Hmm! Nana Awere Damoah – the man to watch. His Tales from Different Tails is a-must read for both the young adult and adult. I spent the whole of Saturday reading this wonderful collections of short stories in between tidying up the house, cooking for the week and attending to the kids’ homework and what a read!
To simply say that Awere Damoah’s collection is campus based love stories intended to send the reader through nostalgic journeys, or intended to make the reader wish that he had been in the university to taste of the experiences described would be an injustice to the author, because the stories are more than that. More often than not, couples who meet on university campuses and fall in love end up marrying after they leave campus and it is only fair to conclude that, Awere is justified in basing his love stories on the university campus
However, Awere’s collections also touch on compassion, hurt, betrayal, loyalty, trust, friendship poverty, evil and courage; these are traits or characteristics that drive the human will and actions. Beautifully lacing all these together is humour and fun.
Awere’s use of language relaxes the reader, taking him to familiar sites where they meet your everyday kind of person. The narrative is straightforward, yet deep, interspersed with rich proverbs and anecdotes reflecting the author’s deep insight and knowledge of the Ghanaian culture and traditions. Again, bits of the local dialects Twi and Ga, sprinkled in the narrative with the English language creates in the reader an identifiable connection with the plots/themes. The campus lingua in the narrative of the campus scenes is a bonus that had me reeling.
In October Rush, I had a lot of fun reliving campus days at Legon. I can recall the ‘inte’ and ‘exte’ dating, and the adrenalin charged young men trooping to Volta hall to swim in the lake. However, one cannot help but admire Awere for bringing up the hypocrisy of some ‘chrife’ students and how they sometimes misinterpret God’s directive’s and messages for their own ends.
“Brother, God bless you for your prayers. May I ask what you were praying about?”
Bazook smiled at the stranger, wondering; perhaps he wants to tap into my passion for souls? “Well I was interceding for souls.”
The stranger responded, “Brother, the Spirit intercedes for us with groans we cannot understand, and He knows our real heart’s desires. I can interpret tongues and all I heard you say for two hours I have been here at Paa Joe was ‘Lord Give me a wife!…..’
I actually felt sorry for Bazook.
In Truth Floats, Kwaku Ananse (as his name depicts his cunning and evil nature) betrays his best friend from campus days, Akoto in the most cruel and underhanded manner imaginable by manipulating, wooing and finally marrying Akoto’s fiancee. This story goes beyond mere campus love story. It captures for us betrayal of trust and friendship and exposes the baseness of human nature. But Awere assures us that love conquers all when Akoto and Adoma come together in the end.
Dribble De Zagidibogidi is also a tale of betrayal which started from the university campus. I love this story because it brings out the forgiving side of God in the person of Robbie, the born-again Christian whom Randy had treated badly on campus and whom Randy had taught raped his girlfriend.
“Randy let bygones be bygones O.K.?
Hardened (Randy’s nickname) softened. His tongue was not used to this exercise. “Can you forgive me, Robbie?”
“Of course, I can.” “I must.”
“But why? How can you?”
Robbie smiled, The Jesus Way, remember?”
What else can be so beautiful and inspiring?
Kojo Nkrabea is a tale of woe and courage. Yes, courage for, Nkrabea found the courage to go back home to Moseaso, to face the music he played by running away to the city. He had the courage to run away from a life of robbery back home to his roots in Moseaso where he will ‘caress memories and take life from there.”
In Guardian of the Rented Well, we meet Akosua Atiemo whose husband is away on peace keeping duties in Rwanda. Akosua indulges in an affair with Mr. Benson Stephen, a publisher who ended up not even publishing the manuscript Akosua had taken to him to see if it had possibilities. The affair becomes so hot that Stephen loses track and rides on the waves of pure ecstasy to his downfall. He is nearly killed by the army officer, Patrick Atiemo when he returns unannounced to find his wife in another’s arms. The tragedy is that Patrick shoots and kills his wife after which he turns the gun on himself and ‘blows his head off.‘
This is a story of faithlessness and betrayal. Patrick needn’t have committed suicide. That was an easy way out. I see him as an army officer without courage. Akosua is just not worth it.
But Stephens is redeemed after being given a second chance by his Maker. He becomes an ambassador for Christ. Our elders say that it is only experience that changes a person, and not talk or advice.
Nana Awere Damoah has written a piece that challenges us a people to rethink our values as Christians and as human beings who value relationships with others. At the end of the day when all is said and done, it is love that surpasses all the virtues, love for mankind.
I highly recommend Nana Awere Damoah’s Tales from Different Tails. Well done!