Fiction: Lingerings by Ama Akuamoah

 

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Ama Akuamoah

Kesewa peeped through the trap door again at the man lying on her bed, eyes closed in a cocktail of pain and exhaustion. After all these years and now Yaw Adjei is alive and 2 feet away from her touch. The ramblings of the thunder brought her back to the present as she made a mad dash for Aunty’s room. Her innate fear of thunder and lightning was as old as time and even in adulthood this fear plagued her.

“Our elders say a strong wind heralds a mighty event. l wonder what news they are bringing us this time.” Aunty murmured as the curtains flapped furiously. She looked absentmindedly at the TV. Her room had the air of comfort etched into its walls. The single chair positioned adjacent to the bed ensured whoever walked in and chose to sit down had to look right into her eyes. Perched on the edge of the bed, until a gust of wind startled her, Aunty walked gingerly to the window and closed it gently as the wind sprayed rain into the room.

This room, with its four rickety items- wardrobe, TV, bed and chair – was the unofficial seat of government in the household. Being summoned there could mean anything. It was always the meeting space for all feuds and celebrations alike. All announcements and decrees emanated from her here and in her usual style, long and winding-, but eventually the decree was passed. And if it was gossip, she repeated the now famous lines, “If the person who told me this was lying then l am also lying.”

“Kesewaa,” Aunty whispered, “How is your friend, when was the last you say you saw him again?” The gushing afternoon torrent made it almost impossible to hear. “About two years ago,” Kesewa retorted drearily, hoping that will deter Aunty from asking more questions she did not have the answers to.

Author’s Bio

Ama Akuamoah is a lover of words. She lives vicariously through the characters she reads and writes about. When she’s not hopscotching around continents, she’s people watching and sourcing personalities for her next story. Read more of her work on her website: www.amaakuamoah.com . She is on twitter and instagram as @amaakuamoah

 

Works From Gird Writing Camp 2016: “Secret Ceremonials” By Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo

 

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This week’s featured piece from Gird Writing Camp 2016 is a short story by Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo. Maame attended the Fiction Workshop with Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo and Dr. Martin Egblewogbe. And now, to Maame’s Secret Ceremonials.

 

Secret Ceremonials

By Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo

Seffy, we did cartwheels in your honour.

We sat for a long, silent moment after the solemn service was over with our fingers intertwined, a chain of misty-eyed, sixteen-year-old girls, unable to look away from the pile of fresh dirt. We couldn’t leave you just yet. We couldn’t move. So we sat there in those ridiculously uncomfortable plastic chairs and tried to find some trace of you somewhere, some sign that you were somewhere better, somewhere other than 6 feet deep in the earth.
___ Linda stood up first. She slipped her feet out of her shoes, raised her hands to the dying sun and turned her first perfect circle. We didn’t need any more prompting than that. One by one, we left a cluster of discarded high heels underneath the lone canopy and followed suit. We turned and turned and turned, repeating the dizzying circles until the entire cemetery was covered by darkness and we could barely tell the difference between the sky above and the ground below.
___ We collapsed in an inelegant heap next to a crumbling headstone rows away from where we’d started and waited for the world around us to settle. We laughed then, and in the near-hysterical sound of it I heard the endless patter of our six-year-old feet against the ground of the hopscotch court, the shushed tones of our ten-year-old voices over phone lines during group conversations long past our bedtimes and the thick sounds we made as we tried to speak around the lumps in our throats moments ago, reading out our wholly inadequate words to a mourning crowd, trying to show them all that you were – all that you would always be – to us. We swore we could all hear you in the whistling of the wind and something about the hollowness of that sound dissolved our laughter into tears.
___ We’re a little bit older now, all of us somewhere around 22, and even though it feels like almost everything has changed. One thing hasn’t. Our form isn’t quite as perfect and we don’t do it for quite as long as we used to but we’ve never stopped. Every year ends in cartwheels and laughter and your spirit calling to us on the wind.

 

About Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo:

maampictureCurrently a teaching assistant at the English Department of the University of Ghana, Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo was born in London and raised in Accra. She is the last of seven children and a member of a remarkably large extended family. Her childhood was characterized by a love of the written word and a need to consume as much reading material as possible. Her work is informed by her lived experiences and the literary pieces that she herself has read and loved. She hopes to continue in her growth and development as a writer and an appreciator of literature.

WORKS FROM GIRD WRITING CAMP 2016: “BABOON BLUES” BY NANA AKOSUA HANSON

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We bring you more featured work from participants of Gird Writing Camp 2016. Today, we have a short story from Nana Akosua Hanson. This work of fiction was written at the Fiction Workshop with Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo and Dr. Martin Egblewogbe.

BABOON BLUES

We bathed in the sun, near the glistening pool. It was a sunny, dusty afternoon in Mole National Park spent with the baboons, hogs and the over-promised elephants, which were the main attraction.

A bottle of chilled Star beer was at my elbow, winking at the sun from time to time and shedding tears unto the red and white chequered tablecloth. The Love of my Life lay with his head on my laps, lazily daydreaming, his eyes half closed in a dream behind his sunglasses. We were the only Ghanaians, and black people for that matter. There was a medley of British, Swiss, Dutch, and French skins, the harmonious cacophony of their different tongues hinted at a Tower of Babel. As I watched three French girls and a guy jump into the pool, chattering away in accents my Togolese French teacher in high school could only dream to have, I felt like I was in a page of a very old French storybook about the wealthy French aristocracy and their summer revels.

I took a sip of my refreshingly chilled beer, rolling it around on my tongue for a bit to squeeze out all its sweet juices before swallowing, and wondered at my boredom.

We had paid an arm and a leg, and then some to experience ‘a historical animal reserve like never before’ just to find that it was only a club for the holiday-ing expats who wished to discover ‘Africa’. I wondered at my place. I wondered at my role in this discovery of ‘Africa’. Was I also an interesting, ‘exotic’ specie to be observed and scrutinized? Was my holidaying African self which was currently covered in dust and the kisses of recent lovemaking another interesting sideshow? From the poor naked African children, to the holidaying, dusty African. I heard somewhere that tours were running in a nearby village, ‘to give you a taste of how the locals live’. What role would I be playing, my Ghanaian self walking through a Ghanaian village square with a camera, taking a tour into people’s lives for an exorbitant price of $80? Am I the monkey in the cage observing being observed? Or am I the pet monkey out of the cage observing my observed caged brothers and sisters.

‘To give you a taste of how the locals live’.

A group of beautiful half-naked girls danced into the village square, as is routine with the visitation of so many white faces and strange tongues that spoke big pockets, and treated us with a vigorous shaking of arms and feet and waists and quite a lot of yodelling. For $80 dollars per person it had to be the perfect pitch and nothing less. The money was given to the development of the village that saw no development because, it had to remain a village to make more money out of these tourists. One of those dusty crooks, an inhabitant too, with crooked teeth, eager to sell his sister for the quick buck, grinned at me and said, ‘We can show you more things, madam, so many, many more things. The villagers life happy.’

What was my role in this stream of consciousness a mystery writer writes lazily in the sky? What was the spectacle? Was I the spectacle? Were they the spectacle? Two dark Ghanaians mottled the cream white background of ‘Africa discoverers’.  Was I the dusty tourist looking to find a much more intriguing story than myself?  Or was I the monkey who mistook herself for a tourist and then toured with tourists too benevolent to tell me my truth to my face? Or was I the monkey who was the sideshow and knew she was the sideshow?

I gulped down the contents of my glass and poured a refill. Droplets of water dripped onto the Love of my Life’s eyebrows but he made no move. He was asleep now. Lucky him.

A big baboon skulked by, his shiny red buttocks hanging in the air with a foolhardy pride. Did baboons feel the silliest of all the primates having their innards hung out for all to see? I think not. They had this conviction with their buttocks, as though telling you ‘that’s the way it should be. Hang that ass for all to see. How silly you are to hide it in clothes’. And silly I did feel sometimes. Maybe I should title my next blog piece ‘Baboon Blues’ and I would question what gave me the conviction that I was a higher class of animal than the baboon.

I watched the baboon intently as it walked towards a group of baboons on the outskirts of the pool area, who in turn watched us intently – the human baboons with their buttocks in swimming trunks. And I wondered again, what the true spectacle was, who the true spectacle was. The humans or the baboon? The Ghanaians or the holidaying expats? The villagers or the tourists?

By the way, where were those damned elephants they promised?

 

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AKOSUA’S BIO: Nana Akosua Hanson is a writer, an actress and an activist who believes in the power of art and artistic expression in changing the world.

10 Ghanaian Writers Who Write For Children

If you have ever lost yourself in the magical world of children’s literature, you will admit, first of all, that children’s literature is a special kind of literary work. You will also wish that there were more Ghanaian writers who write dreams into realities for children and young adults.

It is tempting to think that children’s literature is easy work. After all, who couldn’t come up with stories to entertain impressionable little minds? However, the reality is that writing for children is real work that requires a lot of creativity and skill. We’ve put together a list of ten Ghanaian writers who have put their creativity and skill to work to create beautiful stories for children.

 

 

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1.       Meshack Asare– Meshack Asare was born in Ghana; he taught in Ghana for a while and currently resides in Germany. Meshack Asare’s works as a writer of children’s literature has received international acclaim.  On 24th October, 2014, Meshack won the prestigious Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature becoming the first African to receive the award. Some of his works include The Brassman’s Secret, Noma’s Sand: A Tale from Lesotho, Meliga’s Day Nana’s Son, Sosu’s Call and The Magic Goat.

 

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2.       Ruby Yayra Goka – Ruby is a dentist and a multiple award-winning Ghanaian writer. In the 2010 and 2011 competitions of the Burt Award for African Literature, two of her works The Mystery of the Haunted House, and The Lost Royal Treasure won the third and second prizes, respectively. Some of her books for children include The Step Monster, When The Shackles Fell, and A Gift for Fafa. Ruby doesn’t only write for children, but also for an adult readership. Her books, In the Middle of Nowhere and Disfigured, have been published by Kwadwoan Publishing in Accra.

 

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3.       Sami Gyekye – Is a United States based writer who was born in Ghana to a Muslim mother and a Christian father. His works reflect his exposure to different religious and cultural values. The premise for his first book, South: Halo’s Journey was drawn from having spent half his life in Africa and the other half in his current residence in the United States. Since then, he has published six other books including, Whatzis and the Beyond series. He tweets often using the handle, @RecklessWeasel.

 

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4.       Malaka Grant– Malaka Grant is a Ghanaian-American writer. She not only writes children’s literature, she writes fiction for adults as well as non-fiction. Some of Malaka’s works for children are Yaa Traps Death in a Basket, which was published in 2015 and Sally and The Butterfly. Sally and The Butterfly is a ‘choose your own adventure book’ where readers go on adventures through lands unknown, and are invited to be partners in saving their world.

           

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5.       Franka Maria Andoh – Franka was born in Accra in 1968. Her first short story was published in the Caine African Writers Anthology ‘Work in Progress and Other Stories’. In 2011 she published two children’s stories Koku the Cockerel and Dokono the Donkey. She was recently awarded a grant by the Ghana Denmark Cultural Fund to publish her collection of short stories I Have Time and Other Short Stories. Franka is the founder and Editor in Chief of an annual magazine for women entrepreneurs called AWE.

 

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6.       Elizabeth Irene Baitie – Elizabeth is Ghanaian and an acclaimed writer of literature for young adults. Elizabeth writes for preteens as well as older teenagers. She visits schools and has worked with organisations like the Young Educators Foundation to promote reading. Two of Elizabeth’s works has won the Burt Award twice; The Twelfth Heart in 2009 and The Dorm Challenge in 2012.

 

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7.       Roberta Turkson – Roberta Turkson writes under the pen name Robbie Ajjuah Fantini. Robbie released her debut collection of poems titled Talking Robbish in 2014. Her second book, The Children of Abuta Village is a folktale styled children’s reader.  She has just completed another book for children, The Forbidden Fruit, which will be available on her website; robertaturkson.com in a few weeks. Robbie can be found on facebook and twitter at @talkingrobbish

 

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8.       Ama Ata Aidoo – With a writing career spanning over five decades, Ama Ata Aidoo is no new name to readers. What isn’t so well known is that aside her plays, novels and poetry, Ama Ata Aidoo has written stories for children. Her collection of stories for children, The Eagle and the Chickens and Other Stories, was originally published in 1986 by Tana Press. More recently Smartline Publishers released her children’s title, The Days, inspired by her poem which bears the same name.

 

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9.       Adwoa Badoe – Adwoa Badoe is a Ghanaian writer and storyteller, based in Guelph, Ontario. Adwoa writes children’s literature and literature for young adults. Some of her works include Crabs for Dinner which was published in 1995, The Queen’s New Shoes, The Pot of Wisdom and Aluta, a novel for young adults.

 

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10.   Mamle Wolo – Mamle Wolo is the pen name of Martina Odonkor, a writer of Ghanaian and German ancestry. She has also written stories for adults under the name Mamle Kabu. Mamle’s work for young adults, The Kaya Girl, won the Burt Award in 2011. The Burt Award recognises excellence in fiction for children and young adults.

TEN CONTEMPORARY GHANAIAN FICTION WRITERS YOU SHOULD HAVE READ BY NOW

In a fair world, some marvelously talented contemporary Ghanaian writers ought to be at the top of the bestseller list not only in Africa, but across the globe. Africa’s literary scene is evolving as newer voices are finding and creating their niche besides already established writers like Soyinka, Armah, Head, Nwapa and Aidoo, to name only but a few.

Gird Center brings you a list of ten contemporary Ghanaian writers whose works you should have read by now. Are you looking for memorable stories and books to read? You can find them by Ghanaian authors who write with untold brilliance and vibrancy. The one thing you cannot do is to repeat the cliché that there aren’t enough Ghanaian writers, or books. We hope you find something you like from the writers listed below.

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Martin Egblewogble: Martin Egblewogble is one of the finest of Ghana’s new generation of writers.  He is the author a collection of short stories, “Mr. Happy and The Hammer of God”. Martin also is the co-founder and a Director of the Writers Project of Ghana. “The stories in Martin Egblewogbe’s Mr Happy And The Hammer Of God are sly and ingenious. Readers will discover a fresh and new voice in this powerful collection of stories,” says Laban Carrick Hill, the 2004 US National Book Award Finalist and author of HARLEM STOMP! In The Gonjon Pin, the titular story for The Caine Prize Anthology for African Writing 2014, Martin captures the reader’s attention with his way with words and excellent sense of humour. Martin is able get into reader’s mind. His exploration of the psyche and the self will cause you to doubt all you ever believed, and to believe all you ever doubted.

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Yaa Gyasi– Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, “Homegoing”, sold for at least $1 million; it was informed by her own journey as a Ghanaian-American. In July 2016, “Homegoing” made the list for the 2016 Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Here are a few quotes from reviews of Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing”.

“Homegoing will break your heart over and over…and leave you optimistic and in awe,” Nichole Solga McCown in the American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next List.

“Finished Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing  yesterday. Thought it was a monster when I started. Felt it was a monster when I was done.” Ta-Nehisi Coates National Book Award-winner on race in the U.S., “Between the World and Me,”

Now who wouldn’t want to read a book that is capable of breaking one’s heart?
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Franka Maria Andoh– Franka is a multifaceted artist; she is an entrepreneur, editor, writer and the owner of a popular coffee shop, Cuppa Cappuccino in Accra. Though her name isn’t as well-known as it deserves, Franka has gained quite a recognition for her work. She was selected to partake in the British Council’s Crossing Borders program for African writers.  Additionally, her short story “Mansa” has been published in the Caine Prize for African Writing 2009 edition.  In 2011, her two children’s stories “Koku the Cockerel” and “Dokono the Donkey” were well received both locally and abroad.  Franka’s collection of short stories, “I Have Time and Other Stories” was published 2014. Franka is the founder and Editor in Chief of an annual magazine for women entrepreneurs called AWE.
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Mamle Kabu– Mamle Kabu is a Ghanaian writer of German descent.  Her stories have been published in several anthologies and magazines. In 2009, her short story “The End of Skill” was shortlisted for the 2009 Caine Prize. Her other works “Human Mathematics” and “Story of Faith” have been anthologized across Africa, the U.S. and the UK.  She is an associate director of the Writers Project of Ghana. Mamle is the author of the young adult novel “The Kaya-Girl” (2012); she is currently working on her first novel.

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Mawuli Adjei- Mawuli Adjei is a British Chevening Fellow. Currently, he is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of English, University of Ghana, Legon, where he teaches African Literature, Creative Writing, and other courses. Mawuli has four publications to his credit: the novels “The Jewel of Kabibi”, “The Witch Of Lagbati” “Taboo” and the poetry collection Testament of the Seasons. He is currently working on a third novel, “Unchained”.

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Nana Nyarko Boateng– Nana Nyarko Boateng is a Writer, a Poet and an Editor. She is also a hermit extraordinaire who hates to talk about her work. Yet, Nana is madly passionate about the cause of literature and the arts. She set up Gird Center, a Writing, Editorial, and Training Services Company based in Accra to support writing and writers. In 2012, her short story “Small Poles” appeared in “Summoning The Rain,” a Femrite Anthology.  You can also read her short story “Swallowing Ice” in the 2015 Caine prize for African Writing anthology, Lukaska Punk.  Nana’s unique ability to discomfort the reader in the realities she unveils in fiction is gripping.

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Elizabeth Irene Baitie– Elizabeth Irene Baitie is a true definition of an award-winning writer. Elizabeth has won the Burt Award twice; in 2009 for her novel “The Twelfth Heart” and in 2012 for The “Dorm Challenge.” In 2002, her novel, “Lea’s Christma”, was short-listed for the Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa (Senior readers). Four years later, her story, “A Saint in Brown Sandals”, won the Macmillan Prize for Africa (Junior readers). She is a clinical biochemist and runs a medical laboratory practice in Adabraka, Accra.

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Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond– Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of “Powder Necklace”, which Publishers Weekly called “a winning debut”. She was shortlisted for a 2014 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. She has contributed commentary on everything from Michelle Obama’s role in the US President’s campaign to Nelson Mandela’s legacy on various Media Outlets. She is currently at work on her next novel. Keep up with Nana Brew-Hammond on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Sharlene Apples-Ghanaian-born, Sharlene Apples is an energy consultant, social-political commentator, makeup artist and writer who lives in London. Sharlene, author of “TOWGA-The One Who Got Away” in her debut erotica novel, tells a story the Ghanaian society would like to deny and pretend doesn’t exist. The protagonist of TOWGA is unafraid of her sexuality and proudly identifies as bi-sexual. We love Sharlene, if not for anything, for her bravery.

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Christine Botchway – Christine Botchway is of Ghanaian and West Indian ancestry. A dentist by profession, Christine writes poetry, plays and songs in her spare time. Her first novel, Spears Down, one of the finest yet widely unknown African novels, was published by Macmillan Pacesetters in 1988. Other books by Christine Botchway are “Where Children Play”, “The African Teapot”,  “The Dream Called September”, “The Jasmine Candle”and “Friends Of The Forest”.

~WHAT IT REALLY FEELS LIKE~BY AMMISHADDAI OFORI

 

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He announced with a gleaming trace of self-accomplishment in his eyes. It was in the way he said it. It was in the way he always said it. As though announcing a new personality. The one that always surfaced after 3 successful drags.

It was the way he knew that he knew. The way he was suddenly aware of the full extent his knowledge and his encompassing understanding of all things. He was aware that his god-like features were heightened. That he could understand all, know all and be all.

Even the pride in him was known. He could see its colors and he basked in it. It was the high pride. High pride was justified. He knew he was entitled to his self-worship; as long as he was on an elevated platform other humans, devoid of THC, couldn’t attain.

‘I am high’.

That statement would introduce new conversations and different worldviews mostly centered around his opinions. He would talk for minutes about himself, what he thought was wrong with the world, his solutions for mankind, what he really thought of his companions, et cetera. The list was endless. He was endless. He was an exploded version of his thorough self.

It would also boost his already voracious appetite for tasties and sex. And he had to have them in the moment. Delayed gratification would be senseless. Nature’s gift to mankind required him to indulge in what would only last for a few hours and they were infinite; too many things in the world to do before that time passed. His hormones and neurotransmitters were calling the shots on pleasure and satisfaction. And he had no reason to disobey.

The fact that he needed help from foliage to get to this state never crossed his mind. Nor did he explore that section of his thoughts. All his elevated knowledge was dependent on an overlooked classification of plant so cheap they could be bought for less than the price of his socks. That was what was so great about it anyway: the ability to buy pleasure for less. It always made him question why induced euphoria had to be illegal.

 

‘I am high’

A confirmation of his absolute dependence on himself to rule over the circumstances of his life. He was definite he was in charge. No external or internal forces could upset his balance. In this state of chemical intoxication, the only law of the universe was himself. No need to follow all the many rules of men who in themselves were just as flawed as he was, but were denying their weaknesses just so they could save the clay moulds they wore over their heads.

At least he was being real. Admitting that he was a broken shell of everything he had been told he could accomplish. The same society pretending to be perfect was making hard this easier path. So hard in fact, he needed to escape from them. And he needed help escaping without feeling any shame. Because beyond that shame was a state reached by a minority only he could relate with.

His only challenge now was keeping that state without needing to need. The more he needed to need, the less successful he was at staying uninhibited. A High he would know. He had tried too many ways to let the effects last. What if he was finally able to make that state last? What if he stayed in that state for so long he never to come back to earth to relate with the mortals? That was too risky. That was what those people called lunacy. And he wasn’t ready to be called a lunatic yet.

‘I am high’

He said it every time to confirm one of the few states he was sure of. There was no longer a need to know who he was in that state. What he was, who he was, was high and that was all that mattered. There was too much pressure from himself to be more significant than he already was. To be a better boyfriend, friend, co-worker, church member, son, brother, law-abiding citizen, intellectual, creative, life of the party, the list seemed to be endless and he always felt like he could never be enough.

 

At least when he was high, he was on top of the world. Above every description he had to check off the list to be a human being.

 

 

IMG-20160817-WA0005Ammishaddai Ofori is a tech entrepreneur,writer and spoken word artist. He is currently co-founder and content Manager of Flippy Campus, a social media app for Ghanaian tertiary schools. He is part of the Singers and Speakers Association SASA– a creative group that seeks to inspire the world through art, poetry and music. Ammishaddai’s Twitter handle is @Qubammish@Qubammish.

 

Of Warriors Who Once Upon a Time, Came Upon a Witch

 

akuamoahThey had been travelling for days after a loosing war; had seen brothers slashed to pieces by the enemies sword, impaled on sticks for vultures to devour, cowards! They had been chased out, like dogs from the battlefront.

And so they walked in silence, hungry but too ashamed to ask for food, thirsty, but no one dared speak, walking, limping in pain, the ache of the soles of their feet,

when the witch came upon them.

Gentlemen, warriors, the clouds turned dark as the night in a rush, it thundered and flashed, the warriors came to a halt.

And she sat there, under the oak tree with a smile, Hair gray as the ash of firewood after ananse has gone to sleep, skin as wrinkled as the cracks on a harmattan floor, a cloth draped around her frame, she turned and she spoke, gentlemen, warriors, her voice creaked, raspy, it shook.

You have lost your battle, I see you forlorn at the shame, I make you a preposition, should you be willing to bargain. Take you to the past, I will order time in reverse, you will know what you did not, you will be stronger in your front.

The warriors were quick to decide, they agreed but at a cost, no matter the outcome of the battle they would give her one of them. Atoanika the brave was quick to offer himself, brothers let her take me, for the good of the clan, there was murmuring but in the end they knew, they were all cowards, it was he who had only run when pulled away. Atoanika was the bravest of heart.

Time swirled, the wind blew back, they found themselves whisked away only to be back with their brothers in a chant, marching on to a battle which they had not so long ago just lost.

And so it came that there was the clinging of swords and the racing of hearts, the battle was won but something had gone amiss, something had happened that no one of them could have foreseen; Atoanika had fallen in battle, Atoanika was dead.

The warriors went on as they had before, only a few of them knowing what lay ahead beneath the oak. There were loud chants, dancing and merry making, closer and closer they approached their joint promise that only a few of had actually made.

Those who knew stayed behind in silence, afraid of what was to come. Soon they were upon her, the old witch sat still under the tree.

Gentlemen, warriors, the clouds turned dark as the night in a rush, it thundered and flashed, the warriors came to a halt.

A promise was made me not too long ago, I see you celebrate, where is Atoanika my love? I long for his embrace, as you are victorious he is mine, Let him come to me, let him come to me now.

She turned her head, a knowing smile on her face….

Now in times of old, when men could speak with beasts, when a devils bargain was set it came at but one cost, to deliver on the promise made while in need. It was that you pay up or Sasabonsam Kraman, hounds of the king of demons came to collect, your soul, captured, dragged to the abyss.

And while they stood, the old witch began to laugh, and then the original who knew jumped to bush, running, screaming, pleading for their lives. The snarls of canines rang clear into the night.

listen and you could hear teeth sinking into flesh.The devils bargain had been met.

Sansa Kroma
Ne na awuo
ɔkye kye nkokɔmba
ɔse ɔnnkɔ ye edwuma
Ne na awuo
ɔkye kye nkokɔmba

 

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Alvin Akuamuah is a writer who likes to jab at intuition.He writes with all of his feelings, and invokes the ghost of his grandfather. You can follow him on Twitter @Alvin_wal_crawl. You can also visit his blog:  https://anansesemsesewu.wordpress.com for more of his work.

Classical Guitar – 1 ~ by Amma Konadu

The first thing anyone noticed whenever he entered through that solid oak door was the scar that ran from right below the corner of his left eye, down across his cheek, ending right underneath that side of his jaw. It was like a tiny gutter specially made for his tears. But I heard he never cried. I’d stand transfixed among the tables I waited, looking at him settle down on his seat with his caramel classical guitar. Then he’d lift his eyes, and everyone forgot the scar. Those eyes…dark, deep, warm, carried smiles that told you he had to learn to carry on in spite of what life had dished out for him.

I had watched him for months…2 and a day, precisely; ever since he got that gig at the restaurant I worked at. Every weekday he was there. He’d settle, tune the stringed beauty, look up, pass his sharp gaze over everyone, and smile; a dimple interrupting the seamless scar – shockingly enrapturing. Then he’d strum, then hum, strum, then sing…and all night as he played one soothing piece after another, singing sometimes, or not, I’d be sailing round the tables, half there, partly elsewhere.

Everything about him seeped into me, leaving me drugged – dazed all the weeks he had been coming over. He’d finish and step into the kitchen, offer to help us clean but ended up playing us a few of his own songs; those he deemed not good enough for those bourgie diners he played for almost every night. He made us laugh – I laughed the hardest sometimes…other times the pain shot without warning through me, reminding me…and I’d wince, turn away to the dishes, and immerse myself in the suds.

The other guys were curious too. The girls especially. They’d ask him questions he answered freely, and piece after piece fell in place, adding to the pieces I had already gathered. His hands poised on the strings and how he worked them with fingers that had known the hard life; gently…reminded me of similar hands that handled a girl as tenderly as he did his classical guitar. His eyes, flitting open, then shut, then open; his lips, very much like mine, balancing teasing smiles all throughout his performances…he’d lift his head high, and work the strings with speed and ease sometimes, the crowd erupted in generous applause, and my heart bled with memories of such excellence carrying me, filling my head, merging with my child heart once upon a time.

His answers sent me back to 16, sent me back to crazy, sent me back to illicit engagements and gripping fear. Back to dark rooms and hushed voices; frenzied limbs and too little time. Back to oohs and aahs, and ‘oh please don’t leave me now, wait, wait till dawn’. To wet, sticky tissue paper left behind and sweet tingling in young thighs…

To disappearances, and guilty tears…

A bulging tummy and numerous lies…

A tiny bundle of golden brown and soft cries…

A child leaving a scar on a child because it was all she could think of to do…

A sorry basket and a long walk up that road, to that door….

A heart-wrenching delivery….

A back turned and feet running as fast as they could.

Back….back to all that pain and as I stared that night I knew it was time. He started the very tune that had captured me 23 too damn long years ago;

Me – – –

Ray – – –

Doe – – –

Tea – – –

La – – –

Sew – – –

La – – –

Tea – – –

And as I felt myself break down right there in the middle of the softly-lit restaurant, I weighed the words in my mouth;

My Son! Oh my sweet little boy!

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Amma Konadu

 

Life After ~ by Shefi Nelson

She could hear voices. There were too many people in the house. Her grandmother poked her head through the door and smiled. She walked in, picked up a brush and sat by the bed. “Theodosia, you need to get up. We leave in less than two hours and we can’t afford to be late.” With her eyes closed, Thea sat up as her grandmother brushed her long hair. It was naturally made of three glorious colors. The roots were a dense color of black coal, the middle had a russet color and finished off with sunset tips. Thea’s hair was so beautiful; her immediate family would spend hours brushing it in turns.

Today, she cared less about her hair, or what her grandmother would turn it into. She impatiently waited for it to be braided and walked to the bathroom. Her chest was clogged but she dared not cry; at least not today. She shut the door and started to bathe. The water brought tears to her eyes and she quickly turned off the shower, grabbed her purple towel and walked into the room naked. Her grandmother was waiting. Thea was eighteen years and yet, she warmly let go as her grandmother took the towel to wipe her body. They both sat facing each other as Thea raised her feet up to be wiped. Her grandmother started with her little toe and stopped to say, “You know how much your father…” Thea quickly stood up and cut her off. “Grams, please! I’ll take it up from here. You should go!” The old woman slowly made her way to the door and left.

Within seconds, Thea had locked the door and put on her underwear. Tears filled her eyes as she managed to take her dress off the hanger. She had always wanted a little black dress but certainly not for this purpose. She slowly made her way into the dress. For the first time, she felt so girly and yet, everything felt terribly wrong. She started to cry as she looked into the full length mirror. She thought about him and how he would have impulsively complained about the dress being too tight. Her clothes were just the right fit and yet, the opposite was what he always said. She smiled as she imagined him walking around her, looking for a hemline that could be released. She could feel her chest clogging and she struggled to focus on the dress. It was her mother’s Vera Wang. Sleeveless and form-fitting, it ended just above her knees. The top half was made entirely of black lace that went down diagonally from her left shoulder to just above her right breast. The skirt was beautifully plaited with a belt that drastically reduced the girth of her waist.

Thea quickly crossed over to her dresser, as she heard her grandmother call for her to get ready. She brought out her make-up set, held her hair into a perfect bun and started on her tear-stained face. She moisturized her face with a foundation primer to plump up her skin and filled in the fine lines and large pores. She added a sweep of bronzer before adding a bit of powder to prevent her skin from appearing too shinny.

Theodosia never forgot the importance of her eyebrows in making her face pop. She brushed her brows with an old toothbrush and tweezed the strayed hairs. Thea went on to fill in sparse spots with a brow pencil and a soft eyeshadow that matched her brow color. Moving onto her eyes, she thought of mascara with a swipe of powder on her lids to keep the grease at bay and to even out her skin tone. Instead, she applied eyeliner, setting it over the shadow for a heavier look. She set the make-up powder to keep the shadow from melting into her eye crease. She finished up her eyes by curling her long lashes and applying thick black mascara.

He would have gone crazy! They would have argued until she had wiped off the make-up from most parts of her face. He had never really understood the concept of wearing make-up. She could literally hear him going on and on about how make-up was meant for people who were troubled or had something to hide and frankly, she was beyond troubled and had so much bottled up. She picked up her mahogany red lipstick and smeared three and two coats to her lower and upper lips.

Thea applied enough perfume, released her hair, stepped into her surprisingly comfortable black pumps and walked out of the door. Everyone was waiting downstairs. Everyone but him! Her brother held out his hand as she walked up to him. He kissed her cheeks and whispered, “He would have said you looked stunning. You were always his perfect little baby.” She sent everyone laughing as she chuckled and replied, “No Jeremy, he would have said the makeup was way too much and sent me right back to clean up.”

Her mother signalled for them to get going. It had been two weeks and she had already lost so much weight. In the days that followed after the news came, she had begged her mother to eat. She would begin with a small bite and burst out in tears. Thea had given up and was grateful when her grandmother moved in.

The church was a few minutes away and the moment Thea had been dreading came faster than she had hoped. There were family and friends already seated as she entered the church with her mother, brother, sisters and grandmother. They were almost at the front when her brother caught her mother in his arms.  Her mother, seeing his body stretched out in an open coffin, lost the strength in her knees.

Thea stood there as her family passed to their seats. She gathered the courage to look at him. Her father, her entire world was stretched out in that coffin, right in front of her. He never drank, he smoked nothing his entire life and yet, he had battled with lung cancer. The doctors had said he had two and a half years but in six months, her father was no more.

She wanted him to get up and wipe her make-up off. She wanted him to get up and laugh so hard at her silly mannerisms. She wanted him to get up and be alive, and be the father he had always been. She felt her brother’s touch and followed him to her seat. Father Jacob approached the pulpit and started the service. There were tears from everyone but her. That was the whole point of making up. She couldn’t break down, not yet and definitely not here!

They sang for several minutes because that was all he had loved to do. He would sing to them when they were happy, excited, sad or troubled. He had bought her a musical set for her tenth birthday and they had become best friends ever since. She would stay up late waiting for him to walk through the door just so they could sing half the night away. She had loved him all her life. She loved him even more as she sang her heart out.

The Bible passages preceded the tributes and soon, it was her turn to read her tribute. As she walked past the box containing her father to the pulpit, it finally hit her that he was gone. Tears threatened to flow as she held the pulpit for support with one hand and struggled to open the piece of paper with the other hand.  This was it! He was gone! They would have to get through! It was exactly what he would have wanted.

Slowly, Theodosia aligned the sheet and started, “Daddy Dearest…”

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Shefi Nelson
Shefi Nelson, an alumna of Ashesi University College, is a calm, goal-oriented individual who cognizes the power of words and their ability to shape people’s perceptions and outlooks on the world they find themselves in. Shefi made her literary debut in 2015 with the story “Tatale” – published on Flash Fiction Ghana website. Shefi seeks to make a special contribution to the world by breathing life into the simplest string of words to create a connection, and have a lasting impact on her readers. Her hobbies include reading, sewing, writing and managing people.

You may follow the writer on Twitter: @life_as_shefi