Adabraka ACCRA. November 24, 2022: The African University College of Communications (AUCC) in Adabraka, Accra held its second annual Tabon festival of urban arts and culture Thursday. The one-day event brought to Discovery House renowned scholar Prof. Toyin Falola, music legend Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, Ghanaian film maverick Socrate Safo, international artist Hacajaka to meet with hundreds of fans from near and far.

Many dignitaries attended the festival including the founder of AUCC Hon. Kojo Yankah, AUCC President Prof. Abeku Blankson and his senior management, faculty and staff, Queenmother of Adabraka Naa Korkor Aadizeoyi I, the Adonten Mantse Nii Addy Akuaku V, the Oba of Yoruba in Ghana His royal majesty Alh. Hamazat Peregrino Brimah VIII and the Executive Director of the National Commission on Culture represented by Efua Apprey.

More important, it brought together royalty from Ga and Yoruba in full pomp.

To compliment the mood were authentic African foods and beverages, popular street music, street fashion and endless smiles.

The Tabon festival of urban arts and culture, organized by the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing, is a day full of varied events to promote, entertainment and educate people on the urban arts and culture of Africa. It is a day of literature, panAfrican thought, art, film, tradition and entertainment. Inspired by the returnee enslaved from Brazil who settled in Jamestown in Accra, the festival was named after the Tabon people.

“I was here [at AUCC] at the first Tabon. I met Ben Brako and his wife one-on-one; I met Nana Anoff; and I met a host of festival visitors that blew my mind. But this year’s festival is just extraordinary. To pack such a busy schedule in one place in one day….whew!” exclaimed recent returnee Naa Dede Hammond.

Hacajaka & James Cudjoe Art Exhibition

As part of the celebration of the second Tabon festival, African University College of Communications (AUCC) held an art exhibition. James Cudjoe’s two Game of Friendship works complimented Hacajaka’s 6-piece State of Union Address on display at the AUCC Business & Professional Development Department Main Hall.

James Cudjoe, a product of Ghana’s now defunct Ghana College of Art, is known for depicting city landscapes, market scenes, street scenes of Takoradi and world of Cape coast fishermen. His use of bright and vibrant colors makes his work lively and eye-catching. His works on display included the Yellow Team and My ball. Football is a subject that most Ghanaian artists don’t treat. James Cudjoe handled the subject with impressive mastery.

Hacajaka is also known as Pastor Harry Agyeman. He’s a clothe maker by hobby who is known as an iconoclast, innovator and subverter. His works still inspire and leave people in awe. His works on display included the State of Union Address, The Masked Man Behind the Relentless Woman, Answer, The Rage of Elisha, Time After Time and Untitled.

Indeed, these pieces of art were imaginative and dreamlike, leaving festival guests staring in amazement and wonder.

Obonu Drumming from Tesaa

As audiences gathered and seated themselves for the next event, they were entertained by the Tesaa Cultural group who gave a wonderful display of obonu (fontomfrom) drumming and dancing. The band’s repertoire embraced Ga dance beats, ancestral rhythms, ceremonial compositions and royal arrangements. Its show was augmented by the Yoruba drummers who heralded His royal majesty Alh. Hamazat Peregrino Brimah VIII.

Distinguished Public Lecture

Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, Prof. Toyin Falola delivered the Distinguished Public Lecture themed “Excellence in education within the context of PanAfricanism and Digitalization”.

Speaking animatedly to about 600 attentive ears, Prof. Falola said the modern education system, introduced to Africa by European colonialists, has become an integral component of societal development and the vehicle for entrenching a new socio-political order is demanded by African nationalists.

He said the nationalists considered education to be the path to the emancipation of African people, but the structure, curricula, and values underlying Africa’s education system has thwarted their objective.

He said Africa’s education system is beyond decolonization and requires efforts that reflect Pan-Africanism and promote Africa to the world through digitization.

He advised that decolonization of Africa’s education systems must address the institutional cultures, curricula, and underlying philosophies that form the bedrock of the continent’s education system.

He said policymakers must implement policies and projects to transform the continent’s education systems and advised them to “focus efforts on directing the African education curriculum to speak to the objectives of Pan-Africanism and its ideal, this is a conscious effort that we must have policymakers, change makers, and governments embark on,” he said.

He said we must also consciously establish Pan-Africanism in its true essence and in the way our children will be eager to follow through.

“The generation of Africans today seems to have gone a long way away from the spirit of Pan-Africanism, and as the connectors between true African traditions and contemporary lifestyles, our sole duty is to hold their hands till they get back on track.

Turning his focus onto 180 junior secondary school students in attendance, Prof. Falola said educators must “teach our children about Nkrumah, Lumumba, Mandela, Nyerere, Mbeki and many other heroes of Africa, not in the way that white supremacists have crafted a one-sided monologue about them, but in a way that portrays the wholesomeness of their ideas on freedom for Africa and moving the continent forward”.

He said the complete decolonization of Africa’s education systems would not be achieved overnight, but time and deliberate action would be necessary.

“These actions must include encouragement and commitment from stakeholders to support the preservation of indigenous knowledge through digitization and give easy access to such knowledge in public libraries”, he said.

An African intellectual legend on both the continent and in the world, Prof. Toyin Falola has recently celebrated the publication of his 100th book. Series editor of African Identities, Cambridge University Press, he has served as editor and editorial advisor of close to 50 publications, including the Oxford Research Encyclopedia in African History, the Journal of African Humanities and Social Sciences, African Economic History, Journal of International Politics and Development, The Oxford History of Historical Writing, Abuja Journal of Humanities, The Global South etc.

A lively Q&A session featuring largely JSS students from Amusudai and Floating Crystals Academy ensued, ending in a joyful line dance to Buga by Kizz Daniel.

Enstoolment of Prof. Falola

As part of activities marking AUCC’s 20th Anniversary, Prof. Falola was enstooled Development Mantse by the Otuopai Palace of Adabraka after the Public Lecture. Following a ceremony rich in culture and tradition, the historian was installed chief and given the new name Nii Kpani Ashaabla I.

He pledged to use resources at his disposal to work towards improving the lot of his new kinsmen.


The ceremony was officiated by the Adonten Mantse Nii Addy Akuaku V.

Aidoo Centre Launches 4th Anthology

Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing launched its fourth anthology, Untold Stories Vol.I as one of the festival events. The new book is a collection of stories and poems from students of African University College of Communications, Ghana Institute of Journalism, University of Ghana Accra City Campus and Accra Technical University.

The event was a part of African University College of Communications Tabon festival organized by the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing to celebrate urban African art and culture. The audience saw the unveiling of the Centre’s fourth anthology Untold Stories Vol.I.

The book is edited and put together by the Anthologist Nana S. Achampong from submissions from students from neighboring universities. It contains nine stories and 6 poems sharing their previously unpublished works.

The book was launched by Queenmother of Adabraka, Naa Korkor Aadizeoyi.

“I would like to thank AUCC Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for this new anthology and would like to encourage you all to buy a copy and read. For the saying goes if you want to hide something from a black man put it in a book,” The Queen mother said in her speech.

The Ama Ata Aidoo Centre’s first nationwide call for submission in February 2018 was for stories about living in the southernmost part of Ghana which resulted in Adabraka: Stories from the Center of the World anthology. The second anthology, Larabanga: Short stories from The Sanannah was compiled from a call for submission on stories from the savannah region up North. The third anthology, The lockdown: Creative non-fiction about living with Covid-19, was a collection of submissions about life during lockdown in Ghana following the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nana S. Achampong, the anthologist for the Untold Stories Vol.I and Director of Ama Atta Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing, urged avid readers to continue exploring the vast world of books and for writers to keep on writing and not miss an opportunity to respond to calls for submissions to have their stories published.

The Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing is located at African University College of Communications, Off Kojo Thompson road, Adabraka, Accra.

Ellen Gyimah Reads Kweku Ananse and His Five Wives to 150 JSS Students

Following right after was a book reading session. There were 180 school children from neighboring Amusudai Junior Secondary School and Floating Crystals Academy from Ashiaman. The story picked to be read to the students was Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang’s Kweku Ananse and His Five Wives.  The storyteller was final year Journalism student Ellen Gyimah who is also the host of Pimpinaa Story Time on Afronova Radio.

This session is meant to promote reading and show students how much fun can be derived from it.

The story told of how Ananse, a poor farmer and his close friend and neighbor Odasanyi went out in search of wives. Ananse tricked his friend to switch places with him and earned himself five wives. Odasanyi got one wife and took her home. Ananse’s wives got to know he was poor and were not happy. Out of greed Ananse killed his neighbor Odasanyi and his wife, taking their riches for his own. Later Ananse’s crimes came to light and he paid for them.

In the course of the storytelling, there were pauses, and Auntie Ellen posed questions related to themes, unknown words and expectations of what was to come. The students answered with various view points and listened with rapt attention. Auntie Ellen said she was impressed by the students’ attentiveness and their reactions to the story.

“The students listed themes they found in the story such as being content with what you have, knowing your friends well, and not paying evil for good. And they paid very close attention to the story,” Ellen said.

At the end of the reading session the students were encouraged to read more books and learn more words and life lessons. They were then served African food and beverages before they left with enthusiastic smiles stretching their faces.

NAFTI Short Films Screening

While the book reading event was going on at the Forecourt, there was a screening of short films from students of National Film and Television Institute at the Business & Professional Development Department Main Hall. This part of the festival was curated by award-winning documentary filmmaker and film scholar/lecturer George Bosompim.

Three films were on the bill: Hunubi, Shwapo’e Naa! and Redemption, all made by students as part of their school projects.


Hunubi was presented by director Priscilla Osei as a final year production. Princess Hunubi, a young intelligent and beautiful woman is married to an ill-fated prince. The princess however prays fervently to the gods and tricks the spirit of death, Gbele Noni, to spare her husband’s life.

Director Priscilla said the main problem she faced was funding.

The film is incidentally an adaptation of Mercy Addai’s short story of the same title originally published in Aidoo Centre’s first anthology Adabraka: Stories from the Centre of the World.

In Shwapo’e Naa! by Eric Ofori Aryeetey, Aakai is a single parent who’s pushed to desperation when a failed relationship left her with a child. And then she met Ofoli, and she thought her woes were over only to find out in a tailoring shop that she cannot trust men after all.

The third short Redemption was director Daniel Dwomoh’s Level 300 seven-minute film production. Tijani and Mawusi are assigned to rescue the kidnapped, ailing son of the finance minister. They get outgunned by the Rouge Eye Devil Militants, but they cannot let the child die nor let their commander down. At the peril of their lives, they outmaneuver the militants to save the child in the nick of time.

“It’s just heartwarming to actually experience what is going on the ground and get to talk to the creators themselves. What said Ghana film is dead?” Asked Bernard Akoto after sitting through the three screenings and the Q&As.

Socrate Safo Talks Film

Renowned film maker Socrate Safo also graced the program and led a discussion on ‘Three challenges of the film industry in Ghana that need fixing’.

He said the three challenges are Professionalism on the part of the industry, Stupidity and Ignorance, and Legislative instrument.

“Professionalism on the part of the Ghana film industry is a challenge that needs to be dealt with. This has led to the messed management in the industry now”, he said. “Professionalism will provide an individual the capacity to process his or her craft well.

“There’s also the challenge in the Ghana film industry of a combination of stupidity and ignorance, and this very serious”, he lamented.

He advised that the Ghana film industry must seek divine orientation and require the appropriate legislative instrument to move the industry forward.

The Ghanaian filmmaker and Director for Creative Arts at the National Commission on Culture confessed “we broke a lot of rules and ignored a lot of things and that has caused the collapse of the Ghanaian movie industry.”

According to Safo, their decision to sell movies to TV stations so people could watch them for free has contributed to the downfall of the film industry.

He answered questions from students and film enthusiasts explaining that out of ignorance he and his cohorts made mistakes that continue to affect the film industry today.

Socrate Safo said there’s only one way to solve the problems and that’s re-orientation. He said during his time nobody oriented them or sat them down to explain how things should be done in the industry.

“We were ignorant and we did things that brought the film industry down” he confessed.

Football: Ghana V. Portugal

By 4:00 pm students and other Tabon festival visitors gathered at the AUCC forecourt to watch the FIFA World Cup match between Ghana and Portugal on a projected screen. With suppressed excitement, the looked on as Portugal got their World Cup campaign up and running with a 3-2 win against Ghana as quick-fire goals from Joao Felix and Rafael Leao helped them to victory at Stadium 974.

Cristiano Ronaldo put his side ahead in the 65th minute — after leaving Manchester United by “mutual agreement” earlier in the week — with a penalty which made him the first male player to score at five World Cups.

Ghana’s Andre Ayew equalized in the 73rd minute, but Portugal responded with 78th-minute and 80th-minute efforts from Felix and Leao. A late effort from Osman Bukari made things interesting but Portugal were able to ride out the storm.

Ghana showed more attacking enterprise at the start of the second half, with Mohammed Kudus dragging a shot wide of Diogo Costa’s left-hand post in the 55th minute as he looked to spring a shock.

Ronaldo finally put his side ahead in the 65th minute with a cool effort from the penalty spot after being felled by Mohammed Salisu — making World Cup history in the process.

But Ghana struck back in the 73rd minute, as Ayew turned home from close range after Kudus’ low cross was deflected into his path — sending the vocal Ghanaian support into delirium.

Their joy did not last for long, however, as Felix calmly finished past Ati-Zigi five minutes later to put Portugal back in front after Fernandes’ pass split Ghana’s defense.

Leao extended his side’s lead moments later after side-footing home another Fernandes pass — the AC Milan winger’s first goal for Portugal.

Portugal looked to be strolling to victory, but Bukari’s 89th-minute header meant there were late nerves for both sides.

Costa almost fluffed his lines after rolling the ball out to the lurking Inaki Williams in stoppage time, but the striker slipped at the crucial moment and Portugal survived.

“I knew our boys were going to let us down,” said Raphael Cudjoe as he joined many Ghana fans walk away from the screen by the 80th minute. Floating Crystal students, AUCC faculty and staff, and other festival guests stayed on till the final whistle was blown and then screamed in frustration and disappointment.

#UpClose&PersonalRap Originated in Africa

Rap originated in Africa according to Gyedu-Blay Ambolley in a conversation with AfroNova Radio’s Orange Couch host final year Development Communication student Ruth Aryeh during the #UpClose&Personal segment of this year’s Tabon Festival.

The Ghanaian highlife legend attended the Tabon festival of arts and culture at African University College of Communications last Thursday to meet with fans and chat. The musician is considered the first to formally make a record that incorporates rap forms into local highlife rhythms when he created the sub-genre Simigwa.

Asked about the origin of rap music, Ambolley said:

“Rap did not come from America. No! Rap is an African thing. You know when a durbar is being held you have … the Linguist… when the king is coming. The Linguist gives appellations to the King and all these are raps, you know. Because he’s rapping to give appellations to the King. It’s an African thing. It’s only that these words are recited with no music behind it.”

According to the originator of hiplife, rap started in Africa with our own version and years later Westerners came in with theirs.

“Rap music coming from America was recorded around 1978-1979. Sugarhill Gang and Rapper’s Delight. But before that time, I had already come out with The Simigwa Do. Because I was released in 1973. Comparatively theirs came later,” he said.

Gyedu-Blay urged Guinness Book of Records to correct the notion that rap started in America.

Explaining how the simigwa started, Ambolley said:

“When I joined the music scene, I thought that, ok, why don’t I put rhythm and everything to it?! But it happened coincidentally. We were using our mouth to play the rhythms. And then at a point in time we said, ‘why don’t we put lyrics to this’”, the musician explained.

He attributed his musical style to the exposure to seamen in Sekondi where he grew up. Ambolley said the seafarers introduced songs from outside the coast of Ghana and mixed them with songs from within.

“The moment highlife music is played every tribe comes to the dance floor. Why? Because when they play Agbadza music, it’s those that know how to dance to it that who will dance to it. If they play Adowa music those who know how to it will do it. But the moment they play highlife, everybody comes on the floor because that rhythm is coming from a rhythm called Osibi.

“That is the name our brothers took when they went to England. By calling themselves Osibisa. The moment that rhythm is going on it’s infectious. If you wanna dance you can do your own form of dance. My motivation is coming from that rhythm to kind of put words to it,” he went on to say.

The Tabon festival of urban arts and culture was created and organized by AfroNova Media in collaboration with the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing at AUCC. The next festival will be in collaboration with establishments with a vested interest in the Afro-Brazilian ex-slave Muslim, Yorùbá and Hausa origins of “those who returned”.



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