Note: Written for a friendly story-writing competition between @duafe, @Afadjato, @TrueCoaster and myself, with @Poetyk_Prynx as the referee!


I’m kind of famous. Some may even say legendary. But anyone who has ever been called the Greatest of All Time before has probably gone through some major hell. I am no exception. This is my story. This is my song.

It was a few thousand years BC, and I was simply a little boy with dreams as big as the Athena Parthenon. My mum says I sang before I talked. Growing up, I had one ambition, and one ambition only: to become a star on the musical and drama scene in my country someday, making my debut by landing the lead role in an ancient, classical musical: Grease.

My family members were particular Zeus worshipers, so basically, every thunderstorm was a church service, and every bolt that sliced the sky was a sign or wonder. I personally took all these as signs of my god’s approval, and would pray fervently regarding the realization of my dream whenever a yellow bolt was thrown; I called the phenomenon Greased Lightning.

There was a point at which I believe I stopped being a believer. I’m still not sure whether your faithlessness is called unbelief when you stop believing in a deity’s existence, or when you stop believing in a deity’s ability to help you. All I know is that my unbelief was the latter. In my late teenage years, this god did something to me which forever darkened my disposition towards him. As many falling outs between males happen, ours was over a girl.

I started gymnasium late – at age sixteen, whereas most boys began at age 14. Although this was good for my career, the downside was that I really had no clue what exactly I was missing out on, when it came to girls. I’d never watched a lady bloom into adolescence, given that my eyes had been glued onto crotchets and semibreves for so long.

But when I started gym, I had my first real crush. This is how it happened. One of my gym mates, who claimed to have very special and selective dietary conditions, forgot to bring lunch from home. It was tragic, because he insisted that if he ate anything that was provided for us at the gym, he would swell up to the true size of Kronos – which was, needless to say, Titanic.

Fortunately for him, his mother had discovered this later in the day and had sent his pretty younger sister to deliver his food to him. It just so happened that we were on a break at that time, and so all of us got to get a load of her. And what a load we got.

Her demeanour was docile and unassuming enough. She hardly said a word, and didn’t even look at any of us as she gave her brother his food. But this is what gave her badass qualities away: she had worn a chiton with no peplos. I could have sculpted her just then, because I’d never seen a bust like that before.

It didn’t take long to formulate a plan. It was the first time I was fully being driven by hormones which refused to back down, making me bolder than I had ever been before. Her brother was a cool guy, too. He agreed to leave his food home a second time, then conveniently disappear to ease himself when his sister arrived, so that I could collect his food on his behalf. It worked seamlessly The second time as well, she had no peplos on.

That was the first chance I had to interact with her. She was almost as much into me as I was into her. Eventually, we started seeing each other way more often, without need of a guise to bring us together. Fortunately, she liked music, so there was always something to talk aobut.

About six months after our first interaction, when we were going steady, I told her about my Grease dream, and she was excited. She began helping me out with voice training sessions in my free time, occasionally also accompanying me with a musical instrument. Auditions were coming up, and the tension was getting overwhelming. She rehearsed with me tirelessly. I had plans to marry her when all this was over, if I was lucky enough to get the part. And then that son of a titan ruined everything.

If there is one thing you should know about the holy ones, it’s that you should never fight with them when they want something that you want.

I went over to hers one day and I immediately knew that something was very wrong, because it was the first time since I’d met her that she was wearing a peplos over her chiton. She was revealed to me that she’d gotten a visitation from Zeus the night before, and well, he thought she was hot. That was fair enough. But then he’d asked her that was she open to making babies with him, and that’s where the real line was crossed. So I asked her what she was planning to do about his offer. At that point, she burst into tears, saying that she didn’t know how it was possible to refuse a god.

That was the first night the recurring nightmare occurred. In it, there was a sculpture made of plastic, in the bright sunlight. The effect of the sun caused large welts to appear all over the plastic, horned monster. Occasionally, they burst and ichor leaked out. Whoever was tormenting me was a god in disguise. It didn’t take long to figure out which. The monster always spent the entirety of the dream breaking out into sunburnt welts and blistering me with harsh criticism of my singing.

“You’re off key.”

“Are you tone deaf?”

“You are flopping your favourite Grease song. You can’t ever land the part like that.”

After a week of this, I was exhausted, between sleeping badly, training hard, and tirelessly rehearsing on my own. But then, at the end of the seventh day, my weeping girlfriend showed up at my door, with her heart breaking because of the tragedy of the situation she was caught in.

She couldn’t refuse Zeus, but she didn’t love him; she loved me. So, she had come up with a plan, in order to make Zeus refuse her; he couldn’t get her pregnant if she already was. And, well, seeing as I was going to marry her anyway…

Before she had completely finished illustrating her idea, I was enveloping her into a tight embrace. We would have lost our virginity that very night if only she hadn’t been unclean during that week. So we had to wait, while she held Mr Big Shot off. We planned to make love for the first time on the day of the audition, which was nigh.

The day arrived, and I was in high spirits. Until she came over, once again in tears, because she said the gods had found out about us, and Zeus was going to punish me for conspiring against him. But I didn’t have time to worry about that; the audition was in a few hours. I couldn’t lose my composure now. So I tried to push Zeus’ threat out of my mind, assuring her that we’d deal with it all after the audition.

The Grease audition was the largest and most famous audition in the whole of Athens. Almost as many people showed up to watch the audition as they did to the actual musical production. And as soon as the audition began, so did a rainstorm. Greased Lightning, indeed. Could it be a sign of forgiveness? Or a further threat?

I blocked my ears to all the others’ voices, focusing on meditation on my own upcoming performance. Nothing, not even Zeus, could throw me off.

I was more concentrated than sun rays on a magnifying glass during my audition, blanking out completely until I had come to the end of the song. And then everything was silent. Not a clap, not a whisper. Then, someone in the crowd yelled out, “Tragos!

A goat? Where was the goat? In confusion, I tried to turn around, to see if I would find a goat suddenly charging up at me. And instead of two legs rotating me, four hooves did. It took at least a minute to sink in. I was the tragos. The goat was me.

Technically, that was only partially true. I was only a goat from the waist down. At the top, I was still human. This was like a sick, twisted comedy skit. I was a satyr.

I seethed with anger and embarrassment. Which girl would willingly be penetrated by…a goat? Who would want to make love to a man with a tail and four hooves?

To push the irony further, the judges announced later that night that my audition was probably one of the best performances the Athens Concert Hall had ever heard. Oh yes, of course, I got the part. And many more parts after that. For centuries after my death, I remained the most famous singer in Grease, in Greece and beyond. But I never married, instead had to suffer the blisters of watching my ex-girlfriend give birth to Lightning-spawn.

I refused to let my story remain untold, though. So I wrote a song. A long epic, a solo show, nearly two hours long, in which I told my story of being transformed and frauded by Zeus. I left it untitled, but the world titled it for me: Tragedy. An ode by a tragos, a tragodia, the Song of a Goat. And to this day, it is through this tragodia that my story, the story of a poor satyr’s blisters, is told.




4 Sure-fire Ways to Know That You’re a Wizard/Witch/Bewitched in West Africa

Classically, in many civilizations, people attributed the things they didn’t understand to the gods, or to something supernatural. Thus, a lot of belief systems were born. Where does the sun come from? Oh, it’s actually a god. Thanks, Akhenaten.

Nah but forreal – Akhenaten just up and made this Aten guy up and said “Worship by force” and there you go. Sun god.

What are earthquakes? Oh, Titans are fighting, and Poseidon’s mad. My daughter is sick; her temperature is high. Now, I have no clue what a “fever” is, so it must be a fire demon inside her, heating her up. Stuff like that.

Nah but forreal – Akhenaten just up and made this Aten guy up and said “Worship by force” and there you go. Sun god.

So, after about 17 years of existing in a Ghanaian society and being exposed to quite a few real and virtual people of other nationalities and cultural experiences, I believe I am entirely qualified (please note that I am being partially sarcastic) to state the four things which I am pretty sure will guarantee that you are either a wizard, witch or bewitched.

Let’s go!

  1. Introversion

For so long, we have lived in cultures rooted in social practices. What is a private study room? What is a quiet library? What kind of nonsensical time-waster is “people-watching” while sipping coffee? Oh no. We don’t know what privacy and solitude are o, please. Sometimes, even sex could be an outdoor public act. It’s not about your personal life; it’s about our culture. So now, when your relatives come to visit you and you get bored after two hours of pointless conversation where all the important topics have been exhausted, and retreat to your room, it’s antisocial blasphemy. Don’t do that ish, man. Come downstairs so aunty Something-or-the-other can tell you how your nufu has grown or so that uncle Whatsisface can ask you if you’ve found a girlfriend yet.

Okay, but on a more serious note, we don’t seem to be able to understand that introversion is a thing that exist, even – gasp! – among Africans! I’m tired of people looking at me strangely because I don’t enjoy loud parties or going clubbing for hours on end. I’m rather exhausted from the irony of how much people like to talk about how the youth don’t read enough, but I get blasted for being antisocial because I read a lot.

Photo 15-02-2015 22 48 07

My favourite activity, writing, is a solitary one. But people will take it upon themselves to worry about my mental health and social life on my behalf. Of course, it can’t possibly be natural to enjoy solitude. Man is a social-creature, and as such, he must be surrounded by other social creatures 25/7 (Yes, I added an extra hour!), n’est-ce pas? If at any point, you human, a social creature, would rather be alone than engulfed, there must be something spiritually wrong. It’s an evil spirit. We rebuke it!


  1. Mental Illness

This is a fun one. I wonder if people got depressed in Ancient Africa, and if they were oppressed due to others’ denial. The way the recorded history of Africa is, I doubt I will ever find my answer. But I find it hard to believe that every African was always mentally alright, never suffered from anxiety, or was never even born autistic.

However, for some reason, we believe it’s a myth on this side of the world. We, who have some of the most religious and superstitious countries in the world, can’t believe in something that we can’t see manifested on the body. I guess somehow, it makes sense. If we don’t like believing in what we can’t see, it makes sense that we worship(ped) so many physical idols and crafted statues to appease our senses.

“You’re depressed? What kind of disease is that? Get on your knees and pray to God to unbind you from that spell that your neighbours have cast on you, oh! I’m sure it was that woman down the road. Ever since her husband died, she has been trying to inflict her own sorrow on others. Tofiakwa!”

Sometimes, it sounds funny, but it’s really not when people start offing themselves not just because of their ailment, but because of a simple lack of understanding in their own communities. It really is nonsense. Despite all my religious joking, I’m actually a Christian, and time and time again, it amazes me at the “Christian” community’s lack of willingness to simply understand each other, so they can actually be useful. Talk about being exhausted of members of your own community. We’re unconsciously excommunicating people all the time.

  1. Imagination

I bet you didn’t expect this one. But it’s there! See, let’s do a simple survey. All you West Africans who were banned from reading Harry Potter or any book of the sort when you were younger, raise your hands! (My hand is up.) You’d be surprised at the number. My grandfather got the first three HP books for me on my seventh or so birthday. My mother seized them all and handed them to the semi-literate house-help to keep. Apparently, if I were to read Harry Potter, I would become a witch. Interestingly enough, I never had the Wizard of Oz seized, or even Sleeping Beauty. Some witches are more witchy than others eh? I don’t get it.

My favourite animals are horses. My favourite fictional animals are unicorns. But you, let me try mentioning the words “unicorn” or “dragon” in the house and see how all eyes except my little brother’s cloud in alarm. A close family member has called me “bewitched” behind my back before, in all seriousness, no jokes intended. I don’t know how to make you understand. Perfectly practical parents gave birth to a daydreamer daughter who’s always writing and can’t keep her head out of other worlds, and it ALARMS them to ridiculous extents.

Damn, that sexiness, doe!

Incidentally, on an entirely unrelated note, I don’t know any Ghanaian fantasy and sci-fi authors. That is not to say that they don’t exist; I just don’t know them. If you do, though, be sure to holla at me in the comment section or tweet at me @_Akotowaa. (Anyway, shout-out to Nnedi Okorafor for being awesome!)


  1. Artistic Aspirations

The crown on the cake. This is the best one. Wahala don come if you, in your black skin, born to respectable parents who have toiled for years to put food on the table so that you can clear it and wash the dishes, as well as open the gate and pass them the remote, dare to come up and tell them that you want to be an artist. A de3n? All those school fees they paid, and still, no sense was knocked into your head? You want to waste this quality education? Tofiakwa. Please, we are paying in advance for law school. Gyae saa nkwasias3m.

Now although I’m not blind, and can see that Paulo Coelho is Brazilian, his story strikes so close to home. When his parents found out he wanted to write for a living, they sent him to a mental hospital. When he came out, they thought things were fine – not knowing, he had joined a theatre group. *hands on head emoji* They found out and sent him right back, where he underwent electroconvulsive therapy. That’s basically when they give you electric shocks until you pass out. The man’s biography is insane. I feel like if we could do some here, on this continent, we would. Our only remaining alternative, however, is to send us to the pastor so he can pray for God to cure us of our ambitious folly (which clearly comes from an inner demon who makes its host reject sense).

I imagine that there are parents who would love to perform an exorcism if their children were ever rebellious and bold enough to stick adamantly to their aspirations. After all, you must be possessed if you insist on following a career path that leaves you entirely broke. Right? Right? Sigh. Sometimes, I feel like I’m so done with this place.


So there you have it: 4 sure-fire ways to tell if you’re a wizard, witch or bewitched in West Africa. Do you pass any of the tests? I display all 4 symptoms on a daily basis! 😉




So, you log on to Twitter. No, in fact, you don’t have to log on. You never even signed out in the first place. So, you type the Twitter address in the address bar. No, in fact, Twitter is your home-page. So you’re on Twitter. You remember that satisfaction that you got when you got that nth follower? How you Tweeted about it for nearly a full ten minutes, which is far longer than you stay on any topic that’s not “trending” anyway.

I mean, anyone can see that you’ve worked extremely hard on building your Twitter fame so steadily and meticulously. For goodness’ sake, you’re so well-known, you’re nearly an internet celebrity now. And for the love of all that is good, you have standards. You spell every word in your bio properly. No azonto abbreviations involved. And people don’t even know how many tries it took you – how meticulously you had to go through all the photos – to get the perfect profile picture. Heck, it’s even been secretly edited with Lightroom. Your phone/tablet’s notification panel is always buzzing with news of retweets. As previously said, you’re practically an internet celebrity.

At this point, you just tweeted something that is, in your opinion, particularly witty. So you sit back and ponder over the brainy marvelousness of your intellect. Then, you get that classic ‘ping’ on your phone. You pick it up eagerly, thinking that someone has recognized the superiority of your wit and either quoted or retweeted you. And behold! Someone has!

With satisfaction, you wait for a few seconds; the next one should be coming any minute from now. Another notification! But wait…it’s not a retweet – it’s a reply!

“AccraTemaKumasiBuwoy” replied to your tweet. “Hi……kfb.”

And at first, it doesn’t make sense. It’s been so long since you have seen or paid attention to such an abbreviation from such a person. You thought we left all of these jon things back in 2011. Accra, Tema and Kumasi? Decide on one freaking place! Buwoy? Is that a new gender we have not yet heard of? Doesn’t it destroy the whole purpose of “shortening” words?

Kfb…kfb…what does that even mean? Let’s take it apart, you think. FB…Facebook? No, wait, this is Twitter. Follow-back! That’s it! Kindly follow back. It was a request.

Then, when you finally get over the trivial triumph of recalling the meaning from the dusty, musty recesses of your brain, you realise that there is rage growing within you. Freaking rage. My goodness. It’s like your whole world has been torn apart. This reputation that you’ve spent so long building, someone has just plainly disregarded your status – degraded you to the point where they believe that they, that is, people who have never heard you name and couldn’t have the faintest hope of even meeting you “IRL”, will just get up and blindly follow such an azonto. Ei!

Beyond annoyed, you click on the person’s name to discover more about them, not so much for interest’s sake as for curiosity as to what kind of person would be audacious enough to send you such a message.

You grieve when you read their bio. It is just as you feared: a dyslexic, illiterate array of uppercase and lowercase letters that honestly spell out nothing in particular. It is a self-glorifying bio full of things like “am cool,” “am kewt”, “am awesum” or “am jux me,” followed by either a million exclamation marks or a million full stops that murder the dignity of the Ellipsis. Of course, you wonder if it can technically be described as self-glorifying when, in actuality, it is not referring to anyone’s “self”. These phrases have been left starkly subject-less. “Am” does not become “I am” just because Ghanaians pronounce them the same way.

So, a glorifying, dyslexic illiterate with an internet connection has dared to ask you to “kfb.” For the love of all that is good, they don’t even respect you enough to type the request out in full! Who do they think they are? And why do they believe they have the right to assume that you are “kind”?

Now, to look deeply into the intent of the request. Why do they want you to follow back? Do they view you merely as another plus one to their followers count? Is that all they are useful for? Or is it that they believe they deserve to have you follow them, for various reasons unknown. Again, who do they think they are? What value at all do they believe they can add to your Twitter life if you follow them? You needed to personally evaluate yourself, after all, before you offered something you did not have.

You sigh, too far gone to be bothered to do anything else. You continue to scroll down your TL.

Author’s note: this is satire. However, if I directly sent you the link to this blog post, it is very likely that you have tweeted “kfb” at me, and I hereby demand that you list 5 reasons how following you will add value to my life. Otherwise, no plix.

Yours truly,




It’s for the laughs, you see.

This painting can’t be a reflection of me!

I won’t read anymore,

‘Cuz I know what I’ll find:

A piece that’s so funny it’ll blow my mind.

It starts with ‘Once Upon A Time’.

A story of fiction,

Outrageous scenes and impressive diction,

Foolish heroes on a foolish mission.

This author is mad!

These guys have ideas

I would never have had.

I’ve heard of a mirror.

It shows what is real.

But this image is too distorted

To show what I feel.

Comical, even.

Proportions are torn.

If it wasn’t supposed to be funny,

I’d look at it with scorn.

It’s just so outrageous

It couldn’t have been meant

For anything else;

My laughter was its intent.

How dare you get offended

At a work of art?

Shut up and laugh at it,

You old fart.

There’s no need to go on a protest

With banners.

It’s just comedy, darling.

Where are your ‘manners’?


Academic Literature experiences have made me rather weary of what people can do to the art of words when the author is not around to confirm or deny any statements. Some analyses are pretty out of this world, and I’ve wished on multiple occasions that I could just resurrect authors so they can give me – and a few of my teachers – the truth. (Watch out for a story along these lines.)

I’m sure Archibald MacLeish, author of the poem ‘Ars Poetica,’ which I am not exactly a fan of, would disagree with me in my views that words are SUPPOSED to mean something and serve a purpose. No matter what the world thinks, I believe artists have the right to, as much as possible, ensure that the work they create is used for its intended purpose, but more importantly, NOT misused. I’m trying to avoid misinterpretation here. Times have changed. People are different. Leave me alone.

This is a satirical poem about satire called ‘Satire.’ It’s all about the ironic intent, you see. The persona is a person who looks at satire which is meant for the mockery of the society to which he belongs, with blind eyes and denial. It’s about a person who misses the criticizing point of satire entirely and doesn’t understand people who get offended because they don’t know they are part of the society the satire is trying to mock.

The obvious thought here is that this was inspired by the recent Charlie Hebdo shootings. Well, not exactly. It was inspired mostly by Oscar Wilde and his many comedies of manners – hence the pun in the last line. The Charlie case is a different one entirely. I may, however, get into trouble if I give my views on that, though, so maybe a story will be forthcoming. Maybe.