Recent developments on the social network, Chirper, have come to this reporting agency’s attention, due to an ongoing campaign, spearheaded by a particular purple drake, a filmmaker who goes by the name of Nati Turner, after the famous renegade drake of the last millennium.

Nati Turner had previously released a film called Violet Ducks, which chronicles the story of his own heartbreak, during his own relationship with a dark-feathered duck. Most notable scenes in this film, in which he starred as himself, include that where he repeatedly yelled out, “You hurt me!” in anguish and resentment to a violet duck, and another where he advised all his comrades to conceal their jewellery and other valuables safely under heavy guard, insinuating that violet ducks were untrustworthy thieves and gold-diggers.

However, everyone who follows him on Chirper, also known as his Chirpers, seem to have forgotten all the dialogue contained in his film, as shown by the widely enthusiastic reaction to Turner’s new hashtag, #VioletDucks, which he claims is a celebration of ducks with particularly dark shades of purple. This is, he says, an attempt to combat the prejudice associated with the tone of feathers, of both drakes and ducks, a shadeism system that works in favour of light, lilac coloured ducks and drakes, as opposed to ducks and drakes whose feathers are a rich, dark, violet.

The hashtag #VioletDucks is part of a larger competition, where ducks who believe they are “violet and visually appealing” as stated on the poster, to submit photos of themselves using this hashtag, and its winner will be gifted a prize of 2000 DVD. Some believe, however, that Turner has less visible, ulterior motives, and that this “prize” is actually a “price” for the winner’s face and supposed appeal, and that much more may be requested from her, or, at the very least, the hashtag and campaign are a method of attracting larger audiences, as is a common practice in the film industry.

These theories seem somewhat plausible, given that some of his alliances, like Maestro, who owns the production company MaestroFilms, which Turner is associated with, and female filmmaker, AyKwea, have been seen to be ardent supporters. Additionally, it seems to be achieving its purpose, as Turner has gained 200+ chirpers in a matter of DAYS, with a number that seems to only be growing each time one refreshes his page.

What confuses most people, however, is how this hashtag, which is meant to celebrate all dark violet ducks, is instead serving the opposite purpose of ranking them, through astoundingly arbitrary means, by their visual appeal. This is rather in contrast to the pre-existent hashtag campaign, #PurpleOut (most popular on blogging network, Stumbler), where purple ducks and drakes, both lilac and dark violet, take over social media to showcase their appeal with no material-price strings attached.

Ignoring this criticism, however, chirpers from all over the country have taken over Chirper with this apparently prejudicial hashtag, allegedly designed to fight prejudice. Violet ducks have been showing prejudice against their fellow violet ducks by comparing and ranking each other’s appeal (notably NOT their shades of purple), and even lashing out with malicious, derogatory chirps at them.

“It entirely defeats the purpose,” said one Chirper. “Unless the purpose was initially to emphasize the fact that, by Turner’s standards, some ducks are more appealing than others.”

Everyone also seems to have cast out from their memory the actual, contradicting contents of the Violet Ducks film, which, as stated before, portrayed Violet Ducks as untrustworthy gold-diggers.


BREAKING NEWS: This just in…Nati Turner has recently released the top finalists for #VioletDucks. War and rage between Chirpers over jealousy, claims of unfairness, and additional prejudice, intensify upon Chirper. Many Drakes have also gotten themselves involved.

Turner’s method of choosing the recipients of the 2000 DVD has been thrown entirely to the audience. Whichever finalist’s photo has the highest number of “adorers” on Chirper and Instapound will be the winner. Through this method, Turner seems to have cleverly absolved himself of any guilt or accusations of prejudice. Any prejudicial accusations must therefore be deflected onto the Chirpers and “adorers” alone.


This is as much information as we have so far on this story.

[Author’s note: I do not cause “banter” just for causing banter’s sake. This is not entirely a joke. It’s a parody borne from suppression and frustration at my TL’s contents. Please and thank you, Akotowaa]


My Thoughts: Eat, Pray, Love

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert (also known, and referred to as Liz)

EPL cover

The reason I read this book is because I was in the car one time, on my way to a family party, and the radio was on BBC World. It was an episode (is that what you call them when they’re on the radio?) of the World Book Club, and it was a sort of question-and-answer/interview/reading session with Elizabeth Gilbert, and I listened to all of it. We in the car had gotten bored of the BS “Kakai” music and what have you playing on a different station. Obviously, I didn’t mind changing the station. I especially didn’t mind after I heard Elizabeth Gilbert’s reading voice.

Immediately she began reading an excerpt from the book from its near beginning, I was hypnotized. I’ve never listened to an audiobook in my life. BUT. Liz Gilbert. Wow. Easily my new favourite reading voice. If she read an audiobook, I’d probably listen to it. The second I heard it, I thought, “My goodness. This is what Mortimer Folchart would sound like if he were a woman.” (Mortimer Folchart is a character from Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series, and has a voice so enchanting that his nickname is “Silvertongue”.) Basically, what I’m trying to say is, among other things, her voice made me want to read her. So I downloaded the book.

The book chronicles her experiences in a single year, spent four months each in a place that begins with the letter ‘I’. First was Italy, then India, then Indonesia. Her goal, when she set out, was to experience pleasure in Italy, spirituality in India, then go to Indonesia, where she assumed she could find a balance between the two. Like joke, that was her goal. If that isn’t the vaguest thing ever in terms of the plot for a book, tell me now. I was absolutely baffled by a lot of things, including this: how on earth does your publisher give you an advance, pay for your expenses and everything when you describe to him a plan as vague as this? Ah! What if she went to these places, sat down, prayed, ate and did nothing else, and came back with nothing but a potbelly and Zen state?

It is such an absurd idea to travel the world with no aim but to write about the approaching unknown, that I want to do it! But the instability and lack of guarantee of results of the entire plot is what brings me to the next point that absolutely baffles me: book-worthy stuff actually happened. It’s so mad. It reminds me of the concept in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, that when you really want something, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it.

Now, I know that it’s a non-fiction book… but there are so many coincidences and random incidents of surprising relevance, that if you revealed to me that she made half this stuff up, I would believe you in a heartbeat, sighing out a triumphant, “Aha! I knew it!”

Moving on from there, another reason why I can believe this was invented is her personal flair for language. She may be writing about real stuff, but sometimes, her metaphors and imagery can really blow me away. They’re pretty out of this world, possessing the touch of a person who could easily write mythological fiction. The reason I don’t believe this is all staged, however, is how real she sounds. She writes like she speaks. She reads like a person, and I can practically hear her voice when I see the words.

Conclusively, I am very jealous of Liz Gilbert. It’s not only because of her writing, her success, and her publisher’s absurd confidence in her. It’s also because she got to go to Italy, which is my mental happy place, and the place I want to go to more than anywhere else right now. I think Italy is the only part of the story I fell in love with so much that I want to emulate it. It also came with a bunch of mini history lessons, and cool stories behind monuments and things like that.

As much as I truthfully enjoyed her experiences at the Ashram in India and felt like I was passively embarking on her spiritual journey with her, I have hardly any desire to base at an Ashram for that long…Or any amount of time, really. What does appeal to me (and did, even before I read this book) is learning yoga.

Once, I remember, I told a group of friends that I wanted to learn yoga, and one of them said, “Please don’t be white.” (Aunt Tasha, are you reading this?) That being said, I know that Liz Gilbert and all her escapades can be summarized by a few of the people I know, in a single word: white. Which is not, in my opinion, to say that people of colour are incapable of taking such actions due to their skin tone, but I’d attribute my inability to state examples of people of colour who’ve undertaken such activities to systemic issues. But whatever. I’d still like to be a writer and flaneur of sorts. Perhaps in this regard, I’m a hopeless romantic. Who else dreams like this?

I liked her experience in Indonesia the least. No matter what she described it as, I got tired of life in Bali, as well as the Balinese, really quickly. All that superstition and troublesome ritualistic lifestyle made me try to bring the ideas closer to home, and I concluded that if I had been raised in a different era/setting of Ghana, with all its rites and what have you, I might have actually been an atheist. Or, at the very least, a shameless heathen. It can get pretty ridiculous, whether it’s a matter of believing a baby is a god, or a matter of Female Genital Mutilation and Dipo.

Anyway, this was a fun, engaging book to read. I liked it and I didn’t regret my decision.


Nautical Daydreams

Staring at sea foam
makes me think of you
And an island
Where this sight is a coveted normalcy.
Nautical breezes at night
send me spiralling into daydreams.
I could fall in love here.
I could stay in love if I stayed here.
Swash and backwash
are the rare times where crash is peaceful.
For me, the sea
is synonymous with adventure.
At times, I think on deck
is where I want to be the most.



[Inspired by an actual beach, and Colin O’Donoghue. The alternate title is actually “Colin O’Donoghue”.]

Teachers Don’t Seem to Realise How Destructive They Can Be

At some point, it really stops being the students’ fault.

Note: This is a full-on RANT.

It torments me that I keep writing about the same things, but my goodness, I am so tired of talking! If the only thing that will listen to me is paper (and by extension, my own blog), that’s fine for now. I might even have to start naming my notebooks soon, just for the sake of personification, so I can feel like I’m actually talking to somebody.

It’s almost as if this school is oppressing me so much that I can’t even seem to think about anything else – which is very bad, because it is exactly this kind of myopia that I condemn. I need to think wider. I’m reading, but perhaps I’m not reading intensely enough.

The current cause of frustration: teachers. I wrote this recently:


Brilliant students,

Parents bluffing.

Teachers always

Doing nothing.

Stellar grades,

Teachers praised.


And I will not retract anything I meant in this poem. I have grown so out of love with the teaching staff that it’s becoming burdensome to even see their faces. My primary internal reaction when I do is “OMG go away!” My secondary one is “Actually, I hate it here – so you stay and I’ll go away.”

I am very much guilty of wishing that absolutely nobody would pick Computer Science as an IB subject, just so that there will suddenly be no need for the CS teachers and then they can leave. It’s never granted, though. People continue to take the subject. The problem is that these students are brilliant – so they continue to pass the subject, with or without effective classroom teaching, although the grades to seem to reflect yearly that there is still much to be desired. (Unless some of the students are actual super-geniuses, which has happened at least once.) But the point is that once students continue to blow (thanks to themselves), the teachers continue to get the praise that is not due them. It nearly drives me mad.

This CS class is one that I dropped after half a semester – not because I couldn’t handle the course, but because I couldn’t handle the teacher and his teaching (and testing). I suggested multiple times before the drop that something had to be done about his teaching style, and it was fruitless. On one test day, I walked in, saw unidentifiable objects on the paper that I was somehow supposed to know how to answer because in some parallel universe elsewhere, he had taught the class and prepared us for this, and I had just happened to find myself in the universe where none of that had actually happened, and so it was entirely my fault that I had no clue what the paper was saying. That was the day that I decided, “Nope. I’m not going to fail school for the sake of another person’s opposite-of-smartness.” I dropped that thing quick like it was kryptonite and I was Superman.

I have an interesting math story. I developed a crazy math-phobia and was terrified to even step inside the classroom. When I did enter, I didn’t understand a thing, and I didn’t care about trying. Math was only a demon that I had to escape from as fast as possible. When I switched to Discrete Maths (which I did partially in order to escape from this teacher), my teacher changed, and suddenly, math was not only bearable, but almost fun. It no longer gave me nightmares, but then the next in line became the worst in the line: French.

I would enter a bad mood at just the prospect of entering the French class (and I am in fact still in this situation). I feel like I haven’t truly learnt anything in a French class for about 2 years. And I don’t hate French itself. My goodness – it’s such a sexy language! It’s the only language I know where even insults sound like beautiful proclamations of amour. But if I like the language…obviously, something else is wrong with my academic French experience.

I do not appreciate having ad hominem attacks being thrown at me and my classmates, much less attacks that target our spiritual lives. Why must a French teacher get up and tell someone that when she reads her Bible, she is “deceiving herself quietly”? =( It’s so difficult to handle being in a class when a teacher irritates the skin off of you. A friend I call Tronomie once messaged me, during a conversation, “Many language teachers aren’t really teachers. They’re just…people. Who happen to speak a particular language very well.” And it’s true. The knowledge and skill in one’s field alone does not qualify a person to be a person who is employed to professionally transfer this knowledge and skill.

Don’t even get me started on TOK. *screams* And all it does is make me sullen and super quiet in class, but I can’t convince myself that having great reports saying, “She contributes in class” for my college applications are worth my freaking sanity.

From my experiences and observations, I have come to the realization that there are teachers who really don’t understand how absolutely destructive they can be. There are too many subjects I have entirely fallen out of love with, not because of the nature of the subject, but because the teachers made me hate them. I want to cry when people’s testimonies for why they don’t like various types of Literature are because of some teachers who killed their interest somewhere in school. And as for the ones who use ad hominem things to affect the students’ marks, those are among the worst.

If you’re a teacher and your aim is not to inspire the children and get them to love learning, you should retire. If you feel like your job exists so students can get marks and graduate, find another job. If you’re in the occupation for the money, you need to retire! If your students don’t like you and/or your teaching style as well as believe that you are basically detrimental to their knowledge acquisition, please re-evaluate yourself. If syllabus guides and mark schemes are your bible, you don’t’ like your subject or your students. And especially if you believe that the mark schemes determine your students’ intelligence, you don’t, and cannot love them; same if you believe the intelligent ones should score highest and the others lower. You need to clean your mind.

I think the very best teachers are the ones who are frustrated with the system, because they are the only ones who will be smart enough to find value in learning over education.

I shudder to think of how many people who aren’t reaching their full potential, or have missed opportunities that would otherwise have been their calling, because of teachers. It doesn’t matter how great your subject is. If you kill students’ minds, you are part of a grave system of destruction.


The Thing About Interpretation

Recently, I read the manuscript of a novel from someone I “met” online. Afterwards, when we were discussing it, I was highly amused by how differently the two of us viewed the characters. This wouldn’t have been so surprising if it was any other random reader whose opinions were clashing with mine. The thing that made my realisation as impactful as it was, was the fact that I was having a discussion with the author himself.

I believe the author of any fictional piece will have biases – or at least a goal for what they want the reader to think/feel. This may lead him, consciously or unconsciously, to tailor his words to elicit this within them. And after you finish working and you release your stuff to this reader…it’s completely out of your hands. Everything is up to the reader’s interpretation.

His favourite character was one I had no love for. And he was (and is) desperate to explain to me why she is worth loving, or is at least the lesser of two evils. But assume I was not a preliminary reader, that he had already been published internationally, and to me, he was just a name on a cover of a book. I’d probably have written an alternate ending. And I’m imagining him finding it one day, and behind his computer screen, he puts his hands on his head and groans, “Nooooo…I’ve created a monster!”

Anyway, this book was largely based on morals, and because of this, an Orson Scott Card quote I saved a few years ago came to mind:

“There’s always moral instruction whether the writer inserts it deliberately or not. The least effective moral instruction in fiction is that which is consciously inserted. Partly because it won’t reflect the storyteller’s true beliefs, it will only reflect what he BELIEVES he believes, or what he thinks he should believe or what he’s been persuaded of.

But when you write without deliberately expressing moral teachings, the morals that show up are the ones you actually live by. The beliefs that you don’t even think to question, that you don’t even notice– those will show up. And that tells much more truth about what you believe than your deliberate moral machinations.”

–Orson Scott Card


A Character Sketch I Have No Right to Make

I have a classmate who troubles me. It’s not that he’s annoying, at least particularly to me. He’s a very nice person, a good friend, morally upright, respects his elders, follows the rules, and blows classes like nobody’s business. In fact, he’s on the list of people I need to kill, which is actually quite a privilege, because I usually only want to kill sharp-brained, super talented, super fantastic people, to make room for the rest of us mediocre ones to finally ascend to excellence. I don’t really have a problem with the person he is. What distresses me, however, is how empty he feels – not to himself, but to me.

You can probably tell that I’m drawing ideas from Puppets or I’m reiterating ideas I expressed in the story. How is one so perfect, so widely acclaimed, and yet, so empty personality-wise? He doesn’t see himself the way I see him, though. He thinks he’s fine. And he probably is; it’s just that I don’t see enough individuality. While I admit that it’s not my place to worry about how other people live their lives, I can’t seem to help being vaguely upset. (Now that I’ve admitted that everything I’m writing now is irrational and irrelevant, there is really no need for you to comment/message me about it. Please and thank you.) I don’t know what he does (if ever he does anything) when he’s not doing stuff that he’s “supposed” to be doing. He’s always on top of his deadlines, and I wonder if all of his favourite pastimes are academic. Passively, he probably watches series and listens to music, but more often than not, he seems to agree with what other people say about them, hype the parts that other people are hyping, and engage in jokes that everyone else seems to think are funny. It’s not that these are bad things. I just think they make him even more of a cookie-cutter, everyone-likes-this-guy-because-he’s-perfect kind of person.

He’s not a one-sided character, solely concerned with academics. He engages in a lot of extra-curricular activities as well. But in all that he does, I feel like I’m not seeing passion; the kind of passion that leads you to love; the kind of passion you’d break rules for; the kind of passion that will give you an identifiable personality. Currently, I can only describe him with generic words, like “smart” and “nice.” But never have I ever seen a fire (not of anger, but of passion) ignite in him. And see, to support my argument, I can’t ever imagine someone disapproving of any of his behaviour. Except me. I could divert this whole thought process into a discussion about why I’m so upset about someone following rules. But I won’t, mostly because I don’t know the answer.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about living purposefully. And I think too many people are losing the power to discern between doing something because you love it and just…doing it. I don’t know how to live like that. I’m one of those emotive creatures who can’t live like responsible robots, because I’d be in emotional misery.


My Thoughts: Harmattan Rain

Author: Ayesha Harruna Attah

Before I even started reading this book, I liked it. Talk about presentation! I didn’t know who Per Ankh publishers were before this book, but now, I love them! The thickness, the binding, the paper texture and the cover were all attractive enough to make the reading experience lovely, even aside from the words. Okay, perhaps this part won’t get other readers as excited as I got, so let’s move on to the story itself.


Right before I read this book, I read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. That told a story down to three generations of a family. Now, I don’t know what kind of algorithm my randomness operates with, but Harmattan Rain also happened to follow three generations of women in a family. So I’ve had two doses of that in a very short space of time.


What I really loved was how different all three women were (grandmother in Part 1, mother in Part 2 and daughter in Part 3), and yet, very similar in some of the actions they took. The first ran away from home to escape forced marriage, the second got pregnant at 17, and the third had some pretty strange experiences in college. All three had the rebel streak in them. Ayesha Harruna Attah has great storytelling skills, and the insight into the thoughts of the characters allowed me to identify with at least a part of all three women.

My favourite was Akua Afriyie, the middle one, from Part 2. I was able to identify with her most of all. (Or at least, I wanted to.) Sometimes, I found Lizzie-Achiaa too mild, not talking a lot of action when she could or should have in Part 1. Also, in Part 3, Sugri seemed to act a lot without properly reasoning things out. Perhaps in that regard, I am more like her than Akua Afriyie, but I really don’t want to be, so leave me in my denial, thanks.

Akua Afriyie, on the other hand, is stubborn to a fault. And from the time she was six or so and declared that she wanted to be an artist, against her mother’s advice to drop it and be a doctor or an engineer instead (the everlasting argument in my life), I knew I’d love her. Of course, she did end up doing some boring office nonsense (okay, it was a newspaper so perhaps it wasn’t overly stifling) and boring political nonsense for a while. But in the end, she went back to art and painted with her experiences and actually made her dream come true! That is the part that I like. They prove that you can use all of your (bad) experiences to create beautiful work. Yes, I am an artist. Yes, I am biased towards artists. Sue me. Anyway, on the side, falling in love with a pastor accidentally is something I can totally see myself doing. I know, it’s tragic.

Of course, the way politics was woven into the storyline was both relevant to the era the author was writing from, and gave it that touch of much of the African literature I know; the kind that my born-in-1998 self probably can’t write. When I heard that Ayi Kwei Armah helped her write it, it made perfect sense to me. I actually thought of The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born and its style as I read Harmattan Rain. It was also obvious that Attah did quite a lot of research as well. She did it well enough to ignite my own curiosity, just as The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born did. I pestered my parents and grandparents with questions about Ghana’s history and pressurized to get me those Kwame Nkrumah books they’d been promising me for a while now.

Speaking of roots, let’s talk about the author. Now, we all know my sentiments towards my school, debatably the best high/secondary school in Ghana. But this woman, who is now my inspiration, hope and proof of the possibility of success, seems to be deliberately neglecting to mention that she attended here as well. I won’t lie, if I hit success, I might very well do the same thing. This place hasn’t done a lot of things for me that I want to remember. If I ever do get the chance to talk to Ayesha, I would ask her the reason why, at every “About Me” section or the like, she mentions how she was educated at Mount Holyoke College and Columbia University and never mentions here. The only reason I know is that once, in passing, the HOD of English mentioned to me some one Ayesha who recently held a book launching. But I forgot all about that after the conversation. What gave her away was the launching of the fictional school in Part 2, where the speech the woman gave could have come straight out of Margaret Nkrumah/ IT Ofei’s mouth. And their offered programs were IGCSE and IB. The final strike was when she said the basketball court doubled as the auditorium. I was shaking my head at that point.

Perhaps this is entirely unrelated to Harmattan Rain, but again, it really upsets me how unknown and uncelebrated Ayesha is in this school. It’s the same problem I have had with people like Paapa, M.anifest and 100%. I have -1 levels of school spirit. And we won’t even actively celebrate alumni success, to give me some hope for the future? But if someone wins some strange Yale awards that I don’t care very much for, we’ll send schoolwide emails. Okay. When will we celebrate life achievements that are neither academic nor related to so-called prestigious institutions? And this is (partially) why this school won’t see me after June 2016.

Anyways. Harmattan Rain. Beautiful story, balanced and revelatory ending. I abused my highlighter on the book, so it must have been good!