Summer Highlights: Chalewote 2014

My summer is coming to an end. I might as well blog about its highlights now, since I go to school on Saturday. The first one I’m blogging about is Chalewote 2014, which I attended on 23rd August. Chalewote is a Ghanaian street art festival, and it was my first time attending, since:

1. This year was the first I’ve heard of it (thanks, Owiredua), and

2. I didn’t have to be in school at the time of the event.

So! Pictures and captions. Let’s go!

Some of the beads, bookmarks, decorations and ornaments being sold
Some of the beads, bookmarks, decorations and ornaments being sold
A beads sale
A beads and bracelets sale
Little pendants for chains and bracelets etc, in Adinkra symbols and shapes. And they look so...ancient. LOL
Little pendants for chains and bracelets etc, in Adinkra symbols and shapes. And they look so…ancient. LOL
This represented the first stage of man: birth. Upon entering beyond the dark curtain...
This represented the first stage of man: birth. Upon entering beyond the dark curtain…
You would see a scene that represents death. There's an old woman buried with belongings, as is tradition...
…You would see a scene that represents death. There’s an old woman buried with belongings, as is tradition…
...And finally, transition, into whatever life there is after death.
…And finally, transition, into whatever life there is after death.
"Do you have an immortal soul?"
“Do you have an immortal soul?”
As an introduction to the life, death, transition exhibit, there were all these messages about life and dreams...
As an introduction to the life, death, transition exhibit, there were all these messages about life, death and dreams…
#EbolaWatch... I mean 'abora.'
#EbolaWatch… I mean ‘abora.’
Abstract, attractive
Abstract, attractive.
My bestie, Naana, with the famous poet/ literary artist, Nana Asaase.
My bestie, Naana, with the famous poet/ literary artist, Nana Asaase.
Then there was Wanlov the Kubolor running around (actually, riding around) in his underwear.
Then there was Wanlov the Kubolor running around (actually, riding around) in his underwear.


Why is there a unicorn with a naked mermaid? Even I don't know. But it was cool.
Why is there a unicorn with a naked mermaid? Even I don’t know. But it was cool.
I can't even remember what they were painting.
I can’t even remember what they were painting.
Kids drawing on the floor. =)
Kids drawing on the floor. =)


Part of another life, death, transition set of paintings.
Part of another life, death, transition set of paintings.
Part of another life, death, transition set of paintings.
Part of another life, death, transition set of paintings.
This is Christiana. She used to be my brother's nanny. =)
This is Christiana. She used to be my brother’s nanny. =)
As you can see, some of my friends made new friends with my other friends. LOL.
As you can see, some of my friends made new friends with my other friends. LOL.
Kella. This girl is photogenic.
Claudia, in pink, apparently wondering if she should smile. LOL. Kella…this girl is photogenic.
Ekow and Amma. =)
Ekow and Amma. =)
Owiredua, with Sybill-Amanda! She was a super cool hostel prefect. Alumnus of HGIC!
Owiredua, with Sybill-Amanda! She was a super cool hostel prefect. Alumna of HGIC!
Carol, another HGIC Alumnus, dressed as Tinker Bell. (I'm kidding. But that's what she reminded me of.)
Carol, another HGIC Alumna, dressed as Tinker Bell. (I’m kidding. But that’s what she reminded me of.)
My cousin, Eraj
My cousin, Eraj
Here's Owiredua, an awesome person.
Here’s Owiredua, an awesome person.
Kella and Kessel. =)
Kella and Kessel. =)
Bishops, posing with two Jamestown kids. =)
Bishops, posing with two Jamestown kids. =)
Owiredua and Bishops. =)
Owiredua and Bishops. =)
Bishops, who has dawned me for goodness knows how long. LOL
Bishops, who has dawned me for goodness knows how long. LOL
Was this a funeral procession? I don't remember what was even happening here.
Was this a funeral procession? I don’t remember what was even happening here.
You know those guys who make coffins based on the dead person's profession?
You know those guys who make coffins based on the dead person’s profession?
You know those guys who make coffins based on the dead person's profession?
You know those guys who make coffins based on the dead person’s profession?
This guy was also supercool. He processed with broken electronics behind him, which I suppose represented the e-waste dumping site that has existed in Ghana for far too long...
This guy was also supercool. He processed with broken electronics behind him, which I suppose represented the e-waste dumping site that has existed in Ghana for far too long…
Jessica Boifio! One of the super coolest people in Ghana! =) It's not even surprising that she's an Ashesi alumna.
Jessica Boifio! One of the super coolest people in Ghana! =)
It’s not even surprising that she’s an Ashesi alumna.
Then this guy creatively photobombed Jessica and I. :'D
Then this guy creatively photobombed Jessica and I. :’D
The view of the beach from inside the Lighthouse
The view of the beach from inside the Lighthouse
The view of Jamestown from the top of the Lighthouse
The view of Jamestown from the top of the Lighthouse
The spiral stairs in the lighthouse
The spiral stairs in the lighthouse
I pose in front of a spray-paint artwork. It's cool when you see these things being started, walk around and come back and you're like, "Whoa."
I pose in front of a spray-paint artwork. It’s cool when you see these things being started, walk around and come back and you’re like, “Whoa.”
Moi, et mes amies: Eraj, Naana and Owiredua
Moi, et mes amies: Eraj, Naana and Owiredua




From The Postcode To The Globe

Errol Lawson is a very cool dude. He was part of the design team during AIX (Ashesi Innovation Experience) and the man’s energy is contagious! Every time he got up to stand in front of us, you know that in the next 30 seconds, the whole room would be trying to bring down the ceiling with a chorus of “YES!”

He coaches young people in leadership and goal-setting (check out Emerge Leadership) and he’s amazing at it. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look unhappy. His walk, talk and presence simply exude positive energy. So it stunned me, and many other people, to hear that this happy, successful man in front of us came from a broken home and a life of gangs, crime and drug addiction. Errol Lawson actually came ‘from the postcode to the globe.’

His first published book by the same title, From the Postcode to the Globe, which was given to me (autographed!) at AIX, is full of personal anecdotes and guides on how to overcome your circumstances or small mind-set and achieve greatness. Now see, these motivational books, even when I find them, I don’t read them, because my literary zone is fiction and fantasyland. But this book actually wasn’t boring; it was helpful. IT’s short and easy to read, and packs a lot of relevant tips into each chapter. Some of it is stuff that you, as a reader, may already know unconsciously, but seeing it in print makes it more…real.

I don’t know, maybe I just felt the book more, because I’ve met the author in person, and I won’t lie, I read the whole thing in his voice (he has a cool, British accent). But his story and transformation really is nothing short of amazing, and it’s obvious he is where he is because of the way he thinks. It was revealed most in the last (bonus) chapter, which was my favourite.


I think his life is a manifestation of the power of God. I’ve been inspired to set goals and actively chase them. I’m not even kidding; watch out for me in the next ten years. Errol taught me how to let go of fear. I’ll be going from my postcode (figuratively; this is Ghana.) to the globe.

 -Akotowaa =)

The Other Side

The Other Side

[Akotowaa’s note: Grandpa shared this with me when he came back from the dentist’s a few days ago. Now I’m sharing it with the world. But each story needs to have an input from its teller. Hence, I’ve put flesh on and embellished the truth, as I tend to do.]


Charles Seth Ofori once lived in Rome. While he was there, he had strange friends who did strange things. One day, a friend of his told him a story. It went like this:

“There was a man who loved to eat at the restaurant on one street. He ate there so often that all the staff and other regular customers were on very good terms with him. He gave them good business, after all.

His only weakness, perhaps, was his sweet tooth. He really couldn’t get enough of the dentally dangerous. They did warn him that one day, it could have adverse effects on him, but he never listened.

Then, one day, the unfortunate befell him. As he bit into one savoury, jam-filled tart, he felt an unbearable pain close to the back of his mouth. He dropped the tart, shocked. He tried to take another bite, but the pain only seemed, if possible, to get worse.

“What’s the matter?” asked a friend, looking at him with concern.

Mr Sweet-Tooth tried to explain the sensation.

“Ah,” said the friend. “It seems you have been cursed with the very thing you swore you’d never get: a cavity.”

If he hadn’t been sitting down, he’d have probably dropped to his knees on the ground, and, with his hands raised in despair, screamed, “Noooo!” or the Italian equivalent. Anyway, despite his denial, he found himself at the dentist’s in a few days’ time.

Fortunately for him, he was a relatively wealthy man. Paying for the dental treatment wasn’t really a problem for him. So, in no-time, he had his cavity filled and was ready to be on his way. Since he’d had the cavity on his left side, that was the only part of his mouth the dentist had worked on.

“So just remember,” said the dentist as his client departed, “to eat on the other side.”

Mr Sweet-Tooth nodded his comprehension.

Later that afternoon, when he felt peckish, he made his way not to his regular restaurant, but to the one directly opposite, although it almost broke his heart to do so. Since the restaurants were in plain view of each other, some shocked staff members from his regular restaurant saw him do it.

“Don’t worry,” they said to each other. “He’s our most loyal customer. It’s probably just a one-time thing. He’ll be back soon.”

But the next day, they saw him dine with their rival again – and the day after that, and the day after that. Finally, unable to take it anymore, the manager of the restaurant decided to personally confront him. So, one day, as he was walking out of the rival restaurant’s door, the manager stopped him.

“My good man,” he said. “We’ve noticed you haven’t been eating with us lately. If it’s a fault of ours, you needn’t be afraid to inform us. We’d love to have you eating with us again. If we’ve offended you in any way, we deeply regret it. It’s the pasta, isn’t it? We can fix the puttanesca sauce. I KNEW it was too spicy…”

If left on his own, he would probably have gone on for a long time yet, but Mr Sweet-Tooth cut him off: “Oh no, it has nothing to do with you.”

“Then what happened? Why have you abandoned us?”

“Because after he filled up my cavity, my dentist told me to eat on the other side.”

The manager, after digesting this, developed a sudden compulsion to slap him, but seeing as how that would have been unforgivably rude, resigned to face-palming himself.”


Charles Seth Ofori, sitting in the dentist’s chair at age 81 for his check-up, was told by his dentist to “eat on the other side.” He cracked up, remembering the story. But all the dentist saw was a batty old man with a tooth problem.


-Akotowaa =)

Invitations of Speech

First and foremost, this post and piece of fiction is dedicated to Simeon G. Mark Cofie, also known as The NonFaLoGist (and blogs at, who has one of the most amazing minds I have ever had the pleasure of being exposed to. This post, in fact was inspired by one of his, “Like a Verbal Slap,” which I couldn’t have agreed with more. In fact, I believe I stole a line. It’s not plagiarism if I mention that it’s stolen, right? 😉


An introduction to Reciprok Eight

Humans. They think they know so much. They know of decades, centuries, millennia and whatnot, but they don’t have a clue how to measure in eleventeens. I would explain its measurement to you, but it’s difficult, complex and irregular with the human counting system. Basiclaly, every twelve eleventeens make one reciprok. A reciprok is another measurement that is too difficult to represent in the human counting system. I don’t know how to explain one other than by telling you what has previously been stated: that a reciprok is made out of twelve eleventeens.

The reason most humans haven’t noticed the existence of the reciprok is primarily because they are stupid. But apart from that, reciproks show their symptoms very subtlely and gradually. For example, the first reciprok was when girls becan to suffer so much more; periods got more painful and childbirth became more unforgiving. The second reciprok is when humans began to spread throughout planet Earth and divide themselves by skin colour and language, and wage wars against each other for no reason. Many more things happened between Reciprok Two and now, one of the most identifiable of which is Reciprok Seven, which many humans decided to recognise as the Industrial Revolution.

But now, as we enter Reciprok Eight, freakier things than the invention of giant, dumb machines are beginning to happen. This is a bit more of what you would call ‘supernatural.’ I call it nature, because the thing is, human beings aren’t happening to the world anymore; the world is happening to humans.

To explain further, the laws of the universe have changed. In Reciprok Eight, humans automatically feel the effect of most of their words or actions. For example, if one picks up 5 Cedis from the floor on the street, he will later, as he eats his dinner, feel the hunger of the previous owner of the money, who is now too broke to afford dinner. Hence, the thief eats, but is not satisfied. You might say the universe is being cruel. But I strongly disagree. Like every self-cleaning system, it is just trying to figure out a way to eliminate the germs.

A lot of funny stories are resulting from Reciprok Eight, and I’m eager to tell you one right now. This is how it goes…



Ama was a moderately intelligent girl. But intelligence and smartness really aren’t the same thing and I cannot account for Ama’s smartness.

At this particular point when our story begins, Ama was having a very unprofitable conversation with her equally moderately intelligent friend, Sarah. It was something along the lines of an argument over who took the most selfies per day and whose filter made them look the most #TeamLightSkinned.

“Is it just me, or do the megabytes go so much more quickly now?” Sarah asked Ama.

“Hmm…me kraa, I don’t know oh. But it seems like everyday, my internet bundle is getting finished,” replied Ama.

It just so happened that as she was saying this, a classmate, whom she was not on unfriendly terms with, was passing by, and decided to pitch in to the conversation. His name was Brandon, and though he could sometimes be a rather blunt and unfiltered fellow, his heart was good. Unfortunately, he had not yet adapted to the commonly accepted way of dealing with humans whose personalities do not agree with theirs, which is: keep your head low and keep quiet.

Brandon chose this particularly unfavourable moment to pitch in, “Well, if anyone used Snapchat as much as you do, I don’t see how their megabytes wouldn’t get used up so fast.”

Then, incensed without practical cause – after all, what Brandon had said was true – Ama uttered the fateful worlds that would alter her life. Prepare yourself before you read them. These words are powerful. Go ahead and take a break. I’ll be waiting for you.

Are you back? Wonderful. Prepared? Okay. Well, this is what she said: “Who was talking to you?”

Just let that sink in for a bit. In fact, let me repeat it: “Who was talking to you?”

Now, see Brandon was a very intelligent guy. The problem was that sometimes, Brandon displayed his intelligence in very foolish ways, for example, in the way he fashioned his response. It was no doubt a valid one, but this stubborn child simply did not understand the whole ‘sit down and shut up’ concept for dealing with people. That is why, in response, he asked, “Are you implying that before one speaks, they require an invitation?”

In previous confrontations with Brandon, Ama had been made to look and feel stupid. She didn’t like that very much. Due to these experiences, however, she could clearly guess which direction this conversation was going in. So, she employed her favourite conversation terminator. It wasn’t a very elite one, but it was effective all the same: rudeness.

“Akwaa wei paa,” said Ama. “Nea me ka, wo nte ase? I am implying that it is none of your beeswax.”

Goodness knows how beeswax came to be a replacement for the word “business” in this particular phrase, but we have long since given up trying to understand humans. If they want to use the word beeswax offensively, let them.

It did, however, have the desired effect, and Brandon’s mood dropped so low that it was easily comparable to a disappointed dog drooping its head and walking way with its tail between its legs.

Brandon apologised for interrupting their conversation, then continued on his destination-lacking path. The poor soul.

I’m sure we, as readers, can sympathise with both sides, right? Maybe Ama didn’t feel like looking like a fool. But maybe her reaction was uncalled for. Also, mabye Brandon had a good heart and a good point. But maybe he shouldn’t have contributed where he wasn’t wanted. Sure, perhaps we see it that way. The universe, however, had a mind of its own. And Reciprok Eight is unforgiving. Reciprok Eight, in particular, recognized only one person at fault. Hence, it decided to commence its filtration process.

All was fine for a few days. But on the fourth day after the incident with Brandon, something finally happened. Reciprok Eight had taken action on its chosen offender. Much like Ariel the Little Mermaid when Ursula stole her voice, Ama’s larynx that day was as useless as a swimming pool without water. She went through the movements, alright. Open, close mouth, snap teeth, raise tongue to mouth’s roof. Purse lips, shape them in an ‘o’. Expel, expel, expel sound! But the only thing she was expelling was air. She tried and tried, she prayed, she cried, all to no avail. Reciprok Eight would not be defeated by the repentance of a prisoner who knew not what she was even repenting for.

After fetching water to bathe, she made her way back to her room and interrupted her roommate as she dressed. Try as she might, no sound would come out of her throat. She was left gesturing like a frantic person trying to get a message across to a deaf person.

The aforementioned roommate really wasn’t in the mood for any of this nonsense. “What at all are you doing? I don’t understand what you’re trying to say. Speak!” she commanded.

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you! I can’t talk!” retaliated Ama furiously. Then she froze, shell-shocked. I’ll give you a moment to grasp the absolute irony of the situation.

Her roommate frowned. “Ama, I really don’t have time for this. Please go and bath, okay?”

“Okay,” responded Ama, feeling very, very ridiculous, more foolish than even Brandon could make her look. But she picked up her towel anyway and went to the bathroom.

As she was bathing, she heard someone enter the bathroom. She couldn’t see the person through the shower curtain, but accompanying her was a cold draft of air. She opened her mouth to request that the door be closed, but unfortunately, she was back to square one with the voice dysfunction.

So, guess what she did. She suffered the cold drafts until she was ready to get out of the stall. As if she had a choice.

The whole morning progressed like this. Her voice would be Out of Service until someone asked her a direct question, and only then would her voice allow her to respond. Yet nobody asked the right questions that would enable her to give her explanation for why she couldn’t speak, because frankly, nobody noticed. It hurt her more than a little bit that nobody missed her voice, but such is life, you see. It just so happens that most of the people who ask that treacherous “Who was talking to you?” question usually don’t say anything that is significant to people’s lives anyway.

Soon, Ama lapsed into a resigned state of depression.

As I mentioned before, this Brandon child had a good heart, and despite the unpleasantness of the conversation he’d had with Ama four days ago, he still felt sympathy for her, seeing her sitting in the corner of an empty classroom, through the window. So he entered and approached her.

“Ama, what’s wrong?” he asked her.

She looked up with tearful eyes. “I can’t freaking talk, that’s what’s wrong,” she snapped.

Unlike most people who had debunked this self-disproving claim as preposterous, Brandon furrowed his eyebrows and inquired further. “But you just spoke to me right now,” he argued. “How does that work?”

“It only worked because you asked me a question. I can’t talk to people on my own. They have to talk to me.”

Brandon processed this for a moment. Then he broke down laughing. It wasn’t cruel laughter. It was laughter that held a pinch of shock and a ton of incredulousness. Nevertheless, he didn’t find it impossible to believe…

In her seat, Ama was trying to stop herself from seething, because her voice wouldn’t allow her to ask what was so funny.

Eventually, Brandon’s fit ended. Recognizing the distress on Ama’s face, he said, “I suppose you want to know why I was laughing.”

Fixing him with a steely glare, Ama replied, “Yes, that would be nice.”

“Do you remember what you said to me a few days ago, when I inserted a comment about your Snapchat usage?”

“No…wait, oh yes.” Her face contorted with shame as she remembered her rude words. “I told you to mind your own beeswax.”

Brandon smiled. “You did. But do you remember the question you asked me before that? Think harder.”

Ama was getting frustrated. Was she supposed to remember accurately every word she’d ever uttered? “Erm…I think it was something like who was talking to you…”

“Exactly,” said Brandon, grinning triumphantly. He expected her to have gotten it by now. She had not. I believe I mentioned she was only moderately intelligent. Brandon sighed, then continued to explain, “I thought about the consequences of your implication after that conversation. It looked like you believed that someone needed to be spoken to before they could speak to another. But if that were the case, who would ever be able to initiate a conversation? Do you understand me now?”

“I think so,” said Ama as she tried to fully process this information.

“You just told me, essentially, that you can’t talk unless you are talked to. I think you’re facing some sort of strange psychological rebellion, trying to make you realise something. For you see, if one needed to be spoken to in order to engage in conversation, conversation would not EXIST!”

Ama was partially mute for two more days before the universe decided she was sufficiently enlightened. Reciprok Eight had done its job.


Author’s note: That last sentence spoken by Brandon is what I have been trying to drive into people’s heads since I realised it in class five. I’m not exactly a kokonsa person, but if you want to blast me for joining a conversation, at least let your blasting be valid. But humans ehn…they don’t learn unless something tragic happens. Which is why, if I had a choice, Reciprok Eight would be an actual universe I could throw all of them into. I see much potential for Reciprok Eight. Any time I find a human trait I don’t like, I’ll probably develop a Reciprok Eight story about it, to alleviate my own annoyance internally. Also, I hope you realise the pun in the name. I can’t have come up with something like that and have no one understand it. -___-

-Akotowaa =)

Why Technology Hates Me (and other nonfa explanations)

My Technology Hates Me

Over the past 3 weeks, it seems like technology has actively been rebelling against me. I don’t know what I’ve done.

My laptop took me through a time travel, INSISTINIG that I was in 1st January of 2012. No matter how much I tried to reset it, it reverted itself back to 2012. And the time was an hour off. In addition to that, Safari decided that every ten minutes, it would acknowledge that it was connected to wifi. When those ten minutes were up, it would go back to its foolish ways and try to convince me that there was no internet service. Meanwhile, on that same device, I was getting Twitter notifications. Then Safari also decided that there was not a single website on the internet with a trusted certificate. NOT. EVEN. GOOGLE. So every page refused to open.

I said fine. I was going off to camp in Ashesi for two weeks anyway. I prayed that upon my return, it would have recovered.

When I got onto the bus that was to take me from the Accra Mall to the university campus, my phone got up and decided that my SD card was faulty, and the only thing I could do to it was format it. I was like “Nah, G. You think I want to lose all my pictures and music? Wo boa kraa.” I ignored the message until it went away.

Sometime during that week, I realised the SD card still wasn’t being read. I took it out and replaced it, restarting the phone in the process. Still, the SD card refused to be read. Half my apps – the ones which were installed on the card – had gone. Then the phone froze.

I restarted it again, only to discover that the home button wasn’t working. May the tech gods forgive me, but I slammed the blasted phone on the table. Then, in retaliation, it reverted itself to factory settings – but only halfway. For example, my lock screen changed, but my home screen remained the same. My notification sounds went to default, but my installed launcher remained. I didn’t like this juju, but at least the phone was now working, albeit without an SD CARD.

Let’s fast forward to the second week of AIX (Ashesi Innovation Experience), when the robotics program commenced. Assembling the LEGO robot was fine. For the first few days, we were all good – until it came to a time when we had to use light and colour sensors. But the sensors, after a day, refused to properly function. Much improvisation was needed. For integrity’s sake, I won’t go into detail about it. But I would like to know why the robot decided to create its own program.

The computer we (we being my group) was using, froze multiple times. The final time it froze, it deleted our program, created 65000 files (which were all supposed to have been safely residing in the recycle bin) on the desktop, and demanded to be restarted and updated.

It kept this up for about an hour. And this was the night before the morning of the Final Challenge. I was legit screaming to the sky as I lay on my back on the floor. But magic coding happened and we managed not to flop as atrociously as we expected to.

The whole point of all of this is: technology hates me. And I have a theory as to why.

Simeon (also known as The NonFaLogist) is convinced that my own brain has something to do with technology always acting up around me. Like there’s some sort of interference. I don’t disagree. I usually manage to explain strange things about myself using imagination and fiction. So, this is why tech hates me:

If you are familiar with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series, you will know that demigods and technology do not go well together. Magic and human science are not best friends, you see. Now, I claim to be the daughter of Athena, goddess of wisdom. So my logic is that the devices simply cannot handle the magnitude of my brain power, so the crash.


How my imagination explains my appearance

I’m not short. Maybe by human standards, I am, but in my family, I can be considered quite tall. You see, we come from a long line of royal pixies, the tallest of which are about two feet. Interbreeding happened, as it tends to do, but there’s no need to go into detail about it. The pixie blood is now so diluted with the human blood that hardly any of it remains. However, the genes that account for lack of height prevail in us.

My mother is the Greek goddess, Athena. I’m a demigod. Please don’t bother asking me why I’m black; my skin takes over from my father. I can’t very well be expected to look like a goddess, can I? What would people think of a girl with golden blood? Athena, as we know, is a virgin goddess, which explains why I came out of her forehead. She has a pretty large one, if I do say so myself. That is, after all, to be expected, as a goddess of wisdom would need a pretty large brain to store all of it in. When Athena meets a human whose intelligence attracts her, they form a child as a product of wisdom. If you still don’t understand, contact Richard Russell Riordan Anyway, it was this characteristic that I inherited from her: my large forehead.

-Akotowaa =)

Ghanaians and Reading, Kids and Literacy

Sigh. I don’t like speaking about such deep things when it comes to my country, because I’m very naïve and the issues I form opinions about are usually ‘beyond me’ and my ability to grasp or understand. (Leave me alone, I’m only sixteen.) But this one dier, I have to post about it, get it out of my system. Shoot me down if you want. **plays Titanium in the background.**

On Sunday, I paid a visit to the Silverbird bookshop. Brother, you don’t need to tell me that if an actual bookshop is what I’m looking for, that is not the place to go. I know this. (oh dear Lord, why do we not have a Barnes and Noble here?) But I happened to be passing by, and books attract me, so of course I went in.


I said you don’t understand my reaction to the variety – or should I say lack there of – of books. People! It’s like my heart died…with disgust. In my head, I was just like “But you people paa…” Because lined on the shelves – and I mean shelf after shelf after shelf – was an absurdly large collection of romance novels. There was one shelf, that went even a full shelf – it was the one for display right by the window – that was lined with some Ghanaian books. There was also a Nigerian economy book. ( have no idea what that was doing there.) But chale – the few Ghanaian books over there had no variety at all. If it ain’t Ghanaian history, it’s tourism, else it’s a Christian novel that reveals its ending in the blurb. What dis?

So, I picked up a book to pay for, because I was curious, and the cover was nice, and I went to pay. As I waited, I decided to question the lady at the desk. I asked her, “How do you select the books you sell? Do you base it on world trends or on the preference of the people?”

You know what she told me? She said that over the years, they’d been able to determine which books buyers bought more often, and they got many more of them.

So I gestured to the shelves on my left and asked, “So do all these romance books get finished? People actually buy them?”

“Yes!” she responded. “People buy all of them.” And she also proceeded to explain that on many an occasion, the children bought what they found their parents looking at. Now, I understand that in the 70s and 80s, there was a large Mills and Boon craze. Resultantly, people in my mother’s age group may look at them with nostalgia occasionally.

BUT WHEN A GHANAIAN BOOKSHOP IS 95% ROMANCE AND ONLY HAS A DISGRACEFUL VARIETY OF GHANAIAN NOVELS…I will have a problem. I mean, there was some quality, like a Roald Dahl collection, The Hunger Games, Horrible Science…but the ratios easily showed which genre really had the favour of the readers.

So… On to this book I bought. As I said, I was attracted to the cover design, which I recently found out was done by a Ghanaian illustrator I already know of, Elkanah. The first few pages had only short passages ion them, and all they said was that the story would be that of Osei Tutu I. I was deeply intrigues, because I love mythology, and since almost all Ghanaian history is even myth-based, Iw as eager to read it.


This eagerness was killed as soon as I was done with the first paragraph. So I stopped, and I read the author’s profile once more. Ah? This man, Kwabena Ankomah-Kwakye is an educated individual? With a strong passion for essay writing? Graduated from KNUST IN 2006? And STILL cannot write a single paragraph of a story with a consistent tense? It’s like he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to tell the story in past tense or present tense, and he couldn’t decide whether to tell the forthcoming events in simple future or conditional. It really isn’t that hard to learn the difference between ‘will’ and ‘would.’

But I decided to let it slide for that first paragraph and plough on, in the hopes that it would get better.

Awurade. The spelling mistakes in the book dier, even Class 6 students would have been disappointed. How can you say ‘the alter of the gods’? There were so many worse ones, and even aside from that, there was the issue of punctuation. Oh, God, the punctuation! Commas missing everywhere they were supposed to be, being placed everywhere they weren’t needed! Paragraphs that looked like 2 short stories mashed into one long paragraph. Quotation marks hanging in random places, absent in others! And last I checked ‘young man’ is not one word.

But you now, sometimes, you must forgive the authors. They are stressed, they are under pressure and they are struggling to get their ideas onto the paper. So they might make a rather large number of mistakes. That’s where the editor comes in n’est-ce pas? This is where we commence a different section of the rant.

The Juvenile Community was not my idea. For that one, see Kiiki Quarm. But before I was involved in it, I was never really a content editor. I’d always been a creator, too lazy to proofread my own work. But being a co-editor with Owiredua at TJC, I can honestly tell you that editing isn’t always the most fun job. It’s time-consuming, can get really frustrating, and some spelling mistakes can make you want to give up on life (even when the mistakes are yours). I know that at times, things can slip out unnoticed, thus go uncorrected. I also know that though editing may be trying at times, IT’S NOT THAT HARD TO DO!

The editor of this book, The Deliverer, must have been one of the laziest editors ever, if he/she even existed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the story passed through no editor. This published book looks like it’s in the stages of a freaking first draft. That’s not the worst part. Apparently, the book was published first in 2011. The ‘revised’ version I bought was published in 2012. Revised? Which part of the book is revised? They changed the fanciness of the chapter titles or what?

“This revised edition…”
The fancy chapter thingie.
The fancy chapter thingie.

The idea behind the book was fantastic. Definitely, let kids learn about history outside of a textbook. Osei Tutu’s story fascinates me. But there was little about this book that made reading it much different from reading it for History class in form 2 from ‘A History of Ghana’ or in class 6 from a Social Studies textbook. (And these books had fewer grammatical errors too.)

I know I’ve gone back and forth, but let me summarise the essence of this post: Publishers like these, and Ghanaians like us claim that we aim to foster literacy among Ghanaians, especially the young ones. And then we discourage people who want to be artistically-inclined, actors, authors, whatever, in favour of ‘practical’ things like medicine, law or engineering. Where does it leave us? With illiterate doctors and politicians, children being encouraged to read Ghana’s own mistake-filled literature that may have the detrimental effect of showing them that it’s alright to write like that, and the rest of the population filling their heads with hot sex and one-month fictional flings that add no value to their lives.

You know what? Y’all can go and fix the Cedi. Shoot all the politicians if you have to. Meanwhile, I’ll be there in the background, working on literacy in any way I can. After all, you need smart people to maintain a nation in a global village. How does the world see us when our First Lady goes to the world’s Superpower and can’t properly deliver a speech? (And we laugh at it like it’s funny.) I’m willing to dedicate my life to Ghanaian literacy. If, by my retirement age, my work comes to nil and has had no effect on the country, you might as well just come and find me, and tell me to shoot myself. (It’s very deep.)

 -Akotowaa =)

I have discovered why Ashesi students are so cool.

There are some people that make places cool. There are some places that make people cool. Ashesi, apparently, is/has both. Is that even fair?

In my head, there’s like, this group of the ‘cool Ghanaians’ and as my (former?) roommate, Owiredua will tell you, they al know each other. And we both want to be part of them. Should I start calling out names? Deborah Frempong, Paapa, Michael Annor, Jessica Boifio, Lauretta (the coolest ballet teacher in the world), Kobla (the creator of Oware 3D) etc… The list goes on. But what most – though certainly not all – of the names I have in mind have in common is Ashesi.

First theory: when you get accepted into Ashesi, they perform numerous strange juju rituals over your documents and then let you join the cult, making you automatically cool.

Second theory: the GMI (I just made that up. It stands for Ghana Military Intelligence) comes to Ashesi to ‘talk’ to all the new recruits, and deliver the top secrets of the keys to success as a Ghanaian and swear them to secrecy.

Third theory: The teachers and the way they teach the students are cool. Of course, this is the least exciting of all the theories, but whatever. Apparently, people like to be ‘realistic’ or something weird like that. Erm…

Well, seriously, look at the quality of the staff and faculty. They’re all cool adults. Kobby Graham, Ruth Kwakwa, Dr. Ayorkor Korsah…no, like, seriously. These are people I want to grow up to be. And I just realised I’ve talked saa and not told you the explanation for the title statement of this post.

I had been attending AIX (Ashesi Innovation Experience) for barely a week when I realised I was very deeply in love with almost all of the faculty and mentors. Let me explain: For basically my whole life, I’ve been instructed to follow the rules, pay attention to the system, chew, swallow, regurgitate (also known as Chew, Pour, Pass and Forget), and other dreadfully uncreative things, from the only two schools I have ever attended: Faith and HGIC. Faith was straight-out suffocating. HGIC tries to kill my mind a little more surreptitiously. (But only SOME aspects of it. Despite my constant complaining I love being at HGIC…most of the time.) But you know what I found at AIX? Mental freedom.

According to my nature, I try very hard to be different, especially since most environments turn people into personality-dead clones…I wouldn’t have thought that being different would be something that needed to be taught. There are a lot of Apple cultists or Steve Jobs fans, but how many of them actively know and live by the Think Different passage from the ad?
I won’t mention anyone’s name before someone comes to slaughter me, but the talks and activities I was exposed to in the first week of AIX would be some of my teachers’ (both present and former) worst nightmares. We were taught how to innovate from other people’s ideas – great artists are thieves, you see – and how to think critically, how to think ‘laterally’ (coolest lesson ever) and even how to break the rules! As I said, if some of the teachers I know had been present, they’d have gotten heart palpitations. Which is awesome.

So, apparently, the kind of things they teach you at Ashesi go way beyond just academics, or even these things that people refer to as extra-curriculars. I mean, even when you think about it, most people – adults – will tell you that you need the extra-curriculars to get into college… *Insert frustrated rant about the academic revolution here* But Dela Kumahor, who was one of the faculty members, said something I actually adored: “What you learn in school – in lectures – in the classroom – is not your education.”

Education is what you learn from living that helps you live better, now that you regurgitate onto exam papers without even understanding it. So, as we can conclude, I love Ashesi’s vision because it seeks not only to create the best kind of student, but also the best kind of person.

I haven’t met a single Ashesi student/graduate who is not cool or is not doing wonderful things with life. But what do you expect from people who have been bred to think critically, think laterally, be independent yet able to work in teams, be different, be constantly curious, be leaders, be honest, and believe they can change the world?

Anyway, I’m still not debunking the juju rituals theory or the Ghana Military Intelligence theory either.
Ashesi might just change my mind about not wanting to go to college at all. Patrick Awuah, you’re near the top of my list of personal heroes.