My Thoughts: Homegoing

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At this point I’ve seen people bash this book so much that I’m not even sure anyone wants to read any more “reviews” on it. That being said, here’s a review on it!

I did not hate the book. Several people said it was trash. Several others said that while the book wasn’t horrible, it left them unimpressed. I think I fall into the latter category, while also wanting to admit that I kind of enjoyed it, especially around the middle to the end, and I also think that this novel is immensely relevant for the culture, and I shall explain why soon. But before that, I too have some issues. Let me start with the least: the cover.

Aren’t we tired of the “African book” color scheme yet? The yellows and oranges are really starting to irritate me whenever I see them. (LOL, as I was writing this, I noticed Swing Time also has that color scheme. But at least that one doesn’t have a sun on it. Can’t we have a blue cover? With a moon? Is there one already? I don’t know.)

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Now, let’s talk about the publicity. Yo – if this is the kind of hype Alfred A. Knopf would give to young writers of African descent, could they publish me too, pretty please? The hype was ridiculous! I have seen the most successful marketing for Homegoing than I have seen for any “African literature” (I may be using this term more broadly than it is conventionally used) book in like, forever. I feel like its publicity was even more successful than Swing Time’s! Also, I can’t remember what the publicity for Americanah was. But I could almost physically feel the anticipation for Homegoing and the consistent reiterations of people who wanted to read the book before and after it came out…only to be met when they finally got their hands on it with “Effia”, “Cobbe” and “Quey”.

My absolute biggest problem with the book was the characters – including but not limited to their names. Effia, Cobbe and Quey. I just can’t understand why their names are spelled like that. Author’s creative license? Taking liberty with the idea that Anglicized literacy culture wasn’t fully formed at the time these characters were in their prime? I mean, I don’t have a problem with people deciding to onomatopoeically transcribe their names. I like spelling my day name as “Ewuraefua”, which isn’t common (by which I mean I’ve never seen anyone else use it), I love Efya’s branding, and I have an uncle who more-or-less renamed himself Quesy when he was young. But what I want to know is, if someone who has little to no idea of what Ghanaian culture is actually like reads this book, would they walk out of the pages thinking, “Yes, Quey is a fairly common Ghanaian name”? I mean, Ghanaians might be able to figure out what Yaa Gyasi’s doing with the names (even if it takes a minute to click, like “Quey” did for me), but what about everyone else? And I know this is kind of a sketchy subject because of the idea of all the rest of the English-speaking world having to “explain” ourselves/our culture but when Americans/British people write about theirs, they do not explain, assuming that all readers already know. And when we don’t, we have to find out ourselves. And it is not like I am asking Yaa Gyasi to spoon-feed non-Ghanaian readers. But I can hardly imagine myself as a non-Ghanaian bothering to Google “Quey”, and either way, I don’t know what I’d find. [Note: I just Googled it, and got the definition “young cow”. Consider me deceased.]

But another issue about the characters is that there were too many of them. It seemed that the intention was for each to get their shine in their respective chapters, but this was not a very big book, and for a book this size, the number of “main” characters just might have been overambitious. Unfortunately, I don’t know if any other method of storytelling could have done what Yaa Gyasi intended for the story to do, but the narrative style was complicated. It was a 3rd-person that felt too much like a 1st person narrative sometimes, which was confusing because I could barely remember whose chapter I was reading from, and found myself occasionally wondering if it mattered at all. After reading the book, I still cannot tell you off-head who is related to whom or how. I just might have given up on the novel if not for the availability of the family tree in the front pages. But because of how quickly the chapters jumped, I felt that some of the characters didn’t form fully enough for me to feel their humanity. A few of the earliest characters felt like shadows. They were almost allegorical – which I think is a bad thing for a novel.

I will come back to the characters, but speaking of allegory, there was something about the narration that made me uncomfortable. There was a lot of proverbial talking that struck me as… amateurish (I think I said something similar about the use of parables or something in “Under the Udala Trees”). I know West Africans are famous for their proverbs and stuff but there was something about their placement or usage that didn’t sit right with me. (I am almost scared to write this because there’s a thing about proverbs that I’m trying to incorporate into a story I’m writing, and whenever it comes out, perhaps years from now if ever at all, I fear that someone may say something similar about my work. But in life, you say what you mean, take risks, and deal with the consequences when they arrive so…) I don’t even have examples of these proverbs to illustrate what I mean because whenever I saw them, I just kind of side-eyed them and kept going.

I have an interesting (kind-of-positive?) observation about the characters, though: As the story went on, from the middle to the end, I think the characters started to become more real – specifically the characters in America, closer to the year of today. My hypothesis about this is that it is easier to write naturally about characters you can relate to by the experience of your own reality. If Yaa Gyasi has never known by experience what it means to be a Fante woman in pre-colonial, pre-Ghana Ghana, it would take a lot of imagination – not just research, which I think several people agree she did a lot of – to bring these characters to life. But for a final character like Marjorie, who grew up in the US but had contact with Ghana and felt a conflict in identity, her personhood was far more credible than the earlier characters’. I suspect it’s because Gyasi could pour herself into a character like that. I don’t know. For sure though, the characters after the beginning made me begin to enjoy the book more.

Now, in a way, this book was refreshing. I haven’t read very widely or very much in my life, but I know I haven’t read a book like this before. It probably classifies as historical fiction, yet still stretches out into the modern day. And it’s not immigrant fiction, at least in the conventional sense. Judging by how many people resonated with Siyanda Mohitsuwa’s post about a year ago about being over African immigrant fiction, I suspect that many people were looking forward to a book that wasn’t that, even from a “diaspora” writer. And this wasn’t that (in my opinion)! I really appreciate what it’s doing as a novel.

For me, it was like the book was building a bridge that was easier to understand than, for example, a history book that explains what the routes of the slave trade were. For me, that part of history has been like passively knowing it, but not truly able to feel it or imagine it. The fact that there were individual characters in “Homegoing” with actual names, actual personalities and a family tree that could be easily represented on a page at the beginning of the novel was fantastic for me. I like knowing where things and people come from and being able to make connections. I like that things are reduced from a large, unimaginable scale of huge numbers and long years of slavery, to the almost-simple history of one or two families. In fact, I don’t think I like it when authors try to do some mass-representation. It makes human individuality invisible. This book was the first book that ever brought things full-circle for me, almost literally. I saw people from Ghana taken, selling and sold, gone abroad and returning to Ghana (or not at all), back where it all began. I was finally able to connect, through fiction, African-Americans to Africa, even if those characters themselves didn’t know where they came from; I did, and that was satisfying for me.

I’d recommend this book to an African-American who has trouble understanding his/her connection to an Africa with a tangible culture, and I would also recommend it to an African who has, like me, had trouble visualizing the root of the relationship of common heritage between African-Americans and Africans.

Favorite quote:

“We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect picture.”

-Akotowaa

Breaking Bars Broken Down

As a lexivist, I choose not to be apologetic about being more concerned with (read: borderline obsessed with) the meaning and words in songs more than anything else about them. Usually. There are certainly exceptions. However, most often, the lyrics are what define excellence for me, and from what I’ve seen, in this regard, I am in the minority. But who cares? I’m a writer first and a musician anywhere from second to tenth.

Now as someone primarily concerned with lyrical meaning, I cannot help but desire to expose and explain songs or projects that I find particularly meaningful for their lyrical content. Examples on my blog are The Magnificent Relevance of Motherfuckitude and The Spiritual Journey of Gallant. And now, I want to talk about one of the most lyrically important songs I have ever heard in my life, especially considering my own geographical and cultural contexts: Breaking Bars, by Tronomie.

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Cover art by DeSouza Nelson

Aside from the fact that Tronomie is currently my best friend, whom I’d like to believe I know deeply well enough to write accurately about his intention, the thing that makes this post different from the ones about Motherfuckitude and Ology is that this is not an interpretation of the lyrics; it is an explanation. I understand the lyrics better than anyone other than Tronomie himself, precisely because I co-wrote them.

Before I go into lyrical meaning, I want to first acknowledge that this song sounds fantastic. Sonic quality alone. And if you want a better idea of why Breaking Bars’ sonic uniqueness is just about as relevant as its lyrics to the Ghanaian music society from people who seem to understand the sonic qualities of music several times better than I do, I suggest you listen to Episode 3 of Nkenten’s Decaf podcast, which talks extensively about the song and whatever industrial complexities surround it. (Aside: You can also listen to Episode 2 of the Decaf Podcast, The Lexivist Edition, which features yours truly!)

Now, on to my specialty area: the lyrics. (Which many people either seem neither to understand nor care that they don’t understand. And if you think this is salt…well, it just might be. LOL)

“Mirror, mirror

It’s been a while since the face in you was mine

Now all I see is a broken figure”

The lyrics begin with an awakening to self, or the consciousness within a persona/the singer/Tronomie that he is not doing something right.

“How long until I settle for ‘this is fine’?”

But a greater issue than the fact that the persona is no longer recognizable to himself is the fact that he can foresee a moment when he will no longer aspire to be better than he is – to conquer the true vice that makes him unrecognizable to himself in the mirror: mediocrity.

If you had no idea what the song was really about, at least you could follow the metaphor up to that point. Before we come in with our river metaphors, leave you baffled and potentially lose you entirely. And so, at this point, I would like to explain the actual meaning of the song.

The Christian artistic industry, especially the music one, in Ghana appears to be suffering from mediocrity with regards to content. Many are satisfied with merely scratching the surface of the religion, playing it safe in the name of approval from local audiences, content that as long as they mention Jesus’ name in their song, it automatically becomes great Christian music. Resultantly, they fail to address issues of prime concern in society which need to be tackled, but more than that, refuse to apply genius and creativity in the way they create their art – leading to an occasionally stunning difference in quality of what is considered “secular” music and what we accept as “Christian” music. While it is sometimes evident how much effort some secular artistes/rappers put into their songwriting internationally (note that international ≠ exclusively foreign, so save your breath if you wanted to attack me for that) is evidence of effort that is so often apparently missing from the works of Ghanaian Christian artistes who consciously or unconsciously know that whether their songs are trashy or not, they are likely to get coverage in the church context. (I’m talking about music specifically in this blog post, partially because I know that if I start going off on the Ghanaian Christian spoken word scene, this blog post won’t finish.)

What on earth does all this have to do with Breaking Bars? Well, you see, the Christian artiste who makes mediocre music, both lyrically and sonically, is exactly like the persona at the beginning of Breaking Bars, reversed; s/he hasn’t realized that his/her image is distorted, and has indeed settled, unknowingly for “this [mediocrity] is fine”. BUT

“Why should a river compromise if it reflects the sky?”

The persona – no, the Christian artiste – is the river. What is the sky? The sky is God. The Christian must reflect God the way a river reflects the sky. S/he cannot do that if there are a bunch of obstacles in his/her way – in this case, the obstacles are those of mediocrity. The idea of river and sky’s reflection is just a way to imperfectly (which metaphor can ever fully encapsulate a complex, real-world idea?) the concept of having a higher purpose or potential. The absolute highest thing a river can reflect is not the branch of a tree, nor a mountaintop, nor even a passing bird; it is the limitless sky. To be content with anything intermediary, less, is to be content with mediocrity, in the context of this song.

And again, here, we potentially lose you again with the confusing retention of the general river metaphor, while we swiftly change the dimensions of it.

“So I’m going to run on deeper,

Break the dam if the bars won’t let me by”

Where is the change? Well, it lies in how we have suddenly gone from looking at things in the upward direction (sky) to looking at them sideways. No longer are we talking about the river’s reflection, but now we are talking about its flow. The same way objects between river and sky stop the river from reflecting, so do the “bars” create a dam within the river, a stoppage that does not allow it to flow the way it should. The bar is mediocrity. And the goal is to break past it.

Then there’s another very rapid metaphor switch, sorry-not-sorry. The “bars” have transformed from river dam bars into prison bars. Either way, they are the unwanted obstruction. Now the bars of mediocrity are the ones that “hold the standards too low”. We are speaking again, of course, of the general standards of the Christian artistic industry. And so this persona/Tronomie sees an antidote as a course of action, to

“Rip every note,

Transcend what I’ve known”.

It’s somewhat metonymic. Ripping notes, singing excellently, stands in for also doing everything related to music creation or art creation excellently. Including writing lyrics. [This is where I am pleased to reveal my jon by mentioning that music is and/or lyrics are written in…bars. Hehehee!] So, fundamentally, this is the meaning of Breaking Bars. You could stop reading here because by now you should at least vaguely get it. But please continue reading because I am going to continue writing, as there are obviously more lyrics, and certainly more to say.

The second verse of the song more explicitly brings out the purpose of the song rather than just the meaning. The purpose of this song is to be a challenge to Christian artistes wherever, to step up their game when it comes to making excellent art.

“Step up, leader

If your speaker is connected to your mic

Your voice makes me listen, eager

But your message is disconnected from my mind”

If you have access to a platform, and an audience for anything that you do (e.g. If you have a working microphone and have a voice coming out through speakers that people are listening to), you are probably a leader of sorts, whether you know it or not. But now what is the point of the sweetest voice that claims to be doing the work of glorifying God but is really not saying anything that the audience’s minds can recognize as substantial content? If you have a platform, you might as well use it well.

“Silver spoon on a golden plate,

Do you only decorate?

Your guests will be starving for dinner

If you’re living your life behind your case.”

(Trust Tronomie to be there thinking about spoons when we’re talking about bars. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t already know that he was crazy but…LOL.)

How baffling that you can turn something so purposefully utilitarian (literally, utensils) into purposeless decorations. As an artist, you should not want to be a purposeless decoration – not when people are starving and you are the person that can be used to feed them. The “case” here is your comfort zone of mediocrity, of acceptability, of refusal to say or do anything that could disrupt the problematically silent status quo of Christian culture on issues that matter more than we give them credit for. This protective shield is another “bar” that must be broken. Christianity. Is. Not. Safe. You can’t even finish listing issues Christian culture, especially in Ghana, has too long been silent about. Examples that readily come to my mind are mental health, the de-contextualization of Scripture, and the very real struggle of going through doubt while still ascribing to the faith. I’m sure there are countless more you can name.

“Where is the mind God has given you?

Do you want to do better?

Do you want to say better?”

The minds that we have must be used. The Psalmist was an artiste who used his mind to create lyrical excellence. What is your excuse? To refuse usage of the mind in the capacity it was designed for is to transform it from purposefully utilitarian to purposelessly decorative.

And so as a whole, we tried to do with Breaking Bars what Breaking Bars is trying to challenge others to do. If the amount of deliberation, intentionality and effort that was put into trying to make this song transcend standards and expectations is any indication, I’d say we have reason to be at least a little bit proud of what Tronomie and everyone involved in the making of this song have managed to produce.

Lastly, I would like to emphasize that Breaking Bars is not a Gospel song. I have heard it referred to as such and I just can’t deal with it. What it is, plain as day, is a song written by a couple of Christians. It is a song. It is music. Aside from the fact that it simply does not fit the conventional “Gospel” category of music, there is also the (valid) argument that there really is no such thing as Christian music in the first place. And to illustrate, I shall pull up my favorite quote from rapper Lecrae’s Unashamed autobiography:

“There is no such thing as Christian rap and secular rap. Only people can become Christians. Music can’t accept Jesus into its heart. So I am not trying to make Christian music or secular music. I’m just making music. Hip-hop, like all music, is a good thing. I could use it for evil by filling it with violence and misogyny and profanity. Or I can use it to glorify God. Every song I write doesn’t have to have the Gospel spelled out or quote Scripture so that people will know I love Jesus. My goal is just to use my gifts to produce great art that tells the truth about the world. If I see the world through a biblical lens, the music will naturally paint a picture that serves people and honors God.” – Lecrae Moore

Fin.

-Akotowaa

P.S.: The Genius.com lyrics to Breaking Bars can be found here.

Another Language Rant (Which I Should Have Released in September 2015)

[As the title suggests, I wrote this ages ago. September 2015. And it’s not a very nice post. But I’m in the process of general release and so here we go. I’m not a very nice person, so why pretend on my blog? Another Language Rant, here we go!]

It’s quite depressing how frequently I lose faith in those who apparently share my heritage. But if I disown every national identity on this planet and choose to be a citizen of Neptune, y’all gon’ call me unpatriotic. And yet, at this point, I’m not seeing the essence of patriotism in the first place. Also, I can bet I’m not the only one who has been rejected time and time again by the people who are meant to be my kin – in which case, I am unable to see any logic in them getting pissed off. After all, if you reject your children, why on earth should you get mad if they disown you?

Recently, I went on two “Geography trips” to East Legon, Labone and Sakumono to conduct a questionnaire for an IA (Google it. I’m not about to explain the whole IB programme) about the status of women and fertility. So, of course, our subjects were limited to women. Now, important point to note: if there are any people who are particularly unpleasant to engage with, in Ghana, it’s the women. Try to argue, I won’t mind you.

Now, I’ve spoken about the whole Ghanaian languages thing pissing me off on multiple occasions. But I realize that sometimes, even this is a part of a greater problem: an attitudinal problem. The thing is, in general, too many people are not nice. in fact, they are unnecessarily nasty.

People, for example, who are perfectly capable of understanding English, interrupt even our introduction of ourselves to rudely (emphasis on RUDELY) tell us to stop with our abrofos3m and speak Twi – with a “mtchew” and a roll of the eyes. Are you understanding the picture here? You’re either a street vendor or an outdoor hair dresser, being approached by a pair or trio of students who politely greet you and begin to introduce themselves, and before even 3 sentences are complete, you rudely brush their request aside with a culturally rude gesture, and demand they speak Twi – without, I may add, paying a little consideration to the nationalities or ethnicity or the kind of education the students have received or where they have lived their whole life – or the fact that we are all at that moment situated in the geographical Ga capital of the country.

But that’s alright. Even so, we may continue, right? Sure, assume that everyone with black sin is Ghanaian. Then assume every Ghanaian must speak the language that you speak. Of course they can’t be expected to know that That Place is a Pan-African school, with about 17 countries of Africa being represented. Invalid assumptions are perfectly acceptable, or? Okay. Moving on…

So, during the questioning, as we try our best to translate the questions that are naturally pretty difficult to translate, they launch straight into a series of commands and insults about the Twi that we are trying to speak. When they aren’t telling us that our Twi is nasty or something along those lines, they are telling us to go away to learn the language, whether or not it is our language. If there’s anything I can recall from my life so far, even the process of learning is hard, because the very people who may know the language well enough to teach it are the same ones who are going to laugh at and mock you for not knowing it, which is pretty ineffective teaching, if I may say.

Imagine walking into a classroom to learn something you don’t know by a teacher whose job it is to impart knowledge. Then the teacher walks in for the first time and upon realizing that they do not know everything they came to learn before they were taught it, gets boiling mad. He then starts berating all the people he was meant to teach for being “stupid” and not bearing the knowledge they came to acquire.

Now, dear reader, if you speak Twi, kindly translate this question in less than 5 seconds for me: “Do you believe that your religion/faith has, in any way, affected the number of children you would like to have?” And that wasn’t even close to the most complicated question.

  1. Validity of the chosen language. When we begin by speaking the official language of Ghana, whether or not it was a result of cultural imperialism, what qualifies you to choose Twi, in discourse with people whose backgrounds you don’t know? And when a person attempting some pretty sufficient Twi fully confesses that he is, in fact, Ewe, how do you insist that whatever the case, he better go and learn TWI – a command given in the style of a threat? Additionally, as we are in Accra and NOT in the Ashanti region, what makes you think that you, as an ethnic migrant, have a right to exist in that space without knowing how to speak Ga? It may be a part of your country, but even so, it is not your region – just like it’s not my Ewe friend’s region. Please leave him alone.
  2. The unexplained initial rudeness would seem almost like a defence mechanism. Do you, dear roadside hairdresser, feel threatened by the language that we speak so much that you would reject it before you hear what we want to say? Would you rather then switch to a language you would so happily love to believe we are uncomfortable in, to inflate the ego that was deflated the second it felt intimidated by teenagers that have already achieved higher levels of education than you hoped to in your lifetime? Is jealousy the root of your nasty behaviour? I assure you we did not show up to intimidate you with wanna bl3. We’re just tryna graduate, I swear.
  3. Even if, by any chance, you are genuinely saddened by the depreciation of our local languages, does it, first of all, make sense to disregard other people’s languages as well? Case in point: the group of women who ignored the fact that my friend was from a place where his local language was Ewe. Aside from that, if your desire for the language to be learnt is so bad, is insulting the attempt the way to encourage it? Feel free to refer to the teacher scenario I illustrated previously. I refuse to understand how it does not enter the heads of these Ghanaians (and I use this word in the most derogatory way possible, because I don’t feel like writing actual insults right now, as they will be merciless if I do) that their baseless mocks and taunts draw people away rather than closer. Go ahead and sit there wondering why some of your best minds choose to flee to other places, without paying mind to how YOU ejected them.
  4. Most of the time, it’s even the lower class who are far more reasonlessly nasty than the higher class. When you see people using their language against others, be it gossiping about them while they get their hair done, or directly taunting others when they try to ask them a question, they’re usually not in offices behind desks or in Land Rovers or checking out money at the ATMs. They’re on the streets, sitting under umbrellas selling credit or vegetables, or in kiosks made of the women-who-do-sit-in-Land-Rovers’ car shipment containers (HA!). But I apologize for being ignorant. Obviously your spite for my inadequacy is going to push me to become a better woman, like you. Thanks for being a paragon of excellence for me. I’ll drop out of school, move to a village, and then come back to Accra with full knowledge of my language, which I shall then use to be bitter and insult fellow Ghanaians who know it less. Just like you and your inspirational self. ❤
  5. When you witness someone trying their best at something (you can help them with), your response should not be to tear down all that they have already built; it should be to offer a helping hand up the ladder. At least they have enough courage to step onto some rungs; help them with their elevation! But you, you choose to shove them to the ground. Very nice.
  6. No matter how uneducated you are, it is not an excuse for nastiness. So I, personally cannot understand why even lower class women should get like this. Sigh. I’m even unable to describe the levels of rudeness. But the point is, politeness/niceness is not something that should be taught in the classroom. It should be part of you, as a human. It should be something that is culturally passed down. I am genuinely wondering if culturally, we indeed encourage Crab (Pull-Him-Down) Syndrome instead of encouragement; if we teach disdain instead of recognition of effort.
  7. Yes, occasionally, they tend to blame my school for teaching me English – ignoring the fact that English is an international language and Twi is not. And that isn’t just because it’s African. Swahili is also an international language. Twi is not. It’s not like Twi doesn’t have a chance to spread too. Slave trade, Jamaica, Western immigration, intermarriage, everything. But whose fault could that be but the people who own the language? We are (through ways I outlined in a very popular previous post) not making the language attractive on its own. Even if we did learn it, who would we speak it with? The people who don’t know how to be nice? We can’t even make our local languages local, how much more do we make them international? M’abr3.

Perhaps I’m done with the list. Perhaps. I shall end with a comparative testimony.

Back in about 2010 or 2011, when I started learning Mandarin, I was always looking for people to practice my novice Chinese on. Even though my teachers were 100% Chinese, I wanted to have conversations outside the context of a paid-for learning environment. So, what I did was, I began to stalk (in a very friendly way) Chinese people. It wasn’t hard; they were and are basically everywhere. Accra Mall was one of my most fruitful spots. Other choice options were on the streets at hotels, at airports…you get it.

My point is, each time I struck up a conversation with a Chinese person, they would be so willing and eager to carry it out, and with such enthusiasm! I have never once been berated by a Chinese person for any mispronunciations or whatever. Whenever I made a mistake, they would smile and happily correct me. When they saw me struggling, they would kindly offer suggestive words. My interactive skills improved so much. One time, I went to a Chinese restaurant and legit held an hour-long conversation in Mandarin. I CAN’T DO THAT WITH ANY OTHER LANGUAGE. (What if it’s all part of their plan to take over the world though?)

If I, however, had to throw a guess, I would speculate that if Ghanaians witnessed any obroni try to talk to them in Twi, they would promptly either excitedly call their friends to come quickly to watch this entertaining episode of white-man struggle and start mocking his efforts the second he was out of hearing range. Perhaps it’s a mean speculation, but, based on previous experiences, this is only what my mind is able to come up with. All I know is, if Ghanaians had ever had the same reactions to me (or any of my Ghanaian classmates as deficient or worse than me), we probably wouldn’t be as deficient.

There is, of course, probably also a fault in the technique that Ghanaians teach with. I learnt both Twi and French from Ghanaians (and sometimes Togolese) in classrooms for SO MANY YEARS and I still suck at both – especially French, which I’ve been learning for like 10 years now (!!!!). (I can speak Twi. But I can only really fluently say the kind of things that I only need to say in the context of my house, because I only speak it with my mother.) And by the second year of my non-exam-oriented lessons in Mandarin, I was holding Chinese as my second best language. Something is so obviously wrong with something.

*end rant*

-Akotowaa

What’s all this Anti-Indo something-something?

What is Anti-Indoctrination?

An excuse for all of you who want to say “Eii, this girl likes big brɔfo papa!”

Well, what it is, is a lexivist poem. As you know by now my life basically revolves around this thing – lexivism.

Why did I give it such a long name?

Well I’m supposed to be dispelling your previous indoctrination about how powerful words are, aren’t I? I’m not about to dumb it down for anyone’s convenience. When I wrote it in a burst of anger in a dark room in school sometime in January 2015, this is the first title that came to mind, and it’s what I stuck with. It does absolute justice to what I want the entire poem to mean.

Who’s Anti-Indoctrination for?

It’s “For the ones who accidentally started to believe that their words were not adequate means to achieve their dreams.” And what am I trying to say to them about their dreams? “I’ve got one piece of advice, and with two words, I’ll end: Chase them.”

What is Akotowaa telling them to do?

Speak, speak, speak (which you can do in the form of writing) and never stop! “They shut you down. Call you rude. Say you have a sharp tongue. But that just means you make cutting remarks and it tears the fabrics of their egos apart at the seams. So (Sew). Keep cutting, as I thread my message together.”

Let the fire burn on, guys, girls, lexivists.

Anti-Indoctrination promo

HUGE SHOUT-OUTS TO: Souza (videography), Hanif (videography) and Reynolds The GentleMan (music production)! You guys rock my world! ❤

Link to Anti-Indoctrination Video

-Akotowaa