2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,900 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

BlogCamp 2012 Ghana: some reactions

I missed most of the morning of BlogCamp 2012 Ghana.  My fault really, as I have been having tyre problems for most of the last week, and should have really done something about it on the 1 May holiday, but I didn’t. So the consequence of procrastination was that I ended up having to spend nearly three hours dealing with it at Abossey Okai rather than being early/on time for the Blog Camp.

So I missed most of the plenary sessions for the first BloggingGhana Blog Camp, which has been talked about for at least as long as I have been a member of this group of bloggers – about two years or so…

So what did I find most interesting/relevant?  I liked the session on Citizen journalism, though I suspect many of those who attended didn’t seem that engaged – despite the facilitator’s attempt to get those present to express themselves.

The session on Women and social media was quite interactive. At first we weren’t sure how many of us would be there, so we rearranged chairs into a small circle, which we enlarged a couple of times as more joined.  Although sometimes shyly, and often very quietly, participants started expressing their fears and concerns about women blogging and what they should/could talk about.  I think we could have gone on for more than the 45 minutes or so we were allocated!  Confidence needs to be built up so that more and more women will decide to talk about issues they are passionate about.

Thanks to Kinna Likimani and Dorothy Gordon for pushing  the agenda!

Tintin lives on – in Ghana

Tintin in America, The broken earRecently I’ve been buying quite a few Tintin books – mainly I am prepared to admit because I found that Kingdom Books and Stationery, a local store associated more with the latter than the former seems to have got a stock of them which are truly selling at a bargain price! And let’s face it, though I have been rationing my visits, I just can’t resist.

Over the years I’ve had many different editions of Tintin books, and I am not sure where they all are now.  Some fell apart from overuse, others got lent out, others were borrowed and never returned.

I certainly remember reading some in French, and maybe even as they were being issued in serialized form – or is this just a fake memory? It is possible, as I did live in Belgium  when I was young, but I really can’t be sure, and there isn’t anyone I can ask to confirm or deny.

I am fairly certain that we had lots of the Tintin books – in English – which I read, and laughed at, as did my sister, and later my brother, whose main reading for many years, was anything in comic form! We loved Captain Haddock’s swear words – which sounded horrible, but were very funny because of their alliteration – even in a translation.

When I first started working at the Ghana Library Board in the Ashanti Regional Library (Kumasi) in late 1980, I was thrilled to see that there were Tintin books in the children’s section – to which I had been assigned! And amazed at just how popular they were – with the children of all ages, and their parents, who practically begged to be allowed to borrow them. I suppose it is the appeal of the colour, the style, the stories, the fact that the good guys usually win, and the bad ones do get defeated which gave them such a widespread appeal. Even those whose level of English wasn’t so great would sit entranced looking at the pictures, and explaining to others what was going on.

Surprisingly the Tintin series aren’t that well known in the US. Recently I asked a shop assistant in one of the big chains and he hadn’t heard of them; another had but wasn’t aware that Stephen Spielberg’s film, The adventures of Tintin was coming out just before Christmas. But in the way of marketing to US audiences, I am sure that movie tie-in books will soon be hitting the shelves.

In the meantime, I will continue to add to my current collection, and re-read these books which I first enjoyed more than fifty years ago!  And chuckle as I do so.

And of course take a look at one of the Tintin fan websites, and follow a Tintin blogger.

Manu Herbstein interviewed by AfricaBookClub.com

I started subscribing to the email newsletter of AfricaBookClub.com sometime in 2010, and do enjoy some of the articles and the links.

This month’s interview is with Manu Herbstein, author of Ama, a story of the slave trade, but also of northern Ghana and Asante.  I had met Manu on a few occasions, and was of course interested to see what his prize winning novel would be like.  But I also remember having to ask my daughter to buy me a copy of this book when it was first published, as it was only available in the US via a publish on demand company called E-reads.  It is only fairly recently that it has become available in Ghana.

How things have changed over the last nine years or so!

Molara Wood’s interview with Ghanaian author Ama Ata Aidoo

Molara Wood is an arts and culture journalist, based in Lagos, who blogs as Wordsbody .

Recently she mentioned doing an interview with Ghanaian author, Ama Ata Aidoo, which she mentioned in a post, the highlight of which, in my opinion,  a very nice photo of the not-so-young Ghanaian author.  Wood also included a link to the full interview , definitely worth reading if you are just a novice to Aidoo’s work.

Taking a look at Ghana Book Review website

I just discovered the Ghana Book Review website which seems to be pretty closely related to the Ghana Nsem site.  Not a whole lot of information as to who or what are behind either of these sites, which I admit is a little frustrating.  Naturally I homed in on the site about books.  At the bottom of the home page, it says that copyright lies with the Africa Information Network, but there is no indication apart from an email and mobile number on the contact us page as to who is responsible for content.  And there isn’t anything about why the site was put together.   One frustrated viewer!

OK, to me it definitely looks like work in progress, and I don’t know really who it is for, and why it exists, though on the home page, I guess there is something fairly close to a mission statement which is:  “Let’s recognize, celebrate and help build the library of work on Ghana, Africa, the world and the imagination.”

I suppose it is a start, but again I wondered “who would be visiting this site?”  A budding author, in which case some of the addresses of Ghanaian publishers or those relevant to Ghana, are pretty inadequate.  Many are incomplete, and may have a postal address, but many are lacking email, phone/mobile numbers and websites.  Yes, I know not all publishers have their own domain names, but at least one or two key people may have email and mobiles are definitely out there.

It also pained me – though it is not surprising – that there was no mention of other key groups in the reading chain.  For instance, what about libraries?  What about bookshops and other booksellers?  What about printers?  What about book clubs? or competitions such as the one being run by JoyFM for children up to 14?

There are also associations or groupings such as the Ghana Library Association, Ghana Publishers Association,  Ghana Booksellers Association, and Ghana Printers Association (though I am not exactly sure of the last).  Naturally I shouldn’t forget the Pan-African Writers Association as well as other informal groupings of writers.

I guess what I am saying to the webmaster and/or whoever is responsible for content on this site:  listen to some of the ideas that interested colleagues may be bandying about.  We are all working towards the same goal.