Showing posts from May, 2011

Proverb Monday

Proverb: Dubena ankum εkuro a, εbere ani. Translation: I f the tree bark does not heal a sore, it removes the scab. Usage: Everything has some use, even if it does not live up to expectations. No. 4316 in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al.

An Update of my Stay at Kwamebikrom

Mazaan River  I have been absent from the blogging scene for some days now; though, I do check my twitter accounts once in a while. I am still at Kwamebikrom but have been moving around a lot. I have visited three border towns: Oseikojokrom, Pillar 34 and Ahimakrom. Oseikojokrom is the largest of the border towns, though not as active as Elubo, another of the border towns in the Western Region. We walked across the customs checkpoint. We got as far as Mazaan River. And that's about 100m away from the checkpoint. The major mode of transporting people across the border is the motorbike. And they can speed! Our visit occurred a day after a heavy rainstorm and so we saw collapsed school buildings and uprooted trees. We walked deep into the unofficial routes to Cote d'Ivoire. We also met several of them. There was a guy who was riding his motorbike across the border several times. He carried no passenger for all the four times I saw him move in and out. I discussed it with my col

Proverb Monday

Proverb: Adufupεde nti na aboa kuntanu annya nim. Translation: It's because of greed that the hyena did not achieve respect. Usage: Greedy people are never respected. No. 2106 in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al.

Aminatta Forna Wins Commonwealth Writers Prize Award 2011

After winning the award for Africa Region , Aminatta Forna , author of The Memory of Love , was voted as the overall winner yesterday at a ceremony organised for the winners, in Sydney. Best Book Winner: The Memory of Love  by Aminatta Forna (Sierra Leone). According to the judges: T h e Memory of Love for its risk taking, elegance and breadth. A poignant story about friendship, betrayal, obsession and second chances – the novel is an immensely powerful portrayal of human resilience. The judges concluded that The Memory of Love delicately delves into the courageous lives of those haunted by the indelible effects of Sierra Leone’s past and yet amid that loss gives us a sense of hope and optimism for their future. Forna has produced a bold, deeply moving and accomplished novel which confirms her place among the most talented writers in literature today. About Aminatta Forna:   Aminatta Forna was born in Glasgow, Scotland and raised in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Her first book, The Devil

Proverb Monday

Proverb: Wohunu ananse a, ku no, anyε saa a, ɔbεdane ɔkyεmfo a bεka wo Translation: When you see a spider, kill it; if not it will change into a bird-spider and bite you. Usage: The bird-spider has a poisonous bite. A warning in a situation when one is suspected of being an enemy but has not yet shown oneself up. Don't deal with those you don't trust. No. 2817 in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al.

A Day in the Life of a Kwamebikrom Visitor

Bicycle Transport Motorbike transport Today I bring you a day's life of an inhabitant of Kwamebikrom, a community in the Bia District - 6 km from Essam/Debiso (the district capital) - of the Western Region. Transportation: The usual transport system between Kwamebikrom, where I am staying and Essam - where we go to eat - is taxi (though I went with a pick-up truck). However, most of the inhabitants have motorbikes and bicycles. These two are the most common form of transportation within the community and between towns. Phone-Charging Shop The road leading to the community from Essam is mostly made of laterite. It's fun to drive on with all the 'grrr' sound created when the truck's tires pass on the gravels. Small Scale Enterprise: There are innovative ways inhabitants of this community are employing to generate income. Electrical power went off on Thursday morning and after running-out my laptop's battery I went in search of a place to charge my ba

12th Caine Prize Shortlist

I know this has been long in coming... The shortlist for the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing was been announced on Monday 9 May. The Caine Prize, widely known as the ‘African Booker’ and regarded as Africa’s leading literary award, is now in its twelfth year. The chair of judges, the award-winning Libyan novelist Hisham Matar, said  choosing a shortlist out of nearly 130 entries was not an easy task – one made more difficult and yet more enjoyable by the varied tastes of the judges – but we have arrived at a list of five stories that excel in quality and ambition. Together they represent a portrait of today’s African short story: its wit and intelligence, its concerns and preoccupations.  Selected from 126 entries from 17 African countries, the shortlist is once again a reflection of the Caine  Prize’s pan-African reach.  The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 11 July. The 2011 shortlist comprises:  NoV

Working and Reading from Kwamebikrom in the Bia District of the Western Region, Ghana

Yesterday I travelled to Kwamebikrom to fine-tune my questionnaire and carry-out a research on agricultural intensification in the Bia District, a research that would take me three weeks - minimum - to complete the first phase. Consequently, I would be here - Bia and Juaboso districts - for at least three weeks. Internet connection is not fast but would blog and show pictures whenever possible. As most of you know I work as an Agricultural Economist and it is that which has brought me here. I am having all the fun, breathing in all the fresh air devoid of 'big-town' pollution. It's always enjoyable being close to nature. However, people in this community are eagerly and adopting 'town-life'. The sun is low, the feels like it's going to rain. Bia is home to two forest reserves: the Bia and Krokosue Forest Reserves. More information here . I won't report on easily accessible information, which I possibly might have not seen myself. All my information to you wo

Two Years of Promoting African Literature

I started blogging in September 2008 with the objective of posting my poems for discussion. What I learnt from this is that people found it hard to objectively critique works, thinking that the author would be hurt. Well, what I did was to dedicate the  blog to Haiku . Thinking about it later, I realised that it is too self-serving to post only my poems on the blog. Then on May 11, 2009, I set myself a goal to read only African Writers (fiction and non-fiction) and to promote literary works by Africans. This stems from the fact that most of my readings had been of western, non-African authored books. And it was time to balance the scales. With this goal came my entry into the Ghanaian literary scene. I had been writing for ten years before making this decision, but it was more of working on the periphery, doing my own thing without learning from others or meeting other writers to share ideas and works. However, my first official post on this blog was a poem of mine titled From New Y

80. Searching by Nawal El Saadawi

Title: Searching Author: Nawal El Saadawi Translator: Shirley Eber Original Language: Arabic Genre: Novella/Women Issues/Politics Publisher: Zed Books Pages: 114 Published: 1968 (English, 1991) Country: Egypt For the Africa Reading Challenge Searching, by Nawal El Saadawi, is a story about a woman in search of her vision and purpose in life - for that something she was created to discover - and for his boyfriend who had suddenly disappeared in a politically corrupt, myopic, shambolic and patriarchal state. Fouada is a trained Chemist. She works on nothing at the Ministry of Biochemistry. And this sinecure work is depressing her, pushing her off her vision. Fouada thinks that 'she could not live and die without the world changing at all' but the Ministry is doing nothing to help her contribute or discover something new in terms of laboratory research. Fouada meets Farid 'every Tuesday, at eight in the evening in that small restaurant when the weath

79. The Secret Destiny of America by Manly P. Hall

My penchant for asking questions, for seeking the news behind the news have led me to reading many varied and 'beyond the borders' books. And The Secret Destiny of America  by Manly P. Hall is one of such books, the kind many referred to as Conspiracy Theories. A word created to prevent people from asking questions and seeking answers. Suddenly gone, were the days when seekers of truth and knowledge were called philosophers, like Plato, Socrates, Kant and many others. Today, asking such questions lead to the label 'Conspiracy Theorists'. Where there are no conspiracies there would be no theories to formulate. In fact, I have had friends questioned my objectivity in criticising that which sound illogical to me. In my language we say that the person who loves you is the one that criticises you the most.  At least the import of this is quite clear. Why shouldn't I question why rebels in Libya were able to set up a Central Bank just before the uprising? why shouldn&#

Proverb Monday

Proverb: Wonnim owuo a, hwε nna. Translation: If you don't know death, then look at sleep. Usage: If you can't see the original, then you can at least study something similar. Usually this is said to people who are taking early signs of bad events lightly. No. 4386 in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al.  _____________________ Caveat: texts in red are my own explanation.

Love, MadaGhana, A New Poetry Anthology by Crystal Tettey

The literary scene in Ghana is currently buzzing. Usually, one expects the older generation to lead the way but in their absence, in their inability to point the way or nurture the younger generation, the latter has taken the stage by thrust, redefining literature in their own unique way. A new and fantastic collection of poetry,  Love, MadaGhana by Crystal Tettey ,  has just been published and launched. In this collection, t he artist pays homage to the rich heritages of her double origins: Madagascar and Ghana, hence the title  Love, MadaGhana . The book aims at celebrating diversity via Madagascar and Ghana.  Love, MadaGhana  is full of imagery that inspires, elevates and colours the imagination.  The launch took place on Friday, April 29 2011  at the  Highgate Hotel  in Accra, Ghana About the Poet:  Crystal Fanantenana Ranaivo-Tettey is a member of  EhaLaKasa ; a group of Spoken Word artists whose emphasis is on performing Poetry for positive social transformation.  Sh

Quotes for Friday from Manly P. Hall's The Secret Destiny of America

I would be reviewing this book over the weekend. Manly P. Hall writes about the influence of Secret Societies on the rise of America and the destiny that America has in the wider scheme of things. Himself a Mason, Manly writes with the conviction of one who knows and not just knows but deeply knows. He minces no words. Competition is natural to the ignorant; and cooperation is natural to the wise. Obeying the pattern established by the gods, the divine kings bound themselves into the common league to obey its laws, preserve peace, and punish any whose ambition might impel them to tyranny or conquest. (Page 44) Wise men are naturally endowed with the qualities of rulership, but they have had little if any voice in the rulership of the world; their voices have been heard only after the men themselves were dead. Plato lives thus today, and his words have a greater vitality in this century than they did in his time in ancient Athens. (Page 50) We cannot hope to build a nobil

dry earth

dry earth*   the shriveled life line   of a worm _____________________ *Published in Frogpond 32:2 Spring/Summer edition 2009.  I keep a Haiku blog here. Visit me there if you are interested in Haiku.

78. Fela, This Bitch of a Life by Carlos Moore

Title: Fela, This Bitch of a Life Author: Carlos Moore Genre: Biography Publisher: Cassava Republic Pages: 343 Year of Publication: 1982 (this edition, 2010) Country: Nigeria (of Subject), Cuba (of author) Fela, This Bitch of a Life is a biographical autobiography of one of Africa's most talented, philosophical and no-nonsense musician, Fela Ransome-Kuti (later Fela Anikulapo-Kuti or simply Fela Kuti) - a musical genius whose music ring true today as it did during their time of composition. Biographical in the sense that the author is Carlos Moore and autobiographical because Fela speaks in the first person, I. Written in the first person - in the speech of Fela - Carlos Moore, a man who himself had been exiled from his country by criticising the government's race policies, treats us to a deeper, fractal, ever-controversial, sometimes contradictory mind of Fela. Fela, during the period when his life was at risk from the governments of Nigeria, called upon M

Proverb Monday

Proverb: Adeε hia ɔdεnkyεm a, ɔdidi nsuo mu na ɔnnidi kwaeε mu. Translation: When the crocodile is hard-pressed, it eats in the water and not in the forest. Usage: However difficult the conditions are you don't act beyond your domain. No. 1734 in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al.

The Great Novel: Should Writers Quest for it?

Most writers are always known for a particular book no matter the number of books they write. So when we mention George Orwell, we think of 1984 (and sometimes Animal Farm), when Chinua Achebe is mentioned everybody thinks of Things Fall Apart (even though I believe Arrow of God , the last of the African Trilogy, is his best novel), When Chimamanda is mentioned, the novel is Half of a Yellow Sun . Alan Paton , though wrote several books, is known basically for Cry, the Beloved Country . Whenever a writer's first book happens to be accepted by the critics as a great book, it is almost always the case that the writer is unable to match this earlier success. It is in the quest to better Catch-22 , that Heller wrote the Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man, describing his frustrations* in an attempt to achieve the success that Catch-22 brought. However, some writers like Jonathan Franzen has achieved this feat. His second novel, Freedom , has followed the success of Corrections.  I