Meet Oppong Benjamin Clifford, the Civil Engineer and Writer

Our Guest Post for today is Oppong Benjamin Clifford, an engineer and writer. You are welcome to amoafowaa.com.

CF: Thank you, dear. I’ve been following the good works you’ve been doing in the literary circles of Ghana. And I give it to you in strong terms of recommendation ever to continue as such.
AMOAFOWAA: Thank you. Please tell us about yourself from parents to what you do now. Briefly though

CF: Well, Oppong Clifford Benjamin was born with a twin sister to Mr. and Mrs. Oppong in a small town called Prestea in the Western Region. I had a normal upbringing like most Ghanaians. I’m now a Civil Engineer and Postgraduate Student at both the Moscow State University of Civil Engineering and University of Education, Kumasi campus.
AMOAFOWAA: So how and when did you start writing?

CF: When! How! Honestly, I don’t even know how it all started but I will try hard to put a when to it all. I should think in Junior Secondary School, we had an amazing English Language teacher called A. G. Osei (may his gentle soul rest in perfect peace) who insisted we wrote a lot of essays and poems each week. He extolled the best essayist or poet in the strongest of praising words at the time. And it was always pleasing and honouring for me whenever I came first. This practice yielded creative writers in our class. However, I never gave writing a serious look until much later in 2012 when I met Sir Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, the founder of WRR (the largest poetry sharing platform in Africa based in Nigeria) and multiple awards winning poet. He mentored, taught and coached me in poetry writing. In December 2013, the WRR awarded me the Ghana poet of the year in Nigeria during the annual WRR contemporary African poetry festival held at the University of Ibadan. And in December 2016, the WRR invited me again to the annual poetry festival, this time, to give the guest lecture on my academic paper Noetic Sciences: the power of our intentions as writers.  However, I have still not had the courage to call myself a writer. Maybe, we can say I am a student of creative writing.
AMOAFOWAA: The engineering you, does he practise or aims to?

CF: I practise engineering. I’m currently working with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG). What I’m rather aiming at is to be a lecturer of a civil engineering course in a technical university in the near future.
AMOAFOWAA: How many publications do you have now?

CF: Number of publications! *surprised face* Erhmm…… I’ve written a cute book which is a collection of short stories titled The Virgin Mother and Other Short Stories. It’s my debut book and it was published by Forte publishing house in Monrovia, Liberia. My poems have appeared in some anthologies across the continent, the very celebrated one is Portor Portor edited by the Liberian poet Forte Othniel, an educator based in Thailand. It brought together only twelve poets across the world, and I was humbled to have had the opportunity to be featured alongside seasoned poets like Prof. Althea Romeo-Mark, lecturer of creative writing at a university in Switzerland and Jack Kolkmeyer in the USA. Also, my poems have been published in the KWEE magazine. In case online publications do count then we are looking at quite a number. Notable among those are the ones published by WRR, Nigeria, Poetry bits, India, Brittle paper, Nigeria, My joy online, Ghana, The African Dream, USA, The UK poetry library, UK. Maybe I can also add that I have an upcoming poetry chapbook titled Poems From A Womanizer’s Wife, a completed manuscript of erotic series called The Making of Orgiastic Cyprian, a completed manuscript of a novel titled The Freemason and The Boy and also sitting on my laptop is another collection of short stories waiting to be edited.
AMOAFOWAA: Who do you read and which writers do you take inspiration from?

CF: I read novels mostly but write poetry often. Strange huh! Once awhile I read some few poetry books I have in my personal library which includes Poetry Excursion on an African Mind by your cute self. Cecilia, your book has really been resourceful in my poetry journey so far. Honestly, I’m glad you wrote those poems. Well, talking of writers who inspire my art, I will put Paulo Coelho first on a long list. That man’s The Alchemist had a great influence on me, it made me set off to write The Freemason and The Boy, and so are many other of his books which I have read. He’s my role model, actually. He will be followed by Dan Brown whose Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol shaped my narrative and descriptive writing in a way. Kukogho Iruesiri Samson’s I said these words and What Can Words do are both very intriguing poetry books that have influenced my style of poetry. Another poet I have fallen in love with recently is Romeo Oriogun, the Brunel International African Poetry Prize winner for 2017. His award-winning chapbook Burnt Men just blows my mind away. He is just a perfect poet for me. 

Cecilia, please, don’t let me continue, the list is endless in truth. Tell me to shut up, please.
AMOAFOWAA: Lol. What is the correlation between engineering and writing?

CF: You are about the hundredth person to ask me this question. And each time, I only smile and walk away. So forgive my manners, bye. Kill me!
AMOAFOWAA: Tempted to ask why but won’t. Are you a feminist? If yes why? If no why?

CF: The word is now disgusting to some of us. So I would rather say a bitter No! And watch the many young girls who have taken social media as a medium to besmirch the honourable cause of feminism. Allow me to drink my beer in peace joor. 

AMOAFOWAA: Single, married or attached?

CF: I’ve been waiting for this question like a pregnant woman. Please, I am single and happy. Not searching, not mingling. There’ve been times I contemplated on sologamy – marriage to oneself. So I even wrote a poem about it in my upcoming chapbook. 

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Define a writer in a sentence.

CF: A writer is a creator of a universe.
AMOAFOWAA: Cool. What are your hobbies?

CF: Reading and having sex with myself. No! Not masturbation. It’s called sex. 
AMOAFOWAA: Interesting. If you are given the chance to be the Togo president, with the ongoing chaos, what would you have done?

CF: I would have accepted a reform of the constitution to allow fair democracy to prevail. Thus, if I were Faure Gnassingbe, I would be ashamed of myself and my family for redefining fair governance to be a dynasty and step down peacefully. I don’t know the thing with some African leaders and greed. Well, I don’t like talking politics too much in public. 
AMOAFOWAA: Choose between love and occupational success and justify your choice.

CF: “Who love epp?” Who has been helped by love? It is always an occupational success for me, dear. I don’t even need to justify my stance. I don’t care about love, period. Beer, please.
AMOAFOWAA: Religion is a trap of human extinction. Do you agree?

CF: I don’t want to answer this question. I hope you will forgive me, but for now, you’re right to frown at me. 
AMOAFOWAA: What makes you proud as a Ghanaian?

CF: Many things. I tell you what; Ghanaians have some intellectual image abroad, especially in other African countries because of names like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Kofi Annan and quite a number of others too. So I’m really proud of the respect foreigners have for me whenever I tell them I’m from Ghana. Another thing is our peaceful and hospital nature. Ghana has been an epitome of democracy for other African countries. 
AMOAFOWAA: Any challenges you face as a writer?

CF: Yes….yes. Too many challenges like procrastination, laziness, inability to write even a sentence after sitting behind my laptop for hours. Also, there are those difficulties with finding a value for your work, getting even a publisher and other personal challenges.
AMOAFOWAA: What are your innermost desires, list three.

CF: My holiest prayer to God has always been ‘Dear God, please keep me alive. Amen.’ Therefore my desirous desires are: to live long enough to own a countryside house in a forest, a house overlooking a calm river; to own a laptop in my sixties to write all the stories life has given me over the past sixty years; to own a small teapot with a white ceramic cup in my sixties and finally to have a lot of beer to keep me.  
AMOAFOWAA: May you live long! Your favourite song of all times.

CF: My favourite song is also my ringtone. Titanium by David Guetta feat Sia. 
AMOAFOWAA: What is your best line in Ghana’s National Anthem?

CF: And help us to resist oppressors’ rule

With all our will and might forever more.

AMOAFOWAA: Your advice to followers of amoafowaa.com

CF: This will mean I would have to advise myself and others. Hahahaa. Keep reading and patronizing the best of literature. Mum C as some of us like to call her is one great inspiration for many young Ghanaian writers and has been consistent in bringing the very best of Ghanaian literature. 
AMOAFOWAA: Well, flattered. Where can we get your books to buy?

CF: You can buy soft copies on Amazon. For print copies, you can contact me via mobile phone number +233243129401, I’m on facebook as Oppong Clifford Benjamin, Instagram as oppcliffben and twitter handle @glencliffben. Thank you.

THE STRONG HEARTED

There are many in this struggle

This struggle which many with death wishes juggle

But you consider every challenge wealth

Even if doors of hope are shut

You own the scissors which sulking cuts

One pushed from the cliff of good health

To start from the dungeons of death

Right back to the mountain of health

One whose words resonate in satiric sarcasms

With a heart conflicted in healing many afflicted

One whose mind is a need of most

Your ink sure will get noisy soles

And will surely walk on big stages

As years wear clothes of ages

Oh Oppong upon whose shoulders sit buckets of ink!

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © October 30, 2017

Know the Man Behind the Savannah Camera: Mr. Abdul Washeed

img-20170112-wa0006

Our guest post for today is a cameraman, a cinematographer, video editor and a film maker. He is what I call “all round in the film field”. He is a gentleman, a hard worker and has marked his name on many grounds. He is none other than Mr. Abdul Washeed. For the convenience of this post we will refer to him as AW.

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to amoafowaa.com

AW: Thank you

AMOAFOWAA: Please tell us about Mr. Abdul Washeed, starting from your parents to schools completed.

AW: Alhassan Abdul Washeed is a simple guy who’s trying to make a positive impact on the society. My parents are Mr. Alhassan and madam Amama. I completed my basic education at Bagabaga Ridge after which I went to Vitting Secondary Technical school.

AMOAFOWAA: Why did you choose the camera of all things?

AW: Before I walked to the video cameras, I had a background in story writing. I used to write short stories for the P&P and the Mirror Newspapers. I however made an observation that one can’t solely depend on writing as a career especially in Ghana. Incidentally, I had that curiosity to see how it feels to bring one’s characters to life on the screen. That was when I heard about a film school called Academy of Screen Arts located then in east Legon, Accra. The school was established by a Ghanaian but the lecturers were from across Europe so everything was so practical.

img-20170112-wa0002-1

AMOAFOWAA: Has it been fulfilling so far?

AW: Yes it has really been fulfilling, especially how I strategically positioned myself in the business. I am not only a camera person, I am a cinematographer, this means that I can strike up a production set with lighting as well as direct talents. I am also a video editor and a motion graphics and visual effect artiste. Together with my background in writing  scripts, I can create and structure a story, then direct and edit it.  So in effect, I can go through all the nine yards.

AMOAFOWAA: Any role models so far?

AW: Not really.

AMOAFOWAA: No role models. Fancy! What are the most important things to consider as a videographer and camera man?

AW: As a cinematographer, your equipment are the most essential parts of the trade so I make sure my camera, sound and lighting equipment are in order and working. I also ensure I carry spares of accessories for these tools.

AMOAFOWAA: Do I have to read if I want to be a videographer?

AW: I would say no and yes…

AMOAFOWAA: Why?

AW: You’ll need to dedicate about 20% for reading to know about the terminologies and what kind of equipments and accessories one may need in the business. You spend 80% of the time watching and practising to build your experience and how to approach any new project.

AMOAFOWAA: Does photography have anything to do with storytelling? If yes why?

AW: Yes…the techniques involved in telling a story through the camera is very powerful indeed. Not only should you just point the camera and shoot but placing the camera at an appropriate position depending on the mood of the talent is very essential. Knowing this will set you apart from your peers.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you remember your first assignment that paid off?

AW: Yes… It was when I was producing, directing and editing a program which was being aired on GTV. It was called “Aviation News”.

AMOAFOWAA: Is your field women friendly?

AW: It is… But most women prefer to be in front of the camera and not behind it. They want to be seen on the screen and not their names scrolling down on credit roll that most people don’t bother to observe.

AMOAFOWAA: (laughing out loud) We are pretty beings indeed but some still have passion for it. I can name names but let’s move on. Currently do you work with any organization?

AW: Yes, I am currently the Northern Regional Correspondent for UTV.  I’m also the CEO for Tamale Films & Television Academy located here in Tamale where we teach an array of modules in the video and television broadcast industry.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your motivation for all the things you do?

AW: Knowledge is the foundation on which all humans exist. I’ve actually invested much into learning this craft so that I can pass that knowledge down through this generation. That’s why I came back from Accra to set up the school. My motivation is preparing the Young minds of this country especially the Savannah regions to take the advantage of the opportunities in the video and broadcast industries.

AMOAFOWAA: Beautiful heart indeed! Let’s get into light conversation. Who is your favourite musician?

AW: I don’t really have a favorite musician, I love all kind of music which strikes a code on me.

AMOAFOWAA: Strikes a code! What are the qualities you look out for in women for dating?

AW: I like a truthful and well mannered woman (in the African sense)

AMOAFOWAA: Single, searching or married?

AW: Married

AMOAFOWAA: Are you a sports fan? If you are which team do you support?

AW: I love basketball. Los Angeles Lakers is my team

AMOAFOWAA: Fancy! Any religious affiliation?

AW: I am a muslim

AMOAFOWAA: If you were appointed president for one term, what are the three things you will prioritize and why?

AW: I will ensure I create a fund through which players in the creative arts industry can source to produce good content for TV and the screen.  2: Will establish film schools in all the ten regions of the country. 3: I will set up a creative contest competition for script writers to editors in the video and TV industry.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! I am sure people in the arts would look forward to you contesting. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

AW: I am yet to try the craziest thing.

AMOAFOWAA: Please let me be the first to know when it happens. Who can win your respect in life?

AW: The one who respects me

AMOAFOWAA: You are a role model, what will you tell those who wish to be like you?

AW: They should be self-motivated enough to create their positive thoughts.  Nothing comes easy but one can make it with persistence.

img-20170112-wa0002

AMOAFOWAA: Now tell us all about your Film and Television Industry

AW:  Established in October 2014; Tamale Film and Television Academy (TAFTA) is an educational institution which provides a hands-on training in video and television production. The youth, interested in pursuing careers in video and television were left to practice in trial and error since there were no educational facility to provide the empowerment of such skill within the entire savanna regions of Ghana. Thus, Tamale Film and Television Academy is the first education facility in the northern region offering courses in video and television production.

The aim is helping prospective youth who wish to venture into the video industry to learn and apply this knowledge, thereby making our movies more universally acceptable and generating income for themselves.

The school has a specialized curriculum that combines theory with practical application under the mentorship of leading industry professionals. The school awards certificates in Broadcast Performance, Video Editing, Acting, Script Writing, Camera Techniques, Directing, Visual Effects and Motion Graphics. This program requires students to complete an eight month highly intensive hands-on approach to digital film making and television production, designed to teach filmmaking skills in the aforementioned programs. TAFTA emphasizes on hands-on movie making and television affairs, through which students learn creative collaboration, as they begin to develop personal creative styles.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Cool. What is your favourite line in the National Anthem of Ghana and why?

AW: “…bold to defend forever, the course of freedom and of pride” Defending the pride of the nation is instilling discipline in our choosing careers

AMOAFOWAA: Admirable! Your last words to followers of amoafowaa.com

AW: Let’s be positive in our thoughts

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you for your time.

AW: Thank you for having me on your radar.

 

WASHEED

There is a reason elephants do not downplay

The existence of soldier ants

There are reasons God boxed souls into bodies devoid of sizes

There are reasons paths lead to destinations

So there is a reason a little bird sings to entertain a nation

 

II

A beautiful soul behind historical capturing

A beautiful heart in the dark

An unsung hero by all standards

Fly on like a dove at work

And continue to write positivity in history

As your well utilized time ticks to land you in references

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2017

MEET KAFUI PRAISE; GHANA’S BUDDING QUEEN OF PHOTOGRAPHY

image

Our guest post for today is hot with model-like beauty. She is a budding Ghanaian photographer. She has love, passion and flair for photography and is none other than Matilda Kafui Dogbatsey popularly known as Kafui Praise.

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to amoafowaa.com

KAFUI: Thanks Amoafowaa

AMOAFOWAA: Please who is Kafui Praise?

KAFUI: Kafui Praise is my brand name and Matilda Dogbatsey is my Birth name. I’m a young Lady of  26yrs from Akatsi in the Volta region of Ghana, and I live in Tema.

AMOAFOWAA: Tell us about growing up

KAFUI: Growing up was not easy at all. I recall days when I had to send bread and water to school because mummy didn’t have money to give me to go to school. A a child, I didn’t understand. I would cry as if mummy didn’t want to give me any money to school, but today having grown up, I do understand and feel so bad for those days. Growing up I had serious low self-esteem. I didn’t feel I was worth anything, I always looked down on myself and thought I would amount to nothing. Partly because I didn’t know Christ then so I thought I needed the love and approval of people to feel I’m worth something. I placed my confidence and worth in the house we were living in. Due to a Court Case that’s still pending, we were thrown out of our own house because my mum didn’t have enough money to fight the case in court. Now the house in which I placed my confidence is all gone. I felt broken inside out. The enemy filled my mind with suicidal thoughts because it broke my heart to see my mum cry. I would pretend to look all strong and okay so they can also be okay. I would cry myself to sleep, had to move from one place to the other, live with friends, live with a family member whose wife threw my kid Sister and I out because she had a problem with her 3 year old son giving more attention and always wanting to hang around my kid Sister than herself, lived with Church members…etc etc. . I attempted suicide like 4 times back then, just to end the pain and heart ache. Thank God I didn’t Succeed. God kept me. The enemy filled my mind with the thought that Suicide was the only way to end all the pain and brokenness and shame I was feeling emotionally and physically.  But Thanks be to God for Keeping and sustaining my life.

AMOAFOWAA: Any hobbies?

KAFUI: l love singing and surfing the internet

AMOAFOWAA: A girl can do anything. Why photography?

KAFUI: This is a question I get a lot, even from my family members. (Lol) Honestly, I don’t have an answer other than Photography just comes naturally to me. Though I’m still learning because there is always something new to learn, I find so much joy doing it.
image

AMOAFOWAA: What are the works you’ve captured so far?

KAFUI: In these 11 months that I started this photography journey, I can boast of covering about 15 weddings and for concerts and other events. l’ve lost count. I’ve covered a Sod Cutting ceremony that gave me the platform to meet the 2nd Lady, H.E Mrs. Matilda Amissah- Arthur and the Former Chief of Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, Vice Admiral Mathew Quarshie

AMOAFOWAA: Cool. Any role models?

KAFUI: I love, follow and admire the works of many Photographers but that of Steve Ababio and Emmanuel Bobbie really inspire me.

AMOAFOWAA: Who can gain your respect?

KAFUI: One who is driven by passion to do whatever he or she likes.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you think it pays to be a photographer in Ghana? I ask this because you know passions alone cannot put food on the table.

KAFUI: hahaha, on point, We don’t take passion to the market. I would dare to say it pays. It all depends on you being the best you can be and showing your client that you are worth what you charge.
image

AMOAFOWAA: Let’s talk about photography. What type of photographer are you?

KAFUI:  Weddings, Documentaries, Portraits and Events have been fields in Photography I really enjoy doing. Especially Wedding and Documentaries.

AMOAFOWAA: Who or what event do you dream of capturing and why?

KAFUI: l love traveling to capture and tell my own version of a story so I would say I  just want to travel the world and capture it through my lens.

AMOAFOWAA: Married, single or complicated?

KAFUI: I’m in a relationship with the Love of my life Jayne Aruna Noah. I must say I’m blessed to have a man who understands, support and pushes me to be the best I can be.

AMOAFOWAA: Congratulations.  If you were not into photography, what would you be doing?

KAFUI: I would still be working 8-6pm  in someone’s company and be dying slowly inside trying to find a purpose to my life.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your view on men being made demi-gods by the society?

KAFUI: I won’t say men are Demi gods. They just humans who are also trying to find a purpose to life. They thrive on respect, respect is given where it’s due. Trying to fight them as women is never advisable, just let them be and focus on your life. It’s as easy as that.

AMOAFOWAA: Loud and clear. Any political views?

KAFUI: None

AMOAFOWAA: Photographers are mostly lost behind the scenes. To me, their lives are used to capture lives of others. Do you think you can live your life behind the scenes forever?
image

KAFUI: J As much as I love being behind the scene to tell beautiful stories through my lens, the model in me makes it a point to show itself once in a while through personal photo-shoots..lol…l love taking pictures of myself.

AMOAFOWAA: Fancy. So you are in front and behind. Cool idea. Do you take criticisms very well?

KAFUI: I’m always ready to learn and better my craft so those who know me can testify to my willingness to take constructive criticisms; one that comes with a solution to be the best I can be.

AMOAFOWAA: Who is your favourite musician and why?

KAFUI: Rev. Tom Bright-Davies. Anytime he gets on stage the whole atmosphere changes. He is my Mentor, Spiritual Father and Pastor. I just love him.

AMOAFOWAA: What has been your greatest challenge in life and why?

KAFUI: Hmmm, when the family member who housed me asked me to move out because I Chose Photography over managing his business. That to me was not new, having already gone through the experience of my family and I being thrown out of our own house and not having a place to call home for years, having to live with friends, family members and watch my whole family scattered was tough but it strengthened me. I pretended to look okay and all strong for my sibling and mum so they could also be strong. But every night I cried myself to sleep. One thing I could never stand was to watch or hear my mum cry, which really broke me down. Suicidal attempts filled my mind as I earlier intimated. Until I met my Spiritual Father Rev. Tom Bright-Davies, that was where my life turned around.

AMOAFOWAA: How were you able to face your challenges?

KAFUI: I turned to God with the help of my Mentor and Spiritual Father. His mentorship led me to find a purpose to life and God has always proved himself to be faithful. Everything I went through he used for my good to write a beautiful story out of my life.  Indeed, He makes all things Beautiful in His own time.

AMOAFOWAA: How has religion impacted your life?

KAFUI: I’m a Christian, Daughter of the Most High God.  Everything I am, have and can do is because God is the Pillar and foundation that holds my life together, without Him, I’m NOTHING.

AMOAFOWAA: Sell yourself to the world through your thoughts

KAFUI: I capture moments with passion as I pay attention to details. I tell stories through my lens a way you can understand if you were or were not there. Kafui Praise Photography on Instagram, www.facebook.com/kafuipraisephotography on facebook.

AMOAFOWAA: Any advice for people who are passionate about photography?

KAFUI: God First , study, get a mentor, let passion take the lead and money will follow. Show your works out there, let people see what you love doing.

AMOAFOWAA: You toured the northern region. Why?

KAFUI: I love the North, it is traffic free, peaceful  and has so many attraction sites to visit, its people are welcoming and loving. For me, it is home away from Home. I feel fresh anytime I return from the North.

AMOAFOWAA: Your final words on amoafowaa.com

KAFUI: Keep doing what you love Sis. We are blessed to have you.

AMOAFOWAA: And I love you for what you do. Thank you for your time on amoafowaa.com

KAFUI: Thanks for your time and patience. Blessings and much love.

MOMENTS OF PASSION

I have met gods of images

Who make and preserve all in exact state

I have met goddesses with images

Never one with passion behind the cameras

Until I met her

With all that she needs to be in front

Like a picture

But willing with passion to be unique

To be the first black goddess

Who wishes for her world to see

That she is a goddess with passion than gods

To preserve images with love

Passion and flair

The Kafui way

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2016

 

 

MEET THE BUDDING ACTOR: PEREZ DZIWORNU

<div

id=”yui_3_16_0_1_1455253562804_1511″ class=”tab-content”>

 Images from Perez Dziwornu’s timeline on Facebook

Time of Inspiration with Wanlov the Kubolor

Our guest post for today is physically hot in the handsome world. He is controversial, indigenously African, orally free with a kind heart. He is a great father and is a great singer. Our guest for today is none other than Emmanuel Owusu Bonsu popularly known as Wanlov the Kubolor who was kind enough to grant us an interview in his abode in Accra.

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to Amoafowaa.com

WANLOV: Thank you

AMOAFOWAA: Please tell us about Wanlov Kuborlor, from infancy to now

WANLOV: My infancy is a blur.  I was born in Ploiesti, Romania early 80’s and before I was one, we moved to Ghana. By the time I was five or six years old, my parents separated and my mother being an immigrant, kept us. We moved around a lot because she was renting and moving around because rent was going up or whatever. So my infancy was a lot of moving around, every two to three years, we changed neighbourhood. So little Legon, Dansoman, Mile Seven, Zoti Clinic, Dome St. Johns, Taifa, Asylum Down. It was a lot of moving around.

AMOAFOWAA: Did that affect your schooling? I mean, changing schools?

WANLOV: I wasn’t changing schools all the time. I only changed school once. I remember they tried to get admission for me in Christ the King but I don’t know why I was giving opposite answers to all the questions for the entrance examinations. You know how my mind works. I was in North Ridge but then I got kicked out of North Ridge by the time I was in class five.

AMOAFOWAA: Why was that?

WANLOV: Because in class four, I fought with Yaa Asantewaa Rawlings. She is my cousin, so nothing happened to me apart from just being transferred.

AMOAFOWAA: And that was nothing?

WANLOV: I think it was nothing because those times, if you messed with the Rawlings’ family you would be tagged on a sign board in Teshie.

AMOAFOWAA: What are your hobbies?

WANLOV: Eating “alansa” is one of my main hobbies.

AMOAFOWAA: What? Eating “alasa/alansa” that bitter fruit?

WANLOV: Yes. How many people can eat thirty in a day? I can eat thirty in an hour. And I like basketball, I actually play basketball sometimes for charity events. I like soccer too, more for the fact that it works my body out, but I don’t enjoy it, as much as I enjoy basketball.

AMOAFOWAA: Any mentors in life?

WANLOV: I’d like to say Gyedu Blay Ambollay is a mentor. Panji –

AMOAFOWAA: What do you see in Gyedu Blay Ambolley?

WANLOV: Gyedu Blay is like a primordial force. He is very, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or heard of this legend. I don’t know who it belongs to but on the continent are huge giant tortoises that civilization rests upon. I just see him as this huge force of nature. Very magnanimous.

AMOAFOWAA: Magnanimity means he is kind and generous …

WANLOV: Yes, but you can see in his music, very good energy in his music.

AMOAFOWAA: So apart from Gyedu Blay Ambollay, you were mentioning a few others?

WANLOV: Yes, Panji Anoff. Panji is like a world encyclopedia. I have not spoken to Panji about anything or for any advice that he has not been able to give about ninety something percent. He is very knowledgeable. He is like an oracle. He is very revealing and enlightening. If you just sit by Panji and just say “tooth pick”, he will just start “In 1512, the first toothpick was…” and he will tell you how many toothpicks are being produced now in the world, every possible trivia to a quite accurate end.

AMOAFOWAA: What inspired your genre of music?

WANLOV: I see myself like a “tri-genre”. I am doing three things, Gospel Porn with M3nsah, and by myself , I am doing what I call, Afro-Gypsy Music and also just rap, I feature on people’s songs.

AMOAFOWAA:  How do you maintain your daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles or setbacks?

WANLOV: I don’t dwell on one thing at a time. Every time I have three to five things I am doing. Right now, I am editing videos for some artists, I am writing scripts for some films, I am learning how to play guitar, I am writing songs as well so if I have a setback, it is just on one thing out of the things I am doing, so the other things keep me going till I am re-inspired or rejuvenated to take on other things.

AMOAFOWAA: You have a unique lifestyle, what inspired the way you live?

WANLOV: I don’t have any unique style of living.

AMOAFOWAA: Really?

WANLOV: Yes, maybe just with dressing but me wearing a wrap skirt happened when I was just doing my laundry. All my clothes were dirty and I wrapped a cloth around me and I just felt like that was how I was going to dress from then on. It just happened by chance. And now I am used to it.

AMOAFOWAA: So what do you think of the saying that “clothes maketh a man?”

WANLOV: That is when you look at the world on a flat standpoint. That quotation obviously comes from one of those elites who can afford a certain kind of clothing and regard men by their social standing as opposed to their conscience or their nature. Somebody can have a bad and wicked nature but because the person is nicely dressed, then they will be received well somewhere. This quotation comes from those kinds of people who are moved by the cosmetic presentation of men instead of the internal makeup.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! How do you see the music industry of Ghana?

WANLOV: It is round and hairy

AMOAFOWAA: Like an ape or something like that?

WANLOV: Don’t quote me as saying that, that is just you saying that.

AMOAFOWAA: If it is round and hairy, that is just one of the things that comes to mind

WANLOV: Then why don’t you say test***es. Well, I said it is possibly hairy. It used to be a bit flat but now it looks like nine months pregnant.

AMOAFOWAA: So that is creativity at its peak?

WANLOV: I hope so. But that is also Obour’s stomach. Maybe you can say that it is about to give birth to creativity.

AMOAFOWAA: But I think Obour is fit now and has grown cool.

WANLOV: Cool like what? Like standing in a fridge or what? Do you mean he has given birth?

AMOAFOWAA: (Laughing out loud) Maybe through a caesarian section

WANLOV: Lol. You are worse.

AMOAFOWAA: But Obour has exercised and grown fit, I think, from the last time I saw him on television.  I know you to be a great father. One who makes sure he represents even at the maternity hall. What inspired your commitment to fatherhood?

WANLOV: Well, I think my parents kind of raised me in a way that instilled in me a sense of responsibility. I don’t even think I am a person who likes children, but I feel I need to do everything for my children because I am part of the reason they are here. When I am with my children, I enjoy myself but I also love to be by myself. I don’t also want to come across as disliking children…

AMOAFOWAA: You can’t even say that because I can see for myself what is happening. (For the benefit of followers, I met Wanlov with his a little under 2 year old son: Kojolescu and he was taking care of him at his home alone. Feeding, bathing, and changing his diapers. He was so attentive throughout the interview) What has been the naughtiest thing you have ever done?

WANLOV:  I was playing with my brother when we were children and I threw cement and it went into his eyes

AMOAFOWAA: That is not as bad as you made it sound, more like a mistake. Let’s talk about politics. From Nkrumah to Mahama, which politician has impressed you so far and why?

WANLOV: Apart from Nkrumah, none has been able to impress me. Just because all of them had no vision.

AMOAFOWAA: If you talk about visions, what do you think Nkrumah had that none of them possess?

WANLOV: I mean Nkrumah went into a forest in the Volta Region, a forest, and decided to turn the whole place into a dam. He also decided to create the Bui Dam, then he decided to set up a thermo-Nuclear plant at Atomic for themo-nuclear energy which he did.  He created all these Tema communities, Dansoman, he planned everything, the systems, the Tema Motorway, he did all these things and everybody who has come has just run it down. None has decided to continue, to finish the Bui Dam, , upgrade the Akosombo VRA project, they’ve just come to be there while everything is going down. Even when Nkrumah did all these things, we were just about five million so why is it that everybody has come to use what he created for five million people for twenty something million people? They actually chaperone all he has done to the grave. All they came to do is “Konongo Kaya”. (For the benefit of foreign followers, “Konongo Kaya” is a legendary porter who will not help to carry the goods at hand but won’t also let anyone carry it)

AMOAFOWAA: Bribery and corruption, from judges to clerks, any words on that?

WANLOV: Yes, errrm, what’s  crazy is that everybody is commending the judges who did not take the bribe. For me that is absurd and shows that we totally miss the whole plot. If you are in any sensible country which has a working legal system, let’s take the UK, if you go and sit in front of a judge, which you may not even be able to do, and just mention the thought of bribe, within ten seconds, you will be in jail. They will arrest you. So for Anas and his team to be able to sit in front of about twenty judges for them to say “Oh no no no, go away, I won’t take it”, that means, they just didn’t mention their right prices. Those judges are worse than the ones who collected the monies because they are ready to do something just for bigger monies. It is almost like you’ve seen an armed robber come into your house, and you have the power to catch the armed robber but you let them go to steal from someone else. That is what those judges did and it shows that we have a serious sickness in Ghana.

AMOAFOWAA: May I ask for the definition of love according to Wanlov Kuborlor?

WANLOV: Love, I don’t use the word “love” for infatuation, those things, temporary attraction, I use the word in the sense of any human being who is in touch with humanity in the sense that if you are standing by the roadside and see somebody crossing the road and a car about to hit him or her and you jump in the way to save that person at the expense of your life, then I will say that is love. That is to say human beings are defaulted to love. The other kind of love that people talk about is just not real. If you take the concept of love, it is supposed to be something that is supposed to be there permanently. You can’t grow love to say I love you more or less, so none can apply love in the contest of meeting some girl or boy and falling in love and all those things. That is temporary attraction. When we say God is love, it is so because God is constant and cannot change.

AMOAFOWAA: Let’s branch to feminism,  you are smiling, what is your impression of it?

WANLOV: My favourite feminists are black feminists who pray to a white male Jesus to help them. Everything is ironic about that situation because feminists are supposed to be independent and not rely on men because they can do exactly as the man should yet they are praying to a male God to help them in their lives. Don’t you find that ironic? They should have a female God.

AMOAFOWAA: So you don’t believe in feminism?

WANLOV: You see, it is not about belief, feminism is not a concept that translates well with the African world. And it is a fashion to me among the so called middle class exparte community in Africa and other parts of the world who try to bring this, you see, feminism is about women empowerment. In any Ghanaian household, before the time of the appearance of feminism, feminism was already there. When you look at the power structure within any household, you realize that the woman controls the house. She is the one that kicks the man out and so on. She controls the food, the woman that has the shop is the only one doing all, the man is just there managing things on the sides, the main power relied within the woman. When you go to Makola, you see this concept of woman power we have always revere the woman, Yaa Asantewaa, we don’t raise any human or person above Yaa Asantewaa. So this new wave of feminism does not fit well into the Ghanaian system. It is more like a middle class Ghanaian trying to adopt a western movement. The European structure comes from a patriarchal system. That is why they brought up God in the Bible where the men control the women as subservient, the woman is listed next to a donkey and other properties of the man, so the Western world is what has created the need for feminism.  We never had the need for feminism until we started adapting to foreign ways as against ours.

AMOAFOWAA: So do you see yourself getting married to a woman and make her a housewife?

WANLOV: No I can’t, but mine is different because I can’t even see myself getting married at all.

AMOAFOWAA: As you grow older, do you think you will change your mind about getting married?

WANLOV: I don’t think so but I never knew I will not wear shoes so…

AMOAFOWAA: Okay. Bleaching and makeups, can they contribute to women attracting you?

WANLOV: I just think if you are bleaching you should just bleach well. If you can’t bleach well then don’t bleach at all, unless you know someone who likes zebra bleaching. At the end of the day, to me, bleaching, tattooing, perming, all these alterations, temporary or permanent to the body, are everybody’s choice to make. The question remains, do you know the dangers of what you are doing? If I am going to tattoo, which I am planning to start this year…

AMOAFOWAA: Really? Maybe you should start from your face. It will be nice.

WANLOV: Yes. What do you think is the first tattoo I should make?

AMOAFOWAA: A huge dragon on your face.

WANLOV: Oh my God! So it can defecate into my mouth? I think I will just get the word “tattoo” tattooed on me. Just know what you are getting into. If you want to bleach, see your doctor, let them advise you so that you choose the right products to bleach with so you don’t get some kind of skin disease or you don’t end up looking like something.

AMOAFOWAA: Pastors and special waters for healing and solving spiritual problems, will there be a time you will be seen being delivered by those pastors?

WANLOV: I have been there before, I think from 1998 to 2000, I was a kind of like semi-by force Christian. I was going to church with my father every Sunday so I got to kneel in front of pastors, having oils in my head, having their manhoods to my face, errm, I don’t think I will go back there again.

AMOAFOWAA: You don’t believe in romance but you have five children. How do you get the women?

WANLOV: There are women out there who are like me, not romantic. They just want to have a good time and later, after knowing each other for sometime, we come to the mutual agreement to have a child together. But giving out flowers or taking someone to a restaurant, sit down, have dinner? Maybe movies, but even that, maybe we are in town and there is traffic, so we dash into a cinema to see a film to kill time. I have never dated since I was in Junior High School.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Who can gain your respect?

WANLOV: People who work hard, those who do not bend to the crowd

AMOAFOWAA: What are your views on racism?

WANLOV: It will never go away. Human beings have always found a way to find differences among certain groups of people so that they can be at an advantage. The Irish who looked just as white as the European were treated with racism saying they were less than Europeans, same with the Jews by the Arians, same with the Palestinians and the Israelis. So even with people who look alike, humans find ways of making others less in order to advance. Life is about survival. That is why the zebras walk with zebras and the hippopotamus walks with the hippopotamus. To think that everything will move about quietly without deaths is naïve. Life is war.

AMOAFOWAA: I have bothered you enough. Now let’s get into the advice segment. What would you tell scammers who believe it is their right to dupe foreigners because of colonialism?

WANLOV: I like that. It is not even about the colonialism part. I mean if you are sitting behind a computer and you receive an email from a Nigerian who tells you, he is the first Nigerian to go to space and is currently stuck in space but when they get to Nigeria, the government will give them some millions so if you can give money to his wife so that when he comes back he gives it to you with interest. And you are sitting behind your computer and you read this and you send your money, it means you don’t deserve that money. You got it just because of some kind of privilege. If you really worked hard to get that money and you think, you won’t be able to send it to a Nigerian. And the young women too, when you start having relationships with women and they fall for you and you start collecting their monies, life is not fair, the women should thank the boys for teaching them lessons. At least they can still work for monies now and they can thank those boys later.

AMOAFOWAA: Your advice to those who are contemplating suicide.

WANLOV: I will ask them why? Everybody’s case is unique. If that person has a good point, I may even consider joining them.

AMOAFOWAA: Are there links to buy your songs online?

WANLOV: wanlov.bandcamp.com, regular itunes, etc.

AMOAFOWAA: Now your advice to those who want to be like you.

WANLOV: They should finish being like themselves first. I mean I see all the young guys who try to wear skirts, I am not in costume, so when I see them doing that during the Chalewote Street Arts Festival dressed like me, it makes me smile because I know it takes courage to make them behave that way even for a day.

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you for your time on Amoafowaa.com

WANLOV: “Foo waa”

MISCONSTRUED

He is like a sword of truth

One son of Africa fetched from the belly of far away

To give universal eyes which transmit all freely

To the mind to a fault

From will to zeal

From nil to real

From sand fingerings right through to his quill

All that is rudely real

As shadows follow their reals

So do his weird fruits mar his visions of light

Wisdoms wrapped in parcels of sarcasms

Knock without success on gates of infant minds

Hidden in bodies of greatness

Close to the liver is the bile

It is time to burn the file

Of frivolous foolishness

To file voices of truth without victimization

For Wanlov is for most to love

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2016

Meet the Boss of Ghana’s First Funky Read/Write Clinic: Miss Portia Dery

She is a writer, a community development worker and a social entrepreneur. She became the first Ghanaian to win the prestigious golden baobab prize for picture book in 2014.  She is the eldest of two children and the founder of the African Youth Writers Organization which seeks to lure children to read and write through play activities,  technology and games designed from local recycled waste materials. Our guest is none other than the humble, beautiful and hard working Portia Mwinbeter-ib Dery

Portia Dery on amoafowaa.com
Portia Dery on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to Amoafowaa.com

PORTIA: I am so excited to be on your platform

AMOAFOWAA: Tell us about growing up

PORTIA: I had a wonderful childhood until my father died at age 11. Death was new to me and my father had meant the world to me.  As soon as my father died , everything at home broke down, and life became a terrible nightmare. If I am saner now, it is because of story books…they transported me into a fantasy world of possibilities.

AMOAFOWAA: Please tell us about Portia

PORTIA: Portia is a passionate social entrepreneur with focus on literacy issues. If there  are 3 key words to describe me , they will be;  Faith- I have so much faith even when things are impossible. I am the type that believes Mount Everest can move to Ghana overnight if it has to come to that. But I have a very good reason to have this strong faith, because God, my adorable father rules the world. Passion and Tenacity.

AMOAFOWAA: You are a social entrepreneur, please educate us on your work.

PORTIA: Being a social entrepreneur means I actively search for social problems and find innovative solutions to tackle them, however bearing in mind cost effective strategies. In 2013, I dared to turn my passion and love for reading and writing into a social venture  called the African youth writers organization-AYWO ; which  is on a mission to…(takes a deep breath in laughter)  turn the whole of Africa into a reading continent by grooming the next generation  into avid readers and prolific writers using innovation solutions. It looked impossible but with the help of my CEO, God and an awesome team, we have directly impacted the lives of 700 children within northern region alone.

On  June 21, 2015, the African Youth Writers Organization-AYWO started the first ever innovative reading and writing  clinic dubbed ‘the funky ReadWrite clinic’  for children living in deprived communities. Almost 5 months down the line, I am proud to say; about 30 children who were timid and less vocal are now confident and stimulated to face the world and fight for their future.

AMOAFOWAA: Why did you say dared to turn your passion into action?

PORTIA:  Prior to starting my social entrepreneurial journey, I was very timid and had low self-esteem. A childhood of poverty and emotional setbacks slowly affected the way I saw myself…I thought everybody was better and awesome except me. However upon rediscovering me, it was like the caterpillar I was emerged into a beautiful butterfly. Finally, like I said in 2013, I decided to stop complaining and take my destiny with the help of God into my own hands. That is why I am passionate about helping children who go through trauma to rediscover themselves through reading and creative writing hence my social venture African Youth Writes Organization-AYWO.

AMOAFOWAA: What are some of the challenges you face as a social entrepreneur?

PORTIA:  Oh my goodness!  It’s so challenging. Without passion you will fall out, most people think social entrepreneurial work is about fame  or popularity …ooh no if you get into it with that mindset, everything will go wrong.  Finding a great team, resources and skills can be very challenging but when you find a team that is awesome …nothing will matter , not even money.  A very good example is the GhanaThink Foundation’s Barcamps in Ghana which is largely successful due to emphasis on good teams sourced from volunteers. Another challenge is capital or resources for social activities. However, it is important to emphasize that even with less resources, a lot of social works can be done.

Portia Dery with her students at the Funky Read/Write Clinic
Portia Dery with her students at the Funky Read/Write Clinic

AMOAFOWAA: True and I agree on the great team talk. Works like magic. Let’s talk about your work at Department of Community Development and Social Welfare.

PORTIA: So I am a community development officer, basically, my work entails social activities ranging from  gender advocacy,  helping small women group businesses, to ending early and forced marriages to sanitation issues. Anything related to community work is my job.

AMOAFOWAA: What are some of the challenges there?

PORTIAWorking in a rural district can be very challenging. With the bad road network and lack of social activities, it gets so strenuous but I am motivated by these challenges because the work I do changes people’s lives. It is difficult to change primitive perceptions. Take for example open defecation which is a huge problem in most of the communities. People have the perception that having a toilet facility in their house is a waste of resources and time and even if it must be constructed, it should be provided by the government or an NGO.  Most men are so paranoid that they say they cannot imagine their defecation mixing with female defecation. Some ladies say they cannot afford to mix their feaces with their in laws’ and others just think defecation should be left in the open as it is pure manure. Some also feel that open defecation is more enjoyable because there is fresh air, very ridiculous excuses. And flies settle on these feaces and transmit diseases. The challenges are many but there is hope.

AMOAFOWAA: Portia, are you single?

PORTIA: Yes.

AMOAFOWAA: What are the characteristics of your ideal man?

PORTIA:    Someone who has God’s favor; someone who delights God. It doesn’t matter if he’s blind or a cripple.

AMOAFOWAA: So noble and thoughtful. What are your hobbies?

PORTIA:  Bird watching! I simply adore birds. I am currently lobbying with God to make me minister of the birds and children and flowers when I get to heaven.(lol). I love gardening as well; (can I tell you a secret?)  My early morning ritual when I wake is to run out and  to see my planted flowers and vegetables, I like to drink in their beauty. Of late I have become fascinated with my camera. Need I mention reading?

AMOAFOWAA: No. You are a beautiful and pure soul. Who can gain your respect?

PORTIA:   I hate people who pretend! People who manipulate others.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Hate is strong but understandable. So your Funky Read Write Clinic, CEO right? Tell us more about how that dream came to be

PORTIA:  I am something like the director. It started like a kind of Disney fantasy.  The African Youth Writers Organization-AYWO since 2013 has carried out spin off  outreach programs like reading, writing and mentoring clinics but there was nothing like a permanent reading and writing program/project that will monitor  the impact of  targeted children and celebrate their success. And so as part of our innovativeness, we designed  a ‘Ghana made’ reading and writing clinic tailored to specifically address reading and writing challenges of  the youth. The whole idea is with the premises that if children are exposed to quality, exciting reading and writing methods; they will fall in love with reading and writing in no time and further maintain literacy skills throughout their adult lives. Well, the above was just a theory when we started  but I am excited to tell the world that it WORKED! The funky ReadWrite clinic is hard core evidence when it comes to education, quality should never be compromised. At the clinic we use paly activities, technology and games locally designed from recycled waste materials. On June 21, 2015 we promised the world by 5 months’ time that we will improve the literacy skills of children at our clinic , we have exceeded that by 150%….and in addition we are producing children with confidence to stand out and think wide outside the box  and whose imaginations are well stimulated  to explore the world with vim.

10495569_823630697657241_5933924628621514774_o

AMOAFOWAA: What are your long term goals?

PORTIAIn 5 years, I want to directly reach 10 million children across Africa with our innovative literacy solutions and products. I want 10 million children to improve and maintain their literacy skills. I want 10 million children regardless of where they are born, where they live or their challenges to have a good shot at quality education.

AMOAFOWAA: Pushing for a reading continent, what are some of your challenges?

PORTIA:  Reading is considered as an academic activity; something merely for exams sakes. The mind set in such a way that reading is deemed wrong. When I was a teenager, people called me a bookworm (as if it was a bad thing) simply because my 3 best friends and I carried books everywhere we went. Even at the university, people shake their heads  and say to me“ aarh why should I read such fat books…is it exams time?”

Teachers! Our teacher training schools do not train teachers with innovative skills to help children read in schools, in fact reading for leisure is not the priority of the Ghana educational system; library books are provided as an aid to academic work, merely to improve the English of students. But shouldn’t reading be more than just that?

Parents should read to their babies even when pregnant, they should tell their children stories even in their mother tongue and should fill the home with books.

When you have a whole continent like Africa with poor reading habits…what you get  in the long run is a continent with leaders who cannot think  beyond what they see, they cannot imagine anything…their imagination is dead!

Portia Dery on amoafowaa.com
Portia Dery on amoafowaa.com


AMOAFOWAA: Yes, and dead imagination is like dead thoughts. What is the most horrible thing you have ever done?

PORTIA: Told a horrible lie.

AMOAFOWAA: Won’t even ask for more. Sounds like you are still beating yourself about it. If you had a day more to live (God forbid) what will you do in the 24 hours?

PORTIA:  Cry…and praise God.

AMOAFOWAA: So realistic. Ghana and politics, what can you say about it?

PORTIA:  Hoping for the better. That all I can say.

AMOAFOWAA: Thanks for saying something. I know you are a so not interested in politics material. Who is your favourite musician and why?

PORTIA: I don’t  have a favorite , I simply listen to music that connects with me.

AMOAFOWAA: Who did you grow up reading from?

PORTIA:  Lady bird books , Enid Blyton and later the African writers series.  But let me give shouts out to Meshack Asare, my adorable role model. He is a fantastic writer , One of Africa’s most influential children’s authors and has won  numerous awards across the world. His book “Kwajo and the brass man’s secret” has impact on me. His book was the first book  I read as a child written by An African writer .

11813246_968968576492764_765287013417036262_n

AMOAFOWAA: I believe that those who read a lot were programmed by inspiration, what inspired you to be the reader that you are today?

PORTIA:  My home was filled with lots  of books by my father. I was inspired by the beautiful words and pictures…the magic, the opportunity to travel all around the world with just a book in my hands.

AMOAFOWAA: Forgive me, what you said sounds so nice. Travelling with the flow of a book. What in this whole wide world do you find most unfortunate?

PORTIAWhen people turn their backs on the needy, yet are prepared  to spend so much on funeral arrangements.

AMOAFOWAA: That really is unfortunate and I have a huge story to tell one day on that. Colours fuel labeling. Portia what is your take on this?

PORTIA: Ahaaa. It may seem so. But sometimes, just sometimes, you may get the color description wrong which will affect the labeling and get the shock your of life.  

11855665_947151248640697_2543404010128343975_n

AMOAFOWAA: Given the chance, what will you change in your community?

PORTIAI want to see more community engagements and volunteering.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your best line in Ghana’s National Anthem?

PORTIA: God bless our homeland Ghana.

11828750_522491921249926_4101076878247374858_n

AMOAFOWAA: Indeed we can never go wrong with blessings. Your final words of advice to followers of amoafowaa.com

PORTIA: Follow your passion! Let money be second to any considerations.  And please kindly support the funky ReadWrite clinic. Do hang out with us on our lovely  blog https://africanywo.wordpress.com/  and check out our website http://www.aywo.org

 

AMOAFOWAA: We sure will. Thank you for passing through.

PORTIA: It was a pleasure.

 

                          WHEN AN EAGLE IS BORN (PORTIA DERY)

When an eagle is born

It doesn’t matter where it is bred

It doesn’t matter what it does

One day it will fly so high above

With wings stronger than all in its generation

Portia Dery is an eagle in character

With beauty and passion

To fly reading to all doorsteps

And impact the world of the poor for the better

Apt in goodness

Prayers are for the one who dreams

To end the screams so man made

And so I bless her

Portia Dery

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2015

All about Kobina Ansah; from Theatre to the “Juicy-Personals”

He is a Playwright, a director who aims to heal the world through his art. He has done so much to help theatre arts in Ghana although he is a learned biochemist. He is handsome, down to earth and very talented. Our guest post is Kobina Ansah.

Kobina Ansah on amoafowaa.com
Kobina Ansah on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to amoafowaa.com

KOBBY: Thank you your highness.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow. Your highness? Okay, please tell us about Kobina Ansah from birth to now in summary

KOBBY: Chai! I am the penultimate child of my parents; I have a big brother and a kid sister. We have another cousin who has been with us since childhood. I attended basic school at Ghana Believers Church Prep. Sch. in Dansoman and then proceeded to Pope John SHS to read Science in 2003. In 2007, I was admitted into the premier university; University of Ghana to read Biological Science with the hope of entering medical school. I am a Vandal. I qualified for medical school; interview but was ‘bounced’ for whatever reasons unknown to me. Eventually, I ended up reading Biochemistry, which I graduated in 2011. I did my national service at St. Roses SHS, Akwatia, as a Biology tutor. I had to leave some few months ago because I couldn’t juggle teaching and writing so well. Had been teaching for four years.  Passion would always have its way, you know. So I’m a full writer now.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you do now apart from writing and directing?

KOBBY: Eeerrm… I sing. I rap, too. Lol. I think aside writing, music is such a big thing to me. I used to be an assistant music director in church back in Akwatia.

AMOAFOWAA: Talented huh? So play writing and directing, what gave birth to that dream?

KOBBY: Play writing. Directing. Haha. I used to write all genres of literature aside play writing. Some friends dared me and I took the challenge up. That’s what has brought me here. Sometimes in life, all you need to do is to take challenges as they come. There’s more inside us than we think. Everything is possible.

AMOAFOWAA: Who did you grow up reading?

KOBBY: No one. I grew up reading newspapers. My dad works with Graphic Communications Group as a mechanical engineer. He would always bring home newspapers and somewhat force us to read and write to them. We all did but I think of the four of us, I honed my reading and writing skills best.

AMOAFOWAA: Are there themes you want to be known for?

KOBBY: No. I don’t want to be predictable. I write on anything; everything. My head is too big to contain only a theme for which i may want to be known.

AMOAFOWAA: Do people show up for your plays?

KOBBY: Yes I will say… but not to my  satisfaction. However, I think we are now building the brand. It is a big dream but we need to start small. For us to dare to fly, we need to have learnt how to walk. Every phase in life is a learning one. We are still learning and yearning for a bigger followership and audience.

AMOAFOWAA: Any challenges?

KOBBY: Many; financial especially. No one wants to help until you have made a hit. You sometimes find it discouraging but we can’t give up yet. We have come too far to do so.

AMOAFOWAA: What has been your happiest moments since you started production and why?

KOBBY: Haha. Valentine weekend. 2015. We got the Drama Studio of University of Ghana overflowing with theatre lovers; something which had not happened in ages. I was glad because it was such a dream-come-true. My team worked hard and God rained His blessings. The peak of the bliss was that our audience laughed for three hours unending!

Kobina Ansah and friend on amoafowaa.com
Kobina Ansah and friend on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: Wow. What are your long and short term goals?

KOBBY: Long term: I want to touch hearts globally with theatre. I want my company; Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com) and Scribe Productions to be  a force to reckon with. We want to provide jobs for young people so they can exploit their creativity as much as they want to. In the short term, I want to be happy. I want to exploit my creativity as a writer and singer. And… I want to be a good husband. Lol. It’s one big dream of mine.

AMOAFOWAA: You want to be a good husband? Please throw more light on that

KOBBY: I’ve always told myself I owe myself and my kids the best mother. The best mother needs the best husband too. A good husband, in my perspective is one who has his family at heart; willing to sacrifice anything and everything for his family. And that is exactly what I wish to do someday. Yes I can!

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Sitting in these words of yours, I am blushing for your lucky choice.

KOBBY: Lool. Life’s lived just once. We can’t afford not to love. If you have the opportunity to love and be loved by a woman, don’t waste it. It is a rare blessing.

AMOAFOWAA: I wasn’t going to ask but I know writers are dangerous in love. They know all the good things to say and so end up manipulating their lovers. At a point, they become cruel because they know which words hurt best. What is your take on this?

KOBBY: Hmmm. Love is a language. It is a means of communication. Writing is a communication tool. I’m not surprised writers, perhaps, have the choicest words to speak into the ears of their lovers. However, like I’ve always maintained, if a woman indeed loves you, It’s a rare blessing, no need to waste it. Don’t abuse it. You may lose it forever! It is a blessing to be a writer but it’s more blessing to be a loved writer. Take that from me.

AMOAFOWAA: Taken. What impact do you think your plays will have on the nation Ghana and the world at large?

KOBBY: Inspiration. Healing. Motivation. I want every youth out there to be inspired that if only they can work hard, their dreams would be a reality. I also want my plays to touch families and heal broken relationships. No family is for sale…in spite of each other’s blunders! I want to champion causes through theatre. For instance, in Season 2 of ‘This Family Is Not For Sale’, we made mockery of how Africans literally spend all they have on funerals. This is what I am talking about!

AMOAFOWAA: Yes, that thing sucks huh? When you see monies flowing on corpses on an empty stomach. Anyway, apart from what you do, which I know is fun, what do you do for fun?

KOBBY: I love to tease. Probably that’s why I’m good at satire. I tease everyone including myself… even the last time I was ‘bounced’ by my crush. Lol

AMOAFOWAA: A whole Kobby, bounced by his crush? Can I be inquisitive enough to get more out of that?

KOBBY: Hahahaha. Life is some way, you know. It can’t be understood. That’s why it is called life. Those we love may not always love us back. Those who love us, we may not love back too. Life is just some way. Chai! But in all, we move on. If your love is turned down, you don’t give up on yourself, you still love. There’s a woman for every single man out there.

AMOAFOWAA: Christian?

KOBBY: Very much. I love Jesus!

AMOAFOWAA: What is the your most favourite quotation in the Bible?

KOBBY: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

AMOAFOWAA: Movies are popular, stage plays are not that popular in Ghana. In fact, they are mostly acted out in Accra and Kumasi. Uncle Ebo stands out, what do you think can be done to remedy this trait?

KOBBY: Investment. The corporate world shuns from investing in theatre. Theatre is very expensive, Amoafowaa. We can’t do it alone. You run out of business… and ideas… when you run out of money because everything is self-funded. We hope things change soon.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you battle stage fright where your actors and actresses are concerned? If so how do you do it?

KOBBY: I inspire them. I let them know their self-worth. I think motivating others is one thing that comes to me so easily. I am blessed.

AMOAFOWAA: Yes you are. Who do you look up to?

KOBBY: My dad. He hasn’t been to university before yet has seen all of us through it. It’s a big challenge to me. I have no other option than to change my world.

AMOAFOWAA: The biochemistry background, why has it been shelved?

KOBBY: Haha. It hasn’t. I think writing overshadowed it. I actually didn’t intend to read it. Fate brought me there but I am glad it did. I learnt so many things about life and met great friends and lecturers who have played a role in my writing career. One of such lecturers is Dr. Adjimani. He’s something else!

AMOAFOWAA: You were a teacher at St. Roses

KOBBY: Yes please.

AMOAFOWAA: What happened, didn’t like the company of the girls?

KOBBY: Hahaha. I very much loved their company. I was a kind of a darling boy because my alma mater was Pope John. Both schools have a thing for each other. If I were to ever have teaching at heart as a career, that school would have been my best option. However, my passion was calling. I felt I was wasting it. I got less interested in teaching as the days went by. I gave up. But… before I did, I made sure I had impacted as much as I could and I’m grateful to the school authorities for giving me the opportunity to teach there. At least, it helped me overcome my fear for girls. It feels great to teach Biology in a girls school. No silly thoughts though. Lol. Chai!

AMOAFOWAA: Well, thanks for putting a brake on my silly thoughts, but you were afraid of girls? Chai! This one I must ask.

KOBBY: You know attending a boys’ school has its own demerits. I proceeded to an all males’ hall in Legon, Commonwealth Hall. I barely associated with women in the major part of my early life. So intrinsically, I had developedn a fear for them. I had resolved to be a Catholic Priest at some point. Fortunately or unfortunately, I wasn’t a catholic so that became like a fairy dream. Being hurled to St. Roses after Legon was a heartache initially. I never imagined standing in front of many girls teaching Biology. Chai! Eventually, I got over it. Now, most of the friends I have around me are my former students or friends of theirs.

Kobina Ansah on amoafowaa.com
Kobina Ansah on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: Lol. You as a house husband, your wife as a house wife, if you are to choose, which one will you choose and why?

KOBBY: House husband. I don’t know why. But… I won’t let my wife be a house one. The name only gives me headache. Lol

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Way to go Amoafowaa. This is the second potential house husband I am interviewing. Lol. Women and power. Do you think they are a great combination?

KOBBY: Maybe yes. Maybe no. Some women can really make power look disgusting. Others do just fine with it.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you ever wish to cause a political kneeling with your stage act?

KOBBY: Haha. I haven’t thought about it. But you just gave me an idea. Thank you!

AMOAFOWAA: Lol. Who is your favourite politician of all times?

KOBBY: I think Akua Donkor. The crown ( sorry clown) fits her so well. She will be such a good president. Pun intended. Lol.

AMOAFOWAA: Lol. Pun taken. Single, secretly married or hawking girls on “apanpan”? Lol

KOBBY: Single. I have never dated before. Sounds strange but that’s the uncomfortable truth. I have been ‘bounced’ severally though. Hahaha. There’s still life after bouncing. Life goes on.

AMOAFOWAA: How old are you again?

KOBBY: 27

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Which damsel can gain your attention?

KOBBY: A smart one. One who can keep a home. Producing babies makes one a woman. Keeping a home makes them a wife.

AMOAFOWAA: Which part of Ghana do you deem most beautiful?

KOBBY: Haven’t travelled much. I’ll maintain Accra is.

AMOAFOWAA: You should travel more, Amedzofe, Aburi, Kwahu Obo, my favourite places in Ghana. Kobby, are you romantic or a typical African as people call men who fail to express their feelings

KOBBY: For now I think I am the typical type. After dating, I’ll ascertain which I would be.

AMOAFOWAA: If you are certain that the world is ending today, what are the three things you would wish to complete before it ends?

KOBBY: 1. Preach Christ. 2. Repeat number 1 3. Repeat number 2

AMOAFOWAA: You want to go to heaven that badly? Nice. To end racial discrimination, some people believe we need to as it were “cross breed”. What is your voice on this?

KOBBY: I don’t think so. Racism is a thing of the mind. We even discriminate among our own tribes. Unless we change our minds, crossbreeding can’t do much.

AMOAFOWAA: Homosexualism and bisexualism, which one would you promote and why?

KOBBY: None. My Christian values don’t teach me that.

AMOAFOWAA: Who do you think can turn Ghana into a developed country? Which personality and why?

KOBBY: Anyone can. Anyone with humanity at heart. Greed has eaten so much into our society that we have lost it for humanity. That’s our bane.

AMOAFOWAA: Kobby, in your own observation, what do you think can kill someone’s career in the fastest possible way and why?

KOBBY: Pride. If you are proud, you may have fallen long ago and would not even know. I always maintain my humble composure wherever I find myself. If my salary would always be someone else’s tithe, what is the essence of throwing myself on people. Chai!

AMOAFOWAA: Chai! Where did you pick that hesitation remark? I know you didn’t take that from me.

KOBBY: Loool. I don’t even remember. Before I knew it, it had become a part of me. I love it. It’s able to convey my exact reaction/emotion.

AMOAFOWAA: If I say fame corrupts and absolute fame corrupts the human character absolutely, will I be wrong or right? Why?

KOBBY: You are very right. Lucifer fell because of his fame. I don’t blame Kanye when he wants to show up like a god because of his fame. After all, fame corrupts. If you don’t have Christ in your life to tame you, you would be heading to doom. Most of us can’t handle fame. We get it and metamorphose into something else overnight.

AMOAFOWAA: A crying child, a mourning woman, a man divorced with no job and contemplating suicide, which one will you try to be close to given the circumstance and why?

KOBBY: Such a dicey one. I would get close the one contemplating suicide because he is a living man who is already dead. The thought of suicide is suicide!

AMOAFOWAA: Now you are showing off with your intellectual skills. Lol. Who is your favourite musician of all times?

KOBBY: I don’t think I have any. I love songs which exhibit creativity and originality. It should be able to convey a message, too.

AMOAFOWAA: Catapulting for birds, listening to grandma’s stories by the fireside, hunting in the woods with father for antelopes, which would you choose and why?

KOBBY: Listening to stories. It would challenge my creativity.

AMOAFOWAA: Women in politics, are they enough? If they aren’t, given the power, how would you solve the situation?

KOBBY: We don’t seem to have  lot of them. But… I think they are as corrupt as the men. Corruption is not gender bias. I prefer they stay out of it so, at least, we assume that they would have done better if they were there. Sometimes the best comfort is assumption. Lol.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Kobby! Well, as a woman, I don’t know whether to begrudge you or not but it sure didn’t sound pleasant no matter the paradox. Which country’s national anthem do you find most interesting, beats, words and all?

KOBBY: South Africa’s. I don’t know the words though but I know when we were kids we used to have a parody of it. It sounds nice to the ears.

AMOAFOWAA: Any play plans ahead?

KOBBY: A lot. Planning for Val’s Day next year God willing with our new hit ‘I Want To Sue God’. It’s a satire which mocks how we blame God for every evil that befalls us when we indeed are the architects of them. In the meantime, we would do a repeat of Season 2 of ‘This Family Is Not For Sale’ before that.

Kobina Ansah on amoafowaa.com
Kobina Ansah on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: When exactly will the repeat of season two be?

KOBBY: In Christmas or New year God willing.

AMOAFOWAA: It’s been wonderful having you. Any sponsors you wish to acknowledge?

KOBBY: I want to acknowledge my business partner and friend, Abraham Arthur Otabil, who is Head of our sales, marketing and protocol department. He’s such a genius. Thanks to all my #TeamScribe members, especially Maxwell Agbagba of Radio Universe, and the entire Roses fraternity. God bless you all. Your support is worth more than a fortune to me.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your advice to people who wish to be like you?

KOBBY: Work hard. There’s no substitute for hard work. I have had to double as writer, marketer, producer, director and everything because I need to support myself before anyone else does. Your dream is your headache. Carry it yourself and stop assuming others would help you do so! They can follow me on my blog http://www.kobinaansah.blogspot.com.

AMOAFOWAA: Your final words to followers of amoafowaa.com

KOBBY: Stay glued to this site. You can’t go through this life without inspiration. It will be such a hard thing to do. This is where you will get all that inspiration you need!

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you for passing through

KOBBY: Welcome your highness.

 

KOBINA ANSAH

None can tell tales in a writer’s head

But all can sit under his wordy shed

His pen might be under his ‘spaceless’ bed

Which vanishes with him in body dead

Take heed and sit under Kobina’s shed

II

A body virgin, a brainy gigolo

Young in body, too old in brains

Loving in speech, his life does teach

Few flaws to breach, his mindful reach

Notice now Kobina Ansah’s shed

III

An example, an inspiration

Great heart, an adoration

Hard work, a sensation

A good workman has God’s best luck

Take heed and learn from Kobina’s chest

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015

Heart to Heart with Reuben Griffith Bekoe

Our guest post, Reuben Griffiths Bekoe, is a determined soul with a heart of gold. He is a cyclist who is cycling to raise funds for the Ghana Cleft Foundation. He describes himself as a jealous romantic who loves passionately. I say he is a young enterprising young man who might do deeds which the Guinness Book of Records might gladly chase to capture. Let’s relax and enjoy a tour on his mind.
image

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to Amoafowaa.com

REUBEN: Thank you for the opportunity

AMOAFOWAA: If I may ask, why cycling?

REUBEN: I am bike-sexual

AMOAFOWAA: (Laughing outloud) Why not bike-prostitute?

REUBEN: I just chose bicycle because in our culture, though people use bicycles to commute, it’s not our thing to just ride for a longer distance. If you’re riding and wearing a jersey they think you’re doing  cycling or racing but racing and touring are two different things.

AMOAFOWAA: So you are on a mission now, when did you start?

REUBEN: I started on the 10th of August from Takoradi to Tamale but in between I’ve been sleeping and having programmes as well. For me, I’m a cyclist. I never had a bicycle so I just learnt I didn’t even train for this I just got on a bicycle and started paddling

image

AMOAFOWAA: Ok so you started riding when you were age?

REUBEN: I think twelve but since then I never really sat on a bicycle for a very long time

AMOAFOWAA: Until now?

REUBEN: Yes, revisiting my passion yet again

AMOAFOWAA: Tell me a little about Reuben

REUBEN: Reuben is a 21year old high school graduate not the normal kind of boy

AMOAFOWAA: I’m interested in that too, the “not normal” thing

REUBEN: I think differently and I just don’t swim I swim to meet the waves. I know you know what I mean. I am the first of three boys</em

AMOAFOWAA: What was growing up like?

REUBEN: Very very challenging not the normal childhood

AMOAFOWAA: What is the normal childhood?

REUBEN: Having parents around, playing, having friends, those kinds of things but I never had that.

AMOAFOWAA: How come you never had that?

REUBEN: My parents separated, not for divorce but my mother was transferred to Kumasi when I was in class 2 so I lived with my dad who was a land surveyor. He would wake up around 6am, go to work and return around 8pm because he was the metropolitan surveyor for the Sekondi Takoradi Assembly. So we didn’t have mother around to take care of us but during vacations she came around. Was the good times but I lost them while in class 4 and 5 simultaneously.

AMOAFOWAA: Sorry to hear that but how did you lose them?

REUBEN: They died within a year. I don’t know, it just happened that was the will of the Lord so to say. When I was in class 4, my father died then a year later, perhaps because of heartbreak my mother followed. That has been my life but it helped shape me to think wide.

AMOAFOWAA: So who took over taking care of you.

REUBEN: Let me say those who loved us.

AMOAFOWAA: Senior High School graduate huh?

REUBEN: Yes

AMOAFOWAA: Which school?

REUBEN: Shamar Senior High School

AMOAFOWAA: When did you complete?

REUBEN: Two years ago, that’s in 2013

AMOAFOWAA: And why are we still not seeing any continuation?

REUBEN: Ok well after school I just wanted to do the cycling across Ghana and raise funds for the foundation and in between I cycled with Latitude ICS UK for 3 months in Cape Coast. So this has been my plan, volunteering to give back to society from what I learnt. Afterwards, I have 1 year to volunteer in the UK and finance so if I get to volunteer in the UK I’ll earn a weekly allowance throughout the year, I think that will be enough to finance my tertiary education if I save. After 1 year in the UK, school continues.

AMOAFOWAA: So this volunteerism thing is also for money?

REUBEN: No it’s not for money but for myself but this cycling is for the Cleft Foundation.

AMOAFOWAA: Why did you choose the Cleft Foundation?

REUBEN: Well initially I chose The Ghana Amputee Team and The Cleft Foundation but since I’m not a well-known brand, the Amputee Team didn’t want anything to do with me but the Cleft Foundation, because of what they are doing which I think is amazing; operating on children free of charge and running on people’s donations it’s worthy to support them

AMOAFOWAA: Yes that’s true, they are doing so well. So apart from continuing your education after going to the UK and all that, any special ambitions?

REUBEN: Being a father and a husband.

AMOAFOWAA: Most men have that ambition but any other?

REUBEN: I just want to be a father and a husband

AMOAFOWAA: Can you be a house husband and watch your wife go to work while you take care of the children?

REUBEN: Yes, exactly

AMOAFOWAA: Seriously?

REUBEN: Yes. I said this a year ago and I’ll continue saying it, I’ve written about it too.
image

AMOAFOWAA: Wow!

REUBEN: I just want to be that father that will attend PTA meeting and watch my children grow just love my wife and be there for them. I don’t want children that will be like I need to be religious to be morally upright. I want to be a father who will raise responsible children.

AMOAFOWAA: I’m looking at you very well because this is the first time I’ve seen a man like that. Anyways, do you have any role models in cycling?

REUBEN: Though there are many cyclist, I’ve never wanted to be like anyone. I look up to Reuben.

AMOAFOWAA:  No world class cyclist as a model, nothing?

REUBEN:  No. I’m my own role model

AMOAFOWAA: You know some people do things for their passions, I write poetry when problems call, at every need, every heartache, every wish, every dream I put it all in my poems, that’s my passion. What is your passion for cycling Reuben?

REUBEN: There’s much freedom on the road. You enjoy nature and you learn the stories of people as you ride unlike being in a car. You might want to capture something but before you realize you pass by and cycling to me relates to life. Sometimes I’ll be cycling but I wouldn’t know how close I am to my destination and such is life; you might be struggling and yet wouldn’t know how close you are to your victory at other times you see forms of hills but as you get closer you realize they aren’t. Cycling relates to life and the freedom on the road keeps me going.
image

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! There’s freedom on the road that is true but aren’t there dangers?

REUBEN: There are. Getting dehydrated with no water in sight, cycling in Ghana is very risky you can’t risk it if you don’t want to because there are no cycling paths, drivers being so abusive they refuse to share the road with us and people don’t understand the culture of cycling but some people are generous enough to offer you water or food on the road. These are some of the challenges. Even some police personnel don’t really understand their work, to even give you a place to lodge overnight is challenging.

AMOAFOWAA: So if you meet such police personnel what do you do?

REUBEN: I explain as much as I can before they give me a place to mount my tent. For instance at Nkwanta, the police weren’t willing to give me a place so I had to perch with a friend for that night.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you do when it’s raining?

REUBEN: I look for shelter but if there’s none, I ride in the rain.

AMOAFOWAA: I heard you rode with Wanlov Kuborlor

REUBEN: I just twittered at him and he responded so we did some few rides together but before that I wasn’t even following him I only twittered at him “Would you mind doing some few kilometers with me?”, I had sent so many messages to people but got no attention. At the time I sent him the message, I was on my way to the Volta Region so I just twittered that I was at his junction but he wasn’t coming so I took off then 5minutes later he twittered back and asked where I was and I told him I was at the mall then he rode to the place.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! I hear he’s cool like that

REUBEN: Yes he is.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow. What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done? No lies please.

REUBEN: Adding digits to my school fees.

AMOAFOWAA: Seriously? What did you use that extra money for?

REUBEN: I got myself a new phone.

AMOAFOWAA: What is the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

REUBEN: Purple Hibiscus. I just love the way Ntiamoah wrote the book. How the characters played their parts and how it relates to my life.  I read it over and over again without getting bored.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you love politics?

REUBEN: I do enjoy politics but not much into it now

AMOAFOWAA: So who is your favourite politician?

REUBEN: I don’t have any because I don’t think I can trust anyone now

AMOAFOWAA: None at all?

REUBEN: None at all.  I will trust a politician only when we have national plans or policies that stipulates the types and number of projects to be done in a term. Without this, I don’t think we’re making a headway in development. So the nation must tell them what to do and not the other way round. That will help them gain my trust.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! So they then compete to convince us on how they can help. Cool thought. Do you think politicians who have come and gone and still are are not doing those things?

REUBEN: I don’t think so.

AMOAFOWAA: Is the Ghanaian living well?

REUBEN: From what I’ve seen, the answer to that question is no.

AMOAFOWAA: Some have really nice cars and are living large

REUBEN: It doesn’t matter

AMOAFOWAA: Why not?

REUBEN: If you have a car and you can’t afford to pay utility bills you’re not living well. One out of ten people can afford a three course meal and two can afford a three daily meal.

AMOAFOWAA: So who do you blame for this?

REUBEN: I blame us

AMOAFOWAA: Why?

REUBEN: We don’t reach out for more; we go like we’re okay with the little we have. Nobody applauds the postman for delivering letters neither the baker for baking bread so why do you have to applaud a politician for providing basic amenities like pipes, electricity, schools etc. That’s their duty but if they do something beside what the citizens expect, that’s when we can applaud them. If we keep praising them they don’t do more
image

AMOAFOWAA: So you think Ghanaians praise politicians too much?

REUBEN: Yes

AMOAFOWAA: Which kind of “politricks” disgusts you most in recent times?

REUBEN: This Eastern Corridor thing and the no schools under trees. I believed it until I rode from the Volta Region to the Northern Region and realised there’s nothing like eastern corridor, they haven’t invested in the project yet you have people talking about it. You hear people talk about no schools under trees yet such schools still exist. Bad roads, students having to carry chairs to school, no potable water yet politicians tell us stories. I don’t think development is about building big shopping malls and airports but tending to the basic needs of the people, we’re not developing in my view.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you want to see in the political arena of Ghana? What do think can bring change?

 REUBEN: When we are honest with ourselves and when we vote on policies not politics.

AMOAFOWAA: Let’s get social. Do you have a girlfriend?

REUBEN: No but it gives me some space to understand myself

AMOAFOWAA: Have you ever been in a relationship?

REUBEN: Yes but I think I was too young then to understand exactly what relationships really meant

AMOAFOWAA: But now you want to be a house husband?

REUBEN: Yes. I didn’t really break up with my girlfriend but she travelled to the US and that was it but at times I miss boasting about having a girlfriend and telling friends how beautiful she is yet it’s all good because I’m enjoying some freedom

AMOAFOWAA: You’re still very young so it’s not a problem. You’ll have so many of them to even choose from

REUBEN: Yes

AMOAFOWAA: But have you thought about the complicated things that come with being a house husband? Doing all the chores, how do you think you’ll feel when your friends see you?

REUBEN: It depends on who I call a friend because a friend is someone who understands you and accepts you just as you are. The woman I settle down with must accept there should be a balance in executing the house chores and settling utility bills. I don’t want to be an authoritative husband. I want an independent woman, one who has her opinions.  Guys are afraid of independent women so if you are with one, you gain a lot of respect. So we’ll run a democratic home.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you look out for in a woman?

REUBEN: An educated woman, one who can keep a home, someone who is beautiful but inside out and someone who can talk well and looks presentable.

AMOAFOWAA: Lets do entertainment. Any celebrity crushes?

REUBEN: No

AMOAFOWAA: Who’s your favourite singer in Ghana?

REUBEN: Singer: Kwabena Kwabena and musician Amakye Dede

AMOAFOWAA: What’s the difference between a singer and a musician?

REUBEN: A musician to me is someone who is a show man and a singer; one who is vocally and lyrically good.

REUBEN: I love Wanlov’s song “I am a human” too

AMOAFOWAA: What do you do when you’re not cycling?

REUBEN: I just listen to music or get engaged on social media though I don’t have a social life as I said earlier, no personal friends, all my friends are on social media. I think it’s time I make friends, one of the reasons I cycle. It’s difficult though trying to live a normal life so sometimes I write.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your favourite food?

REUBEN: I’ll go for boiled plantain and garden eggs stew.

AMOAFOWAA: I see. What do you think about discrimination in general, from racism to tribalism and all the labeling?

REUBEN: It slows development and lowers self-confidence. I think it’s discriminatory to ask of my religion, nationality and tribe when filling a form or in an interview because above everything else, we’re all human. I’m human first from Africa, then a Ghanaian before seeing myself as an Akuapim and being a male or female. This is how I describe myself. If we all come together irrespective of our backgrounds, religion or sexuality and accept diverse opinions, we’ll go far rather than judging people by where they are from. Travelling on my bike, I’ve learnt to erase so much stereotypes about the various tribes because as you travel, you realize things are not really as people say.

AMOAFOWAA: That sounds paradoxical. Strong women are witches do you agree?

REUBEN: If the man has low self- esteem then the woman will definitely be a witch

AMOAFOWAA: Do you believe in witches?

REUBEN: I’ve never seen any before

AMOAFOWAA: But do you believe stories about them?

REUBEN: Well I’ve read so many fairytales about them thanks to my parents but I’ve never seen one so I am not sure how I feel about them.

AMOAFOWAA: Are you a Christian?

REUBEN: A Christian but I’m not so good. I’m a sinner

AMOAFOWAA: So what are your sins?

REUBEN: They are many, I can’t tell. With how I grew, I think I’ve lost some of the Christian morals I really cherish

AMOAFOWAA: Like?

REUBEN:  I don’t pray anymore

AMOAFOWAA: So if you don’t pray you become a sinner?

REUBEN: Not really but I don’t practice religion I accept what the Christians, Muslims and the traditionalists. I put it all together and see how I can apply them in my life so that’s it.

AMOAFOWAA: That’s nice, so no religion. Do you think human rights groups are working hard in Ghana?

REUBEN: They work for those they know

AMOAFOWAA: You think so?

REUBEN: I don’t know how to put this but I’ll try. Human Rights groups fight for those already in the news instead of going down to search for the people who really need help. Some are trying though but on the average most of them go in for those who are already in the news and try to rescue them and add that up to their CV. Talking about human rights, it hasn’t got to do with those who are abused sexually alone, think about those who are fired because of religion or sexuality. We should also concentrate on the issues that are not making the news. Human Rights group should educate people more on the various forms of human rights abuse, even a mother denying her baby breast milk is a form of abuse. They should be a way of telling such stories and curbing them.

AMOAFOWAA: On the lighter side, are you for or against Anas?

REUBEN: I’ve never met Anas but I love what he is doing

AMOAFOWAA: Don’t you think he abused the judges?

REUBEN: I don’t think so.

AMOAFOWAA: If people are really suffering in Ghana as you said, what is your advice to them?

REUBEN: Grab opportunities, work hard and believe in what you believe in

AMOAFOWAA: What about those who are being abused as you said?

REUBEN: They should come out and say it just as it is.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your advice to all followers of amoafowaa.com?

REUBEN: Nothing was done before it was done and out of impossible we get the possible. You can do everything if you believe in yourself and also in your dreams. There’s nothing too late or too early in life
image

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you for your time

REUBEN: It was a pleasure.

Please donate to the Ghana Cleft Foundation
Ecobank, Harper Road Branch, Kumasi
Account number 0213074414843601

OH REUBEN

Determination can wield a nation

And passions can flourish in action

On paddles which drain knees

Wheels which drink sweat

Reuben rides his bike and likes

II

He tries the new and sighs

Sees what is and races to grab

His future with force as his bible stipulates

A head with many a thoughts so golden

On legs with strength to die for

 

III

If life is strife and strife does strike

I am sure it’ll find all but one

And that will be the untouchable Reuben

Always protected

On his wheels on flying heels

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2015

 

Know the Beautiful, Intelligent, Brave Hikmat Baba Dua: The True African Feminist

She is a feminist, founder of an NGO which is making waves in Ghana by pushing young girls into leadership roles, she is brave, elegant, outspoken, intelligent and bright. Our guest post is none other than Hikmat Baba Dua.

Hikmat Baba Dua on amoafowaa.com
Hikmat Baba Dua on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to Amoafowaa.com

HIKMAT: Thanks. It’s an honour to be featured and I must say you are doing an awesome job, keep it up and tight.

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you very much. Please tell us about Hikmat Baba Dua

HIKMAT: I am a young feminist in my mid 20s born in Tamale but trace my roots to Kumbungu and Yendi in the Northern Region of Ghana. I had my high school education at the Ghana Senior High School (Ghanasco) and proceeded to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) where I studied a combined major in Sociology and Social Work and also took Political Science as a minor course. I do have a lot on my plate because I do not want to spend a day being irrelevant. Aside running my own organization, I also work with LitWorld International and Global G.L.O.W as a Local Coordinator in Tamale for the HerStory Initiative (a partnership initiative with my organization), a Global Youth Ambassador at A World at School and serves on a couple of boards. But most importantly, I act locally and circulate globally earning me awesome opportunities such as being recognized as one of Africa’s most promising women leaders by the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, representing Ghana as a domain expert in women’s empowerment at the Global Start-up Youth, selected among the 2015 cohorts of Vital Voices Leadership Program, named among 200 young leaders by Women’s Deliver and being honoured as a Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders by President Obama.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you do as a profession at the moment?

HIKMAT: I am a non-profit Executive. I run and manage a non-profit.

AMOAFOWAA: Who did you grow up reading, as in your favourite author?

HIKMAT: I still remember how I struggled through the pages of Chinua Achebe’s “Things fall apart” in Primary 5. It was one of the literature books my sister was studying at Tamale Secondary School (now Tamale Senior High School). But I repeatedly read this book and later became acquainted with the story Achebe portrays. I wanted more of Achebe and my search landed me another awesome read “No longer at ease”. So before the ‘thee’s’ and ‘thy’s’ of Shakespearean Literature which I later came to comprehend and  love as well, Achebe’s thoughts helped mould my appreciation of literature from cradle.

AMOAFOWAA: A good writer he is. What is your passion in life Hikmat?

HIKMAT: The one thing that puts me on my toes; brings me joy and happiness; and keeps my mind buzzing with ideas and thoughts every day of my life is service to my community. The most valuable resource on the face of earth is the human resource. That’s why I believe with genuine service to our communities we could write a different story; a story of progress, social justice, equality, and self-sufficiency. Rendering my genuine service to my community spirited in belief that this will contribute to re-shaping and re-defining this space I call home is the wheel that drives my life.

AMOAFOWAA: So you are engaged in many advocacy programmes for women empowerment. How do you think Ghana is faring in women empowerment in the 21st century?

HIKMAT:  Ghana has made some progress in this century such as ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa as well as the Beijing Platform for Action. However, domesticating and implementing these instruments remain a great challenge. The gender, children and social protection Ministry formerly the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs has contributed immensely to this progress since its inception especially in the area of affirmative action policies in crucial areas such as education and health. But there is more to be done especially in the areas of capacity building towards political empowerment and resourcing women adequately to economically empower them.

AMOAFOWAA: I have been hearing something about some young female leaders. I hear you are involved somehow. Tell us more about the League of Young Female Leaders.

HIKMAT:  I am the Founder and Executive Director of League of Young Female Leaders (THE LEAGUE). THE LEAGUE is a non-profit organization focused on advancing the status of girls and women through mentorship and advocacy coupled with a charity module. Our mentoring program is delivered in established League Clubs in some selected high schools. Mentors are recruited from High Institutions of Learning as well as professionals working in diverse fields. The mentoring curriculum used fills both the education gap in providing mentorship for girls as well as the role model vacuum facing our society with the aim of nurturing the next generation of women leaders. With our partner organization LITWORLD INTERNATIONAL, we run litclubs as safe learning and mentorship environments for girls between the ages of 10 and 15. THE LEAGUE utilizes both social media and traditional media to advocate against child marriage (and other forms of violence against girls and women) and encourages girls’ education. THE LEAGUE’s charity work is centered on giving and nurturing the less privileged in society especially orphans.

AMOAFOWAA: You are a Muslim. Correct?

HIKMAT:  Totally and completely!

AMOAFOWAA: Maybe I am paranoid but I need to ask this: Is it easy to be a woman and a leader in Islam? I ask this because I personally see so many Muslim girls subdued in preparation for marriage here in Ghana.

Hikmat Baba Dua
Hikmat Baba Dua on amoafowaa.com

HIKMAT:  Frankly speaking, it is supposed to be but it is not. Imagine a claim such as women cannot be wise in a mixed gender context and thus cannot be leaders. Very ridiculous! But not every practising Muslim subscribes to the notion that women cannot lead in contexts where men exist. Evidence points to Muslim Countries such as Pakistan under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto, Bangladesh under Khaleda Zia and Sheihk Hasina and in Senegal under Mama Madior Baye. These women served as Prime Ministers of their countries; and you can be sure their leadership did not emasculate men. So what’s the point? A Muslim woman nearly became a running mate to a flagbearer in the round up to the 2008 elections but this highly endorsed woman was turned down by the Muslim community in a place where she considers home. Generally, Muslim girls are opinionated through socialization which is also influenced by our culture to believe that they cannot be the essential gender because they are just the other gender. In the end, their only source of hope, happiness, and all in all success are defined by their attachment to a man called a husband. So even before she turns 18, she is thinking marriage as her success yard stick and her family cheers her on and the society accords her respect for completing half her deen (Religion). Well, I am yet to come across a verse in the Qur’an that says single women will not and cannot inherit paradise.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! You are such a realist in my books Hikmat.  Now let’s zoom down to the struggle for empowerment. As a woman myself, sometimes I think we are overdoing it, are we not overpowering the girls to women and neglecting the boys to men, so to speak?

HIKMAT: Well, you cannot be tired if you have not reached your destination.  If Kwame Nkrumah had not acted promptly seeking ‘independence now’ as against ‘independence within the shortest possible time’, Ghana would probably not be the first sub Saharan country to gain independence. Even in the 21st century we are still preaching against racial discrimination, yet no one is saying we are over doing it. A black man is shot today in a Western Country, and there is a world cry. Because that is injustice and that is not right. How about the injustice women face? Women’s rights are genuine human rights too.

Girls are forced into marriage, and that is overdoing it! Teenage pregnancies, that is overdoing it! Unequal pay for the same work done, that is over doing! Maternal Mortality, that is over doing it! Women as the world’s poorest of the poor, that is overdoing it! Women occupying lower status job positions, that is overdoing it!

Have we asked ourselves how much of the world’s wealth is in the hands of women?

Have we asked ourselves how many girls are missing out on education worldwide?

Have we asked ourselves how many women are Presidents, Law makers, Board Members, Corporate Heads among others?

Have we asked ourselves how many women are infected with HIV/AIDS and other STIs?

When we begin to appreciate some of these issues, we will tell ourselves we are not even doing enough for girls and women. Women are better off today because of the struggles of other women who stood up for womanhood centuries back. The last thing I want to bequeath to my daughter is an unequal society.

 

AMOAFOWAA: That brings me to my next question, what does a girl or woman need to feel or be empowered?

HIKMAT: There is no watertight approach to empowering a girl or a woman. But essentially, a girl will feel empowered if she discovers herself, finds her voice to tell her story, define her future and be a success story. It all starts from within but the society must be ready to give her equal rights and equal opportunities to ultimately feel empowered both from within and without.

AMOAFOWAA: Girls getting pregnant in senior high schools in Ghana, I have been a witness to many of such happenings. Do you see this as part of your struggle to empowering  girls?

HIKMAT:  We have an incomplete education curriculum with the absence of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) leaving young people especially girls to a free range system on issues related to sexuality. As they explore the possibilities of this free range system, they become submerged in its deficiencies ending up as victims. I do not remember having a pregnant colleague when I was writing my Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE); not even when I was writing my West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE). Today, we live in an era of technology; mobile phones, social media etc. yet no one regulates how these tools are used by young people. Young people are more exposed today than ever before yet in the pages of our education curriculum; CSE remains a taboo to our inks. Until we eliminate the idea of sacrilege from the face of CSE and teach our young people what is right and what is not; a bigger battle awaits us. It’s high time we scrap off the sexuality ignorance in our young minds.

AMOAFOWAA: How do you teach a girl to be empowered and respectful at the same time?

HIKMAT:  Regardless of one’s achievements, character defines who you really are. Girls need mentors and positive role models who will help shape their lives empowering them and nurturing them to become virtuous women. They need not just be told, they have to see it manifested in the person they look up to.

AMOAFOWAA: What are you doing about forced marriages in Ghana? Mostly rumoured to happen in the North.

HIKMAT: Not one organization can solve the issue of child/force marriage and that’s why partnerships and collaborations are necessary to adopt a more holistic and integrated approach. We are currently in touch with other organizations both locally and internationally to adopt best practices in our fight against child marriage especially in the three (3) northern regions where prevalent rates are very high. There is the need for a coalition of NGO’s and individuals working to end child/force marriage, and I believe through that, we can alter the situation.

AMOAFOWAA: Sex sells so musicians and most movies make it a point to sell in order to be rich. Is this impeding your progress in empowering girls in any way?

HIKMAT: Obviously! Girls are influenced by so many negative factors and that’s why I believe we need to do more. We need to start speaking up; we have allowed men dominated industries like the entertainment industry to spell out the rules and they treat women as instruments they can manipulate for their consumption.

AMOAFOWAA: What has been your worst encounter in the struggle to empower so far?

HIKMAT: To be rejected by a girl who needed a sense of direction. She is married now with 2 children and she needs help to educate these children because her husband, she says, does not look after them. I could have helped her previously but now I doubt I can because there are other girls who are ready to make use of what I am offering them and I would rather invest in them. Even though I feel bad about this, I have limited resources to help. Trust me, not every girl or woman is ready to be empowered.

Hikamt Baba Dua on amoafowa.com
Hikamt Baba Dua on amoafowa.com

AMOAFOWAA: True. Enough of the empowerment issue. Hikmat what is your favourite meal?

HIKMAT: I love my local dishes and my all-time favourites are Tuo Zaafi (T.Z) with Ayoyo soup and Banku with Hot pepper and Tilapia.

AMOAFOWAA: Yummy. Any hobbies?

HIKMAT: I love reading and dancing to my favourite tunes while I am all alone.

AMOAFOWAA: Who can gain your respect?

HIKMAT: People who are true to themselves and live upright lives.

AMOAFOWAA: Hikmat, do you have political ambitions?

HIKMAT: Interesting! I believe I will serve in Ghana’s political space but at the appropriate time when my nation calls on me to serve and when Allah endorses that call. When I get to the Rubicon, I shall cross.

AMOAFOWAA: I can’t wait to see you there. Who is your favourite female politician in Ghana currently?

HIKMAT: I have great respect for our female politicians. It takes an X factor to be up and out there. I would not specifically point to one person. Let me just say, they are all my favourites.

AMOAFOWAA: If you are to sum Ghanaian politics in three sentences, what will it be?

HIKMAT: We have really produced more politicians than servant leaders for our political arena. I used to think people go into politics to serve but Ghana’s politics has taught me otherwise, it is a gold mine for people to enrich themselves. Every development effort has a political undertone and we progressively dance two steps forward and one step backward else we should have been like the Malaysia’s and the Singapore’s.

AMOAFOWAA: If you are to exchange the economy of Ghana with any other country, which country will it be and why?

HIKMAT: I love the rise of the Chinese economy especially from a more closed economy to a vibrant export driven economy. When a country begins to appreciate what it has and builds on it with a focus of being the best, nothing stops it. China has a combined strength in both manufacturing and services. Imagine Ghana developing our agricultural sector and being best at it. We would not only claim sufficiency, we will as well become an agriculture exporting hub.

AMOAFOWAA: Are you an NDC or NPP sympathiser?

HIKMAT: I am an issue based and politically expedient personality voter. But I simple cannot sympathize with a comic relief party. Ghana deserves a breed of serious politicians, let’s give it that respect. I hope that answers your question.

AMOAFOWAA: Hahahahhaha. It does, it so does.  If you are to choose between “dumsor” and “no water” which will you choose and why?

HIKMAT: I will opt for “dumsor”. I cannot imagine my life with the hustle for water but I can live some days without electricity.

AMOAFOWAA: If I say marriage is a thin line between slavery for one side and partnership on the other, what will you say?

HIKMAT: Absolutely! There is cooperation like we do in partnerships but there is also inequality and sometimes one must just obey and we can all guess who that would be. In the end, someone has to be the owner of another unless they view each other as equals.

AMOAFOWAA: Who is your favourite singer in Ghana?

HIKMAT: The all in all talented and energetic WIYAALA. She is simply my Tina Turner.

AMOAFOWAA: Yes, she is great! How many Ghanaian languages do you speak?

HIKMAT: I speak two (2) native languages; Dagbani and Twi.

AMOAFOWAA: How many Northern dances can you perform?

HIKMAT: Hahahaaaaa…this is the point I definitely take a bow. But I can do some steps for some dances.

AMOAFOWAA: Any celebrity crushes?

HIKMAT: Yes oooooo but he is so long gone, MALCOM X.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! He should have lived to see the hot, intelligent and world changing you. Too bad. Anyway, if you are to choose between queenship and presidency, which will you choose and why?

HIKMAT: I love the grace that comes along with queenship but I believe anyone can ascend to that height if you are in a royal line but with Presidency, you have to work hard for it and as a go-getter, I always place myself in a position of working hard to earn something. Thus, I will definitely go for Presidency.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your favourite television show in Ghana and why?

HIKMAT: “The StandPoint” because it highlights on critical issues previously shut by tradition, religion and culture. Thus, it gives both men and women that voice to speak out on previously tagged taboo subjects.

AMOAFOWAA: Are you single, attached or married?

HIKMAT: I am very much attached!!!

AMOAFOWAA: Who is the ideal man of Hikmat?

HIKMAT: A man, who loves, respects and reveres me. I am not seeking a perfect man so I am not after 10 on 10 but I will not settle on anything less either. And I must emphasize that, I do not entertain cheaters in my world; I will show you the exit.

AMOAFOWAA: You so share my thoughts. Now I want to go farming with you. The environment gives us a lot. We depend on it. But now you see beauty pageants, fashion shows, hailing of singers and stardom as few people struggle to farm. What is your impression on this?

HIKMAT: Popular entertainment is cool but not essential in a developing context. We complain of unemployment especially among young people because we have succeeded as a country in painting a picture not befitting our status. We portray a flashy lifestyle especially on T.V with more than necessary pageants and fashion shows, intoxicated music videos and lifestyles and we rarely focus on real development indicators such as agriculture. Observe how young people troop from northern Ghana in the name of seeking greener pastures down south while we are blessed with such abundant land we can utilize for farming. One of my Professors hinted that comparatively, what he earns from farming outweighs what he earns as a Professor. This land we are leaving untapped, this land we are running away from, this land we have become strangers to, needs us; we need to caress our land with our own hands. 

AMOAFOWAA: So on point.  Between your parents and lover, who will you die for? Who will you kill for? Who will you cry for and why?

HIKMAT: I could die for either a parent or my partner; if I am the one to save a life and I am in a situation of hardly living the next moment, I will gladly give my life to either of them needing it.

I do not think I will kill for anyone; I am not that brave. Seriously speaking, if I cannot create a life, why should I kill one?

I hardly cry but I believe I will cry for my Mama; only God knows the reason why I will cry for her and that’s our little secret.

AMOAFOWAA: Cool As a therapy in advice, who will you hug, slap, hold hands with, leave to be among these people and why:

  1. One crying over a cheating lover
  2. One crying over the death of a parent
  3. One who is crying because of a terminal illness?
  4. One who is crying because he or she was caught stealing?

HIKMAT:

I will slap the one crying over a cheating lover; what’s the point in crying over spilt milk, move on.

I will hold, hug the one crying over the death of a parent; everyone in that situation needs empathy.

I will hold hands with the one crying because of a terminal illness; there should always be that one person who cares and that’s a great sign of care.

I will leave the one crying because he or she was caught stealing; I have no business there. He/she is not guilty until proven otherwise. I will let the law deicide that.

AMOAFOWAA: Hikmat, you truly are a great thinker. Your advice to girls struggling to make it in life:

HIKMAT: Girls, no matter how things can get low, you have to keep moving. Let not being a girl deter you from achieving your dreams; let it be your motivation to rise. Create positive relationships, grow your network and let that little light of yours shine. It will amaze you to see the number of people sharing in the brightness of your light. Be strong and appreciate every individual in a positive sense. And always remember; you have more than a cooking gene.

Hikamt Baba Dua on amoafowaa.com
Hikamt Baba Dua on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: Your advice to boys struggling to make it in life:

HIKMAT: As you are struggling, let it be genuine, positive, and fulfilling in the end. Patriarchy has not only offended girls; it has enslaved your egos as well; break free from it. Yearn to be successful but let that success be defined by dint of hard work and not through dubious means. And when you finally chose a partner, treat her as an equal, not a subordinate.

AMOAFOWAA: Now your final words to followers on amoafowaa.com

HIKMAT: I wake up every day asking myself one question; what is life’s value? Imagine you return to your maker today, what testimony would you have at hand? We are each blessed with an innate unique gift, find yours, utilize it and fill in that gap to make our world a better place.  Life is too short to live not fulfilling what God sent you to do on earth. Return to him with hands empty of what he gave you but with hands full of what you gave to others because he sent you to fill a space in this world in order to make it complete so that He too can leave a space for you in His abode to make it complete.

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you for your time.

HIKMAT: A pleasure it was.

 

HIKMAT

There is none I have seen

So free in a veil

None I have heard

So clear from a veil

None I have felt

So strong from a veil

But Hikmat

Hikmat Baba Dua

Intelligence she flows

Illiteracy she blows

Unfairness she lows

As her light many tow

It is Hikmat

Hikmat Baba Dua

I call for blessing

Like a touch to lead in delight

Protection

To dress her like good clothes

More strength

To aid her in her quest

For hearts like hers

Are rare

Rare in the bosom of mother Ghana

Whose females are wrapped in doomed taboos

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2015

Meet Kafui Danku; the Godfearing, Loving, Intelligent, Award Winning Producer and Actress

Kafui Danku on amoafowaa.com
Kafui Danku on amoafowaa.com

Our guest post for today is a beautiful woman who lives with the strong will of God. She is a diva, an award winning actress, and is one who demands respect. All these accolades cannot pass without the mention of her intelligence. She is none other than the sweet Kafui Danku.

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to Amoafowaa.com. Please tell us about you, we need all things essential from when you were born to present.

KAFUI: Born and bread in Ho, Volta Region, Attended Mawuli Primary and J.S.S and then to O.L.A Girls all in Ho. I then attended Cape Coast University where I obtained a Bachelors Degree in English and Classics and this is the future. Lol.

AMOAFOWAA: Lol. We know you to be that beautiful actress. What do you do apart from acting?

KAFUI: That is a nice complement, Thank You. I also produce movies apart from acting.

AMOAFOWAA: At which point in your life did you know you wanted to be an actress?

KAFUI: I believe if you are passionate about something, everything you do leads you that direction.

AMOAFOWAA: Cool. What is your reason for your chosen profession?

KAFUI: Passion. It keeps driving you to the call.

AMOAFOWAA: Any role models?

KAFUI: There are lots of people that I admire and take inspiration from, I don’t think I have a particular role model, not sure.

AMOAFOWAA: What was your first ever role and your breakthrough role?

KAFUI: I would say ‘4play Reloaded’ by Venus Films

AMOAFOWAA: Has formal education contributed in bringing you this far?

KAFUI: Most definitely.  It is very important. I don’t think I would have been here without it. Thanks to my Parents, they were very strict when it comes to educating us formally, It’s a priority.

Kafui Danku
Kafui Danku

AMOAFOWAA: Who did you grow up reading from? In other words, who are your favourite authors?

KAFUI: I remember I read more of African Writers when I was younger. I love Authors like Ama Atta Aidoo, Efua Sutherland , Chinua Achebe and the likes

AMOAFOWAA: I have heard so much praise from you for your husband on media platforms. The question on most minds is ‘how did you meet your husband?’

KAFUI: Lol… Are you trying to find a husband like mine?

AMOAFOWAA: Lol. Maybe. Any children yet or planned for future?

KAFUI:  No kids yet.

AMOAFOWAA: Most successful career women find it difficult to juggle marriage with their careers. How do you manage yours?

KAFUI: By planning. I take planning seriously thus don’t play when it comes to timing. There is time for family and there is time for work.

AMOAFOWAA: Do African women in this 21st century still need empowerment?

KAFUI: absolutely, we do.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your greatest achievement in life?

KAFUI:  It is difficult to say , because I believe the future can only get better but being able to tell stories to touch the people and to be recognized is an achievement, The movies we have produced have made impact, it’s kind of fulfilling. I always remember to thank our fans for the support. Thank you GH , once again . I would also say there is more to come as long as God grants us good health and Long life.

Kafui Danku
Kafui Danku

AMOAFOWAA: If you were a judge, what will be your punishment to a man who defiles a five year old?

KAFUI: Life imprisonment

AMOAFOWAA: Let’s talk about the Ghanaian entertainment platform. What are your great impressions and your disappointing ones?

KAFUI: We’re trying but need to work harder. Our timing is terrible. We don’t take time seriously, it breaks my heart. We need to work on that , I’m sure when we start taking our selves seriously, any other thing will fall in place.

AMOAFOWAA: I always ask all guests this question, who can win Kafui Danku’s respect?

KAFUI: I respect all persons, except you give me a reason not to. Just be a lady or a gentleman and you’ll earn respect.

AMOAFOWAA: How do you deal with bad publicity?

KAFUI:  I believe I’ve been a good girl so far. Lol.

AMOAFOWAA: Yes, you have, I guess. Now many are those who as it were ‘change housing’. What is your stand on bleaching or toning?

KAFUI: Lol… It’s very awful. The most terrible thing one can do to him or herself.

AMOAFOWAA: I have heard a few actresses talk about dark complexioned people finding it difficult to get roles in the industry. What is your stand on this, seeing as you are a producer?

KAFUI: It is a bit difficult to really place that. I am brown skinned. We have the beautiful Jackie, Ama and the likes who are dark skinned.

AMOAFOWAA: How many movies have you produced so far?

KAFUI: We just got done shooting the 5th, #AnyOtherMonday, It’s on post production. The first is “LETTERS TO MY MOTHER”, second, “DEVIL IN A DRESS’, Third, “HAPPY DEATHDAY’, Fourth is “ I DO”. They are all Award Winning Movies. Thanks to our fans/audience for the support.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your dream country, your favourite food and your favourite sports?

KAFUI: Don’t think I have any yet. Las Vegas still remains one of my favourite holiday spots.  anything with hot pepper can move me. Sports? I don’t have a favourite. Each one is unique

Kafui Danku
Kafui Danku

AMOAFOWAA: Let’s get to the political realm. Who, on the whole African continent, will you say is your best politician?

KAFUI:  J.J. Rawlings.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your take on ‘dum so’ or the frequent power outages?

KAFUI: Hmm…  It is very disturbing. Sincerely, I wish Dumsor stopped like yesterday. Much cannot be done. I hope it gets solved as soon as possible.

AMOAFOWAA: What in your opinion can make Africans gain the respect they desire?

KAFUI: when we believe in ourselves and be original.  Originality is Key

AMOAFOWAA: Amoafowaa.com has many foreign followers. I need to ask for their benefit, your perspective on racism.

KAFUI: I believe in LOVE, HUMANITY.  Skin colour should not really matter. Racism deserves to be stamped out, it is the enemy of freedom. Let us all respect each other regardless of skin Colour. I am no racist.  

AMOAFOWAA: What is your take on gay marriages? I ask this because it is the wave maker of the day.

KAFUI: I believe In Man/ Woman Relationship, I don’t think I would have been in existence if my mum or dad had the same sex relationship/Marriage.  

I do not support gay marriages, it’s absurd.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you think Africans can ever endorse gay marriages in the near future?

KAFUI: I pray not.

AMOAFOWAA: If you were the president of Ghana at the moment, what will be the three things you will prioritize in your line of duty?

KAFUI: Currency, Health and  Educational System

AMOAFOWAA: From history and living, who will you choose as your favourite president from the days of Nkrumah?

KAFUI: It’s difficult to choose, they all played a role in our present state.

AMOAFOWAA: Now to social, who is your favourite singer worldwide and why?

KAFUI: Any Musician whose Music inspires, will win me. There are lots of those I like, I have a long list of them.

AMOAFOWAA: Who is your favourite singer in Ghana and why?

KAFUI: I have a list, Stonebwoy, Edem, Efya. Their music inspire and they are also hardworking with humble souls.

AMOAFOWAA: Being a successful woman in Ghana and Africa at large is not an easy feat. For those reading and wishing to be in your shoes, what will be your advice?

KAFUI: I believe we have to work hard in any chosen field if we want to make a mark , thus hard work cannot be avoided. So, believe in your dreams, work hard and believe in God.

AMOAFOWAA: What will be your advice to those battling life threatening diseases?

KAFUI:  I believe in God and all that his church teaches so I will comfort them and use psalm 91 to pray with them, and I believe God will answer.

Kafui Danku
Kafui Danku

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! To those who are out there, feeling out of place in this world and contemplating suicide, what are your words?

KAFUI: Suicide is definitely not the answer, Let us talk more of Life than death, I believe their time to be or feel in place may just be a few days of positivity away.

AMOAFOWAA: To your fans?

KAFUI: Many thanks to them, all I feel is immense gratitude any time I think of them. Please keep supporting us and keep watching Ghanaian Movies.

AMOAFOWAA: Now to the world, what will be your inspirational words?

KAFUI: Let us be united, Let Love and peace rule .

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you for your time on www.amoafowaa.com.

KAFUI: Welcome, and thank you too.

 

SHE STANDS OUT

Sages say none has it all

Most wins deserve a fall

But she stands to conquer

Her shield, the Lord in honour

A virtuous woman is like gold refined

Its shoes fits a one called Kafui Danku

An African daughter

Who hates complexion slaughter

Beauty with brains

She impacts and waves

Throwing more light for younsters to follow

Such a heart deserves the recognition she has

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2015

(Credit to Saadatu Abdul-Rahaman)

Beautiful, Intelligent and Creative; Meet Awura Abena Agyeman of Wear Ghana

  • Our guest post is a beautiful, very beautiful (no exaggeration) lady inside out. She is a fashion designer, a motivator, an inspiration, a Ghanaian patriot with a golden intelligent head on her head. She is one of the stars of Africa where innovation in creativity is concerned. She is none other than Awura Abena Agyeman.

    Awuraa Abena Agyeman on amoafowaa.com
    Awuraa Abena Agyeman on amoafowaa.com

    AMOAFOWAA: You’re welcome to amoafowaa.com

    AWURA: Thank you

    AMOAFOWAA: Please tell us about your family and growing up

    AWURA: I come from a large family filled with lots of love and support. I’ve got 8 siblings and a fantastic mum. If I had to choose the single most valuable asset I have aside God, it would be my family. They’re my anchor. I grew up as a silly chubby girl who could talk from here till forever and yet I managed to convince my teachers that I was the quietest person in each class I got to.

    AMOAFOWAA: Lol. So Wear Ghana. How did it come to be?

    Awuraa Abena Agyeman on amoafowaa.com
    Awuraa Abena Agyeman on amoafowaa.com

    AWURA: Well it started in so many little parts.. A promise to a friend to make him a shirt after he had ordered me some sewing books… a project with my brother to find a way to revive the clothing and textiles industry … a conversation with two of my brothers with one of them suggesting the name WEAR Ghana for an event … my sister going out to tell a neighbour I was a fashion designer after the neighbour had shown interest in an outfit I had designed for her (my sister)… to having my best friend of so many years, Angorkor Nai-Kwade partner me. Looking back I realise these were just sign posts leading me to my calling. But all in all it really happened when I realised I had landed a promotion at work and had been offered a nice position in another bank and was still feeling empty. It was then that I realised WEAR Ghana was my only way to achieve true happiness in my work life.

    Angorkor Nai-Kwade, partner of Awuraa Abena Agyeman on amoafowaa.com
    Angorkor Nai-Kwade, partner of Awuraa Abena Agyeman on amoafowaa.com

    AMOAFOWAA: Who is/are your role model(s)?

    AWURA: I’ve got many. At various points in my life I’ve found myself learning from many different people… A fantastic boss, my siblings, even a character in a book or movie. My role model is anyone who has a trait I find admirable.  

    AMOAFOWAA: Who do you dream to dress in the whole world?

    AWURA: Oprah. All the African presidents, Chimamanda, Will Smith, all Ghanaian presidents, Obama, Patrick Awuah, Mensah Otabil to mention but a few.

    AMOAFOWAA: What inspires your designs?

    AWURA: We draw inspiration from so many random things.  Trees, light… I find that I’m most creative in a moving vehicle. Perhaps it’s because those are the few times I’m truly sitting still. I should be still more times.  I’ve decided I’ll learn how to meditate but it takes a lot of practice to master.

    Works of Wear Ghana on amoafowaa.com
    A design of Wear Ghana on amoafowaa.com

    AMOAFOWAA:  Can clothes speak on beings?

    AWURA: Hopefully I understand your question.  Clothes do a lot of talking.  There are people who you have probably never spoken to who assume they know you because of your appearance. And clothes take up a huge chunk of one’s appearance.  Sometimes without even getting close you can imagine how a person’s breath will smell, just because of how they’re dressed. Kojo Yankson of the Joy Super Morning show demonstrated this perfectly in one of his ‘messages from the morning man’ in which he speaks of a robbery where thieves get easy access into a building because they dress up as firemen.  

    Designs by Wear Ghana on amoafowaa.com
    Designs by Wear Ghana on amoafowaa.com

    AMOAFOWAA: Yes, you understood perfectly. Any hobbies?

    AWURA: I love dancing and chatting with people whose minds I find beautiful.  Reading too.

    AMOAFOWAA: Can fashion contribute to national development?

    AWURA: Not only can it, it absolutely should. The global fashion industry is a multi billion enterprise.   If we think of fashion as a wealth creating force, we’ll approach it in a more business minded way. That’s what’s often missing in the local industry. There’s a disconnect between the art and the business of fashion.  

    AMOAFOWAA: What is your take on gender equality in Africa in recent times?

    AWURA: I honestly don’t see people in terms of male and female.  I see them as intelligent people or hard working people or kind people.  But that’s not to say there’s no gender imbalance. There are struggles women go through that men would never fully appreciate. Like having a pervert grab my ass while I was shopping in a market. And the painful part when these things happen is that most of the people around including women think it’s funny. “It’s just a man being a man. Oh come on, don’t make a fuss” But on the other hand I know there are battles men have to fight on a daily basis that I may never fully appreciate.  At the end of the day, I think we should all just learn to treat each other with integrity and respect.  Male or female.  Period.

    A design of Wear Ghana on amoafowaa.com
    A design of Wear Ghana on amoafowaa.com

    AMOAFOWAA: Politics, does it affect the fashion industry?

    AWURA: It affects every industry and the clothing and textiles industry is no exception. The fact that at the end of the day it is politicians who run the economy and that the economy has such a direct bearing on how the business climate works, shows clearly that politics affects us all.

    AMOAFOWAA: Has formal education inspired you in any way?

    AWURA: I believe it has. If for nothing at all I’m able to browse the internet to learn ways of building empires and see how other clothing lines are being efficient.  I am however of the opinion that our method of education is seriously porous. And I doff my hat to people like Patrick Awuah who are redefining Ghanaian education.

  •  

    AMOAFOWAA: Sexual harassment as barrier of the realization of the hard work of women, do you think the world can break off this completely?

    AWURA: I certainly hope it does.  it can be such a distraction.  It’s negative and evil and I hope the men of this world grow up. Grow up! Period!  Learn how to shut up when your lust surfaces.  And I’ve come to realise it’s a power thing. Many harassers use harassment as a tool to show who is boss. That’s not to say women are not guilty too. So let’s all grow up, people.

    AMOAFOWAA: Awuraa, you are beautiful, tall, fashionable and hot with long dreadlocks. Considering the opinion of many Africans of people who wear locks, may I please ask what inspired your locks?

    AWURA: Eish eish! Please print your description for me so that I hang it on my wall those times when I’m feeling downright ugly. I was tired of perming my hair. I hate hair driers. I wanted to be free from them. And I love the natural look.

    AMOAFOWAA: If you are given a chance to go back in time to erase some parts of your life, which parts will you erase and why?

    AWURA: None. Each minute of my life has formed me. That’s not to say I’m proud of everything I’ve ever done. But it’s all been a learning curve.

    A designer of Wear Ghana at work
    Designers of Wear Ghana at work

    11310980_10206952021148598_1163988420_n

    AMOAFOWAA: Single, attached or married?

    AWURA: Single

    AMOAFOWAA: Who fits your description of a perfect man?

    AWURA: Hmm. An intelligent man who is true to himself and has loads of integrity and character.  If he’s good looking and tall and dark too I no bore kraa smile emoticon

    AMOFOWAA: (Laughing out loud) Who can gain your respect?

    AWURA: Anyone who’s trying to make the world a better place in any sphere of life, in any discipline.

    AMOAFOWAA: You have made Ghana proud  and is still on course, are there some challenges?

    AWURA: Oh thank you, that’s very kind of you. There are. Our very brand name bears our identity as Ghanaians. And every time something goes amiss in the country and the way it’s run, we cringe. From dumsor to senseless flooding right down to the fact that there seems to be absolutely no national agenda. It affects businesses. It affects families.  

    AMOAFOWAA: Who will you describe as a perfect man of God?

    AWURA: One who is true to himself. Who admits his flaws and works towards becoming the best version of himself. Who appreciates the fact that God is wise and calls on us to be wise as well.

    AMOAFOWAA: Politicians, Priests and Imams/Mallams, Traditionalists, Public and Civil Servants, The Whole Nation, who do you think is the major contributor of the nation’s stagnancy in progress?

    AWURA: All of us. We are all responsible for where we are. Whenever I see people jumping queues I wonder how we even feel like we have a moral right to complain about politicians. It appears there’s something wrong with the way the majority of us think.

    AMOAFOWAA: Indeed. Any interest in sports?

    AWURA: In the past it used to be any football game between Ghana and another country. But I’m losing interest in even that.

    AMOAFOWAA: Lol.  If you have any advice for Ghanaians to use as ticket of progress, what will it be?

    AWURA: Let’s start thinking.  Period.

    AMOAFOWAA: What is your say on racial discrimination?

    AWURA:  It’s wrong. But I think respect is earned. It’s a human thing. When you come from a continent which constantly portrays itself as a laughing stock, you can only understand when others ridicule you. I think that it’s only when the African proves by his actions in his home country that he is a thinking and progressive being that the world will take us seriously. Everything else is begging to be respected because we are humans too and for me that’s not good enough. Even animals have rights. Not very impressive if you ask me.

    AMOAFOWAA: Wow! What is your biggest dream?

    AWURA: To be able to say when I’m old and dying, that I’ve lived as  best I could.  To be able to build WEAR Ghana into an empire that thrives 100 years on.

    Logo of Wear Ghana
    Logo of Wear Ghana

     

    AMOAFOWAA: It surely will come true with determination like yours. Now if you were to choose between teaching, preaching, news casting and petty selling apart from fashion, which will you choose and why?

    AWURA: Hmm. What makes you ask? Lol. Maybe teaching. Maybe.

    AMOAFOWAA: How do you choose fabrics for individuals where Wear Ghana is concerned?

    AWURA: Personality, design, occasion, amongst other factors.

    AMOAFOWAA: You are an achiever; there are many wanting to step into your shoes, what is your advice to those people?

    AWURA: You think? Well I guess it would be this:  constantly strive to achieve your highest potential.

    AMOAFOWAA: Now please give your general advice to followers of Amoafowaa.com.

    AWURA: Keep following amoafowaa.com. This lady rocks. And let’s all support her autism project.

    AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Thank you very much and thank you for your time on Amoafowaa.com

    AWURA: Thanks, Darling.

     Her inspiration came in this form:
    AWURAA ABENA: A FLOWER WITH LIGHT
    Pretty flowers are known to have vicious thorns
    But I know a pretty flower whose thorns, if there ever are, never show
    And her smile brightens the skies

II

Pretty flowers are conceited

Deriving payments from their view

I know a pretty flower who works harder than normal flowers

III

Pretty flowers care not about their heads

All they need is a bright light to show themselves

I know a pretty flower who is her own light and values a good head

IV

Yes, I know a pretty flower called Awuraa Abena Agyeman

You have seen no flower if you haven’t seen this flower

Long legged

Natural in shine and beauty

Creative in decorum

Like an earth of forever sunshine,

None can blame those who wish for only flowers of Awuraa’s kind

In a world so blessed but cursed with many flowers of thorns in sluggishness

Love her or hate her

If there are stars of Africa,

Her motivation and strides makes her the moon worth following

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015

Meet the Budding Artist; Miss Serwah Attafuah and some of her works.

Our guest post today is a young woman I refer to as “a beautiful bag of talent”. From a talented family, she paints to perfection. Although she is still a student, she is working soo hard to make stamp her in the world. Our inspirer for today is Miss Serwah Attafuah.

Serwah Attafuah on amoafowaa.com
Serwah Attafuah on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to Amoafowaa.com

SERWAH: Thank you for having me!

AMOAFOWAA: Please tell us about you and growing up, schooling etc.

SERWAH: I grew up around a lot of creative people. Both my parents are artists and performers and encouraged me to pursue any talents I liked. I spent most of my childhood dancing and singing, but lost interest once I started high school. I had a lot of difficulties in high school because I didn’t fit in and the work didn’t stimulate me. In class and my spare time, I would draw in my textbooks. I left high school one year ago to study at design school.

AMOAFOWAA: Which religion do you belong to?

SERWAH: I dont belong to any religion anymore. I like to explore all religions and spiritual teachings as I believe that you can find knowledge in each one.

AMOAFOWAA: You are a budding artist, is that all you do?

Painting by Serwah Attafuah
Painting by Serwah Attafuah

SERWAH: Right now I am studying a Diploma of Live Production design. Im learning how to build and design sets and props for film and theatre.

AMOAFOWAA: Any hobbies?

SERWAH: I play electric guitar in my spare time. I also play bass in a band called Spiral.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! Tell us about your passion for art and what sparked that passion.

SERWAH: Ive been involved in art for almost all my life. But only in the last 2 years have I been more serious about it. I think what started it all was that I needed a way to express myself and I found art as a method I liked.

AMOAFOWAA: What inspires you?

SERWAH: Artwork from the impressionist and pop art period inspire me. Video art and photo accidents have also had an influence on my recent art.

AMOAFOWAA: Who is your role model?

SERWAH: One of my role models is Jean Michel Basquiat. He was a young pop artist from New York.

AMOAFOWAA: Who did you grow up reading from?

SERWAH: I was a big reader when I was growing up! I really enjoyed fantasy novels like Harry Potter. My favourite author growing up was Karen Mccombie 

Serwah Attafuah on amoafowaa.com
Serwah Attafuah on amoafowaa.com

 

AMOAFOWAA: Whose songs can inspire you any day?

SERWAH: John Fruciante, who is a solo guitarist. My favourite album of his is Niadre Lades and Usually Just a T-shirt.

AMOAFOWAA: Of all the works you’ve painted, which is your most cherished and why?

SERWAH: Probably the Giesha I painted in 2013. That was probably the first time I did a painting I liked.

AMOAFOWAA: Tell us about being an independent female artist and its challenges

SERWAH: I haven’t had any trouble being a female in the art scene. Sometimes its hard to find money and time to fully realise the paintings I would want to paint.

Painting by Serwah Attafuah
Painting by Serwah Attafuah

 

AMOAFOWAA: What is your favourite colour?

SERWAH: Probably crimson, I like to use it a lot in my paintings.

AMOAFOWAA: You have had the chance to travel to many countries, which country do you find most beautiful and why?

Serwah Attafuah; right.
Serwah Attafuah; right.

SERWAH:  Canada. Its a lot like Australia but colder and the people are nicer!
AMOAFOWAA: Which country’s culture really appealed to you?

SERWAH: Netherlands; so many kind people and an awesome music and art scene

AMOAFOWAA: Which country’s foods do you find most delicious?

SERWAH: Italy!

AMOAFOWAA: I smell a maiden exhibition. When and where will it take place?

SERWAH: My first exhibition will be at the Alpha House Co-op Gallery in Erskinville from the 3rd of June, until the 10th. The opening night is 3rd of June at 7pm.

Painting by Serwah Attafuah
Painting by Serwah Attafuah

AMOAFOWAA: What should we expect during the exhibition?

SERWAH: I will be exhibiting most of the works I did over the summer and a handful of paintings from late last year. I do a lot of portraits and people

AMOAFOWAA: Can painting be used to give advice or send a message?

SERWAH: Definitely, in many cultures people use paintings to tell stories and send messages.

AMOAFOWAA: Now to what all the male fans out there want to know, are you single?

SERWAH: Yes, but no time for boys. Too much painting to do.

AMOAFOWAA: How do you see yourself in 10 years?

SERWAH: I see myself  in a big warehouse like Andy Warhols silver factory, and driving a black hearse.

AMOAFOWAA: Hehehe. There are many girls with no ambitions, they have been suppressed and made to believe without men, they are nothing. Please, any advice for them?

SERWAH: You need to go within yourself and find out what truly makes you happy.

AMOAFOWAA: Please advise people who have suffered rape and are battling with depression.

SERWAH: If you have been sexually abused, do everything you can to have the abuser put in jail. Reach out to those in your community who can help you, dont go through this alone.

AMOAFOWAA: Now your advice to those who want to be like you.

SERWAH: My advice would be to work hard at what you like to do. I work towards my art every day. I try to live by this quote; plant your seeds today, reap the rewards tomorrow

AMOAFOWAA: If there is a thanksgiving and you are the one hosting, who are the people you will want to feature in your words?

SERWAH:  I would thank my whole family, they are the biggest supporters! The friends who support me. Also friends I make on the street sometimes give me great advice, Thanks uncle Mike!

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you for your time on Amoafowaa.

SERWAH: No worries, thank you for having me Amoafowaa!!!

Her inspiration came in this form

 A NEW SKY BLOSSOMS

She is a sky

A sky sweet in unpredictability

Serwah Attefuah is a sky

A sky beautiful in many shades

She has eyes so apt

Hands so gifted

Head so perfect

Capturing right; the world

Living large and brightening like the sun

One who knows no gender

One who knows no slacking

Hard work is her fort

Dreams are just her passing thoughts

She is a sky

Swerwah Attefuah is an artist sky

So she will definitely capture the world

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2015

Meet Sylvanus Bedzrah; the Writing Ambassador Who is a Future Politician

Sylvanus Bedzrah on amoafowaa.com
Sylvanus Bedzrah on amoafowaa.com

Our guest post is a fine gentleman, a hard worker and an award-winning author. He is a Reading Ambassador, a former host of radio show on Books and Reading. He is a believer of purchasing made in Ghana products and dresses to fit all occasions. He is a Ghanaian patriot and non-other than Sylvanus Bedzrah. For the purpose of Brevity, we will address him as Syl.

AMOAFOWAA: You are welcome to Amoafowaa.com

SYL: Thank you very much, my dear elder sister. But instead of addressing me Syl, I prefer Sly—which sounds more romantic, you know.J

AMOAFOWAA: Okay Sly, please tell us about your childhood and growing up.

SLY: Well, some were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Those who missed out on that privilege claim theirs was a wooden spoon. So on the lighter side, I will say I belong to the wooden-spoon category. I was born in Dzodze in the Ketu North District of the Volta Region. Unfortunately, I grew up to realise that I lost my mum less than two months after she gave me to earth, but I take consolation in the belief that, she has gone to a better place. (I miss her though, despite the fact that I did not get to ‘meet’ her.) So I was absolutely taken care of by my maternal grandmother who made (and still making) my growing up feel like I have a wonderful mother—may she live longer than she wishes, I pray. And you know how far grandmothers will go; or let me say some grandmothers will go to instil some amount of discipline in their grandchildren, right? And you know how at the time, you will think the old woman was just being wicked. Today, I look back at what I went through with her, look at where I am now and where I am heading—that is how I appreciate how ‘wicked’ she has been to me. So I did not have it easy growing up at all. Together with an age-mate cousin, we can ‘boast’ of all the happenings that made anyone’s childhood and growing up a memorable one. I mean, I remember selling fried fish for my grandmother. Before then, I found myself sewing all my torn slippers and shoes so I took to shoe making, (not the Tonyi Senayah kind of shoe making oo) so I set up a ‘shop’ in front of our house as a cobbler, which my grandmother disagreed with and succeeded in quenching that childhood business of mine. As for the day she heard that my cousin and I were pushing truck in the market (I can’t even remember why we did that) she did not spare the rod on us—I still have a mark on my body from that lashing. Then she got into fried fish business and we had to go sell fish every day after school by going round with it on a tray, and that earned us that kind of nickname you won’t be happy with in school. After that, I got into selling books from school to school and by going around the town and the market—that was actually after graduating from Junior High School. Then I graduated again from the book-selling business into being a DJ with one sound system operator in town—attending funerals and parties almost every weekend. That was when I got to senior high school, and that was what earned me the position of Entertainment Prefect in school. So you see, I was somehow busy in my childhood days back in Dzodze.

AMOAFOWAA: Tell us about your education and work.

SLY: Ok, so I actually had my basic and high school education in my hometown—from Bagome Primary School to Mite Junior High School to Dzodze-Penyi Senior High School. I am sure you would want to know what kind of activities I was interested and involved in while in school. One activity I remember getting involved in back in Primary School was the hobby and passion for reading. I remember how a classmate of mine, Esther Ahiati who was equally an avid reader, would bring story books to school in exchange of the ones I have, and after reading, we sit down and listen to each other’s comments, remarks and lessons from the book—more like a book review. I do not know how well and right we did that at the time, but that was where the interest for reading began. These books were either in English or written in Ewe, and I must say that we enjoyed the Ewe-written ones most. Then in Junior High School, I got involved in literary activities that got me representing my school during some inter-school quizzes and spelling bees. Then again, in Senior High School, I was a member of the school’s Writers and Debaters Club and the President of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) club and represented the school a few times and won some awards. Now, after completing the Dzodze-Penyi senior high school, I had to go to Action Progressive Institute to strengthen some grades that I did not make. While at Action, I was again involved in literary activities—I remember being the President of the Editorial Board of the school, and that was where I got to publish my first book entitled HAD I KNOWN. Now, after getting done with senior high school in 2007, I did not get to go to the tertiary institution immediately, so it will interest you to know that I am now in the second year at the University—University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) offering Public Relations Management, but you know what they say—“It is better late than never.” Still on literary activities in school, I am currently the Deputy Chairman of the University’s Editorial Board. So again, I will say my education so far has also been characterised by literary activities. You also asked about work. On the side line, I work as publisher who goes round schools marketing his own books, and all I can say in glorification to God who gave me that talent which has now become my work is, so far, so good, but it shall get better.

11198782_10204218893134561_1263823466_n

AMOAFOWAA: Now, if I ask you who you are, what will you tell me in in three sentences?

SYL: Three sentences is even too much. In one sentence, I would say “Sylvanus Bedzrah is a dreamer who believes in the realisations of his dreams.”

AMOAFOWAA: What do you think of women empowerment?

SYL: Let me tell you something: I am actually a feminist. Yes, after listening to Chimamanda Adichie Ngozie’s speech on “We should all be Feminists,” I saw reasons to become a feminist, and so of course being a male feminist makes me one of those who believe in women empowerment. I think it is a worthy call to make available to women some appreciable amount of opportunity even if it has to be to the slight disadvantage of the men. That is because I think the playing field has not always been levelled for men and women everywhere in the world, and we cannot pretend about it. But what I would not go with is this: all in the name of women empowerment, we give women some responsibilities, like say appointments to some top positions, because they are women but not mainly because they are qualified. You get my point? So while we are looking at empowering women, we do not compromise on their qualification and end up putting square peg in round holes. That is why much concentration should be on empowering the girl child today especially education-wise so that when she becomes a woman, there will be no iota of mediocrity in the mentioning of women empowerment. That is why I will always applaud the policy where schools admission requirements for the female is not always at par with that of the male. Semantically, many will not agree with me when I say men and women are not equal and cannot be equal, and that is why equal opportunities should not be accorded the man and the woman, hence, the women empowerment chorus. Sometimes, even the women who call for and support women empowerment claim they are equal to men. But that is where people begin to ask that, so if these women are the same people believing they are equal to men, then why should they be calling for some preferential treatment in the name of women empowerment? But you know how easy it is not to have a full insight and appreciation of an issue without an experience? Yes, so that’s why sometimes, we can only wish for God to swap the genders for a month, (and I know why I say a month) and I am sure the men will return appreciating and understanding better why the need to empower the woman.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you look out for in a woman to call your wife?

SLY: Well, the most important thing should be the character before physical beauty (and don’t forget beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder). I am one of those who believe that, the woman or man you choose to marry can make or mar your life, therefore determining how your whole life will turn out, and that is why good character comes first. I also look out for woman who will have a lot to add to my life and for that matter, the family. I look out for a woman who will complement me. Again, I would not just be searching for wife material in my kind of woman but also a mother figure—you know what I mean. I mentioned beauty—we can’t pretend about that, you know. Every man would want to marry a woman who is appealing to the eye and most importantly to me, beautiful to me, because I become the chief beholder in determining and appreciating this beauty. What is my definition of that physical beauty I talk about and look out for? Well, being just the chief beholder in this matter, we all know a beautiful woman when we see one so, yeah. (smiles)

AMOAFOWAA: What are your hobbies?

SYL: On the lighter side, if you ask a writer to mention his or her hobbies and you do not hear “Reading and Writing” first, then I assume the writer did not hear the question well. So my hobbies are watching movies, listening to music, reading and writing (Ok, so I think I did not hear the question well)

AMOAFOWAA: Hehe. What is your thoughts on rape?

SLY: Rape! Cecilia, you know what? I have always said and maintain that, in the unlikely event that I become a judge and anyone is caught and brought to my court with evidence beyond reasonable doubt for raping someone, nobody should expect that character to come back to society from jail anytime soon; in fact, not at all, because you see, rape does a lot of emotional and physical harm to the victim, and if stringent punishments are not meted out to the perpetrators of this act to serve as a deterrent to potential rapists, we shall continue to pay only lip service to the issue of rape. I don’t know which word I could find in my dictionary that could describe how I perceive rapists, but while I am still searching for that word, I will describe them as fraidy-cat for now because that is what they are but tickling themselves to be otherwise. And let me tell you something: if you did indulge in this act without being caught, you should still bow down your head in shame wherever you are and I am sure your conscience will do a good work as a judge. It enrages me more when the characters involved are those with the father-daughter age difference. I mean, how? Whenever I am watching a movie and there is a rape scene, I cannot just have the nerves to watch. I just hate to see a woman in pain and begging for help especially in the hands of a man—you know what I mean? And let me be quick to add that, some women too rape men, you know, but we must condemn both in the same proportion and amount of energy. If it is not good for the gander, it could not be good for the goose either!

AMOAFOWAA: Now domestic violence takes a different turn. Men are reporting women in Ghana. What is your take on that?

SLY: Oh “Charley”, but those men too, why? Or is that one of the reasons you could use to justify the saying that, “What a man can do, a woman can do better?” Or it is part of the women empowerment we’ve been championing? (laughs) Anyway, on a more serious note, domestic violence in any form cannot be condoned—either the man bit the dog or the dog bit the man, there was a bite. I think the way to minimise this in our homes is to find an amicable way of settling our disagreements thereby preventing them from escalating to the boxing stage. On the lighter side (which could be the case) I would want to assume that, it was because some of these men who are victims of domestic violence are people who have been brought up not to lay a hand on a woman and so the woman took advantage of that meekness of the man to dominate him in that way. Ok, so assuming without admitting that is the case, then we should all make that as part of the training for both males and females, not to lay hands on the opposite sex especially, and there would be less record of domestic violence from any of the sides.

AMOAFOWAA: I know you are the writer of “The Bloody Ingrate.” Was it your dream to be a writer?

SLY: Let me tell you a story—a funny one. When I was growing up, I said I wanted to become a carpenter. You know why? There was this carpenter close to my house who made some very beautiful furniture and displayed them in front of his shop, so I thought becoming a carpenter would be the only way my room could look very nice. Then later on, I changed to wanting to become a pastor all because I admired the way my pastor preached in church and the respect he commanded. Then after that, I said I would want to become a soldier because of their beautiful-sight-to-behold and how respectful it was when those young guys in their uniform return from training to visit their families and of course, to show off, and that showing off inspired many like me to get there. But you see, in all these thoughts, the Bible will vindicate me with that verse that says “When I was a child, I thought as a child…” Then when I proceeded in life, I found my niche after writing and publishing my first book. So with this question, let me use the opportunity to explain the meaning of my answer to one of your earlier questions: “… what will you tell me in three sentences?” I have a dream—a dream that one day, this young man from Dzodze in the Ketu North District of the Volta Region, with a humble beginning, will place Ghana on the world literary map. That is the dream! But in addition to that, let me tell you something—I have political ambitions (ooops! I’ve revealed my secret) Yes, I want to get into politics with one ambition—to go do exactly what I will be elected or appointed there to do. I would want to be remembered as that politician who will be counted among the responsible and trusted ones. Let us have another interview on politics and I shall tell you more.

AMOAFOWAA: Cool, we will scratch the surface here though. Is the story, and I mean THE BLOODY INGRATE based on a true life story?

SLY: Not at all, but I must say that it is a real life story. That is why after reading the book, I got a number of confessions from people who shared similar experiences in my story. In one of such confessions, the lady said even the character name I used was the same name as the guy he went through the ordeal with. So you see? You sit in your small corner somewhere in your room and you think you are just writing some imaginary story but ends up telling someone’s story; but that is the beauty and joy of the writing profession.

AMOAFOWAA: You won something some years back, can you please tell us about it?

SLY: I won some things actually. First of all, this book that we are talking about is what brought me to the limelight as a writer through the benevolence of Airtel Telecom Ghana, when I won their “Zain Touching Lives” imitative at the time, and that saw the sponsoring of the first 1,000 copies of THE BLOODY INGRATE in 2010. Let me quickly use this opportunity again to thank Airtel Ghana for turning my dreams and imaginations into a glorious reality. I have always said that wherever I am now and wherever I shall get to as a writer, I owe it all to AIRTEL. Ok, so in 2011, that book THE BLOODY INGRATE won me the “Young Professional (Writer) of the Year” during the “Youth Excellence Awards” which was organised by Waves International in partnership with the British Council, to appreciate and celebrate excellence among the youth. The following year, I again won an award in the category of Arts and Entertainment in the Youth Impact Ghana Awards 2012. That same year, the book got the approval from the Ghana Education Service as a recommended supplementary reader for all schools in Ghana, especially JHS and SHS. So aside those major awards, I must say that I have also been awarded by my former senior high schools for what I am doing so far to inspire me to do more and better. I hope to win more prestigious awards in the coming years with my upcoming works, but there is this heart-warming award I receive on daily basis and of course that comes from my readers. They are my inspiration actually.

AMOAFOWAA: Wow! I know you are very instrumental in the activities of the Ghana Association of Writers. Is the association achieving its set goals?

SLY: I will say a big YES to this question without thinking twice. Since I joined this association under the leadership of the current President, Mr. Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, (and that is why we still want to maintain him for another term. I am sure he will frown at me on hearing this) I have seen a lot of activities and forward-movement of this association, but that does not mean there is no more room for improvement. We can make mention of the Ghana Association of Writers Schools Outreach Programme (GAWSOP) which is targeting the establishment of literary clubs in all the over 500 public senior high schools in the country with the main aim of promoting reading and writing among our students. We can also mention our annual book festival—Ghana Association of Writers Book Festival (GAWBOFEST) which happens on 21st September of every year in Accra under the theme “Empowering Ghana Through Reading,” and we are soon going to have this festival in all regions in the country. Our GAW Sunday programme which happens every first Sunday of every month is also another platform that Novelists, Poets, Playwrights and those in the literary industry, including musicians,  use to share their work with us all. The association also organises workshops on writing to empower upcoming writers and very soon, we shall be having our Writers Academy. But if you ask me of what development I wish to see with GAW any time soon, I would call for the association to introduce an annual book or literary award for writers in this country so they can also be celebrated and rewarded every year. At least, that will go a long way in adding a lot to making reading and writing attractive among Ghanaians and getting a lot of writers registered with the country’s official association for writers. But I have said it somewhere that, if this does not happen in the next five years, I will personally take it up, and I mean it.

AMOAFOWAA: What are the marks of a good writer?

SLY: Let me first answer this question with how Friedrich Nietzsche will do: “Good writers have two things in common: they prefer to be understood rather than admired…” In addition, I think a good writer must be a very good story teller, especially when it is about fiction, and that is one way to engage your readers. A good writer should be able to tell stories that speak to the reader in one way or the other and leave the reader with some lessons by the time the last page is turned. I am sure we all know voracious readers and good writers are siamese twins so I do not need to mention that.

AMOAFOWAA: Who do you look up to where writing is concerned?

SLY: It will be difficult to mention only one writer. Because it has always been Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo, Lawrence Darmani, Nigeria’s Chimamanda Adichie Ngozie and the late Chinua Achebe. So you see why I say I have a dream of placing Ghana on the world literary map one day?

AMOAFOWAA: Are you a lover of music?

SLY: Absolutely! For someone who was a DJ back in the days, I have no choice than to fall in love with music.

AMOAFOWAA: Who is your best singer of all times?

SLY: It has always been Amakye Dede because there is no song of his that I don’t like. I am sure by now, my cat is familiar with his voice because his songs are always playing through the speakers. A foreign musician will be Westlife. Play me any Westlife song and I will tell you a story about what that song reminds me of.

AMOAFOWAA: Tell us about your interest in Made in Ghana Products.

SLY: As the President of Ghana and other concerned people have always been trumpeting, that is the best way to promote and celebrate our own. Hon. Dzifa Gomashie will tell you that, any time you go out there to buy something in say Dubai, what you have done is to invest in their economy to grow, so why can’t you do same for your own country? So instead of dressing and looking like the United Nations (as she will always add), I want to help my country’s economy grow by dressing and looking like the proud Ghanaian. So you can also call me an “Ambassador of Made in Ghana Goods” especially with the clothes. Just that people mistake me for a designer or fashion plate, looking at how I dress.

Sly on amoafowaa.com
Sly on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: Is there anything in store for the near future? I mean where writing is concerned?

SLY: Sure! You know, it is five years since I published my last book, and a lot of people have been wondering why I am taking this long to come out with another. Others have also given up on me, but I have a message for them: when your wife is keeping too long in the kitchen, there are two things involved. It is either she is finding problems with cooking that special meal or she is taking time to make sure your meal is deliciously served. So yeah, I know what is keeping me in the kitchen all this while so I am pleading with my readers to continually have the patience and very soon, the meal shall be served. When it is served, I am sure they shall appreciate how long it took me to prepare it. So yeah, the working title for that ‘meal’ is “Tears in the Rain” and that should be served before this year ends. Alongside, I also have been cooking “Holding on to Hope.” But one that students are mostly calling for is “Inside the Girls Dormitory” and the male students are mostly the ones calling for this, and I can only imagine and understand why.

AMOAFOWAA: Now to religion. I know you are a Christian, what is your most shocking news about Christianity so far?

SLY: We hear all the absurd stories on weekly basis, if not daily, about the men of God especially, or their followers. One that got me angry and prayed for Jesus Christ to speed up with his coming so we all can be saved from the clutches of these supposed men of God, actually happened in Nigeria sometime last year. It was reported that a pastor in Enugu impregnated 20 members of his congregation, and as if that was not disgusting enough to the ear, he came out to say he has been directed by God to impregnate these women. I mean, how? Like seriously! Well, let me leave it before I say unprintable words, but sometimes we have to blame some of these victims and followers. Some of them are just too gullible. Jesus Christ should just hurry with his coming so that a lot of people can be saved from the clutches of these men who claim they are working for Him and His Father

AMOAFOWAA: You are a trumpeter. What peaked your interest in that field?

SLY: Yes! I forgot to mention that aspect of me while talking about my childhood days. Actually, while in Primary School, there was this Brass Band group that was always having their rehearsals in a house across the street so I was always hanging out there after school. Then one day I was invited to play the percussion (what we call the ‘konka’) and so from that day, I unofficially became a member and started following them for their weekend engagements. Then at a point, I decided to rather register and learn the trumpet because my church bought a trumpet and needed someone to play, so I registered privately with someone (for free though) who took me through the lessons, and this is where I have to pause and thank Mr. Eric Edem Ahiable for indulging and teaching me how to play the only instrument in the Holy Bible that will be sound on the last day to determine your fate, you know. And I must say that, playing the trumpet has brought me a lot of opportunities and has also contributed to where I am today in life. This is one thing I could never regret getting involved in or giving up on when I was young, because I nearly gave up when I moved on to another teacher. I remember this man lashed us for not getting our notes right and with tears flowing down your cheeks, we still had to play the trumpet, or else, more tears would flow, you know. And while some gave up, we were still in there enduring it and getting better. I am sure it is one of my talents, aside creative writing, that God equipped me with. I am sure I will be one of the Angels God would choose to sound the trumpet on that day. (smiles)

AMOAFOWAA: Who is your most respected religious leader in Ghana and why?

SLY: Apart from my own Pastor, Rev. Richard Osei Asante of Madina Central Assemblies of God, I would go for Dr. Mensah Otabil of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) because of his exceptional style of preaching—teaching. I mean, you cannot listen to that man without learning a thing or two to better your life and that of others. You listen to him and feel like you’ve just added a lot of value to yourself. You get my point? No wonder he was adjudged the Most Influential Ghanaian of the year during the E-TV’s most influential people in Ghana awards. Well deserved!

AMOAFOWAA: Now to politics, if you were to select one politician from Ghana, dead or alive, for an award for his contribution to the nation Ghana, who will you choose and why?

SYL: Yieee….this lady is dragging me into politics earlier than I plan to oo. Well, since you did not exclude the mention of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, I will give it to him. I mean, if not for anything at all, apart from leading the country to independence, we can point to a lot of facilities today that we still depend largely on and credit Nkrumah for it. We can make mention of Akosombo Dam, Accra-Tema Motorway, Komfo Anokye Hospital, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast and the rest. Bring Kwame Nkrumah back today to lead this country and I am sure a lot of things will change.

AMOAFOWAA: Is this country moving forward or backward? I ask this because I know you are very up to date where current issues are concerned.

SLY: This country is definitely moving forward, and I must add, in the right direction. But even at that, we still have a big house with many rooms that tells us that, there is more room for improvement. It can always get better.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your take on NPP’s concession in favour of women which has been pulled down?

SYL: Mum C, this comes back to the women empowerment issue that we spoke about oo. But I think this is not the right time to implement it, especially when some men in those constituencies have already expressed their interest in contesting and advance their plans in that regard. Now this is how I think it should have been done: have an agreement with all contestants in all the constituencies before this primaries that, after this election, any woman who wins a seat in parliament will not be contested by a male during the next one or two elections. Then after that, any man can contest them again. You see, if you have the people agreeing to something like this, it will be better than waking up one morning and assassinating someone’s political ambitions in the name affirmative action that they were not really aware of. It is a good thing but must be implemented with some level of agreement across board. Well! That is my opinion.

AMOAFOWAA: If you were the president of Ghana at the moment, what would be your first line of action?

SLY: This would sound selfish, but I remember the President of GAW, Mr. Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng once calling for an establishment of Commission of Enquiry to find out why Ghanaians do not read and what could be done to promote that reading culture, and that is what I will do—establish that Commission of Enquiry because if we believe in that saying that “A reading nation is leading nation,” then you will understand why this action by Sylvanus Bedzrah’s government/presidency is his priority.

AMOAFOWAA: How do you see yourself in ten years?

SLY: With the continual enjoyment of that special grace of God I have always been enjoying, I should be able to do a lot to be mentioned among the top prolific African Writers. The time should be ripe for me to carry out my political ambition as well.

AMOAFOWAA: Which words in the Ghanaian National Anthem, speak to your patriotism?

SYL: Ok, hold on let me sing the National Anthem and find the words….. (sings silently) Ok, it should be the first line: “God bless our homeland Ghana…” You know why? Who else prays for his country if not a patriot?

AMOAFOWAA: I will have to ask something I have asked none before, if you are to tell a joke to lift the spirit of one who has lost everything through a fire outbreak, what will be your joke?

SLY: Hahahaa…. Don’t try me because I am sure my joke would remind the person of his loss because of how dry it is. But let me try. Ok so there was this man who returned from America after spending only two years there. You know how when some of these people return even after a week, they speak in a way that the Americans will strain their ears to hear them, right? So this man got to Kwame Nkrumah Circle and stopped a taxi and this what ensued between him and the taxi driver.

Man: Please how much is it from here to Larebiorshie?

Taxi Driver: You said?

Man: I said how much is it from here to Larebiorshie?

Taxi: Where?

Man: Larebiorshie!

Taxi Driver: Come again…

Man: I said Larebiorshie! Are you deaf or something?

So the taxi in his attempt to extricate himself from that humiliation responded: Oh sir sorry, it is only 70 cedis.

Man: (alarmed) What? Are you serious? You mean just from here to Latebi-Okoshie is 70 cedis? Why?

Taxi Driver: Oh you mean Latebi-Okoshie? Oh sorry, it is only 10 cedis. I thought you said Larebiorshie.

AMOAFOWAA: Hahahahahaaa. Please your advice to the readers.

SLY: I have always said that, we don’t have any excuse not be avid and voracious readers. That is why Atwood H. Townsend will tell you that “No matter how busy you are, you must find time to read surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance” and that goes a long way to tell you the importance of reading. If you listen to all the great men we have, reading has always been one activity they occupied themselves with. Someone said “Show me a family of readers and I will show you those who move the world.” Don’t you want to be part of the world-movers? Don’t you want to contribute to making Ghana a reading nation and for that matter a leading nation? So to everyone out there, please let reading make it to your list of hobbies and let us prove wrong the saying that, “If you want to hide something from the African, put it in a book.”

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you for your time on www.amoafowaa.com.

SLY: Thank you for thanking me, and thank you too for this opportunity. I am grateful.

 

READ THE READ

I read the read

And heard the unheard

I read the read

And learnt the hidden

He is like a good book

A jollof of good read

Born with a wooden spoon

His outlook now will make you swoon

Shaming the poverty baboon

He is gentleman

A dreamer and a liver

He is a patriot

A campaigner for his nation

A writing map – Sly

A trumpeter – fly

He dreams so high

I feel those dreams are nigh

Because he is a hard worker

An avid reader

A positive thinker

And a true Ghanaian

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015

Meet Christopher Kyaatuur; the Crippled Cobbler with Innovative Ideas

 

 

On April 24, 2015, while I was running errands with Portia Mwinbeter-ib Dery, we both had problems with our sandals so decided to get a cobbler to mend them. Close to the former administration block of the Tamale Senior High School in Sagnarigu sat a cobbler with well arranged tools working.

I must say I have seen the man sit there for over four years and never suspected he had a deformity. I had to take a good look at him when he butted into the conversation Portia and I were having. What he had to say got our attention.

“A man must be one who thinks about his family. Of what use are rivalling women when you can build a home with one? I have three children with a beautiful woman and I work hard to take care of my children. Many Dagbons do not think before acting, so they take many wives and have many children even if they cannot take care of them. That is very sad indeed”

Then Portia asked if I was listening, and I was.

“I work hard here. Many people bring their bags, sandals and others for repairs here because they know I repair well. If I repair them well, I know that it will last longer and the people will have no problem if I charge them more. How people here shout on their customers baffle me. It is as though they think they are doing the buyers a favour but it is rather the buyers who do them favours. I come here as early as I can and leave as late as I can.”

We looked and saw he was a cripple. Then we decided to take pictures of him and let the world hear of this inspirational being, an inspirational being from the Upper West Region of Ghana who does not think of begging on streets like others. One who finds the shows of pity on streets by deformed beings preposterous, and he so gladly obliged.
WP_20150424_013

Well arranged tools, these he packs here everyday
WP_20150424_014

 

Bags he was going to mend

 

WP_20150424_015

He really chats his customers and makes sure they are relaxed and feel at home

WP_20150424_016

He takes his time to really work on whatever he works on

WP_20150424_017

 

WP_20150424_018

This is his vehicle, he parks it right in front of his base always. Amazing how it never caught my attention

WP_20150424_019

The puzzled Portia stood in watch, saying how incredibly inspirational he was

WP_20150424_020

You are likely to always see him this way, always working to make a living for his family and himself

WP_20150424_021

 

WP_20150424_022

 

Asked for a good pose, he still held on to his work

WP_20150424_023His last message: “Learn to work for your keep and stop looking for who to take care of you. At least you must start work before someone tries pushing you”

 

PUSHING INSPIRATION

I

Cares are rare in fairs

Rabbits hop free now because

Craving teeth are busy

II

If ants walk and run,

Search and carry while careful

Whose excuse is laze?

III

A Kyaatuur takes his stick

Drags himself and rides through the

Weathers high and low

IV

Who are you to sit?

Who are you to create such lazy scenes

Of hunger and deprivation?

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015

 

BEAUTY WITH BRAINS: MEET THE AFFABLE HON. DZIFA GOMASHIE

Hon. Abla Dzifa Gomashie reciting one of her poems at a function
Hon. Abla Dzifa Gomashie reciting one of her poems at a function

She is the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts. She is a veteran actress and has a great personality, probably the only actress who had MPhil in her field. She was voted by Mr. Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng as “His Person for the Year 2014” because of her support for the arts in Ghana. She was the CEO of Mama’s Kitchen where she served quality foods. She is a queen mother in charge of protocol in the Aflao Traditional Area. She a good writer and poetess. She is beautiful, African, motherly and fashionable. She is probably the only Deputy Minister and star who does has no house-help and does all her chores before tackling her many tasks. Our post guest is none other than the affable Hon. Abla Dzifa Gomashie.

AMOAFOWAA: Talking about women who are accomplished, what are the ingredients for accomplished women?

DZIFA: Fear of God. Discovering who you are is very key and anyone is lucky if he or she gets that in an early age, it makes charting your path easier. It also leads you to people with like minds so you get apprenticeship early.  You have people to fall back on. Everybody needs a social circle beyond his/her family or peers, people who have achieved. Developing self, I asked myself; if I am a good actress, what will make me different from others? I decided to get an academic qualification to set me apart.

AMOAFOWAA: Who can gain your respect?

DZIFA: I honestly don’t know, I am open minded enough to accommodate and respect people who stay true to themselves and live by good norms.

Hon. Abla Dzifa Gomashie
Hon. Abla Dzifa Gomashie

 

AMOAFOWAA: Can women have it all?

DZIFA:  Yes, but who wants it all? You should have some challenges in life to keep you going. Something has to challenge you at every stage in your life to motivate you to achieve greater things.

AMOAFOWAA: Between your parents, who did you revere most?

DZIFA: I revered them equally, they each have/had (considering my mother is no more) their own strength but they complemented each other. I know for sure that my mother did well by choosing my father.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you believe that some vocations are gender based?

DZIFA: Well, I’m socialized to think that there are gender roles but I know it is not static because it is changing, now there are men braiding hair in Ghana, men the world over cooking, what do we call them? Chefs! etc. So it is gradually changing.

AMOAFOWAA: Who did you grow up listening in musical realm?

DZIFA: Bob Nesta Marley, (Starts singing) “Who Jah bless, no one cares”

Hon. Abla Dzifa Gomashie doing what shoe loves best, dancing
Hon. Abla Dzifa Gomashie doing what shoe loves best, dancing

AMOAFOWAA: Who did you grow up reading?

DZIFA: Mills and Boons, James Hardi Chaise, Ama Atta Aidoo, Efua Sutherland, Ayi Kwei Ama, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and others.

AMOAFOWAA: Explicit sex scenes in many movies and videos, are they really good for business?

DZIFA: That is sick but then again sex sells, they say. If I was the only buyer, they won’t get sales though.

AMOAFOWAA: Did you ever play sex scenes in any movie?

DZIFA: No; let somebody prove me wrong. In the days when I was acting, it was tasteful, the issue of romance and sex were tastefully played out so it was not nauseating nor in your face. I remember a scene in which Adjetey Annan was to share some good news with me, as his partner, all he did was put his head on my chest and all I had to do was hold his head to my bosom. That was all and the message was clear.

AMOAFOWAA: Ideally, what would you think was the focus of the movie industry or the entertainment industry when you started?

DZIFA: We sought to tell our stories with very little influence from outside, so it reflected in our choice of costumes, language, culture etc. We tried to stay true to who we are. We were taught patriotism and Africanism.

AMOAFOWAA: Would you rather do Azonto or Agbadza?

DZIFA: I am an Aflao girl so agbadza first but I also love azonto. I think as a creative product, azonto is saleable.

AMOAFOWAA: If you were a judge presiding over the case of a man who has is said to have raped 10 girls, what will be your judgment?

DZIFA: Even one will call for castration. Why will I wait until they reach 10?

AMOAFOWAA: What is your Religion?

DZIFA: I am a catholic and will die a catholic. It’s all in your heart, it doesn’t matter what the religion is or how you worship, what is important is doing the right things your heart and conscience tell you.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you think of pastors who have their faces on billboards?

DZIFA: It’s commercialization of their services, period! What do we use billboards for? To sell products! So if it is not the word of God on the billboard but your face, then you are selling yourself and not God.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you think about the issue of women wanting concession where elections are concerned?

DZIFA: I think it is a good thing because we are a very patriarchal society and so if we want to include more women, then we have to have a concession. It is going to encourage more women to participate.

AMOAFOWAA: Won’t that mean that you want the country to compromise competency?

DZIFA: We are not saying that compromise competency but we are saying that when we bring the competent women on board, pick them. May I ask, “Are all the men competent?”

AMOAFOWAA: In this era where some universities are recording more women in admission compared to men, and men are crying foul, is it still fair to pursue this concession?

DZIFA: How many of the women who are educated are encouraged to pursue their dreams? The world will be better if all women go to school. So the fact that there is an increase in women schooling doesn’t mean that we have succeeded. We will only succeed if it yields results, pursing their dreams, living without intimidation, having a say in the running of the country etc.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you think about people who bleach?

DZIFA: I feel it Shows low self-esteem! How is it that you can think that changing what your colour is changes who you are? I find it embarrassing.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you think of the insults on political figures in the media?

DZIFA:  When you live in a country where the meaning of democracy is “Ka bi ma menka bi” (transliterated, say and let me say) and nothing more, what do you expect? In most countries whose democratic examples we are following, they have delayed transmissions, you can’t use swear words, even when you do, they punch it out. Here in Ghana, we don’t have that and so some hosts apologise for foul language but that others don’t. Ghanaians disrespect everybody without blinking. I have seen that from President Rawlings, Kuffuor, Mills to President Mahama. They don’t discriminate at all. What will they not do to small ones?

AMOAFOWAA: Your thoughts on presidents from Nkrumah to Mahama:

DZIFA: Dr. Kwame Nkrumah did his bit. Every president have done their bit. John Mahama, hihihihi, he is the best thing that happened to Ghana.

AMOAFOWAA: Life as a movie star and life as a politician, which is more difficult?

DZIFA: Life as a politician. The stakeholders are different, but my profession is very straight forward. You get a play, you accept to do it, the audience’s demography doesn’t matter but politics is very difficult.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you think the NDC will win the 2016 elections?

DZIFA: YES, YES and YES!

AMOAFOWAA: Why, why and why?

DZIFA: Why shouldn’t we win with a president and a team like this? With a president with such visions, a president who believes in Ghana! We will win.

AMOAFOWAA: Aren’t you bothered about SADA failure, “dumsor”, GYEEDA horrors and the many judgement debts?

DZIFA: It would be hypocritical to say that I don’t get worried hearing things like that. But I am also happy that these are matters being dealt with in our law courts.

AMOAFOWAA: Tell us about the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts.

DZIFA: It is the best thing any president has done for the sector. Tourism is about culture and Creative Arts. Tourism thrives on unique things in a particular community and in Ghana, our culture is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. So to put all in one ministry is the best thing that ever happened to us.

AMOAFOWAA: Which line of the National Anthem strengthens your patriotism?

DZIFA: God bless our homeland Ghana.

580908_3047691290831_1279952607_n

AMOAFOWAA: Please give us some general advice.

DZIFA: There are some things you get to choose in life, like a name, the school you attend, the man or woman you decide to marry but some things are divinely chosen for you. Your gender, your parents, your tribe, your country, these are divinely chosen for you. So to succeed in my thinking, you have to take the latter very, very, seriously, because those choices come with blessings and so if you go against them, you deny yourself those blessings.

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you very much for your precious time on amoafowaa.com.

DZIFA: You are welcome.

Her inspiration came in this form

THE LIGHTER

She lights the path in honesty

For her likes to follow in purity

She lights the hearts of wicks which sleep

To take up the brightening of corners

II

This Dzifa light

Which makes the Gomashies’ bright

Is strengthening mights

And trampling frights

Filling up the heights

 

III

She will be the highest kite

Looking after the straining lights

Because God sees through all nights

And always judges right

In all sites

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2015

A Piano Interview with Mihran “Mino” Kalaydjian

MIHRAN THE PIANIST ON www.amofowaa.com
Mihran the pianist on http://www.amofowaa.com

While Mihran “Mino” Kalaydjian is a mesmerizing live performer, his passionate cult following is surely due to his immense discography.

“Mihran Kalaydjian “Mino” known as “Fast Finger” is a special breed, and I mean that in the most complimentary sense of the phrase.  He has it all – the whole package of artistic gifts – and in abundance.  But, what strikes about his playing is the sheer beauty – the concept, the intelligence, the control over every sound, the vision, the phenomenal listening to it all – all the attributes that comprise great artistry of the sort that touches our souls.”

AMOAFOWAA:What is your earliest memory of playing the piano?

NINO: I grew up in a family of musicians. My mother is a piano teacher and my father was a conductor in Jerusalem, Israel. My mother had a large influence on my musical development; she was the one who introduced me to music. Thanks to her, I was surrounded by music from the very beginning. Since childhood, I remember listening Berlioz’s “Fantastic Symphony”, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, Chopin Etudes and many other beautiful music compositions. It was one little song that inspired me to start playing piano. I loved the song so much that I would sing it over and over. I was only Four years old, and of course I didn’t know how to read notes, so I tried to pick up the music by ear. When I sat down to play the song, it came easily. It was joy for me to be able to “perform” my favorite song and share it with my family and friends.

AMOAFOWAA: You are a serious professional, someone who engages with the score on such an intimate level that you’re actually looking at a facsimile of the composer’s handwriting. But I also know you have a big record collection. Do you listen to records of something like the Liszt sonata when working on it?

NINO: I try not to until I have a sufficient idea of the piece. I want to learn what the essence of it is and what I want to do with it first. Later on, I will occasionally listen to recordings, maybe just to find out what the performing tradition is with that particular work. But essentially, I don’t like to be influenced. The very first recording artists, and people who recorded these pieces for the first time, I don’t think they were imitating anybody. Who could they imitate? Maybe other performances they heard in halls or in private studios… Other performers are like me, too, trying to find their own solutions.

But I’ve actually known of at least two or three people who’ve said explicitly in interviews that they surround themselves with all existing performances to sort of try to get the best of them. To me, that’s completely backward, and shows a real lack of awareness and a lack of appreciation for the composer’s task and the composer’s creative act. It’s like “Oh, you wrote all of this, great, but I’m just going to do my own thing and ignore the finer points of what you wrote.” Some composers really agonize over small details, and I can understand how they feel.

 

AMOAFOWAA: What are your favorite piano concertos and why?

NINO: I have many that I love. Contrary to many pianists, I find the most difficult, and perhaps the most rewarding, to be Brahms 2. Many pianists find the Bartok 2 to be the sine qua non of difficult concerti, but I do think the Brahms is more so, if only because everybody knows it better and it’s more transparent in texture. I adore playing any and all of the Mozart concerti, and the Beethoven’s certainly have to be up there, too. It’s fun to play the Rach 3 from time to time I had my first successes in the United Kingdom with that piece but I can’t say it’s my favourite work.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you suffer from nerves before a performance and how do you handle this?

NINO: I don’t really suffer too often from nerves as such, though I am most certainly geared up inside one way or the other. Otherwise I couldn’t call myself a performer. And this is true for any venue, whether it be London, Berlin, or a much more obscure place. But when nerves have occurred, they can have a near-devastating effect. Perhaps deep, sustained breathing exercises will help, if one is offstage when the nerves become apparent. But if the nerves start acting up onstage, or if ones hands start shaking for any reason whilst performing (it has happened), one just has to work through it. There is no easy solution.

AMOAFOWAA: How important is the public to you? Do you ever feel that fan-doom undermines a genuine regard for music? 

NINO: The collective energy from the public is extremely important for all performers. I wouldn’t believe anyone who told me otherwise!! But why and how this energy is important for me personally has changed somewhat over the years. It will come as a surprise to many who might have heard me when I was younger that I found it almost painful to get up after a performance and take a bow. I would much rather have simply walked offstage unnoticed!! Believe me, it is not false modesty, but quite simply the way I often felt. You know, when one is fully in a piece of music, to suddenly have to relate to the audience at the works conclusion can be very daunting. On the other hand, today I have a very different attitude, if only because I am very aware of my need to interact with the audience’s energy, and the audiences need to show their appreciation for what I’ve been able to give them. If this sounds like pie in the sky, then so be it. We are all sharing our gifts onstage, whatever their merits. If we don’t want to share them, we have no right to be there! With regard to hero-worship, this unfortunately exists in every public profession, and I have had my share of it as well. I don’t like it, but not liking it is not going to change it! Luckily, I believe most of the audience really is responding to the music. When and if it is well played, how can they not!

 

AMOAFOWAA: How do you respond to aggressive and negative reviews?

NINO: My reactions vary. If the criticism is unduly harsh, I’m often mad, or hurt, or both. With time, either I realize that the critic was an idiot, or that he or she was trying to tell me something that I really needed to learn. There is always a grain of truth in any criticism. By the same token, I think one should take complimentary criticism with a bit of a grain of salt as well. What’s most important is the work that one does before getting up onstage, not what happens once one is there!

AMOAFOWAA: What do you consider the most demanding works you have played and why are they so demanding?
NINO: Well, things such as the Rach 3 have a helluva lot of notes, but I don’t think they are by any stretch of the imagination the most demanding. As I’ve said before, I think Brahms 2 is the most difficult concerto in the repertoire. People know every note of it, and they all have their own conceptions of how they want to hear it. This might be true of other works in the repertoire, but when you put the sheer technical and musical difficulties of the Brahms on top of it all, is makes for an almost impossible task. I remember once one of my teachers, Augustin Lama, telling me that the Hammerklavier wasn’t difficult, it was impossible! Having played it many times, I think I know what he means. Something, albeit perhaps very small, invariably goes wrong, and it’s never when you think it’s going to happen! A work which is terribly rewarding, yet terribly draining, is the Goldberg Variations, which I’ve performed frequently. I’m sure I could find some of the so-called virtuoso warhorses in the repertoire to talk about, many of which I played when I was younger. At the moment my affections are elsewhere, but I cannot rule out doing them in the future in fact, it’s a distinct possibility!

AMOAFOWAA: As a performer, what criteria do you employ in playing any work? How do you strike a balance between realizing the composer’s intentions and self-expression?

NINO: This is a sticky issue. To be honest, the composer is dead on that page of music until we, as performers, bring him or her alive. Any performance of any piece of classical music has got to be transformed through the performer’s personality in order to be heard. To what extent we as performers interject ourselves is the real issue?  I see it as a balancing act. One must know and be true to everything which is on the page. Beyond that, one must try and sort out what the composer was really trying to say at that moment. I know all too well, having worked with many contemporary composers in the past thirty-five years, that what they put on the page is more often than not only a blueprint. More than once, if I’ve changed something, the composer will say: Yes, that’s fine, because you’ve approached the argument (or thesis) of the work from a slightly different angle than I conceived at the moment I was writing it. So your conclusion is not only perfectly natural, but also justifiable. On other occasions, the composers have been sticklers for the minutest of printed details. So it can work either way. The problem for us performers is with the so-called dead composers. More often than not, the music simply leaps off the page at me, it speaks openly, strongly, and affirmatively to me. But how many are the times that I wished I could have rung up Beethoven, or Bach, or Mozart, or Schubert, and asked them what they meant by a hair-pin, a Sforza to, a pianissimo that seemed misplaced. Such moments in music are the things that one loses a good night’s sleep over, and I’m not exaggerating! Having lived with a work for a certain period, though, I do feel that an honest and conscientious performer has the right, and maybe even the duty, to change a few things in the score if it allows that score to come alive in a better way.

 

 

Mino Mihran, the pianist on amoafowaa.com
Mino Mihran, the pianist on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA: What things do you find irritating about other performers’ performances of works that you perform yourself?

NINO: Whether it be in works that I perform myself or not, I find incredibly irritating the affected way of music making that is making the rounds amongst many of today’s younger, and successful, generation. What I mean by irritating is the gross exaggeration of dynamics and tempi, the sheer lack of regard towards simplicity of movement, thought and feeling that is part and parcel of any truly great work. Luckily for all of these great works in the piano literature, there are still older, more established and more seasoned artists to lead the way. But it seems that this is what the promoters and the managers think the audiences really want to see and hear. I’m not so sure

 

 

AMOAFOWAA: You seem to have no regret of having chosen that way.

 

NINO: No, I don’t. My life had been good, and since choosing this way, my life has been even more fulfilled. There are so many wonderful young musicians in today’s music world. Their enthusiasm and passion bring a tremendous amount of energy to our field, and their passion will support and sustain it in the future. Communicating with those young people motivates and encourages me. As one of the older generation, I can communicate my experience as a teacher and a performer to those young people.

 

AMOFOWAA:  Any words of wisdom for those who have won distinction in piano competitions?

NINO: Try not to allow feelings of a momentary accomplishment to obscure the need to develop and grow.

AMOAFOWAA: What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current projects.

NINO: Every single concert is different. Each one has a unique experience with the audience and in my career I have never experienced any two concerts that were the same. This coming year (2015) we will be touring in over 20 countries and we get a renewed enthusiasm from each new audience, ground breaking, international concert venues at the Acropolis in Greece, Forbidden City in China, Taj Mahal in India, The Kremlin in Russia, and other significant international concert venues

That is the magic of live performances, they are live and never the same. I still get “butterflies” or anxious before every single show. When we perform for an audience, we get so much love from the audience that makes all of us on the stage feel so motivated and rewarded for our effort and this love and relationship with the audience is what keeps us going with such enthusiasm.

I will keep enjoying my collaboration as soloist, Composer recording for the music publication ‘Pianist Millennium Production’; a tour in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New York for Christmas Melody, Texas,   at the end of the year with other concert activities as usual; and learn more Rachmaninov pieces!

 AMOAFOWAA: Any awards so far?

NINO: Yes.

Mihran on amoafowaa.com
Mihran on amoafowaa.com

GOLD MEDALIST in FOUR INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITIONS

 

New Orleans IPC, Alfredo Barilli IPC, Washington IPC, Missouri Southern IPC, Laureate of Seiler IPC, Special Prizes (including Best Performances of 20th-Century and Commissioned Works)

  1.  WINNER for “Album of the Year” in the 2013 Whisperings Solo Piano Radio awards.
  2.  “Spiritual Awakening” nominated for Best New Age Song in the 2013 Independent Music Awards.
  3.  Nominated for Best Solo Piano Album on One World Music.
  4.  “Radiance” nominated for Best Instrumental Song in the 2013 Boston Music in Media (HMMA’s) Awards.
  5.  “2013 Top Pick” from Kathy Parsons on MainlyPiano.com
  6.  Ranked #45 on the 2013 Top 100 Albums on Zone Music Reporter.
  7. Olga Brose Valencia Prize for Excellence in Musical Composition (2008)
  8. “Time Lines” Down Beat Album of the Year 2006

 

  1. First Doris Duke Foundation Award for Jazz Composers

 

AMOAFOWAA: Give us some of your performance links:

NINO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plATgzMJ-yM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xz2l3OThWY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSvlSYPFBeo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZp3Wk2PPG0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqXldmNvmdM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZRqLgHYxrI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29C6Vozf4LA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1WiqiPDhW0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eacB5jTfX-M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXRVhqIv7G8

AMOAFOWAA: Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?

NINO:

AMOAFOWAA: Any lessons for young pianists

NINO: For any young artist, I would advise to keep an open and inquisitive mind, read omnivorously from many different sources, go to a lot of concerts of fellow artists, and of course, practice and learn new music continually. And be unflinchingly honest to your deeper self, whatever it is. This is the hardest of all to accomplish.

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you very much for your time:

NINO:

Thank you too.

HIS INSPIRATION CAME IN THIS FORM

Pa, panananana

Pana nanana, panananana

Pananana, papanananana

When skilled fingers play

There is an array of light in emotions

Mihran ranks high

Playing and playing till sorrowful thoughts melt

Perhaps, he is the belt that we all need

In times when we are stuck and harmed

Play your play

As we see them served on goodness tray

Nino is the piano master

Play until play suspends time

Forcing the piano to play even after your heavenly call

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2015

Edward Sena Dey: A Combination of Goodness, Kindness and Affection

Mr. Edward Sena Dey
Mr. Edward Sena Dey

Today, our guest post is Mr. Edward Sena Dey, the elder brother of Kafui Dey of the “Who Wants to be Rich Project” fame. I personally call him the happy god because he is seen always with a smile on his face. He is an amazing spokesperson with a very huge heart. As to how I know, find out for yourself in his interview.

AMOAFOWAA: You’re welcome to amoafowaa.com. Please tell us about yourself

MR. DEYI was born on Thursday 19th March, 1970 at the Clinique Hubert in Dakar Senegal, and spent the remaining seventeen years of my life in between Ouagadougou, Abidjan,Beijing, Accra, London and Algiers. My childhood involved a lot of travelling around, so I learnt never to get too comfortable. My most memorable trip was between Beijing and Hongkong by train, 38 hours, but it was an awesome experience. I have three younger brothers.

 My dad is Victor Dey Sr, a retired diplomat, and my mum is the late Mrs. Olivia Nuku Dey of blessed memory. I have been deeply affected by all these travels, because unlike my brothers who returned to Ghana at some point, I stayed right through with my folks, as a result, I am constantly on the go, and I get bored easily.
I love classical music and smooth jazz, but am also open to most genres as a result of my music background on the piano.
I have always been a happy go lucky, easy going chap who makes the best out of any situation. I used to be very shy and couldn’t look most people in the eye until my dad impressed upon me one day that I would be taller than most, and that walking around like Quasimodo wasn’t exactly confidence-inspiring. So I walked chest out and haven’t looked back since. I have friends and classmates all over the world.
Our Christmas parties in Beijing used to be like a united nations gathering, with father xmas arriving in the British Ambassador’s Bentley. Childhood was very colourful and a lots of fun. 
I am the eldest of four boys. I love to read, listen to a very wide range of music, and I also play classical piano. I suffer from a bad case of wanderlust, as the first eighteen years of my life were spent traipsing between six countries on three continents, with my family…I love to travel, and nothing beats the buzz one gets from touching down in a new place, and taking in the cuisine, smells, culture and new language. I also love to have a good meal, and a joke, and am ever ready with a quip or an anecdote for just about any given situation, something I inherited from my late mum. I have a large heart, and am pretty slow to anger, and whenever I do get upset, it is never for long, as life is too short! I am a people-person, and sometimes, can be the life and soul of the party. I have an infectious smile and temperament, and let’s just say that when I enter somewhere, you will know that I have arrived….I have physical presence, in the truest sense of the word. I also used to be in Rotary International, and am very passionate about community service. I’m currently with a charity firm called Friends of Little Angels Trust (FoLAT), and it takes care of, and provides help for kids with cancer. Just before Christmas, we went to the Childrens’Block at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, to provide them with meals and gifts. It was very touching, and reminded me as to how fortunate I am.

AMOAFOWAA: The first thing I’d like to ask is, have you ever cried?

MRDEY: I have more than my fair share of frustrations, issues and fears, just like any one else. I just let things roll off my back, and do not allow any situation to get to me. I do cry, but it’s not very often, and I am not a bawler. Tears flow freely when I experience hurt, deep pain or sadness. The day I lost my mum, I excused my self, after the news had been confirmed, went to a corner of the hospital, and had a really good cry. The toughest times are in the mornings, when I have to get up to take care of my dad…he is a very powerful reminder that she is no more, and sometimes, as I take care of him, the tears flow freely…but it is cathartic, and I tend to feel a lot better afterwards. I have learnt about inner strength and the ability to suffer pain and adversity with dignity, from my dad. He was a former career diplomat, and so taught me all about nuance, and couching language in such a way that you can get even the crudest of messages across with style and panache. He suffers from multiple conditions, and is gravelly ill, as I speak, but I derive my strength and comfort from him, in the knowledge that all that I may be enduring, cannot be any worse than what he has had to go through, losing his wife of forty five years, and often in immense physical pain, but never ever complaining. I remember the day I got back from putting her into the morgue, and had to deal with family and friends at home. A childhood friend remarked that he was amazed at the calm I exhibited, and I was actually even consoling people and cracking jokes. I am the eldest of four boys, and my younger brothers subconsciously lean onto me for strength and comfort, so I have had to step up. Hence my always having a smile…a lot of the times you see me with a broad smile, I have probably done my share of crying, and I am not afraid to admit it.

AMOAFOWAA: What do you do now as a vocation?

MR. DEY: I worked in the hospitality industry for fifteen years, working in various hotels, in various capacities, at the Front Office, Sales and Marketing and Guest Relations. I have had to put my life quite literally on hold, to look after my father, as he needs round the clock care. I looked after him for a year after my mum’s death before acquiring the services of a carer to help out. But I haven’t totally relinquished my responsibilities, because when he (the carer ) closes from work to go home, I still have to look after him. Sometimes he wakes up, suffering from insomnia, and I end up having to stay up the whole night, and getting him to have his bath and get dressed before the carer reports for work in the morning. It is gruelling, physically and emotionally, but he is my dad, and he took care of us when we were young, put us up in good schools, got us to travel the world, and taught us about etiquette, so, if he isn’t doing so well physically, it is a no-brainer as to what I have to do for him. I have learnt a lot about the aged, tolerance, patience and unconditional love.  It has cost me a lot in various spheres of my life, but I will willingly do it again in a heartbeat. I also mcee for corporate and social events, and can translate documents from French into English.

Mr. Edward Sena Dey
Mr. Edward Sena Dey

AMOAFOWAA: What is the naughtiest thing you have ever done?

MR. DEY: Wow, the naughtiest thing I have done was probably getting hot and heavy with the girlfriend in an area very close to the public….anyone could have walked in on us, but it was a he adrenalin rush!

AMOAFOWAA:  Lol. “Send a girl child to school” was a very popular song in the late 90’s. Do you think we have achieved that as Africans?

MR. DEY: I don’t think so. A lot of people in our social set-up still give preference to educating boys over girls. I find that very sad, because, when you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation, because the skills she acquires, coupled with her ability to multitask, make her a very valuable asset indeed. Society has to desist from that school of thought, and give girls equally the same opportunities, as they would boys. Girls have a lot to offer…I even wished I had a sister, but it is a bit late for that now. So, in that respect, Africans have failed abysmally, and the abduction of the girls by Boko Haram, aptly demonstrates that old schools of thought, die hard.

AMOAFOWAA: There is a clause in the GES code of conduct which states that if girls get pregnant, they should be asked to leave the school, after birth, they should be given transfer letters to any school of their choices but if they abort their pregnancies, they should be rusticated without any letters of recommendation. What is your take on this matter.

MR. DEY: This is a deep-rooted problem. First of all, sex education isn’t taught in schools, so, most girls do not really know what is going on with their bodies, much more, getting pregnant . I went to a Catholic boys school in London, and you know the Catholic Church’s take on contraception? Try telling 11 to 18 year olds about abstinence, when their hormones are raging all over the place. It won’t work. Most girls do not choose to get pregnant. It happens, more often than not, out of ignorance, and every case is unique. Sex education needs to be taught in a healthy manner, but, unfortunately, it’s taboo for most. Most girls, as a result, have to find out about the facts of life, the hard way. When school authorities are faced with either of these situations, they need to look long and hard into the matter before arriving at a decision, because, in most cases, the end result is life-altering. Instead of judging the girl for getting pregnant, or for termination, they must be taught the various modes of contraception, as well as be knowledgeable about their bodies. Once they are fully aware of these things, these two scenarios will reduce to the barest minimum. There must be a wholistic approach to teenage pregnancy, as it is a huge problem.

AMOAFOWAA: Are women right groups overdoing the “Women Emancipation” thing?MRDEY: It is a double-edged sword. I am for womens’ lib, but I draw the line where the very same women advocating for their emancipation, want to be treated with kid gloves, as and when it suits them. It is all about balance, and making the playing field as level as possible.

AMOAFOWAA: In your candid opinion, can Ghana and for that matter Africa, be a reading community?

MR. DEY: Yes. But unfortunately, with the advent of the internet, and the emergence of video game systems, children are reading a lot less, and playing more. Ghana, and in the broader sense, Africa, can become a reading community. It is all about parents exerting more control over their kids, as opposed to leaving them to their own devices. A lot of parents, especially those who grew up with very little, tend to overcompensate, and end up destroying their children in the process, instead of nurturing them. My brother Kafui’s kids are only allowed on weekends, on condition that they have done their chores and homework. Reading does wonders for your grammar and diction, and, in not reading, you do yourself a great disservice.

AMOAFOWAA:  Who did you grow up reading from?

MR. DEY: My father was a liberal arts major, who did English, French and Music for A Levels, before proceeding to the University of Ghana to study French. We have always had books at home. My dad is a lover of dictionaries, so we have them all over the house. From the ages of 5 to 10, I could read, write and speak Mandarin fluently, so my dad got me an English-Chinese-Chinese-English Oxford Dictionary. He also had the complete bilingual  works of Shakespeare, and got us the World Book, which comprises an encyclopaedia, double volume dictionary, an atlas, a four volume medical ailments pack, as well as a double volume on the British Isles. So my brothers and I learnt to do research early. We lived in Beijing from 1975-1980. The first two years, Kafui and I, went to Chinese primary school, not as foreign students, but as one of them, complete with green fatigues, red star and all. Then one day, we came home, and I told my dad that Mao Tse-Tung, the then Chinese leader, was God. It was indoctrination that we were regurgitating. My dad pulled us out of school. Our next door neighbor, Christine Wade, was a special needs teacher who set up a school called the Little English School. It was like going to prep school in England. We read Aesops’ Fables, Rudyard Kipling and what have you.  People tell me I speak very well, but then again, so do my brothers, and this was the genesis of all that. I grew up learning French first, then Ewe, and then English. Mrs. Wade left for Moscow a year before we returned. So we were at home for a year. My dad put us through vocabulary drills. We could read whatever we wanted, but we had to produce ten words for him each day, that we could use in sentences. Upon return to Ghana, most schools were scared to take us because they felt we had been home too long. But Under Christine Wade’s tutelage, coupled with my dad’s vocabulary drills, we were a tough act to follow. He enrolled us at the Osu Childrens’ Library, as well as British Council. When I do my morning devotion, I read my Bible verse in English and in French. It is to keep my French from going dormant. So, as you can see, I am from a family of readers.

AMOAFOWAA: Impressive. Now to the next question, if you were the Minister of Education today, what are the plans you would put in place to ensure the growth of the sector?

MRDEY: I would look into the remuneration of teachers and lecturers, make more funding available to the sector, and make more research grants available for them to pursue their studies and be at par with their counterparts worldwide. A country’s most valuable asset is its human resource, and it goes without saying, that it is absolutely vital that it is equipped with the requisite skills and tools.

AMOAFOWAA: Why am I praying for you to be in that position? Oh, because I loved the sound of that. Mr. Dey, is politics a necessary evil?

MR. DEY: I normally do not delve into politics here in Ghana because we are a deeply polarized nation, and even the smartest of people make decisions and think along political lines. I attended a funeral at the weekend for the late wife of the National Security Adviser, Mr. Francis Poku. The NPP bigwigs, I realized, arrived AFTER President Mahama, which is a faux-pas. Some of my friends were telling me that because it was a private function, they were not abliged to observe protocol. Private function or not, the President is still the most powerful man in the land, and must be accorded the due respect wherever he goes. Politics, when thoroughly understood, is healthy. It is important to have politics. The opposition help to keep the party in power, on its toes. Politicians must start thinking in the interest of the nation, instead of looking out for their selfish, parochial interests. I don’t do much Ghanaian politics, because, when you tune in to the morning shows on tv and radio, the mudslinging, the vitriolic statements and the insults, leave a very bitter taste in my mouth. So, I do three stations, Starr FM, Atlantis and BBC. The rest I don’t bother with.

AMOAFOWAA: What is your impression of the Mahama?

MR. DEY: I think His Excellency the President is a fundamentally decent man, who wants to do the right thing. But I don’t know about some of those around him. Being at the top, can be very lonely, and he cannot be on top of everything. He has had to deal with a lot of rot and corruption, which unfortunately, has been the way of life, for generations and governments, past and present. He well and truly has his work cut out for him, with the energy crisis, the water situation, and what have you.

AMOAFOWAA: Sorry I still have to do politics, I really need to get into your thoughts so forgive me. Did Kufuor do better?

MR. DEY: I really don’t like to compare administrations. I am not much of a political animal, but the Kufuor administration has had its highs and lows, as has the current Mahama government. All I wish for them to do, is to see the big picture and take decisions in the interest of Ghana.

AMOAFOWAA: Who, to you, is the most disappointing politician in Ghana today?

MR. DEY: There are quite a few of them. I saw General Mosquito in a ladies’ coat in Germany. That in itself is a no-no. Before you travel, you must check out the weather forecast for the duration of your stay at your destination. A quick call to the embassy in Bonn, could have sorted this out. Even if he didn’t have a coat, he could have communicated his size, for one to be made available for him on arrival. Sadly, most of our politicians do not think out of the box, and the Germans must be having a good laugh at our expense. I would rather have sat in the comfort of the heated official vehicle than end up in that predicament. Fortunately, he is a small man. If he were my size, it would have been very embarrassing indeed. As a top government official, you must behave like airline crew…have a bag packed and be ready to roll, when given orders to do so.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you believe Anita De-Soso’s claim that witchcraft reigns in Ghana’s finances?

MR. DEY: That is a load of hogwash. I don’t buy such ignorant, misplaced blanket statements . Mismanagement is the bane of our woes, not witchcraft or sorcery.

AMOAFOWAA: Do you think the price increase of products and salaries tally?

MR. DEY: No, they don’t. Most Ghanaians work on earth, and get paid in the skies. How the authorities arrived at the ludicrous sum of 7 cedis being the daily minimum wage, is beyond me. A half decent lunch costs three to four times that amount. Ghanaians are “magicians”, and I don’t mean so in the witchcraft sense. People can make 500 cedis a month, spend thrice as much, and still have some left in the bank. Accra is one of the most expensive cities on earth, and how most survive, baffles me. God does well and truly love us.

Mr. Edward Sena Dey
Mr. Edward Sena Dey

AMOAFOWAA: Truly God loves us.  If I mention any of these names: Obinim, Prophet 1 and the others, would you say they are role models and why?

MR. DEY: They are role models because thy have a huge sphere of influence, and what they say and do, positive or otherwise, affect a lot of people.

AMOAFOWAA: Is Christianity still “appetizing” even with its current trends?

MR. DEY: I guess it depends on the mindset of the people involved, their values, belief systems, backgrounds and mindsets.

AMOAFOWAA: Sex and music videos in Ghana, is it denting the essence of decorum?MRDEY: Yes, because there is no censorship per se. People produce whatever tickles their fancy, and get away with it. It’s the same with the print media. Some of the newspapers you see in the news stands, are porn, pure and simple. In the West, they are tucked out of sight, and out of the reach of minors.

AMOAFOWAA: Who is your best artist in the entertainment industry today?

MR. DEY: It is probably Shatta Wale, in spite of the controversy swirling around him. He should concentrate on his music, and talk less.

AMOAFOWAA: Please tell us some recipes for staying happy.

MR. DEY: Be as honest and as upfront as possible. If anything troubles you, and talking about it makes you sleep better at night, then, by all means say it. Don’t take life too seriously, and don’t be bothered by what people say about you. They talk about you because they want to be like you. Do a random act of kindness to a total stranger. I boarded a bus today, and a woman had trouble getting on, as her hands were full. I took her stuff from her, and waited till she was inside, and gave it back to her. She was very surprised. Give freely, especially to those who need more than you do. Endeavour to take part in community service. It is very fulfilling. Engage in moderate exercise. The mind and body need to be in sync with one another, and that is the best way to do it. Surround yourself with positive-minded individuals.

AMOAFOWAA: Your advice to Ghanaians who have decided not to vote during the 2016 ballot

MRDEY: Your vote is your power. Forget about who may or may not be in office. Your vote is your voice, and in not doing so, you get yourself disenfranchised, and are thus disconnected from the decision-making process.

AMOAFOWAA: How is it like having a famous brother like Kafui Dey?

MR. DEY: My brother is my brother, pure and simple. The same guy I grew up with. Fame has not changed him. It is flattering for people to mistake me for him, but I make them understand that I am not him. Sometimes I have to pull out a photo of us together to make my point.

AMOAFOWAA: Is there a sort of envy sometimes?

MR. DEY: No, none whatsoever. My brothers are three supremely talented individuals, so I support them in any way I can. When they have events, I go to them, and give them my take on them afterwards.

AMOAFOWAA: Your advice to the audience of amoafowaa.com

MR. DEY: Always treat people with respect. Stay humble. Never ever get ahead of yourself. Be polite. If I don’t know you, I refer to you as Sir or Ma’am. It doesn’t take anything away from you, and people love it when they are made to feel relevant. Like my late mum always said “Everyone has their role to play on earth”. Never belittle anyone, as you never know tomorrow. The people you meet on the way up, are the very ones you meet on the way back down. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice. It is gratis, and people will remember you for your kindness long after you are gone.

AMOAFOWAA: Thank you very much for your time on amoafowaa.com

MR. DEY: You’re welcome.

END OF INTERVIEW

His interview came in this form:

WHEN KINDNESS IS AN HONOUR

When the grounds of your face

Is the playground of smiles

Goodness becomes your determining pace

And you can go many miles

***

He eats kindness

Drinks kindness

Works kindness

And sleeps kindness

***

Eleemosynary

Doped in pious sainthood

Winning over realms of anger

Arresting talks of sins

Reasoning in forgiveness

Down to earth as the son of the earth

***

Sees it all

Enough to fall

Nevertheless, he does endure

Airing advice to uproot same stumps on other roads

***

Day in and out

Every vein of his smiles

You need to emulate Edward Sena Dey

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2015

When the Law Speaks: Oko Vanderpuye is not a Mayor! Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. teaches

Our guest post for today is a fine gentleman, a refined lawyer and a publisher of the Ghanaian Observer. If you must know, if any country had only three of his kind, politicians will live on their toes and corruption will develop strong wings to flee. He is selfless, he is religious, he is a rare gem, he is Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. For the sake of the interview, we will call him EFJ.

 

Barrister Egbert Faibille on amoafowaa.com
Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com

 

AMOAFOWAA:

You’re welcome to Amoafowaa.com. Before we start, please tell us about Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr.

 

EFJ:

My name is Egbert Isaac Faibille Jnr. I’m a Ghanaian, a lawyer and a journalist, erm the publisher of the Ghanaian Observer Newspaper; I’m the principal partner of a law firm in Accra  called Faibille & Faibille. I enjoy my work, enjoy litigation, I enjoy everything about the law, I’m a patriot, I believe in Ghana, and believe the best is yet to come from Ghana even though we are  57 years old as an independent nation. I am a man of diverse and varied interests, I enjoy talking a lot and I like fun. I was born in born in Cape Coast on the 18th December 1970 to my late mother (God bless her soul) Constance Sefa-Agyeman of Cape-coast and Asokore Mampong and also to my father, Egbert Isaac Faibille Snr of Anomabo and Elimina.

When I was barely two years my mother who was teaching in Cape-Coast had to join my father in Accra and so I went to Datus Preparatory School, Bubuashie, Accra. By 1978 I  had two younger sisters so we moved closer to our home by way of school so I left Datus and went to Cambridge Preparatory School, Dansoman Junction, Accra where I passed my Common Entrance Examination and went to Ghana National College, Cape Coast for seven years. One of my notable and respected juniors is Nana Awere Damoah, the author. I knew he was going to go pIaces and I’m not surprised he is where he is today. I did my Post A’Level national service at the Mallam DC Primary School where I was on the school library project and proceeded to University of Ghana. I was in Commonwealth Hall where I had the privilege to be Chief Vandal. I enjoyed myself a lot. I had lots of fun.  Some of my contemporaries are Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Honourable Haruna Iddrisu, Honorable Baba Jamal among others. We had lots of fun. I originally read English and Philosophy so I left Legon with B.A. in English and Philosophy and taught briefly and branched into journalism, and had the privilege of being taken on by Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, the present Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC) as a reporter at The Independent newspaper. I enjoyed my time and my journalism. Later on, I found myself back at Legon, specifically at tthe School of Communication Studies. From there, I went to to work with the Ghana Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) during which period I was seconded to the West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP) as the Ghana Country Communication Representative of the project. I left the project in 2000, to take up the appointment of the Managing Editor of The Independent  because Ambassador Kabral had just been appointed by the Kufuor administration as Ghana’s High Commissioner to Sierra Leone. He thought that with my kind of dedication to work, I could manage the paper in his absence so I took up the challenge and I enjoyed it. But while I was working at The Independent, I was also studying law at the Ghana School of Law so I was called to the Bar in October, 2004. After my call to the Bar, I left  The Independent. I joined the British American Tobacco Company (BAT) as their Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Manager. I left BAT to set up my own newspaper “The Ghanaian Observer” in 2006. In 2007 I joined Kulendi@law; an Accra-based law firm, where I worked for five years and set up my own law firm from where we are having this interview; Faibille & Faibille in September 2012. So that is my story.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Interesting. How many years did you spend in becoming a lawyer?

EFJ:

Four years.

AMOAFOWAA:

Who can win your trust and respect?

EFJ:

Anyone who speaks the truth, anyone who is self-respecting, anyone who is motivated, anyone who has empathy and anyone who shows concern for the problems and challenges of others.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are you a litigant?

 EFJ:

I am not a litigant. I have a passion for justice, so I take the position of the knight of the helpless in society. I go to the aid of the cheated all the time. I used to get into trouble with seniors back in secondary school because when I saw juniors kneeling, I would go to them and ask why they were kneeling when they were brought to the school to learn. Then I asked them to get up and go to their classes. I was beaten all the time because I intervened when juniors are being bullied and teachers had troubles with me for being  too frontal; but that’s me, I speak my mind and God has been very protective of me all my life.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are you married?

EFJ:

Yes.

AMOAFOWAA:

Women in Africa and barter trade, is there a difference?

EFJ:

Women in Africa have come a long way. There’s still a lot more to be done because if you look at receding negative cultural practices like  trokosi and others, one would be tempted to say womanhood has more chains to unbind to get to freedom. But let me say that women in Africa are also very powerful because even from the Akan traditional background, when there is vacancy for the nomination and enstoolment of a chief, if the queen mother does not play her role, there can’t be no chief. Of course, there is this stereotype where you can see a woman carrying a child at her back and carrying one who is sucking her breast and this same woman carrying loads on her head and you see the father figure walking, smoking his pipe and holding just a machete on their way to and from farm. This requires that we all join forces to say no to subjugation of women. Yes, there are lots of women who have broken the mould and are doing very well with respect to career paths and women’s empowerment, but there’s still more to be done. There are few traditional proverbs which also demean women. A proverb such as “sɛ ↄbaa tↄ tuo a etwere obarima dan mu” (If a woman buys a gun, it is kept in the room of a man) but I look to the motto of Volta Hall, University of Ghana which states that “Akoko bedie nso nim adekyee” (The hen also knows the crack of dawn) That is a subtle yet powerful way of making a statement for women. This tells that women are also knowledgeable. So, yes, there is a lot more to be done for  women in Africa but I support dowry and would not say that that particular  rite of marriage is equal to barter. You don’t buy women when you pay dowry; you only do something symbolic for people to know that when you are looking for this woman from henceforth, she is with me, she is my partner. The dowry is to mark the transition from spinsterhood to the bliss of marriage. And hasn’t it been said in  that it is the dog that chases the bone and not vice versa? That is why it is weird for women to proposition men in our cultural milieu.

AMOAFOWAA:

So you don’t think women must propose to men? Let’s say if I propose to you as a woman, are you going to say that because of modernity it is fine but our traditions do not allow that?

 EFJ:

Oh yes! If a girl is growing and is not taught how to handle herself and she goes about propositioning all men, what integrity will she have or what will people think or say about her? If a woman goes around propositioning three or four men, people in our society will say it in such a derogatory manner but if a guy does that, he will just be known to be a philanderer. Women are special vessels, and so must be protected.

 AMOAFOWAA:

What is sexual assault?

EFJ:

Sexual assault is a gamut of ingredients, rape, indecent assault, even when you fondle someone without her consent or when an elderly women also fondles a man or boy without his consent, it is sexual assault. It is an umbrella of sexual offences under which various types of sexual charges emanate.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are you an NPP member?

 EFJ:

Yes. A strong one.

AMOAFOWAA:

Politics, many say it is the worst thing that happened to the world, others say it started even with creation because every human has the tendency to rule, what is your take on this?

 EFJ:

I’m a Bible believing Christian and I think if you look at the architecture of the original Israelite society, God after the failure of Adam and Eve to adhere to his rules, arranged things in His own wisdom to the point where we transitioned to Abraham. The next thing was that Abraham begat Issac and Isaac begat Jacob and Essau. Jacob begat Joseph who  ended up in Egypt, becoming Prime Minister. After the death of Joseph there arose a new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph and who resorted to all kinds ill treatment of the Israelites, so Moses emerged, and God commissioned Moses to take up the leadership of the Israelites. Why did God make Moses leader of the people? So from day 1, the Bible and for that matter God  commissioned leadership and leadership can only operate within the matrix of politics. So politics is service to humanity and service to God and politics is leadership and several other things. What is unfortunate though is that in these parts people have used politics to enrich themselves, to deceive people, to kill people, to run down opponents, but that does not make politics as a concept bad.

AMOAFOWAA:

If I say all the wars that the world has witnessed are as a result of politics, what will you tell me?

 

EFJ:

Yes, why not? Man likes power, control, conquest, but in the same breath, war has brought peace and has led to a lot of systems, UNO, IMF, etc. The human society started from antiquity, went through to empires and developed to nation-states; which state we are in now.

AMOAFOWAA:

Is Ghana a sinking boat?

EFJ:

No. It is not a sinking boat, it is a floating boat with a GREAT potential to sink.

AMOAFOWAA:

Why the emphasis on Great?

EFJ:

Because the leadership is often times rudderless such that it does not affect. I wish for a Ghana where leadership will affect people.

AMOAFOWAA:

Then why are you not in politics?

EFJ:

I am in politics. Politics is not always being for example having an active seat in parliament. You can be an active citizen and that can be your contribution to Parliament and politics in generl. You don’t have to be President, Vice President etc to be in politics. I go to court to litigate for the right things and that is me contributing my quota to the nation. Men who transitioned Ghana into independence were largely lawyers, some of whom owned newspapers J. B. Danquah, was one, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was not a lawyer but owned newspapers; and so I decided to own a newspaper and be a lawyer. That will be my way of shaping the politics and the times of my life.

Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com
Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA:

You are so modest. If you were made the President for a year, what would you concentrate on?

 EFJ:

To decentralise governance because we have paid lip service to the concept of devolution or decentralisation. Successive governments from the PNDC to the present government say we should give power to the people but when it comes to controlling government resources the people know nothing. I refuse to acknowledge Dr. Oko Vanderpuye, the Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and anyone holding such position as mayors because they are not elected. Mayors are elected, that is what the law says. I laugh because they are appointed and so they are chief executives. You cannot call the Vice President prime minister so how can you call Chief Executives mayors?

 

AMOAFOWAA:

If you are to grade the 4th Republic of Ghana, which president would be your first in discipline and which leader would be the last?

EFJ:

Obviously President Kufuor would be the first because he took his time and understood statecraft. How to exercise the power of a president was rightly seen during his time. Mr. Rawlings will be the last because he brought a lot of stagecraft instead of statecraft. I mean, getting involved in the overturning of taxis etc… He was just a good actor and brought a lot of drama to the presidency; which was needless.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Wow! Is Ghana’s education politicians’ draft?

EFJ:

Yes, I would say it is regrettable where we find ourselves. Pedagogy, the science and art of education has fled Ghanaian politics. The NPP came, did 4 years, NDC says, hey no! We won’t agree; 3 years. It’s as if we do not think. Has government thought about the financial implications? There is a certain log that has to be cleared. Two streams will be entering into the universities at the same time. There are people who do economics, and they don’t think about this? The irony of it is turning polytechnics into universities. Ghana is the only country where we go to England, copy concepts of education so for example in England, the polytechnics were given two certifications; the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and the Higher National Diploma (HND). In England, when someone holds an HND it is a degree awarded without honours, like someone who goes to the university and attains a mere pass. Then we introduce HND in Ghana and GIMPA asks that they come to do top up. Who does top up on a degree? Would a graduate of KNUST with a pass think of doing a degree top up another university?

We need a certain level of work force in the country. Not everybody has the aptitude to push pen and paper. But now it is not so. How can one go to the polytechnic, come out to be a clerk? That job is reserved for secondary school graduates who have nothing doing and need something to do. There are some polytechnics which issue degrees in the sciences, let’s have that system. The educational system must be a leveller. Our technical schools are falling apart.

 AMOAFOWAA:

Is Ghana a twisted form of a two party state?

EFJ:

No. I don’t think so. The fact that our nation is dominated by NPP, NDC does not mean that it is. It is just for me an evolution of the way people vote, there is the need for a third force or even a fourth force but we are just 23 years in democracy so there is still hope. Great democracies like England and the rest went through this phase so I have no worries. We are a multi-party state.

AMOAFOWAA:

The internet now rules, giving juicy options to all and thrashing reading in the eyes of the less disciplined, degrading education. What do you think can be done to remedy this to add some value to education in Africa?

EFJ:

The Internet is a powerful tool, and has become a prerequisite for any civilisation.  I think that like any power, if you wield it without control, it is dangerous and can kill you. So let’s regulate Internet usage. Just like what television did to people growing up, the internet can also do same; and we ought to start taking definite steps before the tragedies that have befallen some of the first world countries from loose Internet usage start beguiling us.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you had the chance to work abroad and had the same chance in your homeland with the same remunerations, which would you choose?

EFJ:

I’ll choose my homeland because everybody feels good at home. We have friends, family, associates, great weather here in Ghana. Nothing for me beats getting omo tuo over the weekends with friends. You can’t get exactly that in England, Italy or anywhere in the world easily.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are you scared of racism?

EFJ:

Racism that can kill me, I must be scared of especially in situations where extremists want to take me out. If it is words, I would treat it as contempt and face the offender in the court of law.

AMOAFOWAA:

So if I were to be white and called you a black monkey, you would face me in court?

EFJ:

Yes, it is defamatory. I would face you in court.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are judicial workers well taken care of in Ghana?

EFJ:

No, a lot more has to be done, a lot more has to be done. I see the judiciary at work from the judges through to judicial service staff, and the complaints which come through tell that a lot will have to be done. That accounts for the corruption that everyone is scared of whether perception or real.

AMOAFOWAA:

So you mean if government pays them well the rate of corruption will decrease?

EFJ:

Yes of course. If you pretend to pay people they pretend to work for you. It is because of this that bribery and corruption abounds. So yes, if they are paid well, if for nothing, it would decrease the acts of corruption, whether real or perceived.

AMOAFOWAA:

Do you believe that bribery and corruption can ever be non-existent in the law enforcement agencies?

EFJ:

No, because it is not peculiar to only the law enforcement agencies. It is common to all facets of our society. Limiting it to the law enforcement agencies is unfair. It is everywhere.

AMOAFOWAA:

Now to superstitions, do you believe in spiritual beings like witches and demons?

 EFJ:

My Bible tells me that God is supreme to all gods and powers. It’s somewhere in Genesis. I know there are so called powers and so called gods save that God is supreme to all of them so I submit to the sovereign Lord who is the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac so I fear nothing.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your take on the witches camps in Ghana?

EFJ:

If you banish a so called witch, I think it is ridiculous because we are made to believe that they know no boundaries. They don’t need visas to attack human beings. We hear they can penetrate  walls; they can go travel far in a flash, so why would you banish such spirits and house them in a camp? If you put them there they can still attack you, so I think it doesn’t make sense.

AMOAFOWAA:

Female Genital mutilation still persists on a low key. If you are to advise those who indulge in it to end this canker without intimidation, what would you say?

 EFJ:

I say sex is a beautiful thing, God created it so we can express ourselves as man and woman. Just as a man feels the tingling sensation at the point of ecstasy why won’t you allow women to feel so? FGM is something that some men do unfortunately with the connivance of some women so that they can subjugate women so that women can submit to them which shouldn’t be. Because if I understand the philosophy it is to make women faithful by not having sexual urges. But women are not tools to open up to men. A woman should also be able to signal a man that she wants to have sex. So why deprive a women through FGM?

AMOAFOWAA:

Would you marry a woman who has gone through FGM.

EFJ:

I’ll never say never. It depends, you can never say never so as far as I’m concerned. I’ll never marry a woman because of her vagina, I’ll marry her because of her intellect or maybe her speech, or maybe her looks, or her mannerism, so if she has it all, I will not say because she lacks a clitoris, I will not marry her. In any event, I hear there is a hospital in Burkina Faso that can reconstruct the clitoris of victims of FGM through surgery. So with that, if I can afford, I will take the woman to have that reconstruction. So for me, it will never be an issue.

AMOAFOWAA:

What are your hobbies?

EFJ:

I like to read a lot. I like to socialise. I’m not a good dancer but I like music a lot  and like to listen Nana Ampadu, Eddy Donkor, Obuoba J.A Adofo etc. I grew up on their songs. I learnt to speak Twi and Fante from their music.

AMOAFOWAA:

Which teams do you support?

 EFJ:

I support Accra Hearts of Oak, so I have shares in Accra Hearts of Oak. I bought shares in the team. I’m an unrepentant Phobian. I also support Chelsea football club of England.

AMOAFOWAA:

Who are your favourite writers?

EFJ:

I read all kinds of things but I will say, Wole Soyinka, Kofi Awoonor and Chinua Achebe

AMOAFOWAA:

Kofi Awoonor? Do you love poetry?

EFJ:

Yes. ‘Songs of Sorrow’ by Kofi Awoonor. The way he died was captured by his words in that poem.

AMOAFOWAA:

Why can’t I smoke marijuana anywhere I want in Ghana, when it is my mouth doing the pulling and my body is doing the taking?

EFJ:

Marijuana is a narcotic so we need permission to deal with it. I don’t want to say mariujuana is poison but it has an effect on humans that is poisonous so if you are to hold poison it must be regulated.

AMOAFOWAA:

What is the naughtiest thing you ever did?

EFJ:

A lot but I won’t talk about any of them.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you are to choose between alcohol, women and a religion, which would you choose and why?

EFJ:

I’ll choose religion. I know I’m a very religious and spiritual person. I know that we are here by design and so I will want to have an end that will not put me in trouble with God. God cannot give you gonorrhoea or cirrhosis of the liver,when you live his word so I’ll choose religion.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are religions in Ghana portraying their sects in good light?

EFJ:

Yes and no, the established ones and ones with leadership are doing great, setting up schools, etc to empower people and to make life a bit bearable. But some of the good churches are also doing a lot of marketing. Why should that be? I do not like churches with big signboards with their pastors’ pictures on them. Why? It should be God doing it so why is your face there? Are you God? Some are also one-man churches. The Bible tells us that God himself will permit some prophets to come and give all prophesies but we should discern the good from the bad. So let the false ones among the clergy do what they are doing, because God gave them the permission to test our faith. Time though will tell.

AMOAFOWAA:

Do you believe in pray for me?

EFJ:

Mosses in the Bible petitioned God on behalf of the people of Israel but if you sink it in the concept of false prophets, then you must have a discerning spirit because it is said each man runs according to what is chasing him.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you were the Christian Jesus, which disciple would you eliminate if you are given the second chance to relive?

EFJ:

This is blasphemy.  If you say that I should comment on who among them was inappropriate, then I would say Judas Iscariot. I am and can never be Jesus. (Pulls his Bible to verify a quotation)

AMOAFOWAA:

Which part of the Ghana Pledge touches your heart and incites you to patriotism?

EFJ:

Our national Anthem is a prayer and I like that very much. If we were to follow this, people will not do bad things.

“I promise on my honour to be faithful and loyal to Ghana my motherland,” anyway is the part of the national anthem that resonates with me the most.

AMOAFOWAA:

To teenagers who think they are stubborn, what will be your advice?

 EFJ:

They should have fun as teenagers, they should know that the path they are seeking to walk has been walked by people before them but those people know the dangers thereof. I recognize the fact that it is at the teenage phase that people experiment. Bob Marley also says that Freedom of speech includes freedom to listen so they should be cautious and listen to people before them and be moderate too.

Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com
Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Which words would you generously give to those aspiring to be lawyers?

EFJ:

Diligence in study, research minded, analytical and not take things at their face value.

AMOAFOWAA:

What would you say to those who do not respect women?

EFJ:

Every man was born of a woman so why would you disrespect a woman? You can disagree with a woman but you should never disrespect a woman.

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s have faith in Ghana, let’s love Ghana a little more and let’s believe in each other and the capability of Ghanaians to fetch Ghana.

AMOAFOWAA:

Thank you Mr. Faibille Jnr. for your time.

EFJ:

You’re welcome.

 

END OF INTERVIEW

His inspiration came in this form:

Rocks sharpeneth rocks

Only sharp thoughts can sharpen sharp thoughts

Like the brain which is a sea of sanity

He lets the ambitious thread in caution

They go the miles, but see Faibillic eyes

Watching keenly the path they make

A voice of hard work

A voice of discipline

Watching and pointing at defaulters with swords

Swords of words and swords of the law

To cut down stumps in frames of beings

And to battle voices in humans of beasts

Could you be a chip of the old block?

No! Your name umbrellas the deeds of the old

You are a sword which must be feared and hailed

For your kind in Africa are but a few

You are a priceless shining gem

You are the hands which corrupt hearts fear

You are like the deepest ocean lying serene

But seasoned fishermen know your depth

All hail the heart which reeks of wisdom

Egbert surpassing bets

Faibille who sees the fabled stories

A junior who is senior to all seniors

Your deeds speak louder than your words

And pa pa pa paaaaaaaaa!

There goes my sound

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia

Dr. Gheysika Agambila: The Accomplished Ghanaian Worth Knowing

Dr. Gheysika Agambila is the Vice President of the Ghana Association of Writers. He was the Deputy Minister for different ministries; finance, harbours and railways, and environment and science during the Kufuor regime. He is a known writer, a good dramatis and has a good personality. He is also a man with a golden heart. Today, he is our guest post.

Dr. Gheysika Agambila  on Mum C writes
Dr. Gheysika Agambila on Mum C writes

AMOAFOWAA:

Dr. please tell us about your birth and growing up.

Dr.:

I was born in Bolga, grew up there, but have memories of growing up in a village called Anateem; nine miles from Bolga on the way to Navrongo. My father worked in forestry department so my class one school was at the Sumbrungu Primary School which is four miles from Bolga, five miles from Anateem. During that time, there were bullies who were supposed to escort me to school but instead beat me up and took my food. Because of the abuse, I was taken to my biological mother in Bolga and continued my primary school at Aningazaaga Primary. I took my Common Entrance exams on the weekend following the 1966 coup d’etat.  I chose Navrongo Secondary School (NAVASCO) where Ayi Kwei Armah was an English teacher although he did not teach me. When I was in form four, there was an essay competition in which the winners obtained scholarships to live and attend high school in the United States of America. American Field School Service (Now AFS inter-cultural programme).  This programme was for a year. I lived with an American family in a town called Paullina in Iowa. I used to be athletic and ended up breaking my thigh bone or femur, so I couldn’t attend my high school graduation and deliver my valedictorian speech. I returned to NAVASCO, did my O levels, got grade one distinction and went to Achimota School because some of those I admired went there.  So I went there for sixth form and had 4 As. I offerered Geography, Economics, Literature and General Paper. I went to Legon School of Administration, for only a term and went to the US to continue my education. I attended Brandeis University in Massachusetts, majored in Economics and went to the University of Rochester; Simon School of Business, and majored in Finance and Accounting. I worked with a firm of Certified Public Accountants called those days as Ernst and Whinny (it is the predecessor company of Ernst and young) for two years then went to New York City to do a PhD in Public Finance programme at New York University. I worked with the New York MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), in their Internal Audit Department and was with them for about thirteen years. I interviewed with Ernst and Young Ghana on one of my visits and got a job which lasted for a year and went to lecture Public Finance, taught Public Policy and Health Care Accounting at the University of Ghana Business School. I took this job because of I had been elected to stand as a parliamentary candidate.  After the election, I was appointed a Deputy Minister in 2001 so I took it up and ended my work at Legon. I was a deputy minister till 2006 when my appointment was terminated and I went straight to GIMPA to lecture and retired from there five years later.

AMOAFOWAA:

Is naming important?

Dr.:

Yes. I think Africans should do away with foreign names. When I was in the secondary school, we used to call those names “impi names” for imperialist names. So I did do away with my “impi” name. Africans should love their heritage and have only their names. I am proudly Dr. Gheysika Agambila, Gheysika means “about to descend”. My great grandmother who gave me the name said I was born when she was about to join her ancestors. So she named me Gheysika. My maternal relatives named me Abeele because they claimed I had no hair. Of course I now have hair on my head.

AMOAFOWAA:

Lol. Who can win Dr. Agambila’s trust and respect?

 

Dr.:

One of my weaknesses is that I just trust people but my natural instincts have been fighting my professional training but anyone can earn it by acting honestly or truthfully.

AMOAFOWAA:

Among your parents, who would you say impacted greatly in your life? I ask this because most people hail their mothers to a point that most fathers feel left out.

 Dr.:

Both impacted me, my father was a strict disciplinarian who was never satisfied with anything we did. If  you got a B he would not be pleased he would say “You should have gotten an A”. So he pushed us to achieve more in life.

AMOAFOWAA:

Is growing up in Ghana a tedious thing?

 Dr.:

It wasn’t easy but I didn’t know it wasn’t easy. I walked 5 miles to school and 5 miles back. Teachers beat us all the time; if you were late to school, they beat you, failed your work, they beat you and if you reported to your parents, they will say, then it means you did something bad, I must beat you more and the beatings will be more than the teacher’s. My life was also very restricted to school, church and playing around because there were no televisions etc then.

AMOAFOWAA:

Given the chance, would you want to come into this world as a Ghanaian and for that matter an African?

 Dr.:

I think God created everybody for a reason. God created me in all that I am for a reason. Why not? Every place has its problems and I’ll choose Ghana because I’ve got the Ghanaian experience.

AMOAFOWAA:

What do you think about rural urban migration?

Dr.:

It is a symptom or product of biased technology and development policy. Most of the revenue is spent in urban areas and the best schools, water etc.. are also in urban areas so why would people remain in the villages?

AMOAFOWAA:

Dr. Is love over-rated by mortals?

Dr.:

It’s not over rated. It is what makes life sweet and meaningful. I’ve fallen in love and fallen in lust.

AMOAFOWAA:

In lust and love? Given the chance would you choose to be in lust or love?

Dr.:

Hahahaha. Lust is a burden, I’ll choose love because it is more blissful.

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your opinion on women emancipation?

Dr.:

They need to be emancipated. I went to Egypt and saw the real pain of subjugation of women. They were not to be seen in the company of men unless they are related to them. A policeman could stop a couple on the street and ask the man to produce evidence of their relationship. It is preposterous! Women must be free because they are the bedrock of humanity.

AMOAFOWAA:

Would you say women are their own enemies?

 Dr.:

Oppressed people are sometimes their own enemies. So if black people are oppressed, you see that some black people are part of the system of oppression. Women are tutored to accept their oppression in most societies. I went to a village to do research and a woman told me “I am only a woman, what do I know? Please wait until the men come”. So women are tutored to accept their condition of oppression. 

AMOAFOWAA:

Streetism is a worry to all Africans. Children are fathered and mothered by the incapable street. What do you think is the cause?

Dr.:

The reason is poverty. Because if there was enough wealth, people will not live in the street. And our national leaders have allowed economic inequality to flourish so that the poor keep getting poorer, the rich keep getting richer. If care is not taken, this system of government would be overthrown violently by this inequality.

AMOAFOWAA:

I know you are a politician, in fact, if I must say so, a member of the New Patriotic Party, you’ve stood on their ticket to aspire for a member of parliament in Bolga for about three times. What is your candid opinion about politics?

Dr.:

We need politics because politics is the means by which non market mechanisms are used to allocate or distribute resources. Otherwise how do we allocate projects for the good of all? We do need politics. It is a necessity.

AMOAFOWAA:

If I ask for your grade on the rule of the 4th republic of Ghana, which ruler would be first and which ruler would you grade last and why?

Dr.:

I think Kufuor would be first and Mahama would be last because in eight years, Kufuor achieved more than any of them. Corruption was less, now it is galloping. “Huri s)” corruption.

AMOAFOWAA:

Is the Ghana today a sinking ship? I ask this because many people are crying dissatisfaction, even the ever increasing strike actions bears witness.

Dr.:

I think Ghana is in dire straits, because of corruption and mismanagement. For instance, why would you want to make polytechnics universities? Is it not stupid? Declaring them universities is going to increase our public wage bills. The polytechnic rectors would say they are equivalent to vice chancellors so should be paid equally. It is going to increase our national labour cost etc.. Wanting to build toilets for private landlords, isn’t it for reasons of sheer corruption? Ghana is a sinking ship which needs to be rescued.

AMOAFOWAA:

I know you hail from the north, and the north is known to be the less privileged among the regions of Ghana. Why do you think that is?

Dr.:

Part of it is history, part of it is public policy. The north is less naturally endowed than the south. We have a long dry season so whereas the farming season is long in the south, the north can farm for only four months in a year. There is neglect of the north by successive governments. What major universities or Hospitals are in the north? University for Development Studies (UDS) was started with the pocket money of Rawlings. He was given a prize for fighting hunger; 50,000 dollars by some NGO or so. It was an insult because he was in charge of government  and could have used government money for it. When I saw the Nyankpala campus of UDS, I felt sorry and angry. You call this a university?

AMOAFOWAA:

There are many ethnic and chieftaincy disputes in the north. Do you know the genesis of these disputes?

Dr.:

A friend of mine called Iddrisu said when you see two people fighting, it is either about a woman or something shared unequally. The problem is the allocation of land and economic. For example, who is to be chief of Bawku? Mamprusis say they should, Kusasis say they should, so what happens? They fight because they get land and money if they reign, so the foundation is economic.

AMOAFOWAA:

Reading and technology and the modern child, do you see it as another form of hole in the ship of education?

 

 Members of the CRIC (Constitution Review Implementation Committee, and the US Ambassador and his Ghanaian colleague). Dr. Agambila on the extreme right
Members of the CRIC (Constitution Review Implementation Committee, and the US Political Counsellor and his Ghanaian colleague). Dr. Agambila on the extreme right

Dr.:

I think we can use technology to enhance education. We can use it to challenge people elsewhere. We can get the best brains on any topic to lecture all in wide broadcasting etc, giving everybody a world class education. We don’t use buildings in education, all we need is a good transfer of knowledge but the politicians build and build because they need percentages from the construction contracts. All we need is to use good technology. So it is problem when used wrongly and a powerful tool when used right.

 AMOAFOWAA:

You are a politician, if you are to select one politician`to give an award for performance, who would it be and why?

Dr.:

Nelson Mandela because he could have ruled until he died but he chose not to. That is a rare trait in African politicians.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you were a modern Jesus and was asked to change one thing what would that be?

Dr.:

Being crucified was so terrible. I would have asked to close my eyes for someone to behead me or plunge a sword in me rather than take three hours to die. Wouldn’t have allowed that painful death.

AMOAFOWAA:

What do you think of racism?

Dr.:

It is a means of allocating resources. Let’s say there are jobs but are not enough, then the racist society will say only white people can have jobs. The blacks would have to follow  white people and do menial jobs or beg for a living. 

AMOAFOWAA:

Nayele Ametepe, at the mention of the name, what comes to mind?

Dr.:

It suggests to me that Ghana is becoming a “Narcocracy” because I believe all the cocaine dealers have links to big political parties. I believe the drug dealers are in all the parties. How is it that cocaine get into this country without we arresting anybody? That tells you that cocaine dealers are in cahoots with all the big political parties. So they control it all, from police to judges.

AMOAFOWAA:

What do you listen to, song wise?

Dr.:

I normally listen to oldies and easy listening? I love all genres of music but among Ghanaian musicians I like Daddy Lumba best.

AMOAFOWAA:

Do you do azonto?

Dr.:

No, not at all, because of my schedule, I don’t have time to learn those things. I was a good dancer before I became a father. Between homework and play, I do get tired so I forgo the dances. 

Dr. Agambila with family
Dr. Agambila with family

 

AMOAFOWAA:

If I ask you to advice the people I am going to mention, what would you say to Those who seek revenge:

Dr:

Revenge gives short term satisfaction but I don’t think it is beneficial in the long term. In order to take revenge you have to keep yourself in a state of pain and anger until you commit the act of revenge and that is destroying your spirit and your body. So forget about revenge.

 

  • Single parents with disabled children: They should realize that God is testing their capacity for love and they need to pass that test. They also need a community of people to help them raise that child with a disability. Because no person can solve a problem by themselves no matter how small. So they should find people in similar situation and people with the resources to help them manage the situation, people with resources like money, emotional, transfer, anything helpful.
  • Those who want to commit suicide: They shouldn’t end their lives. It is raining now but in a few hours, the rain will stop and the sun will shine.
  • Ladies who seek to make men their wallets: it is exploitation of man by woman and another way to see this is that none can be exploited if he does not allow himself.
  • To those who do not respect women: If they decide not to respect women, would they want someone to disrespect their mothers, their sisters or their daughters? If their answer is yes, then they should go ahead.
  • Men who abuse children and those who are not responsible: I believe men who sexually abuse kids are sick and must be castrated. Men who are not responsible should be taken on and the system should not allow them to get away with it.
  • People known to be hopeless: If a person says he is hopeless, then that person is on his way to recovery.  Since it is someone else’s perception you don’t have to let it come true. So you can surprise people who say you are hopeless. And those who say that should stop talking and help them be hopeful.

AMOAFOWAA:

Your advice to everybody

Dr.:

Have fun, life is short!

AMOAFOWAA:

Thank you very much.

DR.:

You’re most welcome.

END OF INTERVIEW

His inspiration came in this form:

From the beautiful desert

Grew this grain

A grain which sprouted

And grew to give

A grain which bore with grains for all

From its stalk to its world

It is the Agambila grain of pride

From walking barefooted

To dining for whites to clean up

A treasure the state benefits from

A brain of many learnings

You need to live long

Until all humans descend the grave stirs

It’s good you live in books

In minds and thoughts

A Gheysika Agambilla is an inspirational ball

Which rolled from Anateem, to the states

And bounced back home

To build help build our home

Like the Romans built Rome

Many legs will roam

But your name will do the roaming

Attracting tongue bells to ring

At the assemble of being

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015

Meet Nana Awere Damoah: The Ghanaian Voice of Objectivity and Reason

Nana Awere Damoah is my guest post for today. He is a man with brains and an objective voice. I can say he is the writer with the voice of reason in Ghana. His words “Ghanamonosyncratic nsempiisims” stuck with me from his book, I speak of Ghana where he presented all things as they seem in Ghana. I am very glad to have the honour of this interview with a true Ghanaian patriot.

NANA AWERE DAMOAH
NANA AWERE DAMOAH

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Nana, please tell us about you, from birth to now in summary.

NANA:

Thanks for this opportunity, Mum C. I was born 39 years ago in a taxi on its way from Kotobabi to Korle-bu. My brother remembers the registration number of the taxi and says someone (I can’t remember who) won the lottery with the numbers the week after I was born! My family were staying in a compound house at Abavanna Down in Kotobabi and that is where I was brought up, spending the first twenty-five years of my life. From the local preparatory school – Providence Preparatory – I moved on to Ghana National College in Cape Coast, where I spent seven eventful years, and where my passion for writing first emerged. I then had my first degree at University of Science and Technology in Kumasi (I am old school, see? It is KNUST now) where I got my training in Chemical Engineering, further proceeding to the UK for a year’s Masters at Nottingham University. I am married with three lovely children, mothered by a great wife. I have been a published author since 2008, with four books and two compilations which I edited for fun. I have also contributed to two anthologies.

AMOAFOWAA:

Aside from being a writer, what else do you do as a profession? I ask this because it is a fact that writing is not lucrative in Africa.

NANA:

My day’s job is currently as a Technical Manager with a manufacturing company. I oversee Quality Assurance, Health, Safety & Environment and New Product Development amongst others. I am also responsible for Safety across our Africa operations, which covers seven countries. I have indicated in the past that we have very few full-time writers in Africa and so you are right. For me, having a day’s job helps for me to express myself mainly as a writer not primarily focused on the monetary aspects, which then become more of a bonus rather than the objective for my writing.

AMOAFOWAA:

Was writing something you always wanted to do?

NANA:

You know, it is not a question I have really reflected on in the past. I found writing to be a good way of expressing my thoughts. And for affecting my society. I found writing as a good tool for follow-up when the ministry I was part of – Joyful Way Incorporated – came back from outreaches. From the preparatory school, through secondary school and to the University, I engaged with literary groups and honed my craft, from short story writing, to poems and then articles. In 1997, I won first prize for a Step Magazine story writing competition. Having my short stories published in The Mirror enhanced my confidence. In 2004 when I started sharing my thoughts on my observations, via emails in what I called Empower Series (the main materials for my first two books Excursions in my Mind and Through the Gates of Thought), I realised that the feedback was great and the thoughts resonated with my friends who also forwarded them. So was writing something I always wanted to do? I dunno, really. All I can say is that my love for literature has always been there, and writing evolved as a part of this passion.

AMOAFOWAA:

The older generation and this new generation, comparing their reading abilities, which is better?

NANA:

What has changed a lot is the exposure to audio-visuals, versus what we experienced growing up when, say in our compound house in Kotobabi, only one tenant had a television! So there were more opportunities to read. And we had libraries working well. These days, many gadgets compete for our attention and if you sat in trotro from Odorkor to Circle, most of the passengers would be browsing on their phones rather than reading a book. Progressively, also, we have people gravitating towards more succinct and shorter text to read, and this affects our reading abilities.

AMOAFOWAA:

Gadgets are necessary devils huh? What can be done to salvage the deteriorating habit of reading in our young generation?

NANA:

Get our kids exposed to books. Let them love books right from infancy. We also need more indigenous writers, writing about our experiences that readers can identify with. My pet beef is that generally when we talk about arts and entertainment in Ghana, we mean music and dance. Take any newspaper and check out the entertainment pages and you will see what I am talking about. So as a nation, we are paying only lip service to our desire to encourage a reading culture. We are developing our arts and culture only on one leg. Our libraries need to be re-activated. We have to move to digital platforms also and embrace technology, so that even those on phones can have access to good reading materials.

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s move to agriculture. Do you think food production in Ghana is enough to feed this country in an emergency?

NANA:

No, we are net importers of food. Take a look at your meals today and reflect on where each of the ingredients comes from. We may have some good stock of some of our foods just after the harvesting periods but not across the year.

AMOAFOWAA:

You are the man whose voice resonates across the land, I need you to tell us about the political system of Ghana with emphasis on whether or not it is helping the nation.

NANA:

Politics is to help the country transform, progressively. I believe in baby steps, in a nation making progress daily. Our politics today is full of noise, not vision and planning. Our politicians have taken over even the institutions that should outlive their 4 year cycle, institutions that should be apolitical and help us plan decades ahead. So what we have is a 4 year cycle that is full of campaigning for a good two years and we are left with only two years of work, based on at most a four-year development plan. I ask: who is thinking for Ghana? Who is planning for Ghana? Do you know the agenda for Ghana for 2054? At best, it sits in a manifesto that has no broad-based input and support.

AMOAFOWAA:

Lol. I love the personification you give it, “sit in a manifesto”. My next question, can you tell us about your most disgusting trait in politicians?

NANA:

NATO – No Action, Talk Only. It is easy to be a politician in Ghana today – you only need to know how to apportion blame and to talk. Too much talk. We talk too much.

AMOAFOWAA:

NATO. What an acronym! Aside all the things you do, recently, your Facebook group refurbished a school for the Apagya Community. What was your inspiration?

NANA:

Allow me to talk about the inspiration for the group DGG in our outreaches, because it is not about me; it is about the collective that I am only honoured to lead. We have been in existence for about three years and when we turned two years, we decided that we will do an outreach to a community outside Accra. Incidentally, our first outreach was to Apagya where we donated books and stationery. Since then, we have been to two schools in the Volta region, where we donated literature books per their syllabus and this year, we reached out to inmates in Nsawam Prison who are studying at various levels of education; here again, we donated textbooks and stationery. As you can see, we have been focused on supporting education and giving back to society in deprived communities. This year’s Apagya project was our biggest so far and we got a lot of support from our friends across the world, some who just believed in us and donated via Facebook, and the inspiration remained the same: we feel blessed and Ghana has made us, so we have to give back. This aligns with my personal inspiration. The Apagya project was so fulfilling and seeing the smiles on the faces of the children is an experience that will remain with me forever.

NANA AWERE DAMOAH WITH SOME BENEFICIARIES OF THE DGG OUTREACH
NANA AWERE DAMOAH WITH SOME BENEFICIARIES OF THE DGG OUTREACH

AMOAFOWAA:

We have so many Non-Governmental Organizations in Ghana, yet there are so many communities suffering. What do you think is the cause of this?

NANA:

It is a failure of leadership. Our development agenda is not encompassing enough and we are doing so little in a situation where much is needed to be done fast. Again, specifically for NGOs, check where the bulk of their income is spent on and you will understand why most of them have no impact. Development aid can only be an aid, development must come from the communities and support should ultimately help to make the communities self-supporting, for them to own their own development agenda. Ask yourself why the northern part of Ghana has the highest number of NGOs and yet is so underdeveloped. By the way, that is a microcosm of what African is. 

AMOAFOWAA:

I need you to grade our presidents from Former President Rawlings to President Mahama.

NANA:

Each of them has done his bit. Allow me to focus on the fourth republic alone, especially with President Rawlings. My best grade goes to President Kufuor; the worst is President Mahama.

AMOAFOWAA:

What impressed you about Former President Kufour and what are the flaws of President Mahama?

NANA: Kufour espoused a vision right from the beginning, was structured, had tried and tested ministers and his achievements were tangible. I can’t say much of same for the current President.

AMOAFOWAA:

Nana do you think some Members of Parliaments are stooges instead of the mouthpiece of their constituencies?

NANA:

One of the questions that has engaged my mind is by what criteria we elect our MPs. What exactly do we expect them to do for our constituencies? When we have fully analysed that question, we better assess their performance in respect of their obligations towards their constituencies. So I can only assess them based on their role as law makers and for arguing the cause of the citizens in terms of law-making and running the country. In this respect, I would say most of them are not independent of the direction of their parties at any point in time. That is why there is a Whip, right? The party system is one of the reasons why we are where we are, the parties have become too powerful and affects our development as a country. So, they are stooges of their parties and not true representatives of the people.

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s move to our health concerns. This year Africa shakes with buzzing news of the dreadful ebola flagging our continent. Although a few countries were affected, do you think Africa has suffered or is likely to suffer future consequences of this canker?

NANA:

The consequences are already here with us. Ebola affected business badly, tourism was affected across the continent, even in my work, some projects were delayed because of restrictions in travel. The economies of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will need a lot of support to bounce back.

AMOAFOWAA:

Did Africa manage this outbreak well?

NANA:

We didn’t manage it. Did we? Did you see any concerted African leadership? Where was the African Union? ECOWAS mostly talked and created traffic in Accra at the peak of the crisis. We are not prepared even for the next big epidemic! This is a subject I treated in my Sebitically Speaking column: http://www.infoboxdaily.com/your-world/sebitically-speaking/item/1861-sebiticals-chapter-3-ebola-gullibility-and-the-impotent-entity-called-african-union

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s talk about the Ghana Association of Writers. Are you a member?

NANA:

Yes I am, though not very active because I am not based here. The current leadership has revitalised the association and it can only get better.

NANA AWERE DAMOAH
NANA AWERE DAMOAH

AMOAFOWAA:

Are Ghanaian writers united if not what can they do to be united?

NANA:

We need more activation. I wouldn’t use the word ‘united’, sound a bit cliché for me. It is about coordination. A friend asked me recently whether there is a listing of all books published by Ghanaians and a list of writers online that he could assess. I couldn’t think of one. We need that. We have to engage more. I wish to see GAW and writers getting more involved in book launches, in supporting one another, in getting our books to schools and other distribution routes, having more book readings. The Writers Project of Ghana is doing great work too, with their monthly readings, book clubs and their program on Citi FM on Sunday evenings. There should be collaborations between all such associations, linking up with the poetry groups around such as Ehalakasa. I wish to see writers becoming a voice that speak to current issues in the country.

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s move on to role models. Who are your role models?

NANA:

In writing or in life generally? In writing, I have been influenced greatly by Dale Carnegie, Chinua Achebe, Uncle Ebo Whyte and Kofi Akpabli. In life generally, my parents have influenced me a lot by their belief in creating a better life for me, my grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, Ace Ankomah and Yaw Nsarkoh; there are many others I learn from by just observing and reading about them.

AMOAFOWAA:

Do the right role models get to be in the limelight where many children search?

NANA:

I don’t like to romanticise role models and see them as some far-away personalities. Role models are around us all the time and the first role models children should have are the parents. Believe me, children try to become like their parents even before they understand what role models are. But I understand your question to mean the people we project in the media. Again, it is for parents to teach their children how to sift and appreciate the right role models, and yes, the children will find them if they have the right specifications.

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s talk journalism. Do we have flawless journalism in Ghana?

NANA:

No. And the standards keep dropping. Indeed, what is journalism as practised in Ghana? Who do we call a journalist? The definition is so loose that it affects the standards as assessed because we have a lot of people who call themselves so who don’t deserve the categorisation. My wish is to have the journalists setting agenda and asking serious questions. Questioning and questioning. In a way, like what Chinua Achebe said a writer should do: ask questions and create headaches; he asserted that “it is the duty of a writer to give headaches” and to “write to make people uncomfortable.” In Anthills of the Savannah, he stated: “Writers don’t give prescriptions. They give headaches!” That is the sort of journalism we need for it to qualify as the fourth estate of the realm and to keep our authorities on their toes. To follow up on issues which are discussed. I asked a question in my book I Speak of Ghana and I still reflect on same: “When will our media in Ghana stop discussing events and petty squabbles and start discussing ideas and thoughts?”

AMOAFOWAA: Yes, that question resonates with me. Nana, please what do you think about modern religious men of God?

NANA:

Again, that is a loose description. There are many people parading themselves as men of God just because they quote the Bible. Christianity for me is more than a religion, it is an experience. It is a personal relationship that should affect the character of the person and how connected the person is to God, should show in his deeds. The Bible talks about fruits defining the tree and same applies. Many of them need to be exemplary.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you had your own way, which two bills passed into laws in Africa would you revoke without thinking and why?

NANA:

Unfortunately, I haven’t followed any bills recently (hehe).

AMOAFOWAA:

Okay, our educational system, are we in the right direction?

NANA:

Another pet subject of mine. I wrote two articles on this recently. I have issues with the current educational system, never agreed with the direction we took by moving from the O/A Levels to the JSS/SHS system. The middle schools we converted into JSS for preparation to the SHS was shaky and totally unfit for the expectations. So we have created in many communities a system with a very weak middle. My solution then was that we could have asked students to be in the established schools for form one to three, and if they couldn’t move on to the purely academic routes after the BECE, they could transfer to the vocational aspects in the same environment. Ask yourself where we are with the reforms. We are based to not just square one, but worst. To confirm my feelings, ask why most of those who can afford it are sending their children to schools that run the O/A Levels. Did you know that some Universities in the UK don’t accept our SSCE certificates as entry requirements anymore?

For more on my reflections on education, see: http://www.infoboxdaily.com/your-world/sebitically-speaking/item/2134-sebiticals-chapter-8-state-of-sikaman-education-and-effect-on-social-mobility-epistle-i and http://www.infoboxdaily.com/your-world/sebitically-speaking/item/2230-sebiticals-chapter-8-state-of-sikaman-education-and-effect-on-social-mobility-epistle-ii

AMOAFOWAA:

Now many girls fall out of school because of teenage pregnancy. The code of conduct says let those who get pregnant go home, deliver, come back for transfer, those who commit crimes of abortion must be dismissed. Many girls find themselves wanting where this clause is concerned. Do you think sex education should still center on abstinence instead of use of preventive measures? Any advice for the Ministry of Education?

NANA:

First of all, I disagree with any view that affects one’s future based on past mistakes. I disagree with the dismissal of girls who commit abortion. I trained as a quality auditor and we were taught that you never penalise twice for the same offence. I believe in preaching abstinence but not everyone believes that so there should be a pragmatic approach in combining prescriptions.

AMOAFOWAA:

Is women empowerment the cause of “dum s) dum s)” in Ghana?

NANA:

Hahahahaha, who said that! Dumsor-dumsor is a reflection of how far we have come as a country.

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s release tension. What are your hobbies?

NANA:

I love watching movies when I have time; surfing the net and goofing with my friends on social media, visiting friends, reading and travelling, especially to the countryside.

 

NANA AWERE DAMOAH
NANA AWERE DAMOAH

AMOAFOWAA:

Who do you listen to music wise?

NANA:

I love, love, love highlife. Give me old-time highlife and I can smile all day. I love afro-jazz, African music generally and gospel song. I sound old school, eh? I am sure you are eager to hear which of the hiplife stars I listen to. Obrafour speaks to me, and Kwadei. I love stories and poetry so songs such as theirs appeal to me. Then TH for Kwagees and their Takoradi stuff too.

AMOAFOWAA:

Nana, have you done anything you have never been proud of?

NANA:

I am generally someone who acts after a lot of deliberation but, yes, I have and continue to do things I am not proud of. We all, like Paul, have issues that are thorns in our flesh.

AMOAFOWAA:

Which teams do you support here in Ghana and elsewhere?

NANA:

Chelsea (not the Berekum one ) and Kotoko.

AMOAFOWAA:

Many problems with the Ministry of Sports this year. What were your most shocked moments?

NANA:

The flying of the money to Brazil; actually, the announcement that we were going to fly that amount and the media circus that resulted. I am passionately proud as a Ghanaian but that was the very first time I felt embarrassed as a Ghanaian. I still feel the shame of that moment.

AMOAFOWAA:

What were your most amusing moments watching the sports channel?

NANA:

When Manchester United or Liverpool lose. And the comments on social media!

AMOAFOWAA:

In the Ghanaian National Anthem, which words prompt you to do more?

NANA:

“Bold to defend forever, the cause of freedom and of right”.

AMOAFOWAA:

For the angry person reading this today, seething with revenge, what will be your advice?

NANA:

Life is too short to be angry. Get over it and move on. Smell the flowers.

AMOAFOWAA:

And to those having suicidal thoughts, what will be your words?

NANA:

I read the autobiography of Sidney Sheldon. Do you know that he wanted to commit suicide at a point? His father chanced on him and they went out for a walk. What his father told him was that I will tell anyone having suicidal thoughts: “Keep turning the pages”. There is more to life than what you are seeing today.

AMOAFOWAA:

To those surfing the net looking for who to dupe in sakawa, what will be your words?

NANA:

Drop that yam! Sorry, drop that idea.

AMOAFOWAA:

Hahahahahahaha! Now to the women who are looking for burgers to marry or looking for men as their wallets?

NANA:

A man is not an ATM.

AMOAFOWAA:

Thank you very much Nana Awere Damoah for your precious time. Blessings.

NANA:

I enjoyed it, Mum C. Keep up the good work!

AMOAFOWAA:

Thank you.

END OF INTERVIEW.

Truly an inspirational man. His inspiration came in this form

A BAG OF WISDOM: NANA AWERE DAMOAH

In the midst of the mud

There is the lotus to disinfect

Like the sweetest thing for the sad

It does its job to reflect

Nana is the lotus

In the midst of muddy Ghana

His surroundings are unwelcoming

But he gives healing and sweet scents

To attract

Many prayers are said in his words

Much hope is reflected through his whipping words

He bleeds for his nation

But stands like a soldier;

Bold to defend and at post always

His satirical wordy mirror is never vacant

He indirectly says;

Look in there,

Laugh at yourselves

See yourselves

And like the wise, behave yourselves

No need to be told

Nana Awere Damoah

Katawere with worthy words

Writers write to live forever

And forever you will live!

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014

Meet Ato Ulzen Appiah, the Mighty African Who Shuns Speaking and Acts to Motivate

Mr. Ato Ulzen Appiah is the director of the GhanaThink Foundation (An NGO based in Ghana and the USA) which organises Barcamps. The goal is to help Ghanaians learn about the issues that affect them, generate ideas for development, network and partner with others who have similar interests and help them improve or start businesses and projects. I prefer to call him the Mighty African. He is an inspiration to the youth today. His outfit, Ghana Think,  also organizes Junior Camps in Ghana to inculcate into the youth of today a sense of entrepreneurial skills, teach them to fit into the world of the internet in Ghana and helps everyone who is willing to choose a career path. He is really brightening the corner where he is. We are going to know more about this gem today.

 

ATO ULZEN APPIAH
ATO ULZEN APPIAH


Amoafowaa:

So greetings to you Mighty African Ato, if I am to write a thesis about your life and I need a material to analyse, what will be your summarised version of the story of your life?

Ato:

I have experienced a lot of world class and varied things, and I am trying to forge building excellence that is comfortable and valuable for people in my cultural neighbourhood; my people. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always done what’s in the best interest of my people. I love Ghana more than many things.

 

Amoafowaa:

Now to your career path, did you always dream of being an inspirer?

 

Ato
I didn’t realise my career path was inspirer. 🙂 I have always had Kwame Nkrumah as my biggest inspiration. So I’ve always dreamed of driving people to act for the common good and to do better for themselves. I believe I am a manager and (social) entrepreneur currently, so I am not necessarily toeing a political line like Nkrumah did. I want to inspire like Nkrumah did, but in an apolitical way. A bit like what my current role model Patrick Awuah does.

 

ATO ULZEN APPIAH amoafowaa.com
ATO ULZEN APPIAH
amoafowaa.com

Amoafowaa:

I see. What inspired Barcamp Ghana?

Ato:

Wanting to connect young people in Ghana and mobilize them for Ghana’s good inspired Barcamp Ghana. The first event in December 2008 was organized to connect young Ghanaians abroad and at home. There was the belief that excellent young Ghanaians existed, and we had to prove this to ourselves and everybody. Barcamp Ghana is gathering that and increasing the critical mass of patriotic, passionate, proactive, positive, progressive and productive people from Ghana. This inspires Ghana in building a network of young change makers, doers and entrepreneurs.

Amoafowaa:

What do think of the potentials of Ghana in the education of liberation from thoughts of being employed?

Ato:

We were colonized. We’ve been used to masters. We’ve become used to being yes-men. We hardly take initiatives. The potential is there but the culture is hard.
Ghanaians like to copy what works. So entrepreneurs must succeed, in the right ways, and with the best qualities, this will liberate people from being employed. There can’t be a shortage of success stories that are ubiquitous and visible.

Amoafowaa:

If you have the power to dish out three wishes for your country as a patriotic citizen, what are the three wishes you’ll dish out and why?

Ato:

All major roads linking all cities, towns and villages will be in excellent condition forever.
Fast, reliable internet will be ubiquitous and affordable.
Ghanaians will be that proud of Ghana that people will buy flags and fly them in their cars, houses, everywhere.

Amoafowaa:

Wow! That is true patriotism. Now many people think those who organize these inspirational programmes just want attention and nothing more because their impacts are not manifested in the lives of the supposed inspired, what is your take on this?

Ato:

Those people care about themselves, are selfish and not concerned about the general well-being of the nation.

If they want impact manifested in other lives, they should get up and do it and not ask for attention. Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it.
We need doers, not complainers.

Amoafowaa:

Now let’s move on to your random thoughts. There are so many Non-Governmental Organisations in Ghana, especially here in the north, but illiteracy reigns, hunger prevails, domestic violence is on the rise as many women are at the receiving ends of punches. What are your thoughts on this matter?

Ato:

These NGOs are addressing small issues, and doing their part. Many of them are not empowering the people. They provide, but hardly provide tools and resources to allow the beneficiaries to be independent and self-sufficient.

Mindset and cultural changes are needed. People must be helped to create wealth and not just have their poverty alleviated. Women must be empowered to be breadwinners so they are not downtrodden.

Amoafowaa:

Women are crying for equality, some overdo it by claiming superiority yet they need men to vacate their seats and give them preferences, they need men to fix their tyres, they need men as their knight and shining armours (most of them), what is your take on this?

Ato:

I think the operating word here is equity, that’s what we can achieve. Both sexes just need to respect each other for their strengths and weaknesses and allow everyone to thrive.
Amoafowaa:

Autocratic parenting, laissez faire parenting, Transactional parenting, Participative parenting, I know you are a family man, which would you use and recommend to parents being a long time motivator?

Ato:

Participative.

Amoafowaa:

I always need to ask this from all the people I interview: Who wins the respect of Ato Ulzen Appiah?

Ato:

People who truly care about other people and want to see them thrive and be excellent.

Amoafowaa:

Now let’s talk religion, as a motivator yourself, do you think religion is helping inspire Ghanaians at the moment?

Ato:

I don’t think religion is inspiring Ghanaians. It’s not a primary focus. There is more focus on helping people prosper. Unfortunately, the masses aren’t prospering anyway.

Amoafowaa:

Now to sports, what are your favourite teams? Local and international and why?

Ato:

Manchester United and San Antonio Spurs. I love winning. I hate losing. These two teams signify very good teams that work together and don’t care much about individual credit but end product.

Accra Hearts of Oak plays like it sometimes, but with not as much winning lately.

Amoafowaa:

And which team can’t you stand in the whole world? I know I’m trying to look for football enemies for you but I’d be glad if you answer this question.

Ato:
Well, rivals of those teams? Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Los Angeles Lakers, Asante Kotoko?

ATO ULZEN APPIAH
ATO ULZEN APPIAH

Amoafowaa:

What is the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done on earth?

Ato:
You’ll be very lucky for me to tell you, This is not the time or place, sorry.

Amoafowaa:

Lol. I understand so won’t push it. Now to entertainment. What form of entertainment in Ghana relaxes you and why?

Ato:

I believe I am too blessed to be stressed. So when I am getting frustrated, I laugh. It ensures I am always relaxed.

I love love love listening to Kizomba and Zouk music. Guaranteed to relax me. Sadly, it’s not really Ghanaian. Listening to good highlife like Otoolege can do the same too.

Amoafowaa:

If we’re talking songs, who is your favourite artist in Ghana and why?

Ato:

It was Obrafour and even though he doesn’t make a lot of music, it’s still him.
Why? He made a song about Kwame Nkrumah, he made a song about discipline, he helped popularize something that combined what Ghanaians loved from elsewhere and who we were. He made Ghana look cool.

I listen to a lot of Ghanaian music but I enjoy Ghanaian R&B more. Currently, I want Akwaboah’s album. A huge fan of Kwabena Kwabena, Afriyie, Mugeez, Becca, etc.

Amoafowaa:

Who is your favourite artist abroad, I know you’ve travelled far and wide so I’m open for any answer?

Ato:

Well, Kizomba and Zouk music are my favorite genres now. Some of my favorite artistes with this are Kaysha, Perola, Bruna, etc.

Amoafowaa:

AIDS is a slow killer, ebola is a terror, it seems the terror is overpowering the slow killer. What is your take on this?

Ato:

Ebola is a terror because of the modes of transmission. AIDS has spread much further and stayed though while the jury is not yet out on Ebola. Prevention is better than cure, for both the terror and the slow killer.

Amoafowaa:

Now to Ghana, if you are to grade His Excellency President Mahama in terms of the understated, how will you grade him in percentage and why?

Ato:

1. Peace
70%. Ghanaians are generally peaceful. He’s not done much to disturb that.

2. Health
50%. NHIS is not working as well as it should but it has brought more people healthcare at affordable costs.

3. Education
40%. More infrastructure is coming in but the levels of literacy and numeracy are not really improving. Basic education is very key.

4. Electricity and gas
10%. Our electricity crisis has never been this bad.

5. Jobs
20%. I don’t believe it’s the government’s job to create jobs. The government must lay the infrastructure, foundation, and support more companies to create jobs. They aren’t doing that.

6. Corruption
20%. I don’t see any better fight against corruption.

7. Promises
I don’t really listen to election promises so I can’t answer this question well.
Did the NDC even make any promises? They spent their time lambasting what the NPP promised.
23% cos I don’t know what other percentage to give.
Amoafowaa:

Dancing: Azonto, Adowa, Agbadza, which catches your fancy?

 

Ato:
Azonto 🙂
New school 😉

Amoafowaa:

New school trends. If you’re to say sorry to someone you’ve offended, who will that be and what would you say?

Ato:

I’ve offended many people, can’t pick one. I’d say I’d take the blame for offending them and that I need them to be happy for me to remain happy.

Amoafowaa:

Now, to the hopeless in society, the helpless who is contemplating suicide, and the black sheep of the society, what will be your advice?

Ato:

They should learn stories of people in their situation who came out of those situations.

Amoafowaa:

Any last words to inspire all?

Ato:

The destiny of a nation at any given time depends on the opinions of its young men and women.
Your opinion of yourself, community and nation affects how well each does.
Do something to make that opinion better.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
We can brighten our corners and shape our parts of the globe.

Less talk, more action. Let’s get started and make things happen.

 

 

Amoafowaa:

Thank you very much for your time Mighty African.

Ato:

Thank you very much for helping us all learn more about myself 🙂

Amoafowaa:

It’s a pleasure.

 

His inspiration came in this form:

 

THE MIGHTY OAK

Who will see gold and be broke?

Isn’t conscience for the corrupt a joke?

His need to help the world transcends all

He stumbles for inspiration and won’t hesitate to fall

He is the mighty oak who works than talk

The great legs which never stand but walk

Like the human battalion for the good of all

Even in dust he will stand tall

Working and pulling minds to work hard

For liberation, sufficiency and brightness, even the bad

Africa would have sped in development

If it gets a dozen of your likes in adornment

This seer prays

That your vision stays

And your work pays

And shines even after the end of your days

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014

An Interview with Onyeka Nwelue, the Writer with Witty Wits

 He was known as the teenager with the steaming pen. He was born in Ezeo Nsu, Imo State in Nigeria and embodied everything literal growing up. Now he is a famous author, writing poetry and novels. I have followed Onyeka for a while now, trust me, he is the realest person I’ve known in Africa, and I know he loves Africa too much for his own good although he never admits. His way of challenging people in Africa do what is right is by being blunt. He has tested and tried a few religions, been hosted on many platforms in the world, and so of course, he has travelled wide. It is an honour to have this interview with an African son; Onyeka Nwelue.

ONYEKA NWELUE
ONYEKA NWELUE


AMOAFOWAA:

Onyeka, please tell us about growing up in Nigeria.

 

ONYEKA:

Growing up in Nigeria made me strong-willed. If you grew up in Nigeria, you would realize that life is extremely tough and that you, alone, can make yourself into what you want. People in Nigeria are easily deluded, believing that life there is normal. Life in Nigeria is something else, equally, something you read about fiction. There is no need to paint it so beautiful when it is not. I have been to Ghana, as well. In both countries, there are hardships that make me question the trueness of being an African. Almost all African and black countries have issues, from Haiti to Nigeria to Venezuela and to Colombia. Poverty seems to be a black man’s pride.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

How many works have you published so far?

 

ONYEKA:

I have published two books. I have another one, Hip-Hop is Only for Children coming out next month, January of 2015.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Is writing a lucrative job in Africa?

 

ONYEKA:

No. Writers in Africa are poor.

 

AMOAFOWAA:
Who did you grow up reading from?

 

ONYEKA:

Different writers from the African Writers’ Series. I read lots of British writings, because they were forced on us in schools. I read lots of writers. Most of them were British. I was exposed to Indian writing later on when I travelled to India. My life changed completely.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

How did your life change?

ONYEKA:

It reflected in how I wrote my first novel, The Abyssinian Boy.

ONYEKA NWELUE
ONYEKA NWELUE

AMOAFOWAA:

Okay, so let all readers read the famous Abyssinian Boy and know what he is talking about. Onye, what do think of the African educational system?

 

ONYEKA:

Educational system in Africa is a complete sham. Someone would be wondering why I have nothing positive to say about Africa, but if we can be truthful to ourselves, we will be wise enough to know that Africa is gone, its economy, its education. People in the world, not only Africa are going to school because they want to have something to fall back on and not because they want to learn. People head to school for different reasons. Some do it as a revenge to the society that has tried to clamp them down. This is why the educational system is in a mess.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What would be your ideal effective educational system?

ONYEKA:

Where students won’t be graded. Now they have to study because they want to get what they want. Not because a teacher says they are good.

AMOAFOWAA:

Please let me get this straight, a school without examinations?

ONYEKA:

Yes. A training or vocational centre where people will be taught and not tested. If they are coming in there, it is because it is their passion to get better. They should not be tested.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you were given a chance to choose your land of birth, would you choose to be born in Africa?

 

ONYEKA:

Not at all. I will not choose to be born in Africa. Anyone who is angry with me can find a knife to kill himself. There is something you will hate about Africa once you travel round the world and see how other continents are moving forward and forward and things getting easy. The same people who will condemn me for saying this give birth to their children abroad and their kids hold other countries passports. I still have a Nigerian passport.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

That shows you have embraced your African roots. Now let’s turn our attention to politics. If you are given the chance to be the president of Africa, and God gives you two choices; to stand to be democratically elected, or to be a military president, which will you choose and why?

 

ONYEKA:

Like I said, I am not interested in this Africa.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Many African countries have been through many rough times but I know Nigeria has gone through way more, we are talking about Boko-Haram and many other headaches like the prosecution of gays. Is it the fault of the government in power or the citizens?

 

ONYEKA:

It is a collective thing. The Government has no right to tell you who to fuck. The Government is a human being. There are some Senators who are gay themselves. Gay people all over the world sometimes persecute gay people. People are scared to see people who are like them. It is a natural thing. Homophobia is like any other sickness. It has come to stay. There is nothing you can do about it. No one has any right to tell you who to sleep with or do you think people have right to tell you to masturbate? By the way, about Boko Haram,  I think I don’t know much about them. I haven’t had time to focus on them, so I can’t comment on a group I sometimes feel is fictional. I am not that intelligent to wedge on terrorists.

 

AMOAFOWAA:
I know you did a little something in the movie industry, please tell us the grace and ills of Nollywood.

 

ONYEKA:

Nollywood we know is the greatest thing that happened to Africa. No ills. Not at all. Even you Ghanaians have benefitted so much from it. Nollywood is the true pride of Africa. With Nollywood, doors have opened for Africans everywhere. You can ask.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

I always think Africans copy too much and that has been our main flaw or failure. I know of Hollywood; the original, Nollywood, Ghalliwood, etc. Do you think the names of the African movies industries are appropriate?

 

ONYEKA:

Names don’t matter. Your name Cecilia is not a Ghanaian name, is it? It was borrowed from Europeans. I used to be called George and I removed it from my official documents, because I haven’t seen any Briton whose name is Onyeka. We must start from within. You can start this revolution by changing your name.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Lol. Onyeka, what is a typical day for you like?

 

ONYEKA:

I don’t know, because I don’t plan. I am very spontaneous.

ONYEKA NWELUE
ONYEKA NWELUE

AMOAFOWAA:

Who can earn your respect?

 

ONYEKA:

People who have money. I am not a fan of poor people. I don’t respect poverty and those who have inherited it. It is their laziness and lack of taking risks that have made the world so difficult. They are also the ones with bigger problems.

 

AMOAFOWAA:
Are you married?

 

ONYEKA:

We can skip this. Thank you.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Many say marriage is a beautiful thing. What are the things you look out for in your woman of choice?

 

ONYEKA:

Marriage is a prison yard. It can never be a beautiful thing.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Is the girl child being given the right attention in Africa?

 

ONYEKA:

Girl child? My sister is stronger than most men I know. Girls who allow themselves to be suppressed should be ashamed of themselves. Girls who still want to go to restaurants and expect their boyfriends to pay for their food are stupid. No matter the agreement. When you show you are independent, men take you seriously and respect you. Girls who are very clingy will never have my respect.

 

AMOAFOWAA:
What is your take on women empowerment?

 

ONYEKA:

I think countries with Ministries of Women Affairs should shut them down. That women empowerment thing is a loud scam. Women don’t need any empowerment from any man. When you sit and expect a man to ‘empower’ you, you are giving him the right to enslave you. They should stop deceiving themselves. There are hard-working women in Ghana like Lydia Forson and Leila Djansi who don’t need the validation of men.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

If you were a member of the constitutional committee in Nigeria, and you decide to revise outmoded laws, which ones would you throw out as fast as you can and what would be your replacement?

 

ONYEKA:

All public officers’ children must study in Nigeria first. We will start with the educational sector.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

How do you deal with harsh criticisms?

 

ONYEKA:

I respond to harsh criticism with harsh responses. You can’t attack me and expect me to keep quiet. It is not possible.

ONYEKA NWELUE
ONYEKA NWELUE

AMOAFOWAA:

Now let’s move to music, which types of songs do you listen to?

 

ONYEKA:

I have different genres of music I listen to. From the oldies to the new ones, but music with soulful meaning. Meaning that can calm me down and heal my internal wound.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Who are your favourite artists?

 

ONYEKA:

Celestine Ukwu, Orliam, Asa, Angelique Kidjo, Onyeka Onwenu, Celine Dion and the list is endless.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

In a world where sports refer to football and running, I’ll have to ask, are you a sports fan?

 

ONYEKA:

No, ma’am. Not interested in chasing leather.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

I know you’ve tested many waters in religion. Which religious sects have impressed you so far?

 

ONYEKA:

I believe all Africans should go and worship the rivers and streams. Stop worshipping Jesus. He is from Israel. It has never done anything for Africa. We need to understand that worshipping a foreigner makes us inferior.

ONYEKA NWELUE
ONYEKA NWELUE

AMOAFOWAA:

Lol. If you were the Christian Jesus, given the chance, which aspect of your life would you erase in history?

 

ONYEKA:

I would never be.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

If you are forced to choose between Christianity and Islam, which one would you choose?

 

 

ONYEKA:

I would be forced to die then.

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your take on the extended family system in Africa?

 

ONYEKA:

Recently, I have realized it is useless. It doesn’t mean anything, because my extended family has been a little bit useless to me. They are of no use to me. You can’t seek for help and find it, so no need. I don’t care how they feel at my response. They should go and rest.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

You are immersed in many controversies attracting name calling but many Africans love you anyway. Onyeka, are you cantankerous, crazy or truthful? You know you have to justify your answer.

 

ONYEKA:

I think I am just being myself. I am not rigid. I change a lot. Situations change my opinions.

 

AMOAFOWAA:
Now give us a prayer, in the form of poetry, for Africans. I know you believe in God, no religion attached.

 

ONYEKA:

May Africans keep being slaves

Since they have chosen to worship foreign gods

May they never find peace.

May they have more wars.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Lol. My ribs hurt too much from laughter. Your advise to the dejected and hopeless.

 

ONYEKA:

No one is dejected and hopeless. You make yourself what you want. You have a choice to be happy.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Thank you for your precious time.

 

ONYEKA:

 Thank you and I hope I don’t enrage your readers. Have a nice time.

AMOAFOWAA:

My readers are open minded and I’m sure they will have a great time reading this. Have a nice time too.

                                                                                       END OF INTERVIEW.

 His inspiration is inherent in this poem I wrote for him some time ago and decided to remodel for this interview:

FOR HIS ROYAL AFRICAN; ONYEKA NWELUE

His Royal Awesomeness
His royal handsomeness
Princely Prince of Princes
The only Black Baron of Paris
The only Prince who speaks his mind without intimidation from his elders
The Lazy Prince who outshone the hardworking Princes
The Wise Prince who mostly advises in sarcasm
Twisting the minds of fools in circles
The Kind gentleman who promises to kick asses only with his mouth
The Mad Prince of the unscrupulous in society
The Literary Guru who shows that talent is inbuilt
Na Ede Ede 1 of Ezeoke Nsu

The princely prince of Africa

The voice that resonates loudest mellowing the storms

You are the true son of the soil

The elders must listen

And follow your voice

For before the wise was born, there certainly lived the old

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014

Meet the Positive Lady of Steel: Ruka Yaro Deliman

MISS RUKA YARO DELIMAN
MISS RUKA YARO DELIMAN

Our guest is a typical woman of steel in the right description. She is Ruka Yaro Deliman. She is an entrepreneur, girl child educator, an un-bendable machine of inspiration and a beautiful lady. Let’s get straight to action.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Hello and thank you for this opportunity. Before anything, please tell us about Miss Ruka Yaro Deliman and her family.

 

RUKA:

Miss DeLiman is an only daughter of a family of three. My two siblings and I were raised single handedly by our Mother who had to give up or put on hold a lot of her dreams to see us through school.  I was born in a village called Gambaga now a big town in East Mamprugu in the Northern Region. I grew up in Tamale where I did all my Basic and Senior High schooling and proceeded to Wa University for Development Studies where I graduated with a BA Degree in Integrated Development Studies.  I did my National service at Tamale Polytechnic with the Department of Language and Liberal studies. As we all know unemployment is on the increase even among graduates. I was faced with the same challenge until Camfed Ghana offered to consider a few of us for a position that was meant strictly for Camfed Alumni (CAMA) members. This was how I became a CAMA member an opportunity which I revere in high esteem because it provided me with a lot of opportunities to volunteer and contribute to positive change in many communities in the Tamale metropolis. Through hard work and dedicated service, I was elected to become the Chairperson for the CAMA Sagnarigu District. Through this same vein of hard work and dedicated service to community, I applied for and was selected to Participate in the President Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African Leaders.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Tell us more about that Fellowship.

RUKA:

This was targeted at young African leaders who are taking initiatives to contribute to community development. I do many things to brighten my corner, so I was chosen to participate in this honourable programme.

 

RUKA YARO DELIMAN
RUKA YARO DELIMAN

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Growing up as a young girl, would you say you were empowered by your family and community?

 

RUKA:

I would say yes. Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, I was raised by a single mother who happened to be a teacher and so understood the essence of girl child education using her own experience as a case for reference. She gave her children equal opportunities and encouragements. My brothers have also been very supportive in my endeavours and sometimes they encourage me to do things that I did not think I had the capability to. My community too offered me a lot of platforms to volunteer which helped to tremendously empower me in the areas of community mobilization and sensitization as well as partnering and influencing others to take up initiatives that contribute to development. However because of the tradition of male dominance which dates way back, some communities are not helping much when it comes to empowering the female child.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Who will win Ruka’s respect?

 

RUKA:

Ruka upholds honesty, hard work and  selfless giving. A person who always spends time thinking of unfavourable issues and the possible solutions to solving these issues as well as inspiring others to work together to achieve great results. A person who sees every opportunity as a blessing, and shares with others so they can also benefit in “ripple” effect.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Please tell us what you do as a profession today.

 

RUKA:

I am an entrepreneur specifically a farmer. I own the Jamilullah Farm in Zagyuri a community in Tamale, Ghana.

The farm is a meat processing enterprise that seeks to create employment for young people so they can put themselves through school, earn a living or even start their own businesses to create more employment. The farm also targets rural women with the aim to empower to help them  cater for their families and support their wards’ education.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

 

RUKA:

I chose entrepreneurship because I want to contribute to the reduction of unemployment in my community and contribute my quota to national development. I believe the government is all of us and as such if anybody needs to do something about the numerous problems we have, it is we the individuals who can make this happen.

AMOAFOWAA:

I know you love mentoring and impacting positively on young souls, how many young people have you impacted so far?

RUKA:

Wonderful question. I can’t remember.  I have organised and participated in a lot of mentoring activities all over Ghana. I know I have reached out to over 3000 young people and counting. Every opportunity to mentor and share with young ones experiences that can inspire them to work hard and develop positive attitudes to becoming successful  brings me a lot of fulfilment. As such, my work as a mentor has just begun.

RUKA YARO DELIMAN

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your take on feminism?

RUKA:

I support it fully when its done objectively. Through these ideologies, tremendous improvements have been made especially regarding the inclusion of women in various aspects of National development. We can see the lot of organisations now channelling their efforts to empowering women economically socially and politically. However feminists should remember to let the male counterparts know that it is their support that would make the liberation and prosperity of the female easily attainable. And that, this is a collective action so that they can work with us instead of against us.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s talk about education. Do you think Ghana is doing much to empower her females?

 

RUKA:

Talking about the female, I hold the view that more can be done to support young women take up other career paths besides teaching and nursing which are dominant. Also more attention needs to be paid towards the girl child because women are fast becoming the highest percentage that contribute to the economic development of nations.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What do you think about the educational system of Ghana?

 

RUKA:
In my view, I think the educational system in Ghana is not very impressive. More emphasis is being put on theory churning out graduates with little practical skills. Policies need to be revised and syllabus designed to suit the Ghanaian youth.  Include more opportunities for outdoor learning and other strategies that would help the youth to relate to topics and concepts discussed.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your take on examination malpractices? I ask this because many believe it is flawing the African educational system.

RUKA:

This is something that I discourage totally. It instils reluctance in students who otherwise would have worked hard to excel in their exams. Students should understand that it is only studying and asking for help to understand the under studied subjects that would position them for success and as such they should put in efforts and postpone having fun to holidays and after graduation.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

The young Ghanaian and reading are on different paths due to technology. Would you agree?

 

RUKA:
I do agree. This unfortunately has become the order of the day now. Hardly would you see children trooping to the library. They rather go to occasions such as weddings etc to dance and waste their time. Not many children especially in the rural areas can recite fully the alphabets much more read. Most children will rather be seen watching TV etc than read.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

If you do, how can we curb this issue?

 

RUKA:

What I think would help reduce this challenge is for young people to take initiatives that would encourage reading among the youth. Forming of reading clubs that would be a fun packed platform for young people can also help. Besides, setting up resource centres by communities where volunteers can avail themselves to teach young people to read will also contribute greatly.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your take on fraud or Sakawa?

 

RUKA:

This has become a household term. I am of the view that this phenomenon is one of the devils of technology. Technology has helped us a lot but has also endangered and misled a lot. I think sakawa is something that is very bad and should be discouraged using very stringent measures including enforcing very tough laws on culprits to deter others from following suite.

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s talk about domestic violence. You know it reigns in this part of Ghana and many abused women hide the sins of their spouse just to save their marriages. What is your take on this?

RUKA:
Very true and what makes it worse is the male dominance that the tradition upholds. A lot of people still look down on the female making their abuse seem accepted. I personally discourage this practice and would not hesitate to support any one who is victimised to take on the perpetrators.

AMOAFOWAA:

Some say I want my man to be tall, with six packs, with no bald pate, honest, neat and responsible. How do you prefer yours?

RUKA:

God fearing, humble, supportive of my decisions and aspirations and respects me enough to see me as his partner and not his opponent or subordinate.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are you single?

RUKA:

yes

AMOAFOWAA:

Why do you always cover your hair?

 

RUKA:

That is a very good question. There is the notion that all Muslim women who cover their heads are married but that is not so. That is what the religion upholds. All women must cover their heads.

AMOAFOWAA:

But since many men who are not Muslims may think you are married, why do you wear the head gear? Don’t you think you might lose a potential Non-Muslim man.

RUKA:

Oh no, although some still come to ask, I would never date a Christian or people from other religions. I love Christians but I want someone I can do everything with; worship together etc. So for me, it is strictly Muslim, no offence to the others though.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Wow! Is it possible for a woman to have it all? Marriage, children, a good job and influence?

RUKA:

Very possible. It just has to do with how you balance being all of that.  Having all of these comes with responsibilities and you should not see any as being more important because to me they are all the same. Everything you do, you need to understand the role you play and ensure that you put efforts in satisfying them to the best of your ability.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Ruka how do you see yourself in five years?

 

RUKA:
In five years, I see myself as the CEO of the biggest farm in Northern Ghana employing over a hundred people especially rural women. I see myself mobilizing the youth and inspiring growth in their capacities in order for them to champion the course of change in their communities that would lead to development.

AMOAFOWAA:

Now to entertainment and sports. Are you a sports fan?

RUKA:

I don’t really like sports. I do indulge myself when it has to do with inter schools, inter groups etc but not serious levels.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What are your hobbies?

RUKA:

Dancing, singing and reading

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Which songs do you listen to and who are your favourite artists and why?

RUKA:

I listen to all  songs at different times depending on my mood. But I like Usher, Whitney Houston, Seun Paul, Efia, Guru and Bisa.

AMOAFOWAA :

If you are to act like a mad woman, dancing on the street and being filmed on live television. Which would you rather do? Your local dance or azonto?

 

RUKA:

Azonto

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s talk politics. What do you think about our electoral system?

 

RUKA:
Very poor. People now just vote for symbols rather than reason.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Why do you say so?

 

RUKA:

People have affiliated themselves with some political parties and they vote for the party symbols without considering whether the people they are voting for can do the job. There is no objectivity and the people they vote for become figures instead of servants for the nation.

AMOAFOWAA:

Do you think a woman can become the president of Ghana in twenty years?

RUKA:

Sure. That is my dream and I know its a work in progress. We will get there because women are becoming increasingly interested in politics and our male counterparts are now also embracing the fact that women can also lead and even yield better results.

AMOAFOWAA:

If I say almost all things in negativity ring politics, would you agree with me?

RUKA:
Largely yes.

AMOAFOWAA:

Why?

RUKA:

Because almost every system in the country has its roots attached to government which is now highly political. So all the negativity that we have going on is facilitated by the fact that we have politicised everything.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Which part of the Ghanaian National Anthem inspires you to do more?

 

RUKA:

“Fill our hearts with true humility

Make us cherish fearless honesty”

 

AMOAFOWAA:

I need to let you be but before then, please inspire the helpless and needy girl browsing for men as their bank accounts, the hopeless teenage mother who thinks Sakawa is the only way out, the black sheep of the world who sits on the internet to dupe and this may sound weird but those who browse the net looking for suicide tips and may chance on this.

RUKA:

You are more than you can ever imagine. It takes determination, focus and hard work to become successful. Discard the easy and get rich quick attitude and think about all that you can do to bring change. Make friends with the right people who can give you the right support. Rome was not built in a day so have patience and persevere on the right path. And remember it doesn’t take plenty money to start a business and saving is one of the ways to raise capital.  Similarly, don’t waste your time on things that are of little benefit. Volunteer your time doing things that position you to become the number one person based on your skills and capacity to bring relevant contribution to various platforms.

AMOAFOWAA:

I am very glad I had this interview. Thank you very much for your time.

RUKA:

It was my pleasure.

END OF THE INTERVIEW

 

Ruka’s inspiration came in this poetry form:

 

Rings the inspiration bell

Under the guise of determination

Ka-ching in the fast, she abhors

A WOMAN amongs women!

 

Yes, she is the one

A body unsuspectful of the grand

Rolls she puts out

Overall in all fields, she is the one

 

Day is different from night

Exemplary she is she uses all

Loving with open arms the distressed

Innocent plants on this field

Manning the fallen apart

And standing strong for good morals

None beats her on brightness, Ruka Yaro Deliman

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014

 

Know all about Noella Wiyaala; from her Naughties to her Angelics

NOELLA WIYAALA amoafowaa.com
NOELLA WIYAALA
amoafowaa.com

My guest is an edgy (in a good way) kind of girl. She is fashionable, African, down to earth and real. She is hot on the market right now or should I say climbing the peak of her career? When I had the opportunity to interview her, I was elated and so would you. Let’s get straight into knowing this African specifically, Ghanaian diamond.

AMOAFOWAA:

Please tell us your name and something about yourself.

NOELLA:

My name is NoellaWiyaala. I am a Sisala girl from the Upper West. My father is a Sisala and my mother is a Dagarti. We are five girls. I sing, I dance and I entertain people.  My style of music is Afro Pop. I had my primary education at T. I. Ahmmadiya, and attended Tumu Senior Secondary; KANSEC. I completed in 2005. I’m in my mid-twenties. I’m from a normal family where things can go well and things can go so bad.  So bad that sometimes for months you can’t get meat in your soup.  But you can’t believe this, I’m a full blooded royal. My mother is a royal and my father’s father was a chief. Somehow they met and got married. Now I’m a known singer.

AMOAFOWAA:

How did you get into singing?

NOELLA:

I was a dancer, until I started backing a local artist in Wa. Ras Bingi saw a potential in me. I used to sing in English but he advised that I sing in my local dialect, I did and it worked.

NOELLA WIYAALA exclusive on amoafowaa.com
NOELLA WIYAALA
exclusive on amoafowaa.com

 

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Which artists inspire you?

NOELLA:

Angelique Kidjo, Tina Turner, Miriam Makeba. I love these artists because beside their talents, their stories inspire me. They embody perseverance. When you follow their stories, you realize they went through stuffs like: People not wanting to believe in them and how they suffered before finally succeeding in life. I see myself in most of their stories so they inspire me to aspire to achieve more. Angelique Kidjo always rocks as an African and acts African wherever she goes.  I love Sherifa Gunu too. She works hard and is a proud northerner. Hardly do you come by such talents, she really is a proud Dagomba and I love that of her.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What is a normal day like for Noella?

 

NOELLA:

I wake up as late as ten in the morning, and then I make earrings/ necklaces for myself if I don’t have any engagements. I’m an artist too, I love painting. Every week, I go for rehearsals because an artist must always sharpen her tools. I believe in hard work so I always rehearse my songs with my band every week.

NOELLA WIYAALA Exclusive on amoafowaa.com
NOELLA WIYAALA
Exclusive on amoafowaa.com

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Who can earn Noella’s respect?

NOELLA:

People  who respect themselves, take themselves seriously and people who are hardworking. I don’t like working with lazy people and people who criticize me without basis. I love to be criticized in a positive way though.

 AMOAFOWAA:

Do you feel very bad when you receive negative criticisms?

NOELLA

Yes sometimes I feel bad, but who don’t? No matter who you are, once you receive a criticism, your first thought will be “Why is this person telling me this?” but I can take it. Before I cut my hair, I knew I would be bombarded with comments like “You are ugly o” and the like but at least I knew it would decrease the number of harassers and chasers and I believe that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. So if someone truly loves me, that person should love me whether people find me attractive or not. People should be expecting more from me next year. There are going to be massive changes.

AMOAFOWAA:

Changes? Can I get a sneak peak into the types of changes?

NOELLA:

More changes, my sound will improve, my instrumentation will improve and whatever I did this year would really grow, so next year people should expect my daring self, my hair, my boldness, my songs but I know my limit. When I say daring, I don’t mean dressing naked and all that. I know I must dress well because I’m from a cultured home. I think the stars who dress anyhow are bad influences on the young ones and that is not the message I want to send across. So when I say changes, positive changes I mean.

 

AMOAFOWAA: What is the naughtiest thing, you’ve ever done?

NOELLA:

(Exclaims “ei! Let’s see”) Well, I was really hungry and so I stole a chicken. I have to say it and confess it now to be free. I’m sure the person knew that I was the culprit. I knew it wasn’t good but I really needed to feed. Apart from wearing boys’ underwear, I think that is the naughtiest thing I did. If you’re my boyfriend and you put your underwear down, I’ll wear it, after all sharing is caring, no?

AMOAFOWAA:

Which types of men attract you?

NOELLA:

Me I don’t care. I’m not really attracted to boys that are really handsome. I love men who are marriage materials, honest, hardworking. I’ve noticed that gentle, gentle guys are into me. Others are afraid to approach me, so I think I’m lucky that these kinds of people like me. I don’t mind a handsome man though. I just care much more about the character than physical.

 

AMOAFOWAA: Noella, what is your take on marriage?

NOELLA:

Marriage is a beautiful thing and the joy of women, ei, let me say most women since many foreigners decide not to get married. I’m an African so I respect my values in Africa, the joy of every woman is to marry. My mother is worrying me about marriage and asking for her grandchild. Right now,  I don’t want to say this or that person is my boyfriend because if it doesn’t work,  people may think I’m promiscuous so I keep my private life private. Of course I’d like to get married one day and settle down, and also have time for my children.

I want to be a good role model for the girls. So I’m setting good examples. Anyone who will come must be serious and come with a ring. I don’t support women jumping from man to man. Once you put your relationships out there, even if they fail genuinely, people who look up to you may start copying your life saying “If Noella who is my role model is doing this, then I can also do it” and that is not cool.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your take on feminism?

NOELLA:

Well, as for this issue, I think women can never be compared to men and men can never be compared to women. God has given women power, power that even men are jealous for, but we are not using it well. We go to school and say we are equal but do nothing to show. If I am a singer and act right, encouraging people to act right, a man sitting somewhere will give me the needed respect. If I do not act right, why will the person respect me? We have the charm to store and give life. Women are very special.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Which religious sect do you belong to?

NOELLA:

My father is Muslim and my mother is a Catholic. I know God put my parents together for a reason; to unify people. My father has three wives and he doesn’t force us to practice his religion. I am a moral person. I used to go to church. Although I don’t remember the last time I went to church,  I can say I’m a Christian or a Christian sympathizer.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your take on domestic abuse? I ask this because most abuse cases are recorded in the north and mostly, women seem to be at the receiving end of this canker.

NOELLA:

It is very alarming and disturbing. It is very bad because a woman carries a man in her tummy and takes care of him until he grows and he grows to call women names, act cruel and beat women? Women must be allowed to do things for themselves and be educated. If at a point your life was in the hands of a woman who could have done you so much harm and she didn’t, you must at least grow up to appreciate her. And for the men who say a woman’s place is in the kitchen, I’ll tell them that I know men who cook for a living. I think this statement shows that most men are insecure and hate that women take over the world. The northern men must stop this because things are changing so they should leave us because we don’t ask for too much but they treat us as slaves. We are your mothers and sisters. The kitchen is not for women alone, if that is so, I dare all men who run restaurants to stop it now! (Laughs) Women must take their schooling seriously so they can be taken serious.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your take on politics?

NOELLA:

For me to be honest, I’ve decided to stay away from politics. I made a song for my uncle who was aspiring for a political position and people tagged me as belonging to the political party he belonged to, so I learned that I must stay away from it. I need to work hard to be in the industry for as long as I can. I don’t want to be the one person who will come like the wind, blow and pass and be past. I am here and I intend to stay here for a long time. And so I’ve realised that associating ones’ self to a political party can kill talents fast. I wouldn’t mind if any of them decides to sponsor me but I will never record any song for one political party and  I advise all musicians to stay away from politics. I think that is how we can protect the peace and maintain unity.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Do you think politicians are playing with the educational system?

NOELLA:

I think they are playing with it. Look at my hometown  Funsi, we don’t have a primary school, we just recently had a secondary school. The school there is a missionary school. Before things get there we only get the bones and not the meat. There are many schools in the south but in some northern parts; nil.  I must add this, I think harnessing the talents of students should be added to the curriculum. There are students who are not doing well in their studies but have some talent which can be harnessed. Look at me, I went to school but now my talent is working for me. In time, I plan to go and create jobs in my home town; this shows that having talent and developing it can be a lucrative path in life. The north must be well taken care of where education is concerned because there are many great minds coming from there.

AMOAFOWAA:

Now to sports. Which team do you support in Ghana?

NOELLA:

I support Black Queens and Black Stars. I used to be a footballer. I was a member of the Telecom Girls and I played number 5 and 10. I was considered a very aggressive midfielder!

AMOAFOWAA:

Wow! Then why didn’t you join the Black Queens of Ghana?
NOELLA:

I did not join them because they do not make it lucrative and even all parents tend to dislike it. Which parent will let their child do something they think will yield no results? That’s why I wrote “Go Go Black Stars” to empower the Black Stars. I could have been the Christiano Ronaldo for Black Queens you know? (Laughs)

AMOAFOWAA:

If you were given the chance by God to change something on earth today as Jesus Christ, what will you change?

NOELLA:

Wow! (Laughs) I’ll change human nature. I’ll just change the way people are so greedy and wicked that they take lives of people. If I were I teacher, I’ll erase evil because I’ll love to live to see how the world will look like without any flaw, even if it is for thirty minutes.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you were Jesus and you knew you were going to be killed, will you have allowed it?

NOELLA:

NO! No! NOOOOO! I’ll run as fast as my legs could carry me. After all, the people I’ll be dying for I know they were the same people who betrayed me. I would never allow it. As for that one, life is just one.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Now please give your final advice dear Noella.

 

NOELLA:

I advise everyone to sit down, look at yourself and find yourself. What is it that I can do as an individual that nobody can do? We are all different and so should think in our capacities rather than copying other people because even twins are different from each other. I think everyone should find that unique talent and make it work. They should also stop blaming the government for them being jobless and find something doing. The devil finds work for the idle hands. If you look around, you can find something doing, something which can at least help you live right.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Thank you very much for your time Noella.

NOELLA:
Don’t mention.

(This is the poem Noella Wiyaala inspired me to write after the interview)

 

NOELLA’S INSPIRATION

Bubbly bright and brimming cup

Streaming with a positive vibe

Going on and on and on

Throwing inspirations in the air

 

II

She may have a perfect life

But see how her words are filled with strife

Strife to work on and gain more

To eventually be a wife

 

III

Noella Wiyaala, babe of babes

Is the good tree which cherishes her roots

Living largely so no one can uproot

Her supporting root which holds her all

 

IV

Let all take bow under her tree and take seed

She is the one who works to feed

She calls on all to work to feed

And stop being whiners who need to be fed

 

V

Never ever give up the fight

Open and go past your hurdles

Emancipate yourselves from poor threads

Love yourself

Lean on good thoughts

And above all, learn the right

 

VI
Great words from a maestro in the making

I hope you shine on

Living like you should

Impacting lives as always

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2014

An Interview with Ghana’s Sensational and Inspirational Shoe Maker: Mr. Tonyi Senayah

 

Tonyi Senayah , CEO of Horseman Shoes
Tonyi Senayah , CEO of Horseman Shoes

Mr. Tonyi Senayah of Horseman Shoes, I prefer to call him by his title name Emperor Senayah, is Ghana’s current leading shoemaker. His vision for his work shows wherever he goes and his alertness for success is unique in all sense. I remember my first encounter with him in a group interview where he was the interviewee, I asked him if I decide to wear the local slippers popularly known as “taawoto” instead of his shoes, what can he do to convince me to wear his shoes? His answer impressed me so much. He told me

“Amoafowaa, I won’t force you to like my product, I’ll look at your interest and make something similar with a flair, something that will interest you without me having to convince you”.

I realised there and then that he would go far. A vision like his is not breakable. For a sociology graduate to get to this level by understudying a local shoemaker.  He was gracious enough to give me the opportunity on this day; December 2, 2014. Please enjoy this young man with many huge visions.

 

Amoafowaa:

Mr. Tonyi Senayah, you are the known shoemaker of Ghana. In a world where shoemakers are known to carry little boxes and a sticks, how did you manage to take your shoemaking skills from that point to this grand point?

 

Tonyi:

It is often said that there are no new ideas and I agree.  How you turn the existing but little ideas makes the difference. Yes, it is true that we live in a society where little vocations are looked down upon but it takes the innovation and the foresight of someone to see the bigger picture. I think I did not despise the little ideas in shoemaking and I turned the existing ideas into a grand one. That is why I am here today.

 

Amoafowaa:

What motivated you to take the path you took?

 

Mr. Senayah:

Horseman was inspired by two things, the desire to create a fulfilling employment for the young people with the skills in shoemaking, I also noticed that there were young shoemakers who had mastery skills but they were confined to their little corner shops. So the idea was to identify and bring them together so we make commercial and economic impact with the skills and talents they had.

The second inspiration was that I wanted us as Ghanaians  to move away from the patronage of second hand shoes. I believe we deserve something new and different for ourselves rather than the pre-owned stuffs imported from Europe so we have to create something by us and for us.

 

Amoafowaa:

How do you see entrepreneurial prospects in Ghana?

 

Mr. Senayah:

Being entrepreneurial is finding solutions to challenges and here in Ghana, we have so many challenges, but if you are entrepreneurial you see prospects in all these challenges. We have a lot of foreigners coming into Ghana not because it’s a great tourist destination but because they have seen there are opportunities abound here. So I will say there are prospects, but we have to open our eyes to it.

 

Amoafowaa:

Do you think the elders in society and politicians are doing well to motivate the youth to be entrepreneurs?

 

Tonyi:

(Laughs) Interesting, recently I’m trying to shy away from answering political questions because they normally land me into trouble, when one compares what ought to be done and the potential there is to what has been done, then one can say enough has not been done to motivate youth in entrepreneurship. I also believe that a lot of inspiration must come from within an individual, because the individual-will supersedes all the others.

 

Amoafowaa:

Now many see education as the politician’s draft, do see it as such?

 

Tonyi:

It is always going to be so once there is no national policy on education; everyone will come with his vision. I think it has high time we came up with a national policy on education and thus, regardless of who’s in government at any time we will all know the path we are charting.

 

Amoafowaa:

What is your take on the ebola canker?

 

Tonyi:

It’s increasingly becoming alarming because now we have more than 7000 deaths. The worrying bit is that, some of us show little concern because it is believed to be far off or in other countries but unfortunately we are all lumped together as West Africans by the Western media and thus we are all affected by the stigmatization. By and large I think Ghana has been proactive but I am a bit disappointed that the Africans have not risen to the occasion to provide a lasting solution and are blaming the west, at the same time depending on them making it a tool for pity.

 

Amoafowaa:

Who can earn Emperor’s respect?

 

Tonyi:

One, honest people, forward thinking, or positive people, hard working people.

 

Amoafowaa:

Please if you say “honest people”, do you mean people who blurt things out as they are? So a man sees you in a shirt and says: Hey, you look so horrible in that thing, please toss it into the garbage can, would that person earn your respect?

 

Tonyi:

Well, as much as I respect honest people, I would like for them to be somewhat polite, but I don’t mind blunt people, many people have called me blunt for calling a spade a spade but I’m working on it. So yes, I believe in respecting the uniqueness of every individual.

 

Amoafowaa:

Now to sports, which teams do you support both home and abroad and why?

 

Tonyi:

Locally, I support Accra Hearts of Oak, as to why I don’t know. I grew up supporting Hearts of Oak and it was not a family influence because my father was not a Hearts supporter. He supported Kumasi Corners Stone.
 And AC Milan is my foreign club because of George Weah. When I was growing up, He was playing for AC Milan. I was so amazed that a black rose to that level in international football and so I fell in love with AC Milan.
Actually, I want to be the CEO of Hearts of Oak one day and own shares in AC Milan.

 

 

Amoafowaa:

Wow! Such grand dreams! Now my next question; are local football teams well packaged?

 

Tonyi:

No.

 

Amoafowaa:

Why?

 

Tonyi:

They are not attractive, they are not because they are not well packaged and well managed that is why many support foreign teams.

 

Amoafowaa:

If you say they are not well managed, let me take a cue from your answer of wanting to be the CEO of Accra Hearts of Oak and ask; what would you have done differently if you were currently the CEO of Hearts?

 

Tonyi:

I believe Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko are the biggest teams with many fans, so I would have packaged it well to attract investors and sponsorships.

 

 

Amoafowaa:

Now to entertainment; what types of songs do you listen to?

 

Tonyi:

Basically I’m a Hi-life person but then I also appreciate music from all genres, once the song is good, I’ll listen to it. I listen to Hi-life because of the messages they carry. They talk about everyday life and the experiences one can identify with. I grew up relating to them and grew to love them for their morals.

 

Amoafowaa:

Who are your favourite artists both locally and foreign?

 

Tonyi:

Locally Abrante Amakye Dede

Foreign… none in particular one, I go with the flow, once it is nice, I’ll listen and enjoy it.

 

Amoafowaa:

Now let’s talk about dancing, would you prefer agbadza or azonto?

 

Tonyi:

Azonto

 

Amoafowaa:

Let’s talk women, I know you are a family man, what is your take on feminism?

 

Tonyi:

My basic understanding of feminism is the movement advocating for equal opportunities for women. I support it even though I will not tag myself a feminist. My only problem might be that sometimes the campaign seems like “we” against “them”.

 

Amoafowaa:

The Bible says spare the rod and spoil the child, children’s rights activists say, do not beat children, what is your take on this?

 

Tonyi:

Normally I have to compare this to how we were brought up, I received some spanking from my father which made me the better person that I am today and they never harmed me. If we don’t discipline them, how do we treat the children? By buying them ice cream, pampering them always even when they are in the wrong? I am not saying we should beat to hurt them, just a little discipline helps strengthen their morals. I believe there should be a balance in everything though..

 

Amoafowaa

If you are given a life to live as Christ in His last day, would you have done anything differently?

 

Tonyi:

(Laughs) I’m not sure I’d have allowed myself to be killed, never! But if it was written and I knew I was going to be killed, I’d have allowed it, but if it was written and I didn’t know about it, I wouldn’t have allowed it.

 

Amoafowaa:

If you were the president of Ghana today, what would you do to impact the lives of citizens?

 

Tonyi:

I think that every sane Ghanaian has an idea of how Ghana is to be run. I would look at three broad areas to tackle,

1. Power

2. Sanitation

3. Corruption.

If I were the president today, I’d have dedicated all my time and resources in solving this. So I’ve come to learn that if you’re focused, you achieve more than having little time for everything and in the end achieving nothing.

 

Amoafowaa:

You were awarded the Young Entrepreneur Award in 2011, you were invited by President Obama to the Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership programme which is his contribution to the Young African Leaders’ initiative, you’ve been hosted on all the important platforms in Ghana and many others elsewhere, the president of Ghana loves your brand and proudly wears them, the news of your success have travelled far and wide and all these merits emanated from your understudying a local Lapaz shoemaker. How does that make you feel?

 

Tonyi:

I think that with all these, it tells you that no matter where you start and how humble you are, someone is watching. Never despise humble beginnings, it’s often not the biggest of ideas but it is how we turn the little ideas around. One has to be passionate and focused and money should never be the motivation. Money should just be the consequence or the end product.

 

Amoafowaa:

Now, to the hopeless villager in some remote village who might be able to see this thanks to someone’s internet access, and to the internet fiend who knows not what to do with his or her life, to the youth whose family have branded him the black sheep; what will be your advice?

 

Tonyi:

People have the right to write you off but nothing is so worse than writing yourself off. So people should have the right beliefs in themselves and those writing you off should be your point of motivation. You just have to prove them wrong.

 

Amoafowaa:

Thank you so much Mr. Tonyi Senayah. I am so grateful for your time but before I leave you please tell us something about Horseman shoes.

 

Tonyi:

We pay great attention to details and it tells in our clean finishing. We invest time to come up with designs and make shoes that are comfortable and quality. We have international standards and not Ghanaian standards so Horseman competes with international standards. We are here in Ghana to give quality and make Ghanaians, Africans and the whole world proud.

Fresh from the stables of Horseman. You first saw this here on amoafowaa.com
Fresh from the stables of Horseman. You first saw this here on amoafowaa.com

 

Fresh shoes from Horseman on amoafowaa.com
Fresh shoes from Horseman on amoafowaa.com

(So you know, this is the first time you’re seeing this. Mr. Senayah was gracious enough to give me pictures of his newest creation)

Amoafowaa:

Thank you Tonyi.

 

Tonyi: You’re welcome.

 

 

At the end of my interview with this gem, his inspiration for me came in this form:

I thought there were only cobblers

I thought whites were the only makers

I thought of only my thoughts

Until I met the Emperor’s thoughts

Visions as huge as mountains

Achievements as tall as the sky

Age has fallen, it can never lie

Because the Emperor has conquered

Many old minds

A maker after just being a watcher

An employer after being a determiner

A teacher after just a thought

Whose sun brightens more in this field?

Here, I’ve learnt:

To stop the whining and do the do,

To stop the talking and act the action

Here, I’ve learnt:

The existing littles, when twisted are grand

He is a windmill of change

A thought full of hard  work

And has a life which throws a challenge

That’s the young teacher of the old

Mr. Tonyi Senayah

(At this point, I’ll have to ask what you’re doing to brighten your corner. Ask yourself and start in your own small way.)

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2014