Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

The Sleeping Writers Wake Up (2)

A Touch Of Nokoko

By Kofi Akumanyi

(see part 1)


The Royal Geographical magazine, printed in the Geographic UK, and National of America, are two universally acclaimed journals which have, over the years, criss-crossed the surface of the earth to the remotest corners bringing us exciting pictures and stories of tribes that nobody ever knew existed.

Dr Robert Soga of Department of Geography, Legon has, for the first time in the history of Ghana, done a comprehensive study of the country's population distribution, ethnic composition, wild-life and other interesting facts about the land of our birth.

Criss-crossing the entire 92,100 square miles of the country, he has made quite a few shocking revelations which he claims, governments have, until this publication, refused to admit in public. Hacking his way through the thick rain-forest with a cutlass, he claims to have discovered a tribe which calls itself the Sadamos with a highly developed political system, did a good job. religion and indigenous educational structure. Asked why they have never attempted to come into "civilization" the chief of the 500-strong tribe had said: "We would never risk it and ruin our carefully nurtured indigenous customs that have served us so well for so many centuries." To which Dr Soga had no answer.

However, he had many answers to obvious questions you would like to know about the mysterious Sodomo tribe, which has jealously guarded its independence from the rest of the country by ignoring all the stories of the goodies in the cities brought to them by their highly enterprising spy, Adakato. It was strongly emphasised by the tribesmen that they would resist any attempts to bring them under the government in Accra.

All the interviews conducted with the tribesmen and women of Sodomo were in sign language. If you are Anthropology do not miss this book.


You have read, or maybe seen, some of the volumes of books of General Acheampong - those beautifully bound, hardcover books containing all the public speeches he made during the course of his nearly seven years reign as head of state of Ghana. While admitting that those speeches failed to lift the society and the economy to the "commanding heights" and some would even say, in fact, helped to sink the few remaining assets into the economic abyss, his public relations outfit

However, everybody knows how extremely boring it is to listen to people talk about things they have absolutely no clue. Unfortunately, Gen. Acheampong could not commission a biography before he met his unfortunate end, so if someone does not produce one posthumously, his fascinating rise from an experienced village teacher (UVT) to head of state of Ghana may be lost forever.

To bridge this yawning gap in the Acheampong story, anecdotes, many of which are clearly apocryphal but make interesting reading, have been making the rounds at parties etc for years. Here are a few compiled by this author, after years of research. No doubt this selection is aimed at whetting your appetite and make you rush for your own copy when the book finally hits the newsstands sometime this year.

1. Sam Nujoma, the SWAPO leader had stopped over in Accra to canvas for financial support in their liberation fight in Namibia. The then Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Lt-Col. Roger Felli and a few officials had taken Nujoma to see Gen. Acheampong in his Burma Camp residence. The General apparently tired from making speeches the whole day dozed throughout the long passionate plea and briefing from Nujoma.

Suddenly, he woke up, looked at his watch, looked around him and asked in TWI language. "Na papa yia n'abodwese fitaa yi se sen koraa na oha m'adwene anadwe se?" (why is this white bearded man disturbing me like this in the night? What does he want?) The shocked officials put Nujoma's case squarely that he needed money for the SWAPO struggle.

Whereupon Acheampong pulled a drawer and handed over about 30,000 dollars to him saying that he should leave and never come back for a long time.

2. When his colleagues of the SMC removed him as head of state in a palace coup, Acheampong was reported to have been apoplectic with rage. He was madder when they accused his stewardship as "a one-man show". He called a meeting where some of his important political appointees were present. As usual he spoke in TWI. "How on earth can you people here accuse me of "one- man show"? You Akwasi Akuffo (Gen. F.W.K. Akuffo) did I not invite you every Sunday to my house?" he said looking at his face. "Didn't I? You all know that I relax by playing a game of draught so while we were playing the game didn't we discuss national issues? Didn't we? And furthermore while we ate the delicious OMOTUO prepared by Faustie (his wife) didn't we discuss and take decisions about the country? How can you accuse me of not consulting you. How? Someone should tell me... Now I know what really happened. It seems to me that whenever we met to play draught and eat on Sundays, you bloody idiots were only interested in the food. You never listened. You idiots...block-heads..."

The books reviewed last week and above will not be available for some time on the local market due to circumstances beyond the author's control.

talking drums 1986-02-03 Demonstrations in Accra against Rawlings's economic measures