At the beginning of this year, I set six goals for myself. This image I designed on Canva captures them quite perfectly.
While I have been able to achieve four out of six of these goals—I’m a night owl and just cannot seem to fall asleep before 2 am, and the exercise thing? Well, that’s a conversation for another day—I really struggled to read a book a month, until recently. Yes, you guessed correctly; I can confidently blame that on my final lap of senior year in college. I need not say more.
I was eager to begin reading for fun, once I had completed everything that was required of me as a college student. So imagine my excitement when my friend, Francis, during one of our spontaneous conversations, told me about a book that accurately summarizes Ghana’s situation over the last couple of years in just 199 pages of text. According to him, it is a must-read for tourists and locals alike. As a widely-read, open-minded, young Kenyan man, Francis remains completely honest about everything, and I value his opinion.
This book he was gushing about is titled “Sebitically Speaking”, and is a collection of satirically-infused letters written by the author, Nana Awere Damoah. These letters paint vivid images of corruption, poor leadership, apathy among citizens, and other socio-political issues in Ghana through a blend of satire, wit, and humor that evoke laughter and, in some cases, sadness.
The letters are written by “Wofa Kapokyikyi”, a character inspired by Damoah’s uncle (that was his nickname too) whom I believe was known for speaking his mind about many unspeakable truths. Hence, the title of the book was coined from the Akan saying, sɛbi, which allows the speaker to say things that would under normal circumstances be deemed as offensive, without being punished or facing disapproval from his or her society.
Damoah shares his perspective on all changes Ghana has undergone and how we could have handled things better. He speaks about our failure to fulfill our promises and commitments in a timely manner, our failure to complete projects that we start, the urgency with which we need to ensure that our leaders are upholding their commitments to the people, and our need to create a drastic positive change to curb many of the problems the country is facing, etc.
For a local, like myself, this book serves as an individual reflection of the state and future of our country, Ghana. We hear many of these conversations on a daily basis whether at home, at work, or on Friday nights at local pubs over jugs of beer. Yet, Damoah is able to create a call to action in a way that not many people are able to succeed at doing on the radio or on television. He encourages us to laugh at our often unbelievable mistakes that most of us are not proud of, but also to think and find better ways of undoing our errors. We have a lot to learn as a nation and the earlier we strengthen our efforts to do just that and act on the knowledge we gain, the better.
Thank you, my dear Kenyan friend, for recommending this book. It is indeed a must-read for all Ghanaians and visitors to Ghana. It is my sincere hope that whoever reads this book is inspired to do more to create a stronger, positive social change.