the UNCATEGORISED | Little stories we are told


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I say little because that is the way they are fed to me. The stories themselves are not little stories, but the way my parents choose to divulge short tidbits about their personal lives before my siblings and I came along, is nothing short of a tease.

My mother is an expert storyteller. She gets a twinkle in her eye when she’s telling us something we never knew. She likes to shock us, and remind us that she still has memories we don’t know about. I know it’s where I get my passion for storytelling from. She in turn probably got it from her mother, my beautiful Omi. Now that my Grandma is 80 she lives to draw on the stories of her past; and let me tell you: If I could write a script on her life alone, I would.

I learned in the space of a few hours (in between her shouting at me to peel the yams properly and chop the tomatoes her way) that she had my mother out-of-wedlock at 22; was dumped by my Grandad for another; moved to london on her own in the 1950s to raise money for her baby; had to deal with psychotic and voodoo threats from her second husband’s sister (who also claimed she was my Grandma second husbands true wife); and that she learned of my parents secret marriage after someone had called her from Ghana and despite my mother living in london under her roof in London without telling her. Naomi Harris would play my Grandma, I have the whole thing set up in my head.

I digress, because what I really wanted to share was the story I heard from my mother most recently. 

Not long ago I discussed the scope for Ghana to start making a mark in cinema; thinking seriously about the quality of films they created by drawing on their long history and well-known tales. In particular I thought it would be a great idea for someone to put Ghana on the map by making a biopic about Kwame Nkrumah, the man who helped lead Ghana into independence from British colonisation; Ghana’s 1st, most iconic and most beloved President.

It was at that moment my mother looked at me and said, “You know, if they make that film then my father will also have to be in” – she said it so matter of fact – I wasn’t sure if she was being serious. I asked her what she meant and she happily rolled off about how when my Grandad was a child, he had four close friends, all boys. Nkrumah was one of them. Apparently Nkrumah had stayed at my Great-grandparent’s house on numerous occasions – “He was like family”.

Her story sort of ended there because she only knows part of it; most of which she was told when she was 11, before granddad passed away prematurely I have never felt so mesmerised, scared and eager to hear more. That is a perfect example of the stories Ghanaians tell. Somewhat half-stories, or elusive. Ghanaians are proud people who like to rejoice. They like to tell stories, but not tales.


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