad daylight” Akuoko Laments

 

 “Then you people are very flexible

If it were my village she would have been caught

And sent straight to where she belongs

Look at her stupid husband

Caressing the tail of his lioness”

 

“Do not mind him

If it were you

What will you do?

We must think of a plan before we die of shame

Baba Alata must be brought here” Kromo cries

 

Fire is hot

Ice is cold

Life is too short

For me to hold

I am a woman but I have the zeal

And I’m not backing out until life’s deal is sealed (Asibi sings whiles working)

 

“She is truly a witch

One of a kind

Who takes the strength of all men

And uses it to her benefit

Until she is lynched, I ‘m sorry to say

All you men will never be free”

 

“But Baba, the police will arrest us

If we lynch her

No one sees her flying in the dark

But when we try ours, we will surely be in jail” Ohufo mews like a meek cat

 

“Look at the coward

Someone has given you a bed and you ask for a wife

If you are afraid, we will do it

We must be free of this snake

So we can also prosper” Aduko bemoans

 

“But do it with tact

You may land in trouble as Ohufo said

So do it with sense” Baba Alata says with his back turned as his ahenemma flaps one at a time

 

“It’s been three years since Asibi was burnt with her family

This village loses inhabitants every day

She brought men to work here

Now our men go in search of work

She brought food to the hungry mouth

Now mouths live on shrubs

She brought laughter to the sad faces

Now our faces show our sadness

None can be her, none will be her

Asibi was one

One in a million” Ohufo says

 

“Even I am appalled

Baba Alata must have led us astray

He told us to lynch her” Aduko says

 

“Do not blame him

You started it Aduko

You said she was a witch from her mother’s womb

You are the enemy we seek

Always sleeping and expecting food to fall from the gods

Lazy cocoon!” Kromo shouts

 

“And you agreed

Please leave me alone

I am not the only one at fault here

You all agreed, we all hatched the plan

Even you Ohufo knew but said nothing

So no one is free from her family’s extinction” Aduko says in exasperation

 

“You were foolish

We kill humans but we use their properties

You burnt humans and their properties

While you sit here and cry

Now we live

Like fowls

We pick what we see

And wander where our feet take us

“Asibi the witch, how I miss your songs” Kromo says

“Asibi the witch how I miss your food” Aduko says

“Asibi the witch, how I miss your money”  Kwaa Appiah says

“Asibi the witch, how I miss your human filled village” Kotoko says

All turn and say outloud:

“The damp finally spoke”

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

 

GIRLS BEING FORCED INTO SUBMISSION?

She comes to me and asks “What do I have to do to be like you?”

And I start in pity.

“Be like me?” I ask.

“Why in God’s name do you want to be like me?

Everyone is unique in his or her own right.

My dear”

“No madam, you are beautiful, intelligent, confident and above all vociferous

My parents only tell me to always keep my voice in a bottle as it is a tool of sin.

I do not get to even look up where elders and men have gathered.

Madam, please tell me how I can be a human being like you”

“I am left breathless, angry at the society that makes women less human, then I feel sorry for the feeble being that stands helpless before me. Aisha, you can be you, you can have a voice, you are so beautiful, you are important. What your mother says is what she does, but that does not bind you to do whatever she wants you to do.”

“But madam, she says I’ll have to get married before next year as my husband to be has been found”

You will not get married before next year Aisha, you will get married when you want to. There are laws ready to guard you against being forced into anything you do not want to do as a young girl. Just study hard and abstain from bad deeds.

“Madam, how about adopting me? How about letting me be with you?”

 

Why must young minds worry about keeping their fire of life glowing? My heart bleeds when I hear these words from female students who have been told where they belong: the kitchen, in the bedroom, or to men ready to adorn them with clothes and jewelry to be used as a decorative tool. Why must children suffer this injustice?

Why must girls be told that women without husbands can never make in the society.  Why must girls be subdued and made timid or stupid for the benefit of men who may not deserve them? Why can’t we encourage them instead of killing their potentials? Why can’t we tell them that they can have it all? Why must we make education a scarecrow to scare our girls from soaring in success?

This Ghana-woman needs answers and needs heads to think. Many who do this may not be able to read this, but of course, those who will be able to read must be able to show some care by trying to impart knowledge to people who need to be educated on the importance of the girl child education.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

THE gODS SLEEP, THEIR CHILDREN WEEP

We have come to your shrine

We have come to your shrine with our empty calabashes of thirst

We have come to your shrine

We have come to your shrine because there is no where else to turn to

We come to your shrine weary from the many searches for food

We have come to your shrine

Because we know the gods dwell in abundance and know whatever we are searching

Because we know this sanctuary is our last resort

We know the gods know our plight and want us to plead in order for them to grant

Our hands are locked together

And in unison, we ask for mercy

We ask for abundance in this era of scarcity

The strong horns adorned with your red colours show that famine must fear you

The many holes in moulds once lifted may bring rain on this droughted land

You live like a miser so your children will live in abundance

So stop sleeping and look as your children weep and starve

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

 

UNFAIRNESS BUT FAIR TO TRADITIONS

I lived on treasured lands

Lands of my fathers

I drank in ignorance of this world

And saw bright stars shine under the hot sun

Why?

 

On the pathway to my father’s farm,

I met Mr. Kwaku Bonsam

Who greeted me with glee

And touched my buttocks

I told him I didn’t like that

The leaves gave themselves high fives expectant of what was to follow

The mountains with the help of the air whistle in excitement

He turned facing me and held my cloth

Now seeing what I alone have been seeing in growth,

He turns to enter my sacred shrine

That needs more refurbishment in order to receive the blessings of the gods

And desecrated it.

 

Now I walk a shamed lady

Whose own people blame her for seduction

And all men think of as a disgrace

By no fault of mine

I am an outcast

An outcast in my own motherland

An outcast in the eyes of those who have eyes

An outcast who even the heavens abhor

An outcast who sees stars in broad daylight

Stars that seek to blind me

There is no refuge

No appealing refuge

He sapped the life out of my youth

Now I must enter the door of forever darkness

The door of no return.

 Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

 

A LIBERATED WOMAN

I am a woman,

Yes I am a woman

A woman who forms part of the makers of human kind

A woman who nurses and makes sure humanity continues

A woman who refuses to be suppressed by heart wrenching relationships

A woman who weeps for the sufferings of her ancestors

 

I am a woman

A woman who refuses to be humiliated

A woman who refuses to work for someone to take the glory

A woman whose fortune lies not on tall beds and clothed holes

A woman whose hands work to feed her

A woman whose main wish is to make the world a comfortable place for her wards

A woman who will not be insulted and made a slave

Only to die a pauper

 

I am that woman

That woman who rocks your brains but not your cock

That woman who speaks with eyes wide opened and not half closed

A woman who refuses to be the enemy of other women

I am that woman who wants to be the change

I need in this world

So look up

Look into my eyes without taking offense

With respect while we engage in this discourse.

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

CAPTURED BY THE HEART

Going and going

Fuming and fuming

About the weather and its mood swings

‘Good morning’ is all it took

And I am captured instantly

Limerence?

 

“Mate ahwe wo dↄ mu

Ma tↄ ↄdↄ nsuo mu

Ԑde merekↄ nanso ↄrehwԑ me hann

Ɔkukudurufo bi ndom mbԑyi me ԑ?”

 

My world is swelling

My body is shrinking

I’m now a powerless dwarf

With an owl’s eyes

I gape and I gape

And I’m still hungry

 

“Mate ahwe wo dↄ mu

Ma tↄ ↄdↄ nsuo mu

Ԑde merekↄ nanso ↄrehwԑ me hann

Ɔkukudurufo bi ndom mbԑyi me ԑ?”

 

He is turning away

A beast and a robber in cover of handsomeness

Laughing and ‘prouding’ in his manly feat

How can he eat this strong heart without batting an eye?

One who gigolos with his presence

I call and I call but none responds

 

“Mate ahwe ne dↄ mu

Ma tↄ ↄdↄ nsuo mu

Ԑde merekↄ nanso ↄrehwԑ me hann

Ɔkukudurufo bi ndom mbԑyi me ԑ?

Obiara nni hↄ

Ewiase ayԑ budiin

Babiara ne biribiara ayi me ama”

 

I am forced to duck

I am forced by the waves to duck a second time

I am forced by all the river forces to duck a third time

And I drown

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

 

 

GHANA AND HER UTILITIES

It is a well-known fact that the Ghanaian utility systems; water and electricity, is a farce. All they need is the money and all they give are excuses as to why they can’t deliver to expectation. What is most annoying is that, they will never speak with words the lay man will understand, they will, like the politicians who spend monies they cannot account for, use words that a master’s degree holder in the English language will find difficult to understand, no matter the dictionaries he or she uses. What are the crimes of consumers?

Well, I can say that some consumers are not managers. They open their tabs and put on their lights when the natural sun shines bright, dwarfing the beams of the light, the water flows to no end and the thirsty earth drinks to its fill while they neglect it at the expense of one conversation or the other. Some too will not pay their utility bills. And for some, they never intend to pay utility bills so steal lines into their houses so either the light or the water flow ‘nichodemously’ to their houses.

This notwithstanding, those who do pay their bills must not be made to suffer the consequences of those who have been allowed to take these institutions for granted. You can buy an amount of units on your prepaid metre that must take you a month to use, within three days or even two, they develop legs and run back to their seller taunting you to go and get them with unbudgeted cash. When a complain is lodged, you can get so many excuses in terms you do not understand and the many questions force you to buy instead of standing or sitting there bandying words with confused people placed in complaint offices.

We know we cannot live without water. Water they say is life and when you have life, the elders will say, you have everything. Who will want to joke with such a thing? We also know that with the technological advancement in present times, we can never do without electricity. But the water companies do not give a ‘fuck’ as to how we get the water when they close the tabs. 90% of the time, they close these tabs without our knowledge. Then workers who did not plan this must either move around looking for just a bucket to bath or go to their work places with their ‘bathless’ bodies to risk incurring the displeasure of their bosses. Most unscrupulous government workers take these occurrences to mean a holiday in the public sector because of lack of supervision. Women and children especially from ‘carless’ homes must use their natural wheels to walk long distances in order to get water for cooking and other purposes.

What at all is the problem now? The frustrated market woman will ask. But the P.R.O.’s of these institutions will sit on radios and say things that they themselves cannot understand. They know they can get away with anything they do because water is a necessity we cannot afford to neglect. The elders say ‘if your finger is in the mouth of someone, you do not hit the person’s pate’ so we grumble for a while and we shut up.

The electricity companies do worse. Sometimes, we can just dance with their disco services. The lights go on and off, on and off, on and off until they decide to finally put it off for many days or some hours or leave it for some days to appease you. How can you complain? They always have alibis. The transformer here got burnt, or the wires there got burnt are some of their annoying excuses. One cannot afford to trust them with any electrical appliances. So you put them off at the first sign of their disco moves or you look for money to replace your appliances. And you can never think of leaving your machines on charge or on when you are not in the house. The worst case scenario is you losing even your house and everything in it when there is general fire. Why do we need to worry about our fridges even in our sleep? You find yourself ‘frigdeless’ when their disco play catches you in your beauty sleep.

And you want to compete with the developed nations, where even five minutes lights out in five years is considered an abomination? When at all will these utility managers stop taking us for granted? What at all do they need to be able to give us stable services? When can we sleep and be at ease without any problems? Must the work of those who use electricity be in the hands of these companies? Please sit up so you can have some peace and we can also have some peace. They might not say it to your hearing but you are being cursed at every time your services are in their ‘elements’ and the curses have their justifications. We are tired of poor services, we are tired of you regulating our schedules and we are tired of living under your fake promises.

                                                                            Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

PLAY AWAY

I want to crawl, crawl, crawl,

Crawl like a lizard,

 Hop, hop, hop,

Hop like a frog

Fly, fly, fly,

Fly like a bird

Then I’ll jump like a monkey

From tree, tree, tree to tree.

Then I’ll jump like a monkey

From tree, tree, tree to tree.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

WHAT ARE WE?

I am nothing,

You are nothing,

He is nothing,

She is nothing,

They are nothing,

Yes, we are nothing.

We are just seeds planted and watered

We blossom

Then we are plucked by the farmers

Grinded,

Put into colanders;

Which happily squeezes every juice we have with each glass of water

Then we are left with nothing, but debris which is thrown away

To blend with the earth

So dearie, tell me,

Who are we?

Whether you are sumptuous looking,

Malnourished,

Withered or sun burned

We end up in the same colander

So who at all are we?

We are nothing

So let the raised shoulders fall

And the laser eyes dim

Let the murderous tone be gentle

And stretch your hands to help your fellow seed

For there is abject loneliness in the open mouthed colander.

  Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

DOUBTFUL MOMENTS

I marvel as to how far I’ve come

I marvel thinking about how each day comes with its own thrashing

Then I sing

“Onyame bԑyԑ ama me

Sԑ merԑ no so a enyԑ obi na’bԑka

Sԑ ↄfa ne boↄ a, ↄto ne bu to na’nkↄtↄ baabi bↄne

Onyame na’ra ↄbԑyԑ, oooooh

Onyame bԑyԑ ama me

Sԑ merԑ no so a enyԑ obi na’bԑka

Sԑ ↄfa ne boↄ a, ↄto ne bu to na’nkↄtↄ baabi bↄne

Onyame na’ra ↄbԑyԑ”

 

Every waking sun laughs

Giving reasons to hope

And prayers to catch whatever it holds

Then the weather is bribed

The sun’s mouth is covered

Concealing its smile

The clouds shield it

Hiding every bit of hope to be seen

And rains stone with murderous thoughts

Which fall to maim

Then my song changes;

“Onyame na adԑn na wapaw me?

Mayԑ wo bↄne bi a, anka frԑ me wↄ wo nan ase

Na menpa wo akyԑw ԑԑ?

Ɔko wei deԑ ԑso sene me”

 

These challenges covered by the transformed cloud turned beating rains

Must stop.

If there is nothing in this life to laugh about

If nothing can satisfy beings

Let me know and sing songs the world will hear:

2x “I  know I am hopeless,

Hopeless I came

Hopeless I shall go”

But life wouldn’t be that forward

Will it?”

  Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

CLUELESS

 

Tell me,

 What is in the dark?

What is in the dark,

That deceivers lure

And receivers of passion cure?

 

Just tell me,

What is in the dark?

What is in the dark,

That things which cannot be done plainly

Are boldly done mainly?

 

What at all is in the dark?

What is in the dark,

That is so frightening

That it fears lightning

And must be concealed or turns threatening?

 

Tell me now

For me to bow

To the true convincer now

Because I cannot fathom how

And still have to shout wow!

When the abominations are uncovered and true men are caught in abysmal vows

Caused by whispers of the dark.

IGNORANCE, A REAL BLISS.

I think about the kontomire

Which must always blossom

To serve as nutrients for my children

I think about the farm

Which must have a good yield

 In order to send my children to school

I think about the funeral cloth

That everyone is buying

To attend the funeral of our dearly departed

I think about the roads

Which is bad

And must be plied to the market for business

I think about the mosquitoes

That bite and infects with malaria

And the huge health bills needed for its healing

Now they want me to think about a dollar

Which I have never seen

A dollar which I have never spent

The dollar that stands at one place

While the cedi supposedly runs around it

Like a fake fetish wanting to dupe a sage

I could care less

For as long as I get food to eat

Water to bath

And my children are in good health.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

IN THE MIDST OF MEN

In the midst of men
Tempers never last
Mouths open wide
Foods cry in pain
While drinks sulk and wince

In the midst of men
Lovers’ tongues are loose
Dirty panties and their wearers are revealed
Women are commodities, discussed, bargained for and bought
At a prize of an ego

In the midst of men
Conquering means mounting heavy beads
Thrusting deep holes
Melting stubborn hearts
And having a pocket full of ‘dough’

In the midst of men
Pride is all
The woman must always take the fall
For eyes of other men
So as to let loose wings of an eagle on her man’s shoulders.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

VICTORS OF THE SPERM WAR

They are accursed

And it is their fault

For winning the sperm war

And swimming to the earth’s shore

 

Starve them,

Verbally abuse them,

Chain them,

Beat them,

And humiliate them

Because it is their fault

 

They are accursed

And it is their fault

For winning the sperm war

And swimming to the earth’s shore

 

When the bodies stayed in each other

And the breathes played innuendos and crescendos

When laughter turned into passion

And tears meant wanting more under the dark sheets

They sent themselves to be planted without farmers

So do it all with intensity, for

 

They are accursed

And it is their fault

For winning the sperm war

And swimming to the earth’s shore

 

Vessels filled with hatred

Mortals with no sympathy

Who frighten and kill their younger souls

Under the pretense of being wronged

Farmers without good plans

Who throw seeds around only to water them with potent poison

 

Crafters of evil

Who love passion but hate responsibilities

Fie! Fie! Fie!

Go on your deeds with vim and vigour,

Shine the silvers with coal tar and expect them to sparkle, cooks with no morals,

Your reward must be on beds of red roses full of thorns, so you continue with passion

 

For they are accursed

And it is their fault

For winning the sperm war

And swimming to the earth’s shore

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

TEMPTATIONS RISE, DISCIPLINE FALLS

He saw the marker as their boobs,

Textbook as their big nyashes,

Those eyes make him nervous

His tongue flips

“c..raaaaas, tomay, ei, today, solly, our toprick, ei, topic”

General laughter

“Stop raaghing”

Intense laughter

And he bolts like thunder.

“Why is it my fault?

Why do I have to go through the humiliation?

The girls are no longer girls,

Their faces and make ups,

Their clothes on their bodies,

Their presence and smell,

Their walks and their wriggles,

Their mouths and their voices,

Their bodies speak volumes.”

He fumes.

Temptations are rising

While self-discipline falls.

  Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

 

NEOCOLONIALISM, MY THOUGHTS.

Today, let’s not dabble in research for any meaning of any word. Let’s just walk through my thoughts, then you can tell me what you think after we reach its end. Neocolonialism happens to be the indirect dominance of previous captors, or neocolonialism is the indirect rule of white supremacy, or neocolonialism is the thoughts and fears that previous colonies habour as to whether they can be able to do without their previous lords, thus, forcing them to seek the latter’s directions in almost everything they do, making the lords take advantage of ruling behind the scenes. I do not know about the other colonies. My questions revolve around the African continent and they are as follows:

What makes Africans think managing their affairs need chaperoning?

Is it lack of internal resources? Or

Gratitude to whites for their forefather’s colonialism?

Is it for the fact that the leadership of Africa can sit and dine with them for their citizens to see their superiority?

Or is it just an inferiority complex?

I look on when whites visit African countries and are hailed by many black men. I do not know why, but I’ve never been the type to hail people no matter their statuses in society. I guess I have always thought that respect and reverence must be earned not by what people do (as in their jobs) but by their ability to stretch their hands in respect and look at you with the same eyes you look at them. My thoughts have always been respect me and I will in turn respect you. But many blacks call onto whites, waving and sometimes pushing themselves closer for friendship. I also see some groveling for the little crumbs they can get off their plates and the worn clothes they can offer.

If I happened to be hailed like that, and I am not white, I would develop the urge to cheat the other or even make those people my dogs. This is the situation. Not that I’m blaming the whites for this, no, not at all. They are right when they do take advantage. My question for those who grovel when they see these people are;

Have you no shame?

 Do you not hear how your people are treated when they go to their countries?

Must you throw away your dignities just for second hand clothing and some little financial gains?

Why do you always wash your dirty linens in public in order to pave way for ‘whitemailers’ to ‘whitemail’ you?

For those who do not know, some white people just come to Africa to look for whom to prey upon. A picture depicting your sympathetic state is all they need to get rich. They pretend not knowing what your culture entails and show you to their peers, begging them to give out their monies which you mostly do not get to spend, not even a little. Now, their peers who give thinking they are helping people in need sometimes develop a paranoia and a sense of having a say in whatever it is you do. That is why we get their insensitive opinions whenever our cases crop up. Yes, many of your own people who have seen the logic of the whites now go with proposals, take some little amount of money, set up offices in Africa, help one or two people and keep the bigger part of the money for themselves while the white lords enjoy the biggest portions from the gains of so called sympathizers.  

When will we feel any sense of shame and desist from these embarrassing acts?

 Every country has its own problems; every country has its own attraction.

Must ours always be negative?

Must poverty describe us?

Must we continue to grovel at the feet of those who see us as nothing but animals?

Do not get me wrong, some white people actually do have respect for humans, there are those who will never indulge in racial discrimination. But for those who do;

must we always throw them a rope which they’ll use to climb, (while we stand down, hoping they’ll get there and pull us up) get to safe spots and cut it into pieces or strangle us with?

I will forever respect those who respect me, be it black, white, red, or whatever colour there is, in fact, even if that which respects me happens to be an animal. I will never see my fellow human who has no connection to me and lick their boots even if I am close to my deathbed because of hunger. That fact that our leaderships grovel at their governments’ feet, take their monies (which they mostly spend with us with a chunk going into the coffers of our very own rulers) and attach bonds which work against we the citizens, does not mean I must also lick the boots of their citizens. Let us learn to respect ourselves, let us build our confidence and love ourselves, let us work hard, forgoing corruption and indifference, for only by doing so will we be able to gain respect for ourselves.

              Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

THE COURT OF THE VILLAGE BY AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA

 

Sahada breathes, blinks and thinks for a moment about the act her eyes witnessed here in Kasimui seconds ago, did she just see a child banged to the wall, beheaded and brought back to life by the man? And look, another man is cutting himself with a knife but there is no sign of a cut or blood. She must ask;

Excuse me Sir, please which festival is this?

The man looks her from head to toe and asks in his local language Kasimna if she is from these parts. She replies in the affirmative in her broken Kasimna. Then she follows the man’s eye from her chest downwards. She is wearing a sleeveless top, a chain, a push up brazier that is helping her breast stand erect, tight jeans which leaves no room for air, and a long weave on tied in a chignon to accentuate her beauty. She turns her eyes from herself to the other women and ladies around and realizes what is causing the man this horror. All the women are wearing ‘agbada’ that cover every part of the bodies except their faces and their fingers. They are also wearing headgears which hide whatever hair there are on their heads. The young girls are also dressed in like manner but some have a little bit of legs showing. She instinctively cleans her mouth with her handkerchief and her red lipstick stains the white handkerchief. Suddenly feeling like a chick in the midst of hawks as more eyes turn upon her in judgment, she manages to announce;

‘Mma Amina Muniru is my grandmother and my father is Baba Wataru, I am looking for …’

Before she could utter another word, a queer short and wrinkly looking old woman comes forward and looks her in the eyes, turns her around and exclaims;

‘Wↄi! It is really his daughter’

she goes on to wail mentioning the name of her father in every wailing sentence. Three women come forward with their cover cloths to cover what she now sees as her nakedness, but one gets to her first. The stench from the cloth and the stern looks from the men force a short apologetic smile onto her face. She regrets having forced her father to allow her make the trip alone. She is led into a huge compound of mud houses where she is given a calabash with muddy water which she declines to the horror of the elders.

She is forced to change into one of her grandmother’s clothes which smelt like the earth at its best. Mma Amina asks her what she is doing in the village. She tells her about her deal with her father to stay in the village for a year after which she will be sent abroad for further studies. She divulges this with difficulty as her grip on her mother tongue had been taken over by the English language. Mma Amina welcomes her with a number of rules after going through her luggage. The rice, oil and canned fishes are for special celebrations like Salah, her taste in clothes is a sin, because their customs do not promote women who provoke men to sin and the Quran forbids jumpy breasts in revealing clothes. She nods her head but immediately regrets, because of the shocking looks on the faces of the women gathered. One of them tells her it is gross disrespect to nod when an elder speaks to you, you must respond with words.

She mutters her sorry and immediately misses her home in Accra. She remembers her mother’s hometown in Akyem Akrokere. Although the telecommunications network there is poor, there is freedom of speech and expression, there is freedom in choosing clothes to wear, there is freedom in almost everything. The only problem there is that many of the villagers loved to gossip and never ceased to tell people to their faces that they are children of white people because they speak adulterated Akan and act like westerners. Never had Sahada thought anyone could live this antiquated life in these modern times. She wonders how she is going to be able to live here for a whole year. She is brought out of her day nightmare with a question as to whether she will go with them to the festival grounds or rest in the room. She chooses the former when she remembers the beheading and resuscitation of the little boy and the many scary wonders. Hey meat, better to be among the cats than be in hiding she whispers to herself.

During the merry making, she is able to pick up a bit of information about the “challenge me festival” which happens to be a festival where the best spiritualists and the best herbalists are crowned with respect. Those who lost their hands and part of their bodies when they tried to exhibit their prowess are still being tended to by the powerful ones. Those who died in the challenge are given a not so good burial. The reality that there is no electricity in this village hit her like a punch from a demon. She shrivels with fear anytime she hears a sound from any the trees or the bushes that sit around them like gigantic lions who are guarding edible animals, there is always the possibility of the guards turning into the danger.

Sahada lies on the mat in between two young women who may be her age mates but look older. She finds it difficult to breathe as the stench from their armpits hold hands with the hot air in the room and together fight her nose, tears well up in her eyes as she thinks of her empty air conditioned room and very soft bed in Accra. Everything is going against her, the mosquitoes, the sounds of the night, the rats that sniff them for God knows what etc.

Just when sleep is most sweet, Sahada hears her name being called, she gets up to realize the other girls are holding buckets; obviously ready to go to the stream to fetch water. She has never carried a bucket of water before, not even in her mother’s hometown. She is handed a bucket, without being told, she follows them like an obedient dog, saying nothing throughout the long walk. Immediately the bucket of water touches her head pad, she feels a sharp pain in her neck and down goes the bucket and its content. They fetch another and place it on her head, mid-way to the house, she trips and falls and the water and dirty metal bucket roll down into the bush.

She goes for her bucket but refuses to get back to the stream alone to fetch another bucket, knowing she cannot even carry the bucket by herself. When they get home, one of her aunts upon hearing the stream drama yells out:

‘Wataru really has given that Christian wife of his the chance to spoil his children, just look at a grown woman not being able to carry a bucket of water? Who do you suppose must fetch water for you to bath?’

This reprimand brings tears to her eyes and her mood falls to 100% sadness. She knows now; she hates her father’s village, she hates their house, their rooms, even most of the people in the village. As the day passes, she withdraws into herself. She is tired of the food, which is always tuo zaafi in the evening and Hausa porridge in the morning. She has no friend; she hates the very scorch weather, the muddy drinking water, and hard work on the farms. Each day she counts the days left for her to go to Accra in preparation for her studies abroad. She is now eighteen years and she is living like a very primitive old woman, thanks to her father. She now realizes why her mother was not in support when her father suggested this. Her curiosity has made her bite more than she can chew, now her mouth hurts.

The lack of technology she reckons is not without advantages. The people meet in the evenings according to their gender to tell stories, sing and dance together. The trees have become her very tight companions on days without farm activities. She decides to refrain from engaging in any conversations with anyone unless she needs to. This resolution materialized when she was made to understand that females can never express themselves when males are talking, even if those males happen to be young boys.

There is one thing Sahada tries so much to understand with no success, the fact that old men get to choose the beautiful young girls whose parents force them to agree to their proposals. They are in the worst case scenario. Throughout her stay in this village, she had known everyone in the house, or so she thought, until a girl named Rahamatu is forced out flanked by three watch women after a night of heavy preparations of food and drinks (pito). It is obvious that the women fear the weeping girl would run away. Sahada is told Rahamatu’s groom happens to be a sixty seven year old man with three wives who promised the head of their family a vast piece of land and some cattle if he gave the hand of Rahamatu to him in marriage. The family head, Alhaji Mutala Wataru agreed with a speed of lightening. And so Rahamatu who defied him by running to her mother’s village in Piisim was brought back and locked in a separate room for months until her marriage party today. Sahada puts herself into the shoes of Rahamatu and weeps with her. Almost all the women in the house shouts on both of them, saying Rahamatu is being melodramatic and pretentious when she should be celebrating for haven found herself a rich man. They shouted on Sahada to mind her own business and advised that she prays for a man as wealthy as Alhaji Tanko. Sahada forbids it in her head and enters the room she shares with the women with the excuse that she is nursing a headache. She thinks about this throughout the evening and can make no excuses for the elders, for what she sees as grave greed.

She finds friendship with a high school dropout Zuma who claimed bad spirits ended his education. According to him, one of his father’s sisters charmed his brain and made him daft. Sahada tries to understand the possibility of that happening but she gives up, knowing that Kasimui is not a place to try understanding anything.

Sahada sits under one of the trees writing poetry when she sees a child playing football. This child suddenly jumps, holds his leg and falls. She gets up and goes to see what the problem is and sees an animal that looks like a rat run into the bush, obviously after biting him. She calls out for help, within minutes almost all the people in the village surround the boy. The first man who touches him shouts that the boy is dead. They ask Sahada what happened to him and she narrates what she saw. The boy’s father and mother wail openly. Everyone sympathizes with them but the man refuses to be consoled because as it turns out, the boy was his only male child. He calls for the head spiritualist in the village, whose service is expensive, to come and tell him what exactly happened to his boy. Baba Munkaila, Sahada deduces from the conversation circulating around is a very sad man. Almost all his male children die before the age of two. The only one that has survived until now happens to be Abu, the one who just passed on. He is known as one who never shows his emotions but can be very persistent.

Baba Bubububu; the fearful spiritualist, upon jumping around, shouting in undecipherable words says Munkaila’s eldest wife happens to be the witch who turned into that animal that bit Abu. The woman who was standing there crying her eyes out suddenly develops two other heads and horns and lion like canines in the eyes of all the people gathered, Sahada reckons. Every eye feasts on her with disdain. The mother of Abu; Asana throws herself at Mma Feruza and asks her to kill her too. Munkaila stands mouth agape not knowing what to say and the men around holds Mma feruza, ties her like a bunch of firewood, carries her and follows Baba Bubububu.

Baba Bubububu said no one is to shift the corpse until he talks to Mma Feruza’s witch queen. So they cover Abu and leave the scene, Sahada’s legs refuse to carry her from the supposed corpse of the boy. She goes closer after sometime and thinks she saw the boy move. She remembers her father saying palm oil, and some leaves he showed her, mixed together brings out poison from people. She runs to the house and gets the palm oil potion ready. She pours it into the mouth of Abu and holds his nose together with his lips in hopes her eyes did not deceive her. After what seems like years in four minutes, the boy wakes and vomits some greenish slimy substance, then sits up asking for his father. Sahada realizes the boy is so weak so sends him to her house. After a while, it dawns on her that Mma Feruza may be suffering on account of Abu’s perceived demise.

She gives the boy some food and drags him to Baba Bubububu’s shrine. Sahada carries Abu on her back because he is still weak. What greets Sahada’s mind sends her sprouting onto the ground with Abu. Mma Feruza has been tied to a pole, obviously beaten to a pulp and looks like she is panting for breathe. Sahada screams that the child is alive; everybody turns to look at the boy who runs towards Mma Feruza. The boy cries out loud for them to free Mma Feruza. Baba Bubububu looks on obviously looking caught but recovers enough to say his intensified whippings forced the woman to wake the dead boy. Sahada shouts that the boy had only collapsed because of the poison and narrated what she did to revive him. But Baba Bubububu shuts her up with the a loud shrilled voice. He goes on to say Sahada has committed a taboo and so needs to be his wife so as to be able to pacify the gods for her disrespect.

Sahada takes to her heels straight into her house. She picks the electrifier her mother gave her and electrocutes anyone who comes close to her. With that, she runs into the bush never stopping until she meets a portable road. She kneels by the roadside but cars will not stop to help her.  She collapses by the side of the road.

Sahada wakes up receiving greetings from a white ceiling. For a moment, she cries thinking she is still in her dream. But in the end, she is tapped and asked if she is alright. She responds in the affirmative and asks how she came to be here. A woman tells her, she saw her by the roadside almost lifeless, so she brought her here. She asks if there is a way to contact her family. Sahada gives her her mother’s mobile phone number.

Mrs. Wataru couldn’t believe her eyes and her ears. She scolded her husband for allowing their daughter to go through such an ordeal. Mr. Wataru apologises saying he merely wanted her to get the feel of the village life so she will know about her root. They thank the woman who introduces herself as Abigail Tetteh, and thanks her. They take their daughter home. When they reach home, they are greeted by no other than Alhassan their security man who informs them that Mma Amina and two elders are waiting for them in the hall. Mrs. Wataru sends her daughter through the back door to her room. Asked about their mission to the house, they narrate that Baba Bubububu says if Sahada does not come to the village to be his wife, all the family members will die. She stresses that all other options has been rejected by the chief priest.

Mr. Wataru asks them to look for his daughter for him as he has no intention of believing in a spiritualist who does not know his left from right. He asks his mother and the elders to get back to the village and look for his daughter before he ascends on them with policemen. The three people leave for the village.

Three months later, Mr. Wataru sends his daughter abroad for further studies and travels to the village to see his folks. He tells them that he needs to take his daughter back to Accra with him so they must produce the girl no matter what. The elders lead him with attired policemen to the shrine of Baba Bubububu who, upon interrogation of his household, took to his heel immediately he was told Mr. Wataru had come to the village. He assembles his elders and tells them to try as much as possible to think carefully about certain things before taking action or consulting the said oracles. He tells them it is time to revise some of their beliefs as some are too antiquated for modern usage. She asks after Mma Feruza and is told she passed away after that ordeal. She stresses that traditions and beliefs that take innocent lives must never be encouraged and leaves the Kasimui village swearing in his head never to allow any of his children step foot in that village again.

He says in his head that it is better to keep them in limbo than to make the whereabouts of his daughter known, because that will rekindle their superstition and ruin the life of his innocent child.

THE END.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Agbada: An African cloth sewn and worn to cover every part of the body.

Wↄi: A local exclamation of amazement or shock.

Pito: A local drink made of millet in the Northern part of Ghana.

UNWANTED TREASURES.

Those are their treasures

They struggled for those treasures

Now you clear without measures

And you laugh in your vocation

They stand and gaze while their hearts are ablaze

They are thinking of how to answer their location

When seekers seek

Break with mildness

They bear the tears, love and laughter of the destitute

They are watching

They are watching laughing in madness

And crying in sorrow

They are watching their life long achievements being flushed irretrievably

They are watching the arms that received them with all their flaws brutally severed

They are watching you feed while they famish

They are watching in shock

So do it with sympathy

Do it with their presence in mind

Do it by stepping into their shoes

Pull those structures down gently

 They matter to the many eyes that openly weep.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

SHUSH!

I love the trees

I love the air

But I am so scared

I am so so scared

That I would be tied to a strong tree

On a windy day being whipped by the branches of the trees

As a mob of lovers turned haters chant in agreement

I love the sun

I love the rain

But I am scared

I am scared out of my wits and senses

That I would be put on a stick-like bed facing the dim sun,

Being pulled by four hyenas

As the thunder strikes and the rains pour on me.

I love the cold

I love the heat

But I am scared

I am so scared

That I would be viewed on smooching metal wires on a hot fire

On a very cold day as carnivores salivate in anticipation.

I love to run

I love to trot

But I am scared

I am so scared in utter delusion

That I would be ridden like a horse, carrying many heavy goods

And being canned to go faster by a master who has no drop of compassion.

Stop using words to push me

Those meaningless blackmails are antiquated to me

Let me be in my queenly trance where fear only sits untouched.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

HAUNTED

I am running through a wilderness

I am running through a wilderness of thorns barefooted

There is this sorrowful drumming being played by a prowess

Confusing me and saying in my ears ‘you are hated!’

I do not know why I have the urge to run under a sky that is moonless?

Now taunters are humming, a song for the taunted

Why? What abominable taboo could I have committed? I know I am harmless

My feet hurt, my head spins, my body sweats, I’ve been fated

To breathe thrice in a second, being watched in keenness

I thirst not, I feel no hunger, but I know I’m being rated

Hands of the trees chase in fierceness

Eyes of the dark aim to make me feel intimidated

Claws of the thorns pierce deep from all directions with gladness

At last, I stretch my legs and fall onto my safe bed whose only danger is the heat.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

PAINTING WITH WORDS

I want to paint you

No, I need to paint you

With words,

Words as serene as the morning dew

Words known to only a few

Words ornamented with beautiful minerals that many to catch a sound cue

I need to paint you

With words that can break even the heart of Adolf Hitler in his grave

Words that can break the strength walls of Mike Tyson

Words that pastes permanent smiles

Words that colours itself with colours that charm

Words that imprints itself forever on their owner’s heart

Words that shine even through the skin

Words that erase any thoughts of doubts

Words that stand erect, giving you a hug, in my absence

Sit quietly, as I paint you with divine words

That’ll make you forever mine.

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

 

CLASHES AND LOVING

We are like birds holding feathers in the sky

We are the bed and mattress

We go no where without each other

We are like the pestle and the mortar 

We work together and attract queer looks from passers by

 

Yes, we clash

Hurting each other

And we lock in loving embrace, blocking even the toes of the air from peeping into the clash of our stomachs

I know

You know

That we do have each other, darling, no need to rush.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

 

DECISION OF THE HEART

 

Back in august 2015, on a very sunny Sunday stood a family that is reuniting after four years of separation. The Apau family was a happy family. The love the mother and father exhibited was inculcated into their only seed, Angel. Her intelligence had earned her a place in the University of Ghana, Legon and her forceful parents and helpful aunt had made it possible for her to attend her dream school. The loving parents travelled from their village to accompany her to campus for the first time and they could not hide their happiness upon seeing her.

“You have grown into a very beautiful young lady Angel, my daughter. Just four years in the city here has changed you completely. I pray you’ll continue to be respectful to your aunt so you can be able to complete your ‘unibokity’ in the city. Men are to be feared, you know I am one of them so if I tell you to fear my gender you must pay heed. I am not saying you should not date, all I am saying is that make sure you are sure before getting into anything.”

Ei Daddy, it is not ‘unibokity’ it is university. Angel said.

Hmm, you know some of us were not lucky as you people are today. The farthest we could go was form four.

Say that again. Mrs. Apau lamented.

Ok daddy, I’ve heard all that you’ve said and I will do my possible best to abstain from all the bad things and be respectful.

Mr. and Mrs. Apau then bid their daughter goodbye at the lorry station as the vehicle zoomed past them. In the same university was a handsome fair coloured boy called Henry. His mother was a Ghanaian from Obomeng Kwahu and his father was an Englishman. He was handsome, gentle, god-fearing and kind, because of this, almost all the girls on campus were dying for him.

The first time he saw Angel, his heart skipped a beat but he decided to study her for some time. A month and two days later, he was going to the Balm library and bumped into her.

   Oops, sorry gentleman I…

Don’t you worry, it was my fault Henry muted,

I wasn’t looking straight, I am sorry.

They got a little carried away until Henry broke the silence

Please, may I know your name miss?

My name is Angel. Angel managed to say in her breathlessness.

There is no doubt about it, you look just like an angel,

He said with perspiration.

I am Henry Richards, A medical student and you? I am also in the communication department.

 They became friends and soon became lovers.

The love between them was so strong that they got to know each other’s family. Angel’s aunt was pleased but not convinced after meeting him but soon got to know him and liked him as a true gentleman and Henry’s parents were enthused to meet Angel. They were marveled by her beauty, politeness and respectfulness not to talk about her pure African complexion, very dark and beautiful.

They advised both of them and went overseas where they lived as they only came to visit their son. A year and a half later, Henry completed his university education and had to leave for Britain for his masters. On that faithful day, both Angel and Henry were sad to be separated from each other, they cried and ended up sleeping together. A terrible thought escaped Henry’s mind when he was on board the plane, what if Angel gets pregnant? He was annoyed with himself for letting himself get carried away after waiting for so long. He shrugged at the thought after remembering the promise they made to each other. He knew that he had her cell phone number and could get in touch with her any time.

Six months after Henry’s departure, Angel felt lonely as she had no friend apart from Henry. Though he usually called, she lived and suffered a terrible loneliness that threw her off her guard. A very persistent man named Sly never ceased giving her presents and she encouraged it. Before she realized what was happening, she was in a relationship with him. She started ignoring Henry’s calls because Sly pampered her in every way. Sly bought a new cell phone for her and she did not bother to inform henry about it. She also chose not to reply Henry’s letters. This worried him very much that he rung his dearest friend who was in Kumasi to check on her to see if she was alright. Lo and behold, when he arrived in Accra, he got to know the whole truth. He personally advised her and she accepted. So Mark left leaving contacts to watch over her but they also confirmed within a number of days that she was still doing what she was before.

Mark had no choice but to inform his friend about the worrisome news but he also regretted because his father phoned him later and told him that Henry had been in coma ever since. Eight days after getting well, he attempted suicide. But for the intervention of his father’s housemaid, he would have joined his ancestors. All advice fell on deaf ears so his father suggested that he flew down to witness things for himself. Three days later, he landed in Ghana and without resting, conducted a long search but couldn’t find her. Her aunt complained bitterly about her attitude since Henry travelled much to the detriment of Henry. He waited at her aunt’s and almost dozed off.

At about 1:00 am, a flashy VMW came to drop her and he came back from his reverie. He quickly got up and met her at the main gate. Immediately Angel saw him, she feigned headache for though he had become a little lean, he looked gorgeous in his parker and t-shirt. She told Henry that she needed some sleep but Henry insisted on talking to her so much so that she had no choice but to oblige. Henry took her to his apartment. On the way, he said nothing but could feel the tension between them. On arrival, he brought the discussion.

So do I sense the danger of us separating?

What makes you think that? I know it is because of what your friend told you. Angel said.

Are you saying that all that Mark told me were false? Henry asked.

Tell me Angel and I will believe you because of the love we share. He spoke with such emotions that all her defenses got broken. She was short of words.

I am not saying they are not true but bu… you.. see

Angel, what do I see? I see that I left the shores of Ghana with each of us promising ourselves to be faithful but not long after, you go around flirting with God knows who.

The anger and hurt with which he spoke scared Angel.

“Ok, I will tell you everything”

She was almost on the verge of tears.

When you left, I felt so lonely that I needed a companion, you know, someone to care for me. You also knew very well that my aunt couldn’t provide me with everything I needed. Angel said, not even convinced of the impact of the words she has uttered.

Angel, are you saying that you didn’t receive all the monies I sent? What are you saying? Even if it wasn’t enough, you could have told me other than living this promiscuous life. You know my parents are well off.  You could have asked me even if I was broke, I could have found a part time job to make up for whatever you needed. You know I will do anything, just anything to see you happy. Is it because of the love I shower on you that you treat me this way? What did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong?

Angel begun shedding tears and apologizing, it broke Henry’s heart to see her cry that his comfort ended them in the arms of lovemaking. She woke to find Henry looking at her, she told him that she loved him and that she was ashamed of herself and promised never to do such a thing again. Henry was convinced when the words were spoken for she felt her remorse. He got engaged to her and this time went as far as going with her to the village to meet her real parents. On arrival, he went back to Britain and found himself a part time job swearing to himself to make her happy as she didn’t want her to ask for anything from her parents.

He showered gifts upon gifts on her and made sure she lacked nothing. Unknowingly to Angel, Sly was an armed robber, he went on one of his operations and got killed in the process. This news hid Angel like a blow because she was secretly seeing him. She vowed to be faithful to Henry; after all, he was her true love. This promise became history as Angel met Max who claimed to be a lecturer in at the Central University. Her aunt talked to her but she wouldn’t listen. This time, she received Henry’s calls and replied his letters as though everything was alright. Six months later, when Henry’s mother came to visit, she heard all the bad things about Angel and being a good mother sensed danger because of the deadly diseases in modern times. She decided to inform his son but remembered what happened the last time Mark delivered one such message. She called Angel and advised her like the daughter she never had.

Even though she thanked her like a good girl, she continued her bad ways. Mrs. Richard had no option but to tell her son because she was all she had and did not want him to end up with a harlot. What even scared her was the rumour circulating that Angel had HIV/AIDS. Henry cried and thought about Angel and couldn’t accept the mere thought of living without her. This time, he couldn’t think of murdering himself because of the many guards his dad hired to keep watch over him. He became so lean, he was fortunate that he had completed his masters before receiving this deadly news. He reluctantly stopped calling her and tried his best not to have anything to do with her again and this nearly cost him his life, for Angel was his first love.

He thought of how a girl who didn’t appreciate her one bit could make her suffer when many girls adored him when some girls would die to have him to themselves. He contemplated on the issue but had no answer. Meanwhile, Max was all over Angel everywhere they went, not knowing that he was a killer for a very powerful herbalist, he was a real murderer.  He pretended he loved Angel and spent so much on her. Thoughts of Henry erased completely from her mind. One day, he asked Angel to accompany him to a place he termed a surprise for her. When they arrived at their so called destination, he took her out of the car blindfolded. He took her to the herbalist. Immediately they reached the room, he removed the blindfold. There was the herbalist in his full scary regalia, face half painted and eyes wide opened with mouth twitched in satisfaction upon seeing a new person who would increase his potency. When she saw the predicament she was in, she made an attempt to scream but her mouth was sealed with dirty rags, the boys there gang raped her until she became unconscious. They then left her to regain her consciousness.

When she did, she was taken to a room and maltreated for a whole month without proper food. She was always tied together with the other victims and beaten when she refused to eat foods that were always drugged. Their thirst was never quenched they were only entitled to a full glass of water every day. Blood was drawn from her veins any time there was need for human blood. They had to attend nature’s call on themselves until the human cleaner, who was wicked than any of the people there, came to wipe them clean with a metal like sponge. One day, Max entered her room and asked her to say her last prayers. She couldn’t help shedding tears, this time, real tears of shame, pain and sorrow. She cried and asked why he was doing that. She asked him what terrible thing she did to merit the treatment being meted out to her. She was a total mess. Max decided to choose some other person to the slaughter house and left her with her tears.

After two weeks of aunt Ama’s search for Angel without success, she became very worried because though she had become more of a harlot recently, she always called and said where she was and whether or not she would be coming. Aunt Ama’s strange feelings forced her to report to the police and the media with promises of a huge ransom for those who came with any lead as to where she could be. Both electronic and print media advertised to plead with anyone who had information to report for a handsome reward. Her aunt in her desperation called to inform Henry who was reluctant to come down. But his father convinced him to help the poor woman look for her missing niece.

To him, her aunt was so good and honest to Mr. Richards that he used all his tactics to convince his son to help her in the search of her niece. Henry did as he was told and brought along his friend Mark who had become a very good detective. He investigated the background of Max on campus, with persuasion and the help of brown paper (bribe) he found all there was to know about him. Even the so called hard core criminals feared Max. Meanwhile, Angel was about to be killed when a storm broke and destroyed part of the building so they left her and went to see to the repairs of the building. They had by then beaten her to an extend that she had a bruised face and was almost paralyzed. She then thought of her dear Henry who could not hurt a fly, she thought of how she loved him, how funny he was, how caring he was. She bit into her lower lips, sobbed and prayed that God forgives her her sins. She always prayed for protection for Henry.

Oh! How she wished she could turn the hands of time, she would have remained faithful and loyal to Henry alone no matter what anybody had to offer, but that was too late. How could she allow herself to be lured into this mess? Immediately Henry and Mark got to know of the suspected place Angel was rumoured to be, they went there with armed policemen. Luckily, Mark had a microscope that allowed him to see through every building. He saw about four people who were tied with rope but couldn’t tell if Angel was part or not. The policemen surrounded the house and some went into the house but it wasn’t that easy because the security of the herbalist was very tight. In their struggle to rescue those who were at the verge of death, six policemen died and thirty three of security men of the herbalist’s died. At last, the police were able to arrest the accomplices of the herbalist but the herbalist himself vanished. Max was killed in the struggle. When the four people were untied, Henry and Mark couldn’t tell which one was Angel and almost gave up hope of finding her among them until Angel begun to cry. Henry couldn’t believe his eyes, he thought it was some cripple before him, but for her neatly arranged teeth, he wouldn’t have recognized her. Henry screamed and passed out. Henry together with the four others was sent to the hospital.

When Henry recovered, he saw to it that Angel was alright but spoke to her casually without eye contact. He encouraged no conversation between them. Any time Angel saw Henry, she tried to beg for forgiveness but he just lifts his hands for silence. When she was in her convalescence stage, he left for Britain without informing her.

When she heard of his departure, she almost fainted but knew that she was responsible for her own loss. She cursed the day she met Max, now deceased and prayed again and again that God forgives her. After her ordeal, Angel became a born again Christian and was very active with her church activities. She also took her education seriously.

Two years later, she became a presenter at one of the famous radio stations in Ghana without a boyfriend. She confessed that she was afraid of men when she was interviewed by a colleague. She said she trusted only one man, that man too might be married with kids. She told her colleague that, he was such an angel but she carelessly threw him away so she will live with the consequences.

There was a secret her aunt had not revealed to her yet because she was asked not to. One fine Saturday, Angel rung her parents Mr. and Mrs. Apau and asked them to spend some time with her because she was on casual leave. When they came, they tried to talk her into marriage as she was twenty eight years of age and their only daughter, but she discouraged that conversation.  It was during one of such misunderstandings that they heard a knock on the door and in came aunt Ama, Mr. and Mrs. Richards and the one person that she had really ever loved; Henry. She immediately shouted his name as tears welled up in her eyes. She went on her knees and begged him for forgiveness amidst tears.

Henry immediately took her into his arms and assured her that all was well. Her parents stood amazed at the sight of this wonderful dream and wished it wouldn’t vanish into thin air. They were brought to life when Angel broke the silence,

Ei auntie Ama, it seems you knew all this and kept it to yourself.

Aunt Ama chuckled and told her how she was asked to monitor her every move to see if she was a completely changed person. She also told her about how sometimes Henry comes down and follows her to church without her knowledge. Henry’s mother declared how shocked she was to see the one time gold digger change into such a born again Christian. Mr. Apau asked Henry if he still loved Angel after all the he had to go through because of her. He replied:

“It was the decision of the heart, I mean, my heart and that of Angel to love each other and there was nothing that neither we nor anyone could do about it. Isn’t it Angel?”

All the people in the hall except Angel chorused

“Exactly” and Angel cried hot tears. Two weeks later, an engagement took place followed by a grand wedding. During their honeymoon in New York, Angel asked her husband a favour to allow her to come back to Ghana to fulfill a promise before heading back to settle in their marital home in Britain.

Her permission was granted and she summoned all the University of Ghana students for an important lecture. She lectured them to stay faithful and loyal to their partners and never give in to those who entice them with gifts, and used her own experience as an example and added that she did not know what would happen to anyone who followed in her footsteps. She stressed on the fact that that herbalist is nowhere to be found no matter how much they search for him. Meaning any one could fall victim any time. She also made sure that the lecture was broadcasted on all the television stations in the country. After the lecture, she was sure that her message would get to all the youth of Ghana.

After the lectures, Henry hugged her as she said thanks through her happy tears of gratefulness once more to her generous and caring husband. The reply was sealed with a kiss.

AMOAFOWAA SEFA CECILIA © 2014.

NO TEARS ON A RED DAY

They live in half hearts

They breathe on rocky grounds

They lie on filthy troubled mats

Yet scream their happiness on public grounds

 

Fret not on this day

Hurt not for being kept at bay

Cry not for what could have

Because there is a huge possibility of happiness starvation in what could have been

 

Just be with yourself

Search for the love of heart and soul

And treat yourself

Stop being like a criminal tied to a pole

 

There are many more in pairs

Who are pushed down the stairs

Of delusional love

They crawl under their heavens looking in horror up above

Into the eyes of those who keep half their hearts

 

So fall not

Cry not

Fret not

For what could go so wrong

For what could lift you so high

And throw you into perpetual hell

Celebrate you

Only you can celebrate you without any traits of hate.

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

CELEBRATION OF LOVE

I’ve conquered

I’ve conquered egoistic traits

That sought to battle my courtship

Now I’m staring at the smiling face of the sun.

I’ve been forced into heaven,

I’ve been forced into the chambers of heaven,

Being suckled by the mouth of a tintinnabulated angelic beast

And afterwards docked in pleasurable shyness

Now I share the soul of an opaque mind

I’ve cried

I’ve cried rubicund tears

Stirred by indignation armoured by suspiciousness 

On solid basis

Now I laugh accompanied by satisfaction

In the city of Happiness that daily keeps me on my toes

I emerge in red

I emerge out of the blood soaked red

Drenched from the bleeding of my heart

Into the strong arms that cuddles

I know this venture is a struggle

A hyena rears differently

And a bitch rears differently

So nature putting these two together

Aims for friction

But that emotion that drives us

Will surely pave a way

A little pampering today,

A little smile tomorrow

A minute hug the next

Is all we need for our binding togetherness.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

 

UNCERTAINTY

I am at the crossroad

Breathing the air of uncertainty

With time stretching his tongue, mocking me with intensity

I am at the crossroad

Trimming the taunts of decision

Pruning the feeling of possible mistakes

And sweating profusely with fright

Even the winds are telling me their choices

And the voices are challenging the air with vigour

Which road do I take?

Which road lies the heart of truth to the heavenly destination?

They all look promising

Maybe I must close my eyes and walk straight ahead.

     Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

 

THE TAMALE ROAD SAGA

If you don’t know by now that Tamale is a stress free place to live, I am telling you now that it really is. Can you ever get a peaceful place where any uninhabited lands happen to serve as a place of convenience with no strings attached to live? Can you get a place where even armed robbers refuse to rob for the safety of their lives as your place of abode? Can you ever get a place where indigenes give wings to strangers to fly while crawling to build a home? Can you get to easily live at a place where the Volta River Authority fears to switch the electricity on and off all the time for fear of the public mob? Enough of the prelims, I just want to talk about the many love stories that take place on the roads day in and out in the Tamale metropolis.

Firstly, everybody knows that internal transportation is heavily dependent on motor bicycles here in Tamale. Presently, many southerners migrating to the Savannah has paved way for rivalry between vehicles and motor cycles especially during the rush hours. Bicycles and pedestrians also fight for the recognition and love of the manly roads.

Now, a little carelessness, and blood is shed just because of the struggle for recognition by the roads. When you happen to be walking in the pedestrian lane in the Savannah, be sure to send one of your eyes to be on guard at the back of your head or your body will suffer or perish in the struggle for the affection of the roads. It is not shocking to hear unfathomable questions like:

  “Ei why? Didn’t you see me coming? Why did you block my way? You are lucky nothing happened to my thing”

When you happen to survive a hit by a bicycle or a motor bike that neither ‘belled’ nor horned, as though your eyes were at your back.

Riders of motor bicycles are easily spotted teasing death by over speeding while wearing no protective helmets. Sadly, death has most of the last laughs. I have heard of many accidents involving motor accidents and I have seen a few. One fatal accident my mother witnessed kept me awake for days two years ago. The victim was hit by an articulator which squashed his head, according to my mother and some eye witnesses, his body was shaking but his head was totally mashed.  The person was not dead but his head was totally destroyed, all that because he was over speeding. A former colleague died a few months back because he decided to make his helmet a decorating tool while playing the speed game with the manly road. I was angry than sad, I was more angry at the dead than I was with him when we used to mostly bicker at our place of work. Why would you dare death?

I love that the children here are very independent. They are made to depend on their legs or bicycles to take them to their schools every day. I am not against that. What I am against is the fact that many children under the ages of fourteen are given bicycles, which not only carry them, but their siblings to school through the very busy roads which habour vehicles and motor cycles. I have seen many children involved in accidents while riding to school. I have seen children who are hit by vehicles in their quest to cross the roads to their destinations. In my humble opinion, this road affair is not a thing for the young.

 There is a well known saying that Tamale inhabitants fear no vehicles but fear rain. When it is raining, they will easily seek shelter but a lorry can horn for a long time and a human being will pretend as though the road belongs to him or her. I have witnessed the sudden deaths of two adults by vehicles on these Tamale roads. So, can we please sympathetically spare our children from engaging in this fierce battle for the champions of the roads? We have taken in a lot of salt so let the rivalry be among ourselves, if we so want to neglect the rules and regulations of the roads and go by our own knowledge to determine who must be bowed to when plying the roads, then so be it.

The most annoying thing is the behaviour of some of the road regulators. They look for every little chance they get to take some money from the road users, especially the meek looking ones. This is because they fear the huge bodies and the aggressive looking faces. They see all the stupid over takings, the despicable ways many ride or drive, the wrong routes others ply and all they know is to take bribes from whoever looks easy. The Savannah is a wonderful place to be, but never set your eyes on those who fight with all their might to gain the love and attention of their dear road or you’ll be doomed.

      Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

THE UGLY TAKER

Our young years, decades ago

Saw us scaling the walls,

Saw us breaking the sills,

Made us break all rules.

We plied this route and hid under those bushes

We kissed and shivered openly wavering new converts

Our cocoon of sleep was never peaceful

As it was kept busy even when all rekindle their fatigued bodies

We were like the Siamese twins only differentiated by having every part we needed

You are now mute

And married to the earth,

Abandoning me with such cruelty,

 Rendering me cold with such icy silence.

When lovers converge

And the birds chorus

While the leaves dance to the sound of the winds,

I can really touch the loneliness that promises to consume me

Seas of tears convene grand meetings in my eyes and play hide and seek on my cheeks.

Why must this be?

How did I get left behind?

When did you connive with a force more powerful to grant me helpless?

Just keep mum

Continue keeping mum

Until our paths cross

In that stinking decay.

  Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

LAMENTATIONS OF THE BROKEN HEARTED

I hurt

I hurt thinking about haven made you my boss

I hurt knowing I fought a lost cause

I hurt knowing I am at a loss

I hurt so much so that my heart sometimes switches to self -pause

I hurt knowing all we had have been eaten by the time-moss

I hurt knowing you and I are its core source

 

I bleed

I bleed in the ‘blink’ of the night

When all wink and hibernate into sleep without light

Looking up to a relaxing body when the day is bright

While I am being blown away like a paper kite in a stormy night

I bleed that my heart is sometimes made tight

I bleed having thoughts of turning back time for a fight

 

I regret

I regret throwing away my alertness

And falling into your false correctness

Never thinking about your possible thoughtlessness

Of crossness between seas of equal wideness

I regret so much so that I am dying of shyness

For having paraded you without coyness

 

What should I do when all eyes are watching?

What can I say when pools of river make my cornea their forming

At a public hearing, when I am the defendant of my own calling?

How am I to act when everyone is a pair and I am forever bitterness pouring?

 

Say something, oh cruel silence!

Do something eyes of blankness!

Hug me arms of the air!

 

I have not been treated fair

This crown of shame rests on my head

For having been happy when all was a farce.

  Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

NOT WHAT IT SEEMS

Look not and gape

It is hunger in abundance cover

Look not at the drape

It cannot afford a little mover

Look not and gape

It is soil in gold cover

Look not and gape

It cannot afford a little scratcher

All the teeth have been carefully fixed

Those smiles are gentle

A little aggressiveness will bring them all caving in that mouth

Cherish yours that are few but strong

And can help you break whatever needs to be broken

Because everything is not what it seems.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

This poem is about contentment. Many people see things in other’s possession and allow themselves to be consumed with jealousy. Jealousy we all know can land us in many troubled waters. For all we know, what we see and long to have may not real. If you see someone wearing a gold necklace and assume that it is real, or are told that it is real, you may be shocked that it is nothing short of copper polished with a little gold debris which is inexpensive.

In the same vein, longing for the lives of others may bring you loads of problems because what those people may have may not be as you see it. Many homes are breaking apart but members choose to keep up appearances in public.

All this poem seeks to say is BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE.

THERE IS GOODNESS IN EVERY SITUATION NO MATTER HOW BAD

Sometimes, many bad things happen to us and we ask God why. If we happen to sit down and analyse the problem without sympathizing with ourselves, we will see the blessing no matter how faint it may seem. Fear is something no one wishes to encounter, but ask me what I think about it and I will tell you that it is one of the most powerful tools in human uprightness. What is fear? Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something or someone is powerful or dangerous enough to cause you harm or pain. So to be afraid of something means to see that particular thing as a threat to your life or your valuables.

When I was in Senior High School, the students happened to have have the impression that a woman wearing one red shoe and burning in half was hovering around the school looking to devour whoever she met. I was someone who was easily scared then. Do you want to know how I got to know that fear was all a figment of our imaginations? Simple, because they were foolish enough to make me the woman in question, yes, they claimed I was that woman who wanted to kill students in order to feed my hungry self in hell.

For one thing, I was mad, very angry at being compared to a bad human hunter at first, but upon a second thought, I decided it was for the best. There I was, not being able to contain myself when I heard something was chasing me, there I was even afraid of my own shadow,  if that thing was not blamed on my existence, I would be very much afraid of going to the dormitory alone if I had to. This also helped most students without their knowledge, because they attended preps, something they may not have done under normal circumstances. Believe it or not, the fear of gossips has prevented many sins from taking place and has kept many on their best behaviours.

A man lived with his friend for a long time. They loved each other so much so that he would do everything for his friend, and he thought his friend would do everything for him as well. All the time they lived together, he had been very dependent on him from the time they both completed school although he was the brightest. This man was called Sire and his friend was called Oliver. Sire ended up becoming the house boy of Oliver. There was this pot which was dearer to Oliver than anything. Everyone including Sire refrained from looking at it too much let alone touching it. One day, Sire was asked to bring the pot and dropped it causing it to break; he was sacked instantly by the friend he loved. He lamented for days and slept outside without food nor hope for tomorrow.

A school mate of Sire saw him in that sorry state and decided to help him by helping him get a job. That friend, Andy, then told him of the diabolic Oliver who used black magic to rid his friend of a life worth living. It turns out he was living in and watching a blossomed life that was supposed to be his. Oliver became very poor and a drunk.

So whatever the situation may be, my very difficult life has taught me to tell you that there is goodness in the detail. If only you will sit down and look carefully at the problem, you will find that light, that block of hope, that breakthrough that will get you safely to the safest spot you want to be.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

MY LOVE

My love,

I’d like for you to look

I’d like for you to look only at me.

My sunshine,

I’d like for you to come close

I’d like for you to come close when I am weak and hold me,

And hold only me.

My darling,

I’d like for you to kiss me,

I’d like for you to kiss my forehead when I’m down, in the midst of all watchful eyes.

My armour,

I’d like for you to take charge,

I’d like for you to drag me from the midst of fear

Into your protective den.

My honey,

I’d like for you to whisper,

I’d like for you to whisper sweet nothings, when tempers run wild, only in my ears.

My bright moon,

I’d like for you to shine,

I’d like for you to shine in my darkest moments.

Quencher of loneliness,

I’d like for you to be there,

I’d like for you to be there when everybody leaves.

Don’t bother about the roses

They will wilt.

Don’t bother about materialism,

You know I am a natural.

Just focus on you

And focus on me

As I’ll focus on you

And let us fly to the land of contentment,

To the land of togetherness

And to the land of love

And I’ll make sure we stay there forever.

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

WE ARE ONE.

I have a voice

I have a voice and a choice

I have a voice and a choice to make noise

So let me be

 

Humans are humans

No matter their looks

Humans are humans, no matter their gender

Humans are humans, no matter their ethnicity

Humans are humans, no matter their shortcomings

Humans are humans, no matter their disabilities

So let me be

 

Because:

I have the right,

I have the right and a light,

I have the right and a light to make bright,

I have the right and a light to make bright without a fright,

So let me be.

 

Yours count

Mine must also count

The deaf and dumb may have no voice, but have the ability to send theirs across

Let all the voices be heard

 

You are not the only human being

Let everyone like the waters flow

Let everyone like the rivers merge without collision

For we are all feathers on the chicken mother earth

That will be shed when the time comes.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

SOME GHANAIAN SUPERSTITIONS

That Africans are superstitious is a well-known fact. But since I do not live in all the countries in Africa, I will enumerate a few of the superstitious beliefs in Ghana, my homeland. These superstitions, though most times crude and detrimental to our well-being, also protect certain things we have. I will be glad if we can take the opportunity of enlightenment, education wise, to explain to our elders why some of these are preposterous. I do know our elders and the fact that persuading them is mostly a ‘cos 90’ job, but it wouldn’t hurt to try. These superstitious beliefs are always in battle with the various religious bodies as religious leaders try to demystify these beliefs, every time they find themselves among people with such intents, with their Holy Books.

  •  If you sing in the bathroom, your mother or father will die. (My thoughts on this, maybe, just maybe they did not want us to swallow the soapy water.
  • If a child cries in the night, the child or one of his or her parents will die. (I think this was meant to stop the children who can speak and understand from crying, but those who do not understand, their parents hit something as though they are beating the child to prevent whatever bad luck from taking effect.)
  •  Unless you are the mother, father or a close relative, a new born cannot be seen until the seventh day. (I think they did this for protection against black magic)
  •  If you breastfeed your child in public, witches, wizards or herbalist with black medicine will infect the child with many unpleasant sicknesses. (Although I know it is a bit preposterous, you wouldn’t want to breastfeed your child in public in Ghana, trust me, a doubting Thomas, when I say your child may attract horrible diseases that way.)
  • If you pound nothing in a mortar, you are pounding your mother’s breast. (Maybe this was meant to protect the mortar and the pestle, because pounding nothing breaks both.)
  • If a pregnant woman eats eggs, she will give birth to a snake.  (This is funny because we all know that eggs are nutritious to the mother and the baby.)
  • When you whisper at night, you are calling dwarfs or snakes. (The snakes part have been proven by scientists but the dwafy part, I am guessing boys and girls whispered at night to call their lovers, and were being subdued with this superstition.)
  •  You do not play the draft game or ‘oware’ in the night because you will be playing with dwarfs. (Maybe this was meant to deter children who loved playing at the expense of sleep from doing so.)
  •  When you are eating, you do not sing or you will choke to death. (I guess this is somehow true as people choke when talking while eating.)
  •  You do not mention the names of snakes in the night or they will appear and make you their feast. (I have no idea of how this came about.)
  •  When a child reaches the age of two without sitting, crawling or talking, that child is a spirit child who must be sent back to his or her spirit masters. (This I think is crude because civilization has taught us those are disabilities, which most times can be cured.)
  •  You do not go to farm on a certain day of the week, mostly Tuesdays, or you will meet the river goddess which means instant death. (I think this was meant to protect the river bodies as people walked through most of them to their farms at the same time fetching to drink when there happens to be a shortage of water.
  •  When a female is too aggressive, it is a sign of witchcraft. (This is crude because most of these females are just hard working individuals. And the fact that they still use these crude measures to clip their wings by sending them to witch camps, is preposterous.)
  •  When a woman is pregnant, she cannot be married until she delivers, or else the husband will be marrying both the wife and the child if the baby happens to be a girl. This girl will grow up and never get married. (I think this was supposed to prevent pre- marital affairs but most people do not bother about this anymore.)
  •  A man does not wash the underwear of a woman or he will become stupid. (I have no idea about how this came about, maybe it was meant to ensure the superiority of men).
  •  You do not greet an elderly before visiting the toilet. It is believed that you will be easing yourself on the head of the elder or you may ease yourself chatting away. (I have no idea as to how this came about. But I sure do remember my late grandmother made sure we never breached it).
  • When you see a white person in your dream, you have seen a witch.
  • If a pregnant woman baths in the night, she will miscarry (Courtesy, Zaapayim)
    When twins are born, their mother must turn into a beggar in order to feed them or they will die. (Courtesy, Zaapayim)

  • When you sweep at night, you will have a misfortune or be visited by poverty. (Courtesy, Zaapayim)
  • When you are sweeping and you see an elder passing, you have to say sorry or you may be cursed, as this may render you a sweeper for as long as the curse is stands or you will be poor forever.
  • If a pregnant woman watches horror movies, she will give birth to an ugly child.
  • When you give birth to a boy as a first child and you wake up in the morning and the first person who you see happens to be a boy, that is a sign of good luck and vice versa. (Mr. Imoro).
  • If you eat and your hand touches the ground, it is a sign of bad luck. (Courtesy, Zaapayim)
  • If a pregnant woman dies, those who bury her must have all her assets.
  • If you pick money from the ground, you will lose more than what you took. (Mr. Imoro)

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

GOODNESS AND MERCY, ALLAHU AKBAR.

 

For the past few years, I’ve been negatively blown away by happenings and justified comments surrounding these religions: Christianity and Islam. When I was young, I was taught to emulate those who attended church services regularly and did ‘good’. Although I did not understand much, I understood that the church was supposed to instill or inculcate good morals in human beings. I thought the church was a place of comfort, discipline and love. I did not quite know about the teachings of Islam but I respected them for their loyalty towards their Holy Book; the Quran.

I do not know how I came to be what I am today; a no church goer and a sympathizer of Christianity, because I pray day and night even without intending to. I remember being a very bright Sunday school regular who recited memory verses, participated in Bible quizzes and sang like my life depended on it. At a point, I was so prayerful that, some elders came to be prayed for by me. So I ask myself today; what happened between the church and I? Why do I live my life like a slippery fish that the fishermen (Pastors and preachers) aim to catch?

There are behaviours of leaders of these religions, meaningful arguments and experiences that have contributed into my present state of mind.

Let us start with experiences. My first phase of losing interest in church going was when I spoke to God through Jesus to make me live a problem free life to no avail. Then, the Church preached Sunday after Sunday that once you go on your knees and ask God for anything, no matter how unreasonable it seems it would be given. They had quotations to back their claim and my belief waned year after year with disappointment. I grew impatient because no matter what blessings I received, I felt I needed or deserved more. So I grumbled but still attended church. The baggage that increased the load of the camel was the dressing competition that took place Sunday after Sunday at the church grounds. I was a tom boy and did not know how to dress up in girls’ clothing and even if I could learn, no one had that time and money to shop for me.  What broke the camel’s back was when, one day, during an appeal for funds, the one appealing for the funds mentioned some huge amount of money and asked that we thought of our God and sacrificed at the detriment of our tummies as the Lord himself would feed us afterwards. I was sixteen, though a hard worker, I didn’t expect the woman to mention my name in front of the over eighty congregation. I do not know how I got out of the church premise but I sure knew I was not going back to the church. 

Now let us turn our attention to the comments and behaviours of Pastors/ Priests/ Preachers/ Malams. I was appalled when a Pastor in an interview insulted a fellow pastor that : “Ne maame twԑ” which translates “His mother’s vagina”. Even typing these words is a bit difficult for me, but a pastor was able to tell another pastor that on live radio. He went on to curse anyone who spoke evil about him. In fact, I said nothing about it for a long time although I am mostly a vocal person, but it stayed deep in the corners of my heart. That is not all. we hear many atrocious deeds by men of God. Those things walk into our houses day and night through our televisions and radio programmes so frequently that you cannot help but wonder if there are really some good churches out there. What don’t they do? From sleeping with married women to killing people for rituals to convincing people to give their entire fortunes to them for their selfish needs etc…

Let us move on to the meaningful arguments by some people. Apparently there is an argument that hell, which is supposed to be the room of fire for sinners is a farce, a make belief, something that is not in existence and can never be in existence. According to that school of thought, hell was made to deter people from committing crimes. When you think about it carefully, Scientists have been able to partially refute the Biblical assertion that Jesus walked on water by saying he may have walked on ice. (You and I were not there, so we just have to entertain all opinions about the issue). They have refuted that the sea paved way for Moses and the Israelites because apparently every once in a long time, the seas can divide that way for some time. But the many little proofs that are springing up show that there could be some truth to what that school of thought is pointing to.

 

Though all these are staring me in the face, I pray probably because my subconscious wants to have something to lean on to in trials and tribulations. Maybe I need something or an imaginary someone to rely on. A friend of mine told me that she would rather be disappointed worshipping God than regret after death if it happens to be true that there is hell.

I guess humans created religion for comfort and discipline (Jesus came in the form of a human being and Prophet Mohammed was clearly a human being) so they can still break the myths about it and leave the world in chaos for our generations to come.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

SHOWING RESPECT IN AFRICA

 

Respect is when you see an elder standing in a bus and offers your seat to him or her.

Respect is when you see an elderly or a rich person and bow, speak in low tones and mostly agree with what they have to say.

Respect is when you do not talk back when an elderly is talking no matter how unfair his or her statements are.

Respect is when you help elders carry their goods to their destination

Respect is when you call someone older than you, sister, brother, auntie, mother or father. Like Sister Dora, Bro. Akwesi etc. But you must be careful not to call people who are bent on not growing old mother, because then, they will be too angry and may give you the insults of your life.

Showing respect means heeding to the call of an elderly and subjecting yourself to being sent to do chores even if it is to run a hundred errands under the hot or rainy sun.

You do not use your left hand to receive anything from an elderly as it is very disrespectful.

You do not wave with the left hand.

You do not greet an elderly when it is obvious that you’re visiting the “white house” as in going to defecate.

You do not look in the eyes of the elderly when talking

You do not use gifts given to you in unappreciative ways, example, when you happen to be given a sponge as a gift, you do not use it to bath a dog. It is assumed that you are not appreciative of the gift so it is considered a form of disrespect to the giver.

In effect, you do what you are told to do anytime and you are considered respectful under the African skies especially in Ghana.

Will update this as and when I the rest come to me.

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

ADMIRER’S ARREST

 

She’s walking past

And guess what is making the sounds: her bust

I am thinking fast

This flower, mine, a must

But in my head, words crash and blast

Would these words rust?

Without making me a cast?

I must be in the land of lust

 

Nervous pest

Do you? Do you mind taking a rest?

Please let me be my best

Being unjustly under arrest

In your bloody nest

Is making me a jest

To my wishes and quest.

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

AFRICAN BRUTALITY

 

There are behaviours which when exhibited in developed countries are considered brutish and a psychological disorder. Behaviours like fighting, forcing your way into a cue etc… Those kinds of behaviours are considered normal on the African continent.

Any time there is a cue, let’s say for transport or anything, be sure to find the strongest in front and not the first nor the meek. Those that are considered are the pregnant women and nursing mothers. Apart from that, it is a battle for the strong when boarding a vehicle. A friend told me of a friend who travelled overseas and went to a station for a vehicle to his destination. He forced his way into the car but no one struggled with him.  No one sat close to him in the car and the bus conductor did not take any money from him. He then enquired from others who told him they thought he was a mad man because of his behaviour. Not here in Africa, it is a battle of the strongest unless you want to be the last to leave the station or perhaps sleep at the station.

If you are provoking someone in Africa, be sure to test your strength against his or hers. This is because many Africans will test their strengths if they happen to feel unjustly treated. Know that, you will be beaten to a pulp if you do not mind the way you talk. That does not mean they go about beating anyone without provocation. No one, except of course a mad man or a drunk will hit anyone without provocation.  Insulting unfairly or a woman hitting a man first is suicidal. It simply means “Please beat me until I’m dead today”. Few of the egoistic men in Africa will let you go if you try that as a woman. Now men are careful because the laws on domestic violence are working and a man who hits a woman can be jailed. But reporting a man is considered a divorce in Africa. His family members will make sure to nullify your marriage before he is even bailed. So many women choose to remain silent when their husbands assault them. Others simply do not want to report such abuses because they claim the court takes one’s precious time.

Yesterday I was teaching a class of 50 boys and 4 girls, then I heard one boy tell one girl;

If you do not take care, I will slap you!

I was taken aback, I didn’t know what to say at first because the students love, respect and fear me at the same time. So to make that kind of comment in my presence was shocking. And the whole class was quiet awaiting my verdict. When I recovered, I asked him why he would ever want to hit a girl. The 18 year old boy told me she had insulted him. Then I told him that no matter the provocation a boy shouldn’t hit a girl because it was cowardly. The entire population of boys shouted “That’s unfair madam” with some shouting “No, this one we won’t understand”

They are all trained to be egoistic and feel supreme. All African boys are! So the boys of at most 18 years will not stand insults from their female colleagues even if they angered them first.  I spoke at length but they felt I was on the side of the females because I also share their gender. So I finally gave up and continued teaching.

It then dawned on me that being physical in Ghana may take a while to faze. Although I hope that those anger management and psychological disorders associated with fighting will not take over this brutality. This is because I see a flaw in that way of solving physical assault problems. There is the likelihood of those involved believing in the imaginary psychosis psychiatrists associate with physical assault. I know many people will vote for the anger management sessions because when people know they’ll be branded insane when they vent their anger, they will never engage in testing their strength when angry. But the thought of sane people going bonkers because they have been made to believe that they are mad because they threw a fist is something I do not want to envision.

So yes, as of now, most Africans are brutish and I pray for change. I hope you are too.

   Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

HEARTBREAK

‘I love you’ Me she told

And I promised not to leave her hold

All cowardly thoughts she made bold

And my nights were never cold

I thanked God for stumbling on Gold

I thought we be until old

Until the Lord God our hands hold

But today behold

Tears that can’t be controlled

Because of promises you did not uphold

 

I am standing cold

With hurt untold

I die an hour in ten folds

Fearing lamentations will sympathy enfold

I boil heavily in my hole

With emotions beyond my control

I wish I had a way to my heart hold

As it breaks in many folds.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014.

 

GHANAIAN FOODS

Food is a major problem when we think of travelling and touring. Of course those who stay in fanciful hotels do get foods that suit their palate. But those who live with families or do not have that much money to live or go to these big hotels are left without choices  must blend with their environment or starve. We know that best dishes are geographically determined, though times are changing, it is unlikely to find pizza on the streets of Accra, or sushi at an inexpensive joint. So you blend, blending you must.

If I decide to talk about the many foods in Ghana, it might take the whole day. So let’s talk about the ones that are known nationwide.

FUFU

This is a pounded mixture of cooked cassava and plantain. It is the favourite dish of the Akans and it tastes great with different soups. Soups like groundnut soup, palm nut soup (you wouldn’t want to be a talkative when taking this, because you can easily choke and the soup will find a different route through your nose), light soup, ‘kontomire’ (cocoyam leaves) soup etc… These soups are prepared with any meat or fish one chooses, onions, fresh tomatoes (some do add tomato puree), salt to taste, pepper(dried/powdered), okro(optional), water, any spice/seasoning you prefer and the main ingredient; be it palm nut, groundnut, ‘kontomire’ but nothing else for light soup.

 

BANKU 

Banku is made from maize or corn dough and cassava dough. The main dish of the Ewes of Ghana. The maize is normally soaked in water for three days, washed and grounded in a corn mill, this is then mixed thoroughly with a little water and left over night, then it is ready to use in the preparation of Banku. It is mixed with the cassava dough and water (porridge style), put on fire and stirred until it becomes thick and cooked ready to be served with any soup, or stew of choice or even roasted fishes with grounded pepper. If you ask me, it is served best with okro stew.

ԐTIW

Another maize food without cassava dough heavier than Banku, a delicacy of the Fantes of Ghana which is served best with Fante- Fante (fresh fish stew, mostly the fishes in this stew ‘overtake’ the stew’ because the Fantes are known fish and meat lovers) or grounded pepper with lots of fishes.

 

AMPESI

This is cooked yams, plantain, cocoyams, and cassava. The main dish of the Fantes. Though these foods are mostly served with stew, some do take them with grounded pepper or soups. But for me, eating it with garden eggs or ‘kontomire’ stew is best.

 

TUO ZAAFI:

Mainly a dish of Northern Ghana. This is also another maize food, but this is usually very soft than banku. It is only a little thicker than porridge and is served best with green leafy soups and stew combined. Of course there are the ‘bra’ soups and others, but if you go to the northern part of Ghana and do not taste this food, then you didn’t experience anything.

 

WAAKYE:

This is a cooked blend of rice and beans with dried sorghum leaves and a little salt to taste. The end result is a cooked rice and beans looking purplish because of the sorghum leaves. It goes with gravy/tomato stew and shitↄ (dried grounded shrimp and or dried herrings stew made properly cooked almost to the point of burning, it can be stored for months or more). This food is also a delicacy of the Northerners of Ghana.

 

There are more like the ‘aprapransa, konkonte’ etc…  In the mean time, these are the most favoured foods in Ghana. Though they are regional foods, they have become nationwide delicacies and are sold by the road sides. So when you visit Ghana, try as much as possible to try these meals.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia 2014.

 

WHEN THINGS GO WRONG (A SHORT SKETCH FOR TEENAGERS)

(On a stage, three students are in a discourse, the two boys talk while the girl stands very close to Excoba)

 

EXCOBA: I came to this school to just get a certificate

Because there’s no way my parents will leave me intestate

For family members to make me lie prostrate

So Charle, let me functiate

 

SAM: You don’t know what you’re talking about

There’s no gift that surpasses education

Knowledge is for you, for you alone

No matter your monetary worth, ignorance will flush it

And you’ll be a flibbertigibbet if you say words like “functiate” in the midst of the learned

 

EXCOBA: We dey live life a

You dey talk chao

Na where from this big big grammer?

You want scar me?

Wey thing I do you ah you dey look for my trouble?

Why you happy say you dey sit on my thoughts?

Abeg gyare make I tink

 

SAM: I am not sitting on your thoughts

I’m talking to your senses

Where will smoking, breaking bounds, stealing, disrespecting authority,

Gallivanting around, having many girlfriends (turning to look at Dora) Boyfriends take you?

 

DORA: I haven’t made any attempt to speak with you

I no want your trouble

If you think you can advice

Make you go advice your own sister

Honey, we was going to the movies

 

Ewooo, “we was going to the theatre”

Someone has a bad grip on her concord do whatever you want

Don’t say I didn’t warn you

                         Exeunt Dora and Excoba

 

SAM: I see a future full of doom

When correction can make a lot of room

I wish this dirt can be swept with a broom

Then I could prevent this disaster loom

 

ONE YEAR LATER:

Dora: I don’t know what to do

I am in trouble, wetin I for do?

I hear Excoba is at the psychiatry and I get belle

My parents has sacked me from the house

And I don’t know anyone

I can’t stay in this school too, I have been sacked

I don’t know excoba’s house nor his hospital

Please Senior Sam, help me

 

First of all, your parents have sacked you not has sacked you

And I don’t want to say I told you so

How can you ask this favour from a fellow student?

What can I possibly do to help you out?

When I talk to student they rebel

When I’m talking sense to them

They show me remorse

Just look at Sarah, a daughter of two poor farmers

Posing as a rich kid

Thinking no one knows

When it became obvious there she was

Not being able to breathe in this school

Look at Alhassan, always cheating in examinations

When others are learning he sleeps like a log

His examination malpractices have sent him to the house

 

DORA: Just help me with money for an abortion

 

Sam: Abortion? You’re not even repentant?

Have you forgotten what happened to Nina?

A very beautiful girl dying while having an abortion,

Instead of you thinking of a better way

You stand in my presence and talk of an abortion

Here take this one Ghana Cedi for some food

Even if I had a lot, I’d never fund an abortion

Let this be a lesson to all assembled

I’ll never condone evil.

Marry your books and give birth to glaring success

Marry your books and give birth to flying success

Marry your books and give birth to excellence

A word to the wise is enough.

    Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

 

MAKING LOVE

I am here

You are here

We are here

With tools of love

Tools that need no gloves

Tools that will spill no blood

So let’s make love

 

The stethoscopical hands can revive

Any heart and make it come alive

It can then work to bitterness deprive

The healing arms can encircle me

When I fume at the atrocities your talking machine spew

That you mean no harm I can see

 

No need for the hands to fly about in pain

When it can give and comfort gain

No need to boil hot anger

In the heart when it can spread love around.

No need to use the teeth to tear beings apart

When it can spread smiles

No need to kill a soul with the mouth

When its curving shares affection

No need to put a sharp machete at your back

When I can rest my head for comfort there

No need to make the heart dark when you can make it bright

No matter how bright the heart is, it can never blind and hurt

Like the heart of darkness

So hold me

Look at me

Smile at me

Open your arms and let me come in

And let’s make, serve and spread love to humanity in entirety.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

BE INSPIRED AND FACE IT SQUARELY

Feeling down?

How beautiful is the land?

With birds in the air and men tilling the sand

With natural sounds accentuating melodies of bands

With your breathing in and out and your blessed hands

With your eyes helping you freely tour and your legs to stand

Now what happens to be the problem?

 

Think:

There are many women in sympathetic situations

There are many men dying of sorrowful frustrations

No matter your problem, others surpass your sorry argumentations

Let them a little divulge and you’ll fall for donations

So worry not your soul with the many complications

And be glad even if the sky and earth keeps your association.

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014.

NATURE’S CO-HABITATION

The ants are filing past the dead wood

Looking for food

The housefly hovers around anything to see if he can get something

To fill his stomach, anything

The tsetse-fly seductively flies around beautiful flowers,

Inhaling to smell if she can have some nectar to give her some wingy-powers

The bird hovers around edible foods and fruits

Hoping to get her daily bread while looking out for brutes

The horse uses his strength to work to impress

In order to be fed and caressed

The monkey jumps from tree to tree,

Hoping to feed and be free

The cow knows that she and her family are being fed

To occasionally join in death’s  bed 

 

So Live and let me live!

Laugh and let me laugh!

And when it is time, die and let me die!

 

We are the tree branches

That live close but have different roots and leaves

We are long necked-giraffes

Always being on the lookout for each other from different grounds

Once they know their boundaries

They must just agree to disagree

 

So live and let me live!

Laugh and let me laugh!

And when it is time, die and let me die!

Because we are nature’s already made enemies

And the chiming of the clock will never change that

      Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2013.

 

JUST A MORNING PRAYER.

I earnestly earnestly pray

That Father God may

Keep you from affrays,

Bless your earthly stay,

And help you say:

This better lighted pathway

Makes my jolly day,

  Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia.

Makes me feel okay,

So I’ll gladly pay,

To many happily play,

Making them very gay,

Keeping none at bay

Until we see the ray

And suffering do away