Writers Mamle Kabu and Kuukua Yomekpe at Goethe Institut

Last week I attended another of the Writers’ Project of Ghana readings at the Goethe Institut, here in Accra.  I wasn’t actually sure that the event was coming on as it ended up being on the day that the Eid el Fitr holiday was officially celebrated in Ghana (despite the fact that virtually all Muslims I know actually ended their fast the day before!)

For me getting to the venue was in itself an adventure as I had forgotten that it is a custom in the area near I live to have a kind of SallahFest, which means a major road is more or less blocked to ordinary traffic but filled with cars/trucks/pickups full of revelers, accompanied by many on foot, wearing the new outfits which are so characteristic of these celebrations here.  Fortunately there were some police on duty, and eventually I was able to make my way towards the east.

Because it was a public holiday, the venue for the readings was shifted outside – but as luck would have it, there were sprinkles which threatened to turn into real drizzle, and we did move inside.

This time there were two writers:  Mamle Kabu and Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe.  Both read excerpts from a recent collection, African women writing resistance:  Kabu excerpts from her short story “Story of Faith” and Yomekpe excerpts from her memoir “Musings of an African woman”,   In different ways the “stories” these two women writers read rang true – either because they told of pressures faced by contemporary women in Ghanaian universities, or for trying to find a suitable identity in the media driven world of the US.

Yomekpe’s recounting of her change of name from Melanie-Ann to Kuukua echoed for me, as well as the issues with her hair, mainly because of what I know from my own family and their experiences.

Naturally I bought a copy of the book – and fortunately many others did the same! I only wish there were more copies available in local bookshops.

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