I just love this book. Kofi Akpabli’s Tickling the Ghanaian, Encounters with Contemporary Culture is a collection of well researched, realistic everyday situations of the Ghanaian experience. The book has crystallised my desperate attempt to remain Ghanaian, at all costs. The book also gives a deep insight into what makes us stand out as a nation among nations, that unique cultural label that tags the Ghanaian wherever he goes.
In How Cloth Tickles the Ghanaian, the importance of the cloth for the Ghanaian has been elaborated in a way that anyone can identify with. In his narrative, Kofi Akpabli tells the reader of much historical facts associated with the Ghanaian cloth. He also outlines what the cloth means to various ethnic groups in Ghana. I never knew, until reading this book, the importance of the cloth for the Ewe male and the romantic attachment to the cloth perceived by Ewes. Kudos, Kofi. Indeed, the cloth tickles Ghanaian women to bits and I must confess that I have over ten half pieces of wax prints in my possession (not sewn).
The Serious Business of Soup in Ghana. Yes, soup is serious business, Kofi. Many a homes in Ghana have brought up children on palm nut soup prepared in huge saucepans that carried the whole family for days on end. And I tell you the care and time that goes into preparing these soups attest to the love the Ghanaian woman/mother has for her family. Kofi’s portrayal of the importance of soup in Ghana sharply brings into focus, his deep knowledge of our way of life and and in his own words, what tickles us as a people. Soup!
The visitor to Ghana will not be in Ghana without reading this book that showcases the Ghanaian culture and symbols that portray our ingenuity as a people. The proverbial Ghanaian hospitality cannot be missed and what best way to to welcome the visitor, than with the Ghanaian soup, drank from a bowl? (mind you)
In What is Right With Akpeteshie, Kofi Akpabli’s exposition on Akpeteshie, that biting sharp legendary alcoholic drink favoured by the Ghanaian, is his unique way of telling us how in-tuned he is with the everyday Ghanaian. His down to earth approach and language also brings out the humorous aspect in the whole business of akpeteshie.
Between Tinapa and Boflot – Where did the Old Taste Go? Yes, the old taste has gone. I could identify with Kofi when he laments
“…..does anyone remember how tasty Christmas chickens were? Forget whether they were local or poultry fowls, they all tasted special. Chicken soups were a real delight, especially when our mothers spiced them up with akukor mmensa. Tell, me how tasty was your chicken this yuletide?” (p54)
My yuletide was tasteless, without the akukor mmensa. (basil). How I miss this plant. No Christmas food was complete without the wonderful aroma of akukor mmensa. They’ve all been weeded out now, and we only have tasteless substitutes.
This Is The Way We Say Goodbye. Oh yes Kofi, our way of saying goodbye is well, unique and Ghanaian. Our funerals are lavish, full of tradition, culture and we would not do without all the pomp and pageantry despite calls from concerned citizens and the church to do away with the extravaganza. Because, as a people, funerals bring us together not only to socialise, but to settle family disputes, meet new relations and new love partners. Funerals are what make us tick as Ghanaians.
TICKLING THE GHANAIAN – Encounters with Contemporary Culture, can also be described as a book rife with humour. The narration had me cracking my ribs with laughter
“Over time Zavor (the night cloth) adopts one’s personality . Indeed, few items hoard specimen of a individual’s DNA like the night cloth…….Among boarding school boys and bachelors, Zavor has a special reputation for smelling bad. See, this group is not eager to regularly wash as private an item as a sleeping cloth. (p18)
“for many enthusiasts, fufu is life. Its life attributes are typified by the mortar and the pestle which are analogous to the copulation that leads to procreation. The pestle is not only phallus-shaped, it actually stimulates its piston action. The mortar is feminine, the one with the vital opening. Pestle expands the energy to thrust in and out while mortar is imbued with soaking the pressure. Together, both implement help each other to consummate the task, thereby releasing tension. When all is done, the pestle is no longer needed, until the next session. Meanwhile, the end product lies in the bosom of the mortar, just like a new baby issues from the woman’s womb. (p85)
What poetic language and beautiful imagery. I could only appreciate the above sexual analogy and agree with its aptness after a good laugh. Is it any wonder that Ghanaians from all the regions love fufu, because we love life!
Akpabli’s book, TICKLING THE GHANAIAN – Encounters with Contemporary Culture, must be promoted by the Ministry of Tourism/Culture as a must-read in all hotels in the country. Our children must also be made to read this book to give them a sense of nationalism. Too much western-ism has crept into the nation and this is not healthy. I do believe that for a nation to develop and develop well, there must be a feeling/value of nationalism created in its children right from the cradle and Kofi Akpabli’s book could be one that would tickle the Ghanaian, child or adult into nationalistic feelings/values, thereby generating pride in that person for his nation.