Tackling Transitions and Successful Succession in the Ghanaian Church

By Nana Awere Damoah

It wasn’t mere coincidence that I started reading Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Kwabena Ansah’s Keys to Successful Succession in the Lagos State enclave popularly known as ‘Redeemed’, off the Lagos-Ibadan Highway – the huge residential complex owned by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Nigeria. The huge expanse, inhabited by mainly members of the church, which also contains the church facilities and auditoriums, is a testament of the vision of its founder and, then, the current leader. We were fortunate to have a tour of the entire area and got to know about the history of the area – how the current General Overseer of the church lived there alone years ago, and how he had a vision that the area would grow and house many people. We visited the original house he lived, the first generator used for the estate, and the various worship sites up to the current one, which is a huge edifice with a footprint 3 kilometers on each side.

Beyond the physical facilities, I was again reminded of the story of the succession which played up when the founder needed to hang over the baton. The state of the church and how it has affected many lives, including having as one of its pastors the current Vice President of Nigeria, reflects how important it is for succession to be successful in churches and para-Christian organisations.

The issue of succession takes assumes an even greater significance when one considers the fact that Ghanaian establishments that have survived beyond their first-generation founders are rare to find. But does the church, which is divinely-ordained and kept, have to worry about its sustenance? Does leadership matter? Does succession matter? Are there bad cases of succession in churches? What is the Bible’s blueprint on ensuring that the mantle and vision are carried on from generation to generation within the body of Christ?

These are the germane issues tackled expertly in Keys to Successful Succession, right from the first pages where the author states clearly that “no matter how great a leader is, there will still come a time when he has to make way for the next generation” (page 1).

The book examines the need for successful succession, drawing extensively from both biblical and non-biblical sources. For the modern-day examples, we are introduced to case studies both in Ghana and abroad. It is said that the best advice is one that the giver has lived and, in this wise, we get educated the more as the author himself shares from his own church’s experience when the mantle had to be passed on after the passing of the ministry’s founder: “…although we had a church constitution, there was no clear provision for an immediate successor” (page 12). The resulting conundrum took a couple of years to untangle.

From this point onwards, the author takes the reader on a journey that is both reflective and proactive, that considers the various types of succession that have been practiced, the concerns about succession in practical terms, identification of successors and preparation, case studies of some selected ministries with discussions of the pros and cons of the various approaches and systems, as well as a dispassionate dissections of the issues and concerns where succession is concerned.
To further examine this most important topic, the Kingdom Equip Network (KEN), made up of individuals and organizations seeking to promote good governance within and among churches, para-church institutions and the society as a whole, is organising the ‘Ekklesia Roundtable Series’, an initiative that brings together clergy, the academia, media, the public and experts in specific fields to build consensus on policy initiatives that enhances the governance of churches and the nation. This year’s theme is ‘Transitions and Succession in the Ghanaian Church’, with the view to offer a one-stop view of the transition and succession policies of denominations in Ghana; identify and address the key factors militating against smooth transitions and succession in Ghanaian denominations and recommend legal and governance strategies to equip denominations in managing their transition and succession programmes better.

It is expected that the output of this roundtable discussion would be a blue print that can used to guide new churches as they develop problem-free transitional and succession policies.

The roundtable discussion will take place at the Ghana Academy of Arts & Sciences, Airport Residential Area, on November 23, 2018 between 8.30 am and 1.30 pm.

All are cordially invited.

Transitions flyer


The Wailer’s Hail

(For the Kadentians)

When wailers wail and wail
And their strength fail
When wailers faint
Patient no more, can’t wait
Rants turn to grunts
Grunts turn to fights
And fights turn to hits
And hit they hit

When wailers wail and faint
Go up
Come down

When wailings go up
Rainmakers must act
Way ahead of wailer’s sleet

When wailers wail
The weatherman
Must not fail
The wailings heed

For the wailer’s wail
Carries the protester’s

(c) NAD, 081118

Up Atop My Roof So High: Notch 11 ‒ We All Need Dough

This walatu-walasa life is not helping me enjoy my pastime of sitting up atop my roof so high, to watch the watchables, ignore the ignobles, tangibilise the intangibles, reflect on the reflectables and, generally, enjoy the enjoyables in life. This is the reason why you have not heard from me for the past five moons or so. The ko-nea-ba-ing, the to-ing and fro-ing and its concomitant hustling are what is keeping this body inside cloth, as my Eko brothers and sisters would say.

When a new person is welcomed into a home, our elders usually say ‘w’aba a, tinaase’: if you have come, do stay, to translate it loosely. So, I have come, but as to whether I would stay and not vanish again, only time and what is in my pocket now will tell. For, as sure as koose is taken with kooko, if the weight of the cowries in my dzokoto diminishes, I will have to go back to my life of walatu-walasa to make ends meet. For now, as the ends are close to each other and have not started moving away, let me drop what is on my mental plate as quickly as possible.

Ei, where to start from? I am in that state Koo Gyamera was in when he was taken to a buffet table after being rescued from that galamsey pit he was rescued from at Japa, having been imprisoned underground for a week. He didn’t know which food to touch first: ampesi, apeprensa, fufu or kookobintom. He ended up with a headache!

So many things have happened during these five past moons that I don’t know which konkonsa to crack first. Nsempii! However, I have learnt in life that, when confronted with multiple knots to untangle, you tackle the one your hands touch first.

Thirty years ago, just around this month, my History teacher in Ghanacoll, Peter Anti aka Pierro, introduced us to the story of the Boston Tea Party. Pierro was a great teacher who brought history to life, almost as if he was telling stories by the fireside. The Tea Party protest is one of the highlights of American political history. This week had started on a great note and all I can think of is the Need Dough Party. Incidentally, we can twaa Tea with it.

How did it all start? Well, I was sitting atop this roof so high and I saw Papa Frankie Helmani rush into Auntie Ima’s shop by the Kumasi station opposite the Post Office. It was just around the early morning when the serious ones were about leaving for their farms and the lazy ones were stretching to change gears in their sleep. When he came out of the shop, which is also called a supermarket because it has more than three shelves with products labelled with their prices, he was carrying an olonka of refined dinart.

Ah, Dinart! I remember those Rawlings chain days when going for weighing in the polyclinics was more for the tom brown and powdered milk than it was for the welfare of the babies who were supposed to be the focus of the weighing. Oh, tell me about my tom brown school days! If that powdered milk distributed at the clinic was available during the second world war, there would have been no need for the atomic bomb. The powdered milk was good for the mouth, adequate for the stomach, necessary for diluting the contents of the intestines and gaseous in its exiting motion from the orifice down at the rear. Hence the nickname ‘Dinart’, which name explained itself when the first letter of the alphabet was added to the nickname. Gone are the days!

Back to my Need Dough story. As soon as Papa Helmani came out of Auntie Ima’s shop, he waved the refined dinart over his head and started running. I mean, racing. As Teacher Annobil said once on the hills of Menya Mewu, Papa Helmani ran as Zacchaeus did (and I can still remember the entire school intone with him: “And he reeeeein, and Zacchaeus reeeeeiiiin”, imitating how he pronounced ‘ran’!). Papa Helmani ran straight into the house of Amakye the towncrier, who was recovering from the hangover of the previous day, having charged it further when he took in a calabash of cool water from his cooler in the morning. Well, from this roof so high, I don’t know what Papa Helmani gave to Amakye to bring him down from his eternal high, but all I saw was that Amakye exited his house running with Papa Helmani, straight to the village square. By now, a little crowd was following them and wondering what in the name of akati was going on. Trips to farms were immediately postponed as curiosity took the better of all who were already out of their houses. The commotion drew more people out of their beds. Even Twumasi, who was known to sleep like a well-fed python, came out of his house, clutching his sleeping cloth, famed for its ability to cause a full-blocked nose to clear in seconds. The scent!

At the square, Amakye mounted one of the bamboo benches at Mmaa Zenabu’s kooko base and cleared his spirited (read: spirit-influenced) throat and announced:

“Oman frɛ yie! Oman frɛ yie!”

I could hear the response from atop this roof: “Yie mbra!”

“Hear me, all you Sikamanians! Papa Helmani, we all know. He is known far and wide across this village and beyond. His head is like a tank of information and we all know he speaks about his thinking. He says he has been in deep thoughts about the need dough situation in this village and his research led him to Auntie Ima’s shop this morning. Here (and, as if on cue, Papa Helmani waved the olonka of refined dinart over his head) he has his evidence: the price of dinart is rising like an uncontrolled fart and going through the roof. He says a few moons ago he only needed twenty-six cowries to get an olonka but today he had to cough out nearly thirty-five cowries! Papa Helmani says I should say this for all and for Odekuro and his sub-chiefs to know that the price of refined dinart is meaningful because it is linked to the overall state of the Sikaman country. His mouth, through my mouth, has fallen!”

Immediately Amakye finished, there were shouts of “Ampa!”, “Mo ni kasa!”, “Enoa nono!” et cetera.

But, whilst Amakye was making his speech, Opanyin Hevon Huge had spilled away to Auntie Esi’s apampam store, the one near the chop bar she used to operate years ago. Oh, you should remember it. Close to Ayima’s night stand where he does his kyebom. Yes, that one. Opanyin Huge went there and got the same refined dinart for twenty-nine cowries. As soon as he got it, he started running to the village square too. Running paa o, like Zacchaeus ran. He ran so hard that it had to take aponkye-brake-like skills for him not to miss his stop, right at the bamboo bench on which Amakye stood.

Remember, Papa Helmani and Opanyin Hevon Huge go back a long way. They used to be neighbours and former best friends. Their bestfriendship took a French leave and came back again for a while. Presently, I do know from conversations gleaned that their bestfriendship is under re-construction.

Anyway, the approval grunts of the crowd were interrupted by the piercing shouts of “Helmani lies!” by Opanyin Hevon, as he waved his olonka of refined dinart over his fair head!

Come and see confusion! As I tell you this story, my friend, the villages are just buying and comparing prices of refined dinart all over. And talking about where they bought them from. In the end, the real question in the Need Dough debates might be lost: is the ground hard even though it is raining? Or it is not even raining at all?

In the meantime, the Need Dough debate is helping advertise outlets. Silver lining!

A warning: If you don’t use Need Dough but rather Dinart, and you comment some, may you be afflicted with multiple Sidbugri poxes that will make you exude the result of the vim of boiling beans!

I am enjoying the Need Dough debates. Indeed, in the end, we all need dough.

Goodbye Kwese

My son had been bugging me that all the channels on Kwese were gone. It was only yesterday I had time to follow up for him and then understood the coded text they had sent earlier:

“Kwese TV Will Discontinue Current Offer 1st Nov 2018. New Free Channel Line up to be Available Immediately. Call 0307010888/999 or WhatsApp 0552493511 for info.

“Thank You to All Active Kwese TV Subscribers (up to Oct 31) For Your Support. Please Enjoy 12 Month Free Kwese IFLIX Access in Appreciation.”

Then I went online and saw the confusion. Lol. Mostly reports from Zim portals.

Goodbye, Kwese.

Seems y’all are gagging up on this old duade to try this flexing part of the internet. Netflix, iFlix, so so flexing. I need me some more data muscles to flix and flex too.

Postscript 1

So I reached out to the Kwese Whatsapp number for clarification and got this response:


Hi there! Thank you for contacting Kwese TV. Kwese TV transitioning into the digital streaming world so our Satellite Decoder will house only FTA channels for FREE. To get access to unlimited General Entertainment, you will have to get our new Streaming box which is the Kwese Play. Kwese Play has over 200 streaming channels(Movies, Sports, Doccies, Music, Sports(limited), Kids, Gospel, News). Purchasing the Kwese Play box gives you access to 1YR Kwese iflix subscription. Kwese Iflix is a video on demand service that delivers wide variety of sports, movies (African,Bollywood, Ghallywood, Hollywood), Series/Telenovelas). Aside 1Yr free Kwese Iflix subscription, you will also get access to one month free Netflix subscription (Netflix is also video on Demand service that has over 1000s of movies, series, Telenovelas and documentaries)

If you are interested in the Kwese Play and have an active Kwese TV subscription, we will provide you with our new device deducting your active subscription payment from the actual box price. If you need a refund, we will gladly refund your subscription money to you.

Please note that your Kwese TV decoder will have access to FTA channels for FREE without any Subscription. We do apologise for the inconvenience and hope you do stay with us.


My comment: Even if I were interested in streaming video live on Ghana data (whose rates are just going up, btw), I wouldn’t buy new box from Kwese. What is the gaurantee that they won’t change their minds again after 6 months and give me an overnight notice?

Postscript 2

More interactions with Kwese via Whatsapp:


Okay thanks for the feedback. Quite surprised at the abruptness of the cancellation. My kids were as confused as I am. I have no problem with change of strategy but dropping off your customers from 20,000 ft like that is not good. Definitely not staying with Kwese. Cheers.

Kwese Helpline (via Whatsapp):

Hi there! We are very sorry for not notifying our customers earlier. The Kwese TV decoder will have limited channels at an annual minimal fee.

We are in no position to ask you to purchase the new device since we have disappointed our customers but it will be very amazing to acquire the new device since it has tons of kids channels for your amazing kids to watch. Kwese Iflix has hundreds of Kids contents. Purchasing the new box will gift you 1 year Kwese Iflix subscription. We have partnered with Vodafone to provide unlimited streaming package for Kwese Iflix at a minimal fee of 20GHS per month. All you need is either a Vodafone simcard or Fibre Broadband. If you have an active account with is, we will provide you with an option to either ask for a refund or we sell the new device to you at a discounted price.

Reading Spots Book Drive Update 2

Update 2:

One person just donated GHS 450 so have covered 2 more libraries! We have covered 11 libraries now, with 77 books!

7 libraries to go and GHS 1,330 to cover 7 more libraries!

My dearest friend of over 30 years and Providence Preparatory classmate Michael Ohene-Effah has also donated 120 copies of his book to the #ReadingSpots libraries!

Thanks so much, Mike!

Ghana will read again.

Update: Reading Spots Book Drive

Raised enough so far to cover 42 assorted copies of my books. 6 sets of 7 books. Dispatching to Reading Spots this week.

6 libraries covered.

12 more to go.

GHS 2,520 left to go to cover 12 more libraries.

Inbox if you wish to contribute. Check comment link below for initial post:


Contact me in comments section if you wish to support.

Ghana will read again.


Three people just donated 720 so have covered 2 more libraries!

9 libraries to go and GHS 1,780 to cover 9 more libraries!

Ghana will read again.

Book Drive for Reading Spots

I came back from the Reading Spots Conference at Techiman really inspired! This charity which is dedicated to building and running libraries across Ghana, with 18 live projects running, spread from Tema through Tamale to Bolga, brought down 63 young and old volunteers for the conference.

I was touched by stories from Tease where two brothers, artisans, donated their services as carpenter and mason, to build a community library with so little money you would be ashamed to hear. The co-founder, Francis Yeboah, is a driver and he mentioned his salary to me in confidence. Some use that amount for a trip to Accra Mall. He told me, ‘Nana, as little as it is, I take GHS 100 every month to buy books and to support the Reading Spots.’ The charity is supported by funds raised by children in the UK who sell eggs and put their allowances aside to help children they would never see read.

I want to support them with my widow’s mite. I wish to donate a set of my books to each of the 18 libraries. Each costs GHS 40 and I have 7 books. I am donating GHS10 off each of the books. So instead of GHS5,040, the total cost will be GHS3,780. I am putting GHS1,260 of my profit into Reading Spots.

If you wish to help me with the balance of GHS3800 to buy them books, reach out in my inbox.

Any extra money will be used to get them some children’s books.

We can all help to create a Reading Nation.

Check out Reading Spots via their FB page and their website – https://www.facebook.com/readingspots/


The Hill and the City – Creating GH Readers


The Hill and the City – Creating GH Readers

Speech delivered at Reading Spots Conference

Techiman, Ghana

10 August 2018


The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out, and after an era of darkness new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on, still young, still fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead. ~ Clarence Day


In this era of information explosion, it is a real tragedy if the Scripture ‘…my people perish for lack of knowledge’ should apply to anyone. My friend Geoff Anno asserts that ‘If six months from now, you do not know twice what you know now, you will be left behind.’ And I agree with him. There are a great many people today who stopped learning the moment they finished ‘school’: University, Polytechnic, secondary School, vocational school, et cetera. They just stopped learning.

Learning is acquiring knowledge or developing the ability to perform new behaviours. It is common to think of learning as something that takes place in school, but much of human learning occurs outside the classroom, and people continue to learn throughout their lives. The best and longest lasting school is the school of life, the Self-Tuition school.

Continuous learning, sadly, has ceased to be a national character. Knowledge is power, it is said, and this power must be searched for daily, a truly continuous process.

There are four common methods of learning continuously, as follows: by experience, by observation, by listening and by reading.

Today, we want to talk about reading. How do we build citizens who learn continuously, through reading? How do we ensure that the wisdom in the hills of knowledge around us trickles to the city? How do we create a reading nation, knowing that a reading nation is a thinking nation and a thinking nation will evolve into one with citizens who are forward-looking, not mediocre, anchored to the rock yet geared to the times, not gullible?

The great men of our world have been readers; they have been learners. Jesus read, and it showed in His sermons. Paul was well read. Nkrumah read. Martin Luther King Jnr read. Abraham Lincoln didn’t have what you would call a formal education, but he taught himself through reading. He actually studied law books he found at the base of items he had bought at an auction, and he became a great and effective lawyer and President of the United States of America. Lincoln talked of his love of books: ‘The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.’ One of the all-time great Presidents of America, Theodore Roosevelt, read. He was reported to have died with a book under his pillow.

In February 2016, my business partner and friend Kofi Akpabli and I treated an audience to a book reading event at the SyTris Bookshop near the A&C Mall. The event was organised by Writers’ Project of Ghana. As I entered the venue with my family, my children exclaimed, “Wow! So many books to choose from, we don’t know which one to choose!” Each of them picked books, with Nana Kwame picking a condensed edition of a book series he had been borrowing from his friend next door.

They set me back by some good Ghana cedis when we left after the event, but my heart was warm, knowing that my wife and I had succeeded in making our children excited about books and reading. So how did we get onto this path of making readers out of my children? I said ‘path’, because I don’t consider that my wife and I have reached yet – it is a journey.

The answer to that question, for me, goes way back to my upbringing, to Kotobabi. Maybe, even before that. Even before I was born.

My father was educated only to Middle School Leaving Certificate Level. My mum just about the same.

But both of them were great believers in the power of education. In my mum’s tribute at my dad’s funeral in 2006, she recalled that my father always insisted that his kids were his houses. On many occasions, he told us that education is everything, and sought to encourage us to go the farthest in our pursuit of knowledge. He said that if he had used the money he spent on our education on houses, he would have had many houses!! My dad taught himself further after school, in the Army and through books. He read a lot and passed on his love of books to me as well. Anytime I went to visit him in the village, I was certain to send magazines (Time magazine, BBC Focus on Africa) to him. At the time of his funeral, I still had the order form I had filled to subscribe BBC Focus on Africa magazine for him. In the village, he subscribed to the Daily Graphic, Mirror and Graphic Sports. And he had lots of books that I devoured.

My parents read. My father nurtured in me the love of magazines, newspapers and books. I got from him the practice of walking to buy The Mirror every weekend and we would spend time reading it together. I caught him reading and caught the bug while at that. When my mum visits us today in Tema, I walk into her room to greet her every morning and to ask how she is doing. I always find her reading her Bible. My parents taught me to read and inspired in me the desire to be more learned than they ever were. I caught the reading bug from my parents. And from my teachers such as Mr Edem, who we call Brother. Today, this man still buys books from my bookstore Booknook.store. Right from Aflao, so I dispatch to him by bus. The man is still influencing me over 30 years since I left his hands.

Today, you complain that Ghanaians don’t read. Are you reading yourself? Do your children catch you reading? When was the last time you read any book apart from the Bible you read weekly in church or daily during your devotion?

Today, how many children see their parents reading anything apart from their text messages, WhatsApp and Facebook messages? How do we expect to raise reading children when parents don’t read?

So In 2015, Kofi Akpabli and I came together and gave ourselves two targets: do regular (preferably quarterly) public book readings and extend the reading sessions beyond Accra.  Our first collaboration, however, was in 2011 when we had a joint book signing event at Sytris Bookshop, Osu, Accra. Our first public reading was in January 2015 when we read at a venue called Totally Youth, owned by the late Eva Lokko, which she gave out for free for such events. We read from 10 am till 5pm and had about 4 reading sessions – hence the name ReadAThon: A Reading Marathon. So far, we have done multiple readings in Accra and Tema, and gone to Ho, Tarkwa, Takoradi and Kumasi with the Readathon. Last year, we were in Lagos, Nigeria and Monrovia, Liberia.

With eleven (11) books between us including popular titles Tickling the Ghanaian, I Speak of Ghana, Romancing Ghanaland and Sebitically Speaking, we set on this mission to make reading hip again, and to take writing and reading to the level of pop culture.  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, we believe that we should not forget about made-in-Ghana books. It is our belief that this is a great vehicle of change, to help to literally fuel the literary drive across Ghana.

Our main focus: to make reading for pleasure hip again. Not only for the classroom.

So how do we get Ghana reading again? This has been a question on our minds as we continue our reading mission. I have asked this question a few times on my Facebook wall over the years and as I prepared for this conference, I asked again. A number of friends, some parents, shared their thoughts and I will be sharing some with you during the rest of this speech.

The question before us is simply this:

What are some of the ways and means we can use to get Ghana reading again?

I formed a Whatsapp group of parents who want to get their kids reading and we share ideas on there on this topic. Solely that, with strict rules about what to post and what not to post. Not your regular GH Whatsapp group where recycling is the rule. And we borrow books amongst ourselves, mostly for the children. On the bus to Techiman yesterday, one of our members – Abubakari Halidu, National Sales Director of AirtelTigo – shared a picture with these captions:

They asked her: “How did you persuade your child to read instead of playing with smart devices?”

 She said: “Children don’t hear us, they imitate us.”

But first of all, let me state it unequivocally. As a parent – Get caught reading! Children do what we do and not necessarily what we say.

What legacy of knowledge acquisition are we leaving our children? Cicero noted that ‘To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.’ I read somewhere that you can gauge how much a man loves knowledge by comparing the size of his library to the size of his television!

Over ten years ago, I saw a documentary on North Korea, which emphasised the life and role of the former Korean President, referred to as the ‘Great Leader’. One instruction the Great Leader gave to his country struck me, to wit: “A child should always have a book in his hands. He must read always. He should never be without a book, not even for a single day.” I agree with him.

We must get books into the hands of children. Start them early. Don’t be agree if they play with them and destroy them in the process – I have lots of books at home without their covers! With my children, I always had books around them. Of course, they saw us reading. Fortunately, they saw me writing too. And lately, as a bookseller, they see me selling books and they have greater choice! Downside being that they eat into my profits! During marriage counselling before marriage, our counsellors told us that we should always speak to them as adults, even when they were babies and not to use baby language, because children are smarter than we think. We took that to heart as parents. I took them to book launches and book readings. I took them to bookshops. Each time I travelled, I brought them books instead of sweets and candy and chocolate. These days, when I travel, they actually call me to remind me to bring them books. Airport bookshops always see me, and that is where I spend my per diem. We have enrolled them in a community library.

That has been my experience so far. Permit me to share with you now the thoughts of my friends on Facebook as they contributed to the question I posed. You will find that a number of them touched on what ReadingSpots is doing already – you are already contributing to the mission to get Ghana reading again!

Korklu Laryea, my big sister and friend, a librarian in Tarkwa actually called me and said: “Nana, tell them to start them early. Parents should read. They should read to the kids. They should not fight the technology (or challenge) that mobile phones and tablets bring. I download word games on my tablets and my nephews and nieces play with them, and learn more words. Parents should start reading to the children early.”

Kwame Owusu Nimako: Get them young. My first books at 6 years old turned me into a reader.

Efua Akwa-Yeboah: Charity begins at home. Parents investing in books…School libraries stocking relevant books. Local libraries…NGOs…local government involvement (Hello, ReadingSpots!)

Jennifer Nimako Boateng: Get them to develop an interest in reading from young age.

Emmanuel Asakinaba: For the teens who are yet to develop the habit, start with short colourful stories written in simple, not-too-literary language. We run a project in the Kassena-Nankana West District in the Upper East Region. We make available copies of the Junior Graphic and encourage them to read the short stories…We have seen considerable improvement in reading habits.

John Schaidler: Nana, I would love to discuss this further with you. Research suggests that one of the biggest factors that gets kids reading is choice. More books, more choice, more kids reading. Of course, great books that kids love make it easier, too. I also agree with Emmanuel above. Short, colorful, simple–engaging. As the saying goes, there are no reluctant readers, just kids that haven’t yet found the right books.

James Anquandah: We must establish community reading clubs in as many communities as possible (hello, ReadingSpots!), involve parents in these activities, encourage the production of more localized content to stock our libraries, schools and homes and make reading an activity and fun-based thing. If they enjoy the fun that comes with it, they will want to read more. If children have access to reading materials at home, in school and the library, we are assured that that generation will kickstart a reading revolution

Nana Esi Oppong-Boateng: Establishing community libraries.

Francis Appiah Acquaye: FreeBooks. I asked Francis, “Who pays for the production of the free books? Or the supply?” He responded by saying that “Government pays for production and BookNook.store pays for the supply.”

In response to Francis, James Anquandah wrote: Free books won’t solve the problem. Rather, let government commission local writers to produce content to stock all libraries. In this case, others get to read the same book and you promote a sort of communal reading culture. If you give them out, readers will stock them at home after reading when others may be disadvantaged. No writer, by the way, is willing to go through the tedious publishing process for free.

My comment on this was to refer to what the Canadian NGO CODE had done in Liberia where they commissioned local writers to write children’s books and distribute to schools.

Solomon Ofori-Atta: Start from the grass root…the children.

Jude Nii Otu Anim: Book Clubs!

Prince Alec Douglas Gaisie: When I was kid my father used to punish to go to my room and read and come out the next day. I was thinking he was punishing but by the I reached PRESEC form 1, I could read about three story books a day in addition to my learning. We must develop and motivate the children with different rewarding systems and they would catch up and they would never forget. We were having bed time story books.

Akosua Aboagyewaa Asiedu: We can do so by encouraging reading among the kids in preschools, by creating reading clubs (not those clubs that call themselves reading clubs but do everything else apart from reading) give the kids reading assignments which will in turn force the parents to help their kids to read(by so doing get themselves reading) and then give the deserving kids appropriate rewards so it becomes exciting. Starting with the kids can help.

Archibald Dadzie: It all down to parents to encourage their kids to develop the habit of reading. Read bedtime stories to your kids from birth and they will love story telling which will encourage them to read more. My son at age 10 read two books per week. Regulate the use of smart phones and tablets for playing games by kids and encourage them to read hard copies of story books

Pearl N Afua Acheampong: Organising periodic reading sessions at public spaces. Allowing young people share their stories and helping them refine their art. I would gladly be a volunteer.

Korklu Laryea: Parents reading to their children even before they start school makes a huge difference. A reading parent raises a reading family, I believe.

In response to Korklu, Ama Ewusiwaa wrote: Very true, did same with my daughter.

Great inputs, don’t you think? Not much to add except to say we must get serious with getting our public libraries operational and attractive. Many in my generation remember visiting public libraries as children. Many in our children’s generation haven’t been to any public library in their short lives. We have to remedy that. And quickly.

We are living in an era where everyone seems to have the urge, appetite and desire for fast things! Reading and appreciating what we read is fast becoming a practice of the past. And it is worrying. There is nothing that satisfies like a good book!

Allow me to end with this quote from Sir John Herschel: “Were I to pray for a taste which should stand me in good stead under every variety of circumstances and be a source of happiness and a cheerfulness to me during life and a shield against its ills, however things might go amiss and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading.”

May we all be committed to building a Reading Ghana. Ghana must read again. And here, I salute what you are doing in Reading Spots and I wish you greater success! A special salute to the co-founders Cat Davison and Francis Yeboah – you guys have inspired me so much!

Let’s get caught reading and get our children reading. Ghana must read again. Ghana will read again. And we shall have the city coming to the wisdom hill, each with his or her container. For knowledge is free at the hill. Just bring your container.

Nana Awere Damoah



Nsempiisms: Dompe Shall Not Die!

We stand a big risk of our kids losing a very ghanamanosyncractic trait which has been passed on to us from generation to generation. An attribute so inbuilt it is like our skin. A key aspect of our upbringing, one that is not necessarily taught but which young ones pick up from adults by the most natural and effective ways of learning: observation.

Growing up, one would see an older brother or sister take time, like a professional surgeon, to evaluate the best ways to approach it, and then to step-by-step execute it with surgical precision. The tools for the job were always available, and when they were not, we improved.

I watch these days as my children ignore this and I ask myself if I have failed as a parent, as an elder, as a trainer.

I go to the kitchen and I find that my kids have left the bones uncracked, the marrow intact and the flesh in all the crevices to go to waste. And I shout ‘Buei! Adieɛ ayɛ me o!’

That joy of picking a tapoli when the teeth have failed to crack the stubborn walls surrounding the bone marrow…or, when a tapoli is not available, picking up a stone and getting to work, sometimes sitting on the floor, oblivious of all that was taking place around you, cracking that bone carefully, so not to disturb the microscopic lattice of the bone marrow and then….and then…when all the laid bare, to sit back and suck that marrow in…


This epitome of joy, this love-affair with a juicy bone, this happiness, must not be allowed to go into the dustbin of history.

Nsempiisms, my mouth has fallen.

Happy Sunday.

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