Coming against the backdrop of I Speak of Ghana, Nana Awere Damoah’s latest authorship in Sebitically Speaking provides a fantastic literary narrative that contextualizes contemporary development issues in Ghana and Africa at large. Using an eclectic mix of witty writing, humour, sarcasm as well as tapping into profound life lessons from his favourite Wofa [a.k.a Uncle] Kapokyikyi, famed for his no nonsense acerbic tongue nicknamed ‘ka na wu’ translated as ‘speak your mind and damn the consequences’, Nana Awere Damoah uses his stories to paint powerful literary images covering developments within our sociopolitico-economic landscape from education, economy and health, to our time management and cultural attitudes among others.
For example, on education and social mobility, a subject dear to my heart and indeed many others, Nana recounts the toils of his parents, who having come from a low social stratum, sacrificed to ensure that he had a good educational foundation despite the limited access to opportunities they themselves had. This upward mobility was further catalysed by some good teachers who encouraged and nurtured their ambitions by ensuring that he and his friends received quality education and opportunities. However, Nana aptly wonders if his story “can still be replicated in modern-day Ghana”. Quoting Yaw Nsarkoh and others to buttress this point, they note that “social mobility made it possible for the very poor to come out of poverty through access to good education, coursed through our nation …as a country we [OUR POLITICAL ELITES] have conspired [DELIBERATELY] to constrict the movement of citizens up the ladder on the back of education” because “state schools are not delivering the quality education needed” …“that a society which condemns people to poverty because their parents are poor is a society with no future”.
Personally, one of the things that struck me reading the book was how we seem to have taken our independence and everything for granted in this country. Many of us in the current dispensation have become silent and tacit accomplices to the rape and pillage of this country by its political class. These aren’t ordinary times! The nation has lost its moral consciousness and socioeconomic bearing as evidenced by wanton corruption and highfalutin political cleintelist patronage culture. How do we contrast this to the courage shown by our forebears such as the gallant ex-servicemen, World War II veterans and numerous pre and post-independence era activists who toiled and sometimes spilled blood to forge this nation?
Nana poignantly asks “where from this culture where we speak from our stomachs instead of from our minds? Where political patronage defines the exercise of our speech and the fear of being tagged restrains us from expressing our views on national issues?” We must speak up and demand social justice and accountability! We must speak truth to power! We cannot continue bickering in hackneyed personality and patronage politics; it is time to refocus our energies on developing concrete socioeconomic policies based on strong ethical leadership and coherent ideological foundations.
Nana Awere Damoah’s Sebitically Speaking seeks to awaken a new class of social consciousness and it does a pretty good job at that. From titles such as “Why Rome was built but not in a day” to “State of Sikaman Education and its effects of Social Mobility” and “The legend of Kapokyikyi”, you are almost guaranteed not to put down the book until the very last page. This book definitely comes recommended for anyone interested, and wants to understand and contribute to the development of the Ghana and Africa at large. It is the work of a passionate literary genius desirous to see a new emergent status quo of national excellence.
Sebitically Speaking beautifully and humorously tells the Ghanaian story and as well captures our hopes, dreams and aspirations of nationhood.
Nana’s book is available to buy on Amazon’s Book store.