My name is Andrea Hayford; I’m a Ghanaian undergraduate student studying at Lafayette College in the US. The African Poetry Anthology (APA) project caught my attention essentially because I’m an arts fanatic (and I mean all the arts), and I am in love with the continent (especially my home country). I always loved the few works by Ghanaian writers I read as a young girl, and particularly because they were set in a local context. So to see my friend Akua draw our attention to a part of literature we haven’t really seen in local languages, I was immediately excited and wanted to help in any way that I could. I believe it is such a wonderful way of encouraging cross-cultural interaction, as well as an engagement with our African languages. It’s part of the path to knowing ourselves a little bit deeper, on a cultural level. Our languages are so versatile, beautiful, and complex, that to put them on the backburner would be doing ourselves a great disservice. I’m so enthused by the long-term effects I see this having, and I hope that you will join us on this journey and be interested enough to share the movement with others. Keep checking in with us! Seriously 🙂 We’re growing more every day.
Nana Kwame Sakyi Owusu
I am Nana Kwame Sakyi Owusu and I hail from Kumasi, in the Ashanti region of Ghana. I am currently a student of Franklin & Marshall College in the USA. I am very passionate about speaking in one’s indigenous language and was very much excited by the African Poetry Anthology (APA) project. This project, for me, is a good way to begin breaking what I see as lingual colonization in many African countries. I also think it strongly projects African diversity and shows that Africa is a continent full of myriad indigenous languages that can be shared with the rest of the world. This is why I joined the team and why you should also join the movement. You don’t have to be African to join the movement though. At the very least, you can spread the word.
Yaw Owusu- Ansah
I’m Yaw Owusu- Ansah, a typical name from the Ashanti region of Ghana. I am a first year Computer Engineering student at the University of Waterloo in Canada. I’m hoping to acquire skills that will be essential in building our continent in the near future. The African Poetry Anthology (APA) is a great platform that holds the potential to aid the development of our continent. That is why I joined the team to contribute what I can, using technology to promote our language and culture. Get on board and lets do this together.
My name is Kristin Wilson. I’m an undergraduate student studying Molecular Biology and Neuroscience in the United States. Throughout my life I have experienced various African cultures in different languages, dialects and countries. My exposure to literature, in which I have great interest, has however not had the same linguistic diversity. Consequently, the African Poetry Anthology (APA) was birthed from a place of this consciousness, that is one of African literature created in predominantly non-African languages and sometimes contexts. More than anything, I hope that the project gets you thinking and acting on ways to promote our linguistic heterogeneity via the Arts. I also hope that you will read, contribute and spread the word. Ubuntu, the humanist ethic of Bantu origin, speaks about the essence of being human. With APA, I hope we can begin to explore, in our mother tongues, the ‘essences’ of being Africans.
My name is Akua Banful and I’m an undergraduate student studying Literature and Politics in the United States. Ghana is my home, and during my first year of university, I found myself longing to express myself in a language other than English – a language that I could claim as mine. This prompted me to try my hands at poetry in Twi, and it hit me, that in all my years of writing poetry, it was something I had never tried before. It also hit me, how much more I could express in my own language, and that the same must apply for speakers of various African languages. Writing poetry in indigenous African languages is by and large, not the modus operandi, and it is something that I feel needs to change. There is a whole consciousness and subtlety of our daily existence as people hailing from the African continent that we are yet to express on a global platform. This unexploited potential excites me. There is much to be gained from seeking to understand ourselves, and which better way to do it than to interact fully with our own languages? The African Poetry Anthology (APA) is a project that is still evolving, and I sincerely hope that you will join us on our journey through language and culture by reading, watching and listening to what we have to offer, and above all, by contributing to our movement.
Hello, I’m Jenny S-B, a twenty-something college graduate from Ghana currently working in academic publishing in NYC. I consider my first love to be the written word, and during my undergraduate studies as an English Literature/Creative Writing major, I noticed that most of the works being touted as great by the syllabi in my courses were, more often than not, written by people who looked the same and held similar worldviews, albeit to varying degrees. Classes which allowed for more multicultural literature were often relegated to areas of “special interest”, and this in part is what drew me to involve myself with the African Poetry Anthology team as I believe it serves as a clarion call to up and coming African writers who have been honing their craft to continue creating the art that comes naturally to them in whatever form that may take because you, dear reader, are proof that there is an audience for art from the continent that doesn’t necessarily have to be repackaged and made palatable for a Western audience in order to make an impact.
I’m Michael Annor, a freshman at Ashesi University College in Ghana, looking to major in Management Information Systems. I have keen interests in technology and particularly the internet. I could spend countless hours exploring the world via the Internet. And being unable to find local content online has been disappointing. I’m a creative. But not too adventurous at that. I do some writing, graphic design and videography but no poetry yet. However, I enjoy reading and understanding beautiful poetry. I guess the adjective “beautiful” is a bit too subjective but that’s me.
I speak (or understand) a number of local Ghanaian languages, picked up a few words from Swshili speaking classmates over the past four years. But its importance never occurred to me until I sat through a lecture on linguistics and understood the link to development. I dream, think and speak of Africa’s development; economic, cultural, social development.
That’s why I’m on the project team. It’s relevant and a step in the right direction. I once saw a TED Talk by Ory Okolloh in which she mentioned the problem with African content online. Presently the statistics are bad but we at APA look to change that
On the team, I work with Yaw Owusu-Ansah and we constitute the Tech team. We handle the blog design and development, manage the YouTube channel and sort out the other multimedia needs of the project. I’m African, and proud of my heritage so you can call me Kobby, a variation of the name given to a male born on Tuesday. That’s all cultural, and it’s amazing.
I blog at kobby.tumblr.com.
My name is Deborah Frempong and I majoring in International Relations at Pomona College. I joined the African Anthology Project because I think it is important for more people to see our indigenous languages as more than just second languages; more people need to see the beautiful literature that can come out of these languages, many more people need to see poetry being expressed in their languages. I also joined because it is a very open project and encourages all who can to contribute. As someone who was has been interested in poetry for a while, I realize that it seldom occurred to me that I could write in Twi. And most importantly, I think this project serves as a reminder to young people from Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, that there are endless possibilities when it comes to our languages!