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The campaign to promote reading for pleasure among Ghanaians receives a boost with another public reading event to be held in Accra on Saturday September 3rd 2016. Dubbed “Ticklin’ the Sebiticalis”, the special book reading takes place in the cosy setting of Jamrock Restaurant, a Jamaican-themed joint near the A&C Mall at East Legon. Headlined by Nana Awere Damoah and Kofi Akpabli, the reading offers patrons a lively evening of literary pleasure and though-provoking discussions on Ghanaian contemporary life.

Kofi Akpabli will charm patrons with excerpts from his books Romancing Ghanaland and Tickling the Ghanaian while Nana Awere Damoah will entice the audience from his repertoire Sebitically Speaking and I Speak of Ghana.

With 10 books between them, the two writers continue on their mission to make reading hip again, and to take writing and reading to the level of pop culture. They believe that reading should be done for pleasure as well, and not only for exams and industry. According to both writers, the event also aims to diversify the social offerings currently available on the entertainment scene.

“Elsewhere, public readings and book signing are top-notch events that receive distinguished patronage. As society is pushing for the consumption of made-in-Ghana goods, let’s not forget about made-in-Ghana books”, they said.

In their readings so far, the two have received sponsorship from Threadex, WearGhana, Norte Sobolo and AJ’s Housekeeping Services. A special feature about Saturday’s reading is that for the first time, the two are joined by a Guest Reader, Alba Kunado Suprim, author of the Imported Ghanaian and A Place of Beautiful Nonsense.

“Ticklin’ the Sebiticalis” runs between 4.30pm and 7pm, and involves four rounds of readings from the works of the three accomplished Ghanaian authors. There will be interludes of poetry and music.

About the Authors

 

Kofi Akpabli is a media consultant and travel writer whose latest work has been published in a new Commonwealth Non-Fiction Anthology launched in the UK in May 2016.  He is a two-time winner of the CNN/Multichoice African Journalist for Arts and Culture. Kofi has also won GJA and National awards in Culture and Tourism. He writes a travel column Going Places in The Mirror newspaper, published weekly in Accra.
Amongst his books are: Harmattan – a Cultural Profile of Northern GhanaRomancing Ghanaland: the Beauty of Ten RegionsA Sense of Savannah – Tales of a Friendly Walk through Northern Ghana, and Tickling the Ghanaian – Encounters with Contemporary Culture. Kofi is a member of Faculty, Central University. His scholarly interests include the research and dissemination of key values of African culture. Kofi Akpabli lives at a village near Accra with his wife and children.

 

Nana Awere Damoah holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nottingham and a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). A British Council Chevening alumnus, Nana works in Nigeria as a Technical Manager.
In 1997, Nana won first prize in the Step Magazine National Writing Competition. He is the author of five books: Sebitically Speaking, I Speak of Ghana, Tales from Different Tails, Through the Gates of Thought, and Excursions in my Mind. His sixth book, Nsempiisms, is due in print later this year and is already available as a free e-book. Nana Awere Damoah is married with three children. He divides his time between Lagos and Tema.

 

Alba Suprim has been writing for as long as she can remember and regularly flips through, with a wry smile, the stacks of notebooks that contain what can only be described as the melodrama of her teenage years. She is the author of The Imported Ghanaian and A Place of Beautiful Nonsense.  She graduated from Escuela International de Cine y Television (EICTV), the Cuban film school, as an Editor and worked on several short and independent film projects in Cuba and London before moving back to Ghana, where she now earns her living writing screenplays, television programmes, producing and directing television commercials.

She has been on the writing and editing team of the BBC World Services Trust Radio drama, ‘Story Story, Voices from the Market,’ for over six years. She was a writer and director for the BBC WST television drama, entitled, ‘Wetin Dey!’She lives in Accra, where she is regularly accused of being Senegalese, Malian, Ivorian, Liberian, Kenya or Zimbabwean, in fact, any other nationality but Ghanaian.

​One of the things I noticed when I arrived back in the motherland was the generous nature of the natives. When eating, they would always invite people in the vicinity, even strangers, to join them. With careful observation, I noticed that most people, when invited would smile and not partake of the meal. Interesting!
It didn’t take long to see through that cultural façade. Most of the time they don’t really mean it but they say it anyway. It’s a bit like a rehearsed play and everyone knows their part. So you say to someone, “You are invited”, and the person according to the script should say, with a smile, “Thank you,” meaning, thank you for the invitation but no.
I went to lunch with a friend at one of the eateries at the Trade Fair. We used to go there every day and the young woman who always served us is called Albertina. 
On this particular day, we arrived later and most of the food was finished. My favourite Ghanaian meal has always been ampesi and palaver sauce with tuna fish and boiled egg, which I ordered every day.
We sat down, ordered our drinks and the ever-smiling Albertina came to take our food orders. Much to my dismay, Albertina informed me that the ampesi and palaver sauce was finished. I feigned shock and Albertina, taking me seriously, went on to explain in a loud voice, that a man sitting at a table nearly had eaten the last portion of ampesi and palaver sauce. 
Thinking I was a stranger, the man smiled brightly and took the Akwaaba route, grabbed a shovel and proceeded to dig a hole for himself. 

“You are invited,” he said happily.
I threw the script in the bin and said, “Thank you.” I grinned and handed Albertina a plate for her to collect half of the man’s food for me.
From that moment, everything moved in slow motion and the place became so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop.
Albertina, rooted to the spot, was tossing the plate from hand to hand as if it were a hot brick. The man had also gone into a state of shock, because he obviously didn’t expect me to take up his offer. His knife and fork hovered above his food and his mouth gaped open – I am sure several flies entered and exited – with a John McEnroe look on his face that said, ‘You cannot be seriously thinking of sharing my food with me.’
– Alba Kunadu Sumprim, The Imported Ghanaian
**To know how this story ended, join Alba, Kofi Akpabli and Nana Awere Damoah for an evening of fun, literature and laughter at JamRock Restaurant, 10 Jungle Road, East Legon on 3rd Sept. Reading starts at 4.30pm.

​Amedzofe. In biblical terms that would be our version of the Garden of Eden. In Ewe language, this place name means “the origin of mankind”. In a sense, that makes sense. The town is not only the highest human settlement in West Africa; in this part of the world, it is also the closest place to the heavens.
At Abraerica, the reception is sited on top of one block while the guestrooms are in another storey-block facing Mt Gemi. So we had to descend several steps first, before we climbed up the stairs to my room. As we moved, I could see well-lit towns very far away. It appeared the way one sees places from an airplane in the night. 
“Where is that?” I asked. 
“Kpandu,” he replied.
“And that?”
“Ho, Hohoe.”
Wao!
I woke up sometime after midnight. Curiosity made me run to the window. I looked hard for the view outside but I couldn’t see a thing. Was it just fog or we were enveloped in a cloud? I went back to sleep hoping to dream about the heavens.
~ Kofi Akpabli, Romancing Ghanaland


** Pictures by Isaac K. Neequaye
*Join Kofi, Alba K Sumprim and Nana Awere Damoah for book readings in Accra and Kumasi in September.

​Introducing our Guest Author for the 3rd September Book Reading in Accra! 
Alba Kunadu Sumprim has been writing for as long as she can remember and regularly flips through, with a wry smile, the stacks of notebooks that contain what can only be described as the melodrama of her teenage years. She is the author of The Imported Ghanaian and A Place of Beautiful Nonsense. 
Alba K Sumprim graduated from Escuela International de Cine y Television (EICTV), the Cuban film school, as an Editor and worked on several short and independent film projects in Cuba and London before moving back to Ghana, where she now earns her living writing screenplays, television programmes, producing and directing television commercials. 
She has been on the writing and editing team of the BBC WORLD SERVICES TRUST Radio drama, ‘Story Story, Voices from the Market,’ for over six years. She was a writer and director for the BBC WST television drama, entitled, ‘Wetin Dey!’ 
Her successful weekly social commentary column – The Imported Ghanaian – has been running for 14 years in The Daily Dispatch newspaper, Accra. 
She lives in Accra, where she is regularly accused of being Senegalese, Malian, Ivorian, Liberian, Kenya or Zimbabwean, in fact, any other nationality but Ghanaian. She is adamant that she is just as Ghanaian as any other … though imported.

​Last year, two Ghanaian writers Kofi Akpabli and Nana Awere Damoah gave themselves two targets: to do regular (preferably quarterly) public book readings and to extend the reading sessions beyond Accra.


Last year they held two readings. But could not go outside Accra.
For 2016, they had the same objectives and so far, they have done three readings: at PaJohn’s (Jan), Sytris Bookshop (Feb) and Vidya Bookstore (June).
For this quarter, Kofi & NAD intend to do two readings and finally achieve the second target: a double-strike; readings in Accra (3 Sept) and Kumasi (24 Sept).
They continue on their mission to make reading hip again. These writers, with 10 books between them including popular titles Tickling the Ghanaian, I Speak of Ghana, Romancing Ghanaland and Sebitically Speaking, believe that reading should be done for pleasure as well and not only for exams.
Come enjoy the sound of the written word.
Do share with another friend! Bring a friend! 


Get caught reading.
#Like #Share

​Kofi Akpabli writes welcoming our guest writer for the 3rd September book reading:


Hi Alba,
Thanks very much for accepting to join us. You know how long Nana and I have tried to capture you? Ours is a community of literary vultures who wish to take writing and public reading to the level of pop culture. 
In the audience you would find folks who have come to be inspired. You will find patrons who have followed us closely and from afar. You will find patrons who have come for the first time. You will  find patrons who have been to every single reading we’ve had.
They will feast their eyes on you.

They will give you their ears.

They will cheer you on.

Sometimes, they will interrupt you, rudely

With loud laughter. 

Can’t be helped.

Just as you can’t help things of passion.

But you’d love them

You will love it

Every bit.
Welcome, Alba.
Vim!
**Join us at JamRock Restaurant, 10 Jungle Road, East Legon. Near A&C Shopping Mall. Reading starts at 4.30pm.

​**One of the 3 Sebiticals not published in Sebitically Speaking.
Many years ago, I read a quote which I have been looking for in the past few months but can’t find. The writer of the quote stated that he hardly gave advise on relationships (marriage) and religion, because he didn’t want any persons to blame him (the writer) for their woes in this life or in the next.
I have generally followed that advice. I hardly write about direct religious advice and I can count only about two articles of mine which are dedicated to marriage. And this is out of over a hundred full articles I have written over the more than a decade of active writing.
Last week, actually on my birthday, 3 June 2015, Accra experienced one of the worst flooding I have seen in my life. This coincided with one of the worst fire incidents that nation has ever known as well, when a fuel station near Nkrumah Circle due to an explosion of a fuel tanker. Initial reports indicate that fuel from the tanker leaked and was carried on the surface of the flood waters to a nearby fire source. As of writing, about 150 people have been reported killed from that incident. Many of the dead were sheltering away from the rains when the fire started. A dear friend of mine had left the same fuel station just 5 minutes before the blast. The total death toll from the combined fire and flooding incidents is currently over 200. 
May the souls of the departed rest in peace. 
And may we who remain behind ensure that, together, we create the environment and nation that prevents such catastrophes from happening.
As we mourn, I believe that our faith should find expression in our response to the needs of the afflicted and poor around us, and in our giving to assuage their pains. Our faith should speak through acts of charity. For instance, the least we can do as Christian churches is to donate all offerings this month to relief efforts. We should do even more. Dip into our vaults and give succour to the afflicted. 
Do an act of kindness this month.
Which is why over the weekend after the flooding, I used my Facebook page to engage my readers and followers on the principle and act of tithing, giving and accountability in our churches and religious organisations.
I have always maintained an unorthodox approach to tithing and how I disburse my tithes.
I was taught about tithing in the Scripture Union. Which is an evangelistic organisation. I felt comfortable then to give my tithes to SU and still do. So my foundational appreciation of this duty is to give for the furtherance of Christian outreach. 
My understanding is that when money is brought into the house of God (read: christian evangelistic organisation), it is to be used for three purposes: maintaining the house, supporting the workers in the house and feeding the outside world for which the house and religion exists: the poor, the afflicted and the needy.
So I continue to tithe, which means I set aside a tenth of my income. And I give to chrisitian organisations and also give out to support outreaches. Outreaches here include to the poor, afflicted and needy. 
Which means even when I see a needy student who needs funds to finish school, that person falls within my scope. If I see a poor person in my society, that person falls within my scope. If there is a project to bring relief to a community, it falls within my scope. I don’t believe that my money needs to go through the conduit of an organisation for it to be blessed enough to express christian charity and love to a recipient.
Note that I haven’t mentioned ‘church’ so far. I see that as a subset of the total universe I have defined above (recall your mathematics and sets).
I find many of our churches forgetting that we exist to affect our world and not necessarily only by the noise we make through our loudspeakers. 
This month, use your funds directly to affect a poor, afflicted or needy person.
This proposal generated a lot of responses and varied views. In our discussion on tithes, a few people made a submission that I summarize as below:
“Giving of tithes is an instruction and must go to my church. My responsibility is to obey that. How the money is used is not something I should concern myself with. It is something only the pastor(s) is/are accountable to God for.”
I was, and am, still shocked. If accountability does not and cannot start from the church, then I am not sure how we can hold anyone accountable in this land.
Perhaps I have been ‘spoilt’ by my training and association with Joyful Way and Ridge Church.
Right from the beginning of my time in JWI, I was shocked with the detailed and tough questions asked at Annual General Meetings (AGM). We used to joke that if your first meeting as a JWI member was at an AGM, you would wonder if it was a christian organization, with the Executives questioned on their stewardship and accounts.
Audited accounts are circulated to everyone and lines of expenditure and income outlined are scrutinised. The Executives would give account for each year of stewardship.
The group has a constitution which governs it and which is followed, with regular reviews as and when. The Executive body reports to a Board.
Ridge Church has its board, has AGMs and accounts given each week on preceding week’s inflows.
Perhaps my expectations of accountability in our churches are utopian.
But, back to the point of giving this month to help those affected. 
Let me leave you with some more questions:
What did you do last weekend to help someone affected by the floods? 
When was the last time your church did an outreach or donation to the needy, poor and afflicted?
Does your church have a program to support such people? Even within the church?
Do an act of charity this month.
Think about various ways you can help. If a group of people could set up a hot-lunch spot today to share food with the communities affected by the floods. They need clothing, mattresses, water. A few people have set up fundraising activities; find one and support. You can lend a helping hand whether you are in Ghana or not.
You can also join efforts to clean up your community. 
Whatever you do, don’t be on the fence. 
We are one another’s keeper, and the shoes could be on your feet the next time.
Till I come your way again with another sebitical, I remain:
Sebitically yours, 
Kapokyikyiwofaase

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