AUCC Ag. Vice President Dr. Kemi Wale-Olaitan presenting a Certificate of Participation to first-time published author Kirsty Lomo

STORY By Nana Kwame Agyei Nyarko Samuel [Walkersingx/Walkersingx Tv]/ All Photos by Favour Chisimdi Nwankwo 

It is imperative for Africans to reflect on the significance of regional anthologies and their profound impact on building stronger, and more cohesive communities. This statement was made by Nana Otuo Owoahene Acheampong, Executive Director of the National Commission on Culture in his keynote address last Thursday, March 28, 2024 at the African University College of Communications (AUCC) during the launch of the long-awaited anthology “Afajato stories from around the Volta Lake”.

Guest of Honor Kwesi Aboagye Attuah and Keynote Speaker Nana Otuo Owoahene Acheampong, Exec. Dir., National Commission on Culture

The event, held at the school’s Business and Professional Development Centre, brought together over 80 individuals including AUCC President Prof. Abeku Blankson, Queen Mother of Adabraka Otuapai Naa Korkor Aadzieoyi I, cultural aficionado Kwasi Aboagye Attuah and many more.

Speaking on the theme ‘Why Regional Anthologies Matter’, Nana Otuo Owoahene Acheampong said the significance of every anthology in essence lies in their ability to harness the power of storytelling, a timeless tradition that transcends borders, languages, and generations.

“Through the art of storytelling, we do not only preserve our cultural heritage but also forge connections that unite us in our shared humanity, as Regional anthologies, in particular, play a pivotal role in this regard, and serve as windows into the unique experiences, traditions, and perspectives of the communities they represent.”

He applauded AUCC for consistently “doing the job of the NCC” by celebrating Ghanaians who have made significant contribution to the country in the field of the arts and culture.

AUCC President Prof. Abeku Blankson speaking at the book event.

In his welcome address, AUCC President Prof. Abeku Blankson said the launch comes at a time when Accra is deemed the ‘UNESCO Book Capital of the World’,

“This occasion therefore marks, not only a celebration of literary achievement, but also a testament to our commitment to the strategic pillars that guide our institution.”

He said, under AUCC’s strategic goals, Pillar 3 emphasizes practical, problem-based learning.

“This anthology serves as a prime example of our dedication to providing students with hands-on experiences that deepen their understanding of real-world issues. Through the exploration of stories from diverse voices around the Volta Lake, we aim to foster critical thinking and empathy among our students, preparing them to tackle the complexities of our society.”

AUCC Registrar Dr. Juliana Owusu-Ansah (R) and HR Director Francis Sampson at the event.

Queenmother of Adabraka Otuopai Naa Korkor Aadzieoyi I, who launched the book, said Ghanaians must tell our own story to protect and guide posterity.

“To appreciate a community or a group, we must know their history and understand their culture. It is my hope that each of us will do our best to promote our culture and values wherever we find ourselves.”

AUCC Ag. Vice President Dr. Kemi Wale-Olaitan who gave out certificated of participation to the authors advised the Aidoo Centre to collaborate with other African Literature scholars in future to ensure that the selections are peer reviewed.

“If, when, other scholars peer-review these works, each story can hold its own no matter where they find themselves.”

According to Nana S. Achampong, Director of the Department of Creative Arts and of the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre, and the book’s anthologist, sixteen authors made the cut for this anticipated anthology, the fifth publication in as many years from the Aidoo Centre.

“‘Afajato: stories from around the Volta Lake’ follows the success of the Centre’s previous publications, including ‘Adabraka: Stories from the Centre of the World’, ‘Larabanga: Stories from the Savannah’, ‘The Lockdown: creative nonfiction about living with COVID-19’, and ‘Untold Stories Vol. 1’. Each publication has contributed to the Centre’s mission of promoting critical reading, creative writing, and literacy among the youth in Ghana,” he explained.

A section of the lucky authors whose works got published in ‘Afajato’

The first call did not yield sufficient entries, and so Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo then advised that it be extended a second, and then a third time. In response, 144 entries poured in from writers eager to contribute to this literary exploration of the Volta Region and Togo. The editors and publishers, committed to fostering diverse voices and storytelling styles, welcomed a range of submissions, including humor, quality flash fiction, and stories with experimental narratives. English translations of original stories, particularly from regional writers, were also encouraged.

Speaking on behalf of the authors, Serwa Gyedu-Nuako thanked the Aidoo Centre and AUCC for ushering her and many more like her into her literary journey.

Author Serwa Gyedu-Nuako accepts her certificate from Dr. Wale-Olaitan

“I would like to urge us to embrace the magic of storytelling and the transformative power of words. May we be moved from our state of cynicism, inspired unto great works, and forever transformed by the stories in the ‘Afadjato’ anthology as we embark on this literary journey together.”

Nana S. Acheampong lecturer and anthologist talks about how these wonderful young writers were directed and guided to come out with these wonderful pieces and encourages other writers to join the center to inspire the world.

A 10-minute inspirational video about the late Ama Ata Aidoo and the Centre named after her was shown to keep guest warm in their seats.

A section of the audience at the launch.

By noon, the launch had ended with smiles on the faces of students and guests who graced the occasion.

Expressing joy and excitement, Prince Mensah a level 200 communication student of AUCC said “I’m excited I could witness for the first time a book that has multiple writers from various background unite in attaining one goal.”

The Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing at African University College of Communications, a not-for-profit literary resource, continues to honor the legacy of the legendary feminist author, Ama Ata Aidoo who joined the ancestors on May 31, 2023 at the age of 81, and it strives to be a catalyst for literary excellence in Ghana. The anthology ‘Afajato: stories from around the Volta Lake’ is dedicated to the memory and legacy of the lady in whose name this Centre is established.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here