Adabraka, Accra December 15, 2021: The first Tabon Festival of urban arts was held at African University College of Communications campus Wednesday December 15. The one-day festival created and organized by AfroNova Media in collaboration with the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing at AUCC attracted hundreds of students from the college and surrounding schools, guests from Adabraka, and arts lovers from other parts of the city to Discovery House to appreciate original art, innovative music, fresh literature and short films.


The event started at 10:00 am with the launching of The Lockdown: creative nonfiction about living with COVID-19, an anthology from the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing at the AUCC Auditorium. The book features 16 authors including three men, and four non-Ghanaians from Japan, the United Kingdom and USA. In attendance were contributing authors ijahra larry chibara, Ursula Abanga, Benjamin Cyril Arthur, Philomena Esi Agudu, and Jane Abraham. Others were Samantha Erskine, Emmanuella Obeng-Koranteng, Emmanuella Ako-Nai, Grace Wood, and Franka-Maria Andoh.

AUCC President Prof. Isaac Abeku Blankson

In his welcome address, AUCC President Prof. Isaac Abeku Blankson emphasized the role of university education in increasing literacy for development, and encouraged the new authors to write about relevant themes for Ghanaian readers. “It’s important that we keep themes about development in the space for discussion,” he said.

In his keynote address, Ghana Association of Writers President Francis Gbormittah said Lockdown represents an insightful and stimulating commentary on our society. “The book will purposefully raise awareness of readers, equip them with knowledge and self-confidence, which are necessary to fully participate in the national developmental process. It will remove the sense of helplessness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so readers become agents of the change they desire in productivity and development,” he added.

GAW President Francis Gbormittah giving his keynote address at the launch of Lockdown. PHOTO CREDIT: Raph Dassar

The queenmother of Adabraka Naa Korkor Aadzieyi I, who is also the Executive Director of the literacy foundation Read4Me, launched the book. She applauded the new authors and praised the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing for remaining consistent with its mission of ‘facilitating critical reading and creative writing’.

Former president of Ghana Book Publishers Association, and CEO of Smartline Publishing Ltd. Elliot Agyare gave the closing remarks. He said the genre of creative nonfiction is extremely important in fostering national development. “There’s so much around us for us to capture, document and write about creatively not only for our readers today, but also for those coming. Through creative nonfiction, we can contribute to the development conversation,” Mr. Agyare added.

Lockdown is the Aidoo Centre’s third anthology in three years following the previous years’ successful release and limited local tour of Adabraka: Stories from the Centre of the World and Larabanga: Stories from the Savannah.

Her Majesty

At the Aidoo Centre proper two floors below was an exhibition of four original oil paintings and four metal sculpture works in honor of African queens. This collection by Nana Anoff dubbed “Her majesty” was his first exhibition at #AidooCentre. The works included the paintings MoremiAminaAsantewaa and Nandi. The sculptures are MedusaNefertitiMakeda and The Royal Guard. The exhibition was opened by Dr. Jim Fara Awindor, Dean of the Kojo Yankah School of Communication School at AUCC.

Nana Anoff engaging his guests PHOTO CREDIT: Raph Dassar

Students from Mantse Tackie 3 Primary and KG Schools in Adabraka engaged the artist in conversations covering theme to process.

Nana Anoff is a self-taught artist who has explored charcoal, pencil, watercolor, acrylic and oil painting, and wood and metal sculpture. Since 2000 when he had his first professional exhibition, his works have shown both locally and abroad, resting beautifully in the homes of personalities such as Cosby Show’s Malcolm Jamal Warner and film star Will Smith. In Ghana, his commissioned works include pieces at The Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Centre, the Centre for Democracy and Development, Silver Star Tower and Icon House (Coco Lounge), both in the Airport City Accra. Anoff’s recent project Flight 7, an installation of a Challenger 600 airplane, has done a few high school tours engaging students and having workshops on sculpting. It was made with materials and stuff cast away.

with students from Mantse Tackie 3 Primary and KG Schools, Adabraka PHOTO CREDIT: Susan Lamptey
Medusa PHOTO CREDIT: Raph Dassar

Evolution photography Exhibition

Also along the brick walls of the Discovery House ground floor south wing was a display of a dozen photographs by Kobby Blay dubbed An evolution of healthcare in Ghana. The works are intimate pictures of this nurse-turned-award-winning blogger focused on health in Ghana in recent times. Blay is also a Level 200 student of AUCC.

Short films screening

By 1:00pm, visitors were back in the Auditorium for the DFS shorts marathon. As part of the 1st Tabon Festival, there were film screenings of four shorts by students from the Digital Film School (DFS) project at African University College of Communications (AUCC) after a three-week course in digital documentary filmmaking. The course was jointly offered by DW Academy, AUCC and YMCA Ghana. The course was taught by professionals in screen writing and the video documentary. in all, 30 students benefited from the DFS. It was aimed at introducing students to writing scripts on their own and bringing it to life by making film out of the script. The students ended the project by shooting short films.

The shorts were GamblingThe Waste CollectorThe Bully Bullied and The Foodian, all scripted, shot and edited by L300 and 400 Journalism and Visual Communication students.

AUCC President Prof. Abeku Blankson in an earlier review session said he was impressed with the work of the students and advised them to take the course serious since many people have been successful in the field. He promised to support the program with the necessary resources needed.

On his part, the head of the DW Academy team from Germany, Yhoghan Seidlar, said: “I’m very impressed by the work displayed. Even though you said the work was difficult due to inadequate tools and equipments and funds, you were able to shoot a film.” He said he will collaborate with the President of AUCC to get the necessary tools for the students.


At exactly 2:00pm in the early afternoon, the Auditorium once again became the venue for #BookReadingClinic3. Dr. Gheysika Adombire Agambila, former Vice President of Ghana Association of Writers, was the guest for #ReadingClinic3 at the #TabonFestival. His book The Shrinking Bowl was the work for discussion by reading groups from Accra. Dr. G. A. Agambila joined the festival via Zoom. The Shrinking Bowl is essentially about Assibi, a Christian girl who is forced into marrying a much older Moslem man who’s already with three daughters. The book progresses with Assibi coming into her own and realizing her selfhood in the bondage tradition forces her into. She blossoms by taking over her aging husband’s thriving government construction contract business. Is the author a cultural apologist for forced/child marriages in the North? Is the book an indictment on government corruption? What is the nature of patronage in local development? What bowl is shrinking: The national purse? Readers from AUCC, Maamobi’s Success Book Club, ReadCamp and elsewhere converged to have a conversation with Dr. Agambila from his home in America. Dr. Agambila revealed that his main aim was to entertain readers and bring out social issues such as corruption, education and forced marriages in certain Ghanaian communities.

UpClose&Personal with Ben Brako

To crown the festival was Ben Brako, the highlife legend who rose to prominence in the mid-1980s and his wife Effie. The program was hosted by Ruth Aryeh, producer of #TalkingDrum on #AfroNovaRadio and a L300 Development Communication senior at AUCC. The appearance of highlife superstar Ben and Effie Brako at the Auditorium in the yellow couch for an UpClose&Personal chat with program host Ruth Aryeh and 40 of his die-hard fans on campus was an experience in itself. Since he was invited to sing with The Flames during his St. Augustine’s College days some 45 years ago, Brako’s become an indelible fixture on the Ghana music scene. His first solo studio album, Baya, brought him to megastar prominence in the late 80s, and since then it has become the standard by which modern highlife is often judged. This was the crown of the 1st Tabon festival.

The teenage pop star and his pediatrician wife dismissed media criticism about photos the couple shared online. “That was art,” Brako emphasized. “Given the chance to do it again, I certainly would, much better….“the thing is, you must allow those negative comments to sink away, and focus on what you wanna do.” Dr. Effie Brako who graduated from the Ghana Medical School advised students to stay as far away from drugs as possible.

After an hour of questions and revelations, Brako performed a couple of his tracks to close the day-long festival.

The TabonFestival will be held annually to showcase students’ interactions with original urban arts and culture from the Ga traditional area.

Ben Brako bringing the curtain down on Tabon Festival 2021 PHOTO CREDIT Susan Lamptey

A few visitors expressed their opinion about the festival experience.


“The festival was interesting and intriguing. Most especially the paintings and sculpture exhibition by Nana Anoff…how he’s able to use tech materials to create African entities. The Medusa sculpture blew my mind,” said Sam Enoch, host of #EveningDrive (and a producer) on AfroNovaRadio, and a L300 Visual Communication senior.

Oh my God!

“I love the festival from start to end. The interview part with Ben Brako was fantastic. And his performance was great,” said Samuel O. Sackey, Director of Business Development at AUCC.

It was fun

“The art exhibition was my favourite because I learned about African queens and their feats. I also adore how the artist Nana Anoff promoted recycling through his art,” said Vanessa Okialey Vanderpuye, Assistant Production Manager at AfroNovaRadio and a L200 student at AUCC.

It was exciting!

E. B. Fayah, host of #CampusTicTok on AfronNovaRadio, and a Level 200 student of AUCC, said she loved the fact that she got to meet authors like Ursula M. Abanga, Jane Abraham and others. “I particularly enjoyed the awesome performance by graduating student Aba Akrampah. I look forward to experiencing #Tabon again and again,” she gushed.


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