On Telling the African Story…

In telling an african story

Was considering sending this for one of those writer’s competition things but never got round to it. I didn’t like it enough. Came across it today (somewhat by accident) and decided I might as well share it on my WordPress. Here you go. P.S. The theme was something around telling the African Story in a different way? Honestly cant remember the details. 

The typical African story begins with me, dark skinned, kinky hair, sitting in some patched house, contemplating precolonial life. The one whose lover leaves him for a politician because what is an African Story without a politician; Who wakes up inspired by the unattainable wealth about him to either hustle or sink into depression. Who hates his job, who is hard for sleep at night, who is a man, who is tired, who wants to give up, who is quashed constantly by a monopolised system he cannot comprehend enough to get above of.

But I am not the typical African Story.

My progression will not carry on in a lengthy narrative complete with semblances of eye of God criticisms. No author will use my experiences as fodder to drive home a message on corruption, or poverty, or abuse, or poverty. Because in this narrative, I am the bad-guy. Villain, because I cannot be bothered with the comings and goings of the politics that surround my country. I wake up in the morning and my first thought is survival. I do not watch the evening news, and the only thing I discuss over beers and cheers at Daavi’s Bar is football. No, not English Football, not Spanish, and definitely not the Germans. Those ones sway too far from the present I identify with. I discuss MY local teams, complete with players who bear MY name and speak MY tongue; two of whom I sat in the same school with and allowed copy off my work because what else would be my contribution to ensuring Agona Basic beat Agona Preparatory every few months they met?

Do you understand this?

That my patriotism is not measured by a needless battle with potbellied men in huge grey and black suits. It is measured in my being more a part of the people than any writer, politician, businessman or pupil teacher can ever be. I am the man you sit by in a trotro. The one who asks you for change, and occupies your temporal memory lobe for all of 10 seconds before disappearing, never to be revisited again. I am average Joe, who does not get anyone in this story pregnant because sex is hard to come by without a girlfriend. Who still goes to church although he knows these pastors are full of greedy shit, because his mother brought him up to. Average Joe. Who is only as religious as his suffering, who does not become a pastor, who has made no pact with the devil – yet, who sleeps at 7 PM and wakes at 5 AM, who has his breakfast at 11 so it can last through the day, who still dreams of miracle adventures but has seen enough dead ends to know White Jesus is for the Whites. Who sleeps soundlessly and lives as life comes.

So leave, if you are bored already.

All that exists here is an I as emaciated as any expectations of grandeur or tragedy I have left to spare. I lay comfortably, sometimes not most, inside my own business, my hardened buttocks on my own fence. The “me” you get today identifies more as a Ghanaian person than as Ghanaian. What is African, when I have never travelled to the north of my country even?


I do not care to tell you my story anyway. Where I come from, you only tell about your day, your journey, your life, when you have something important to say, or at least funny. But what do I have to say? Only that I do not have a story; and that is neither important, nor is it funny.

I do not have a story. And it bothers me, how little you seem bothered by this.

3 thoughts on “On Telling the African Story…

  1. How did I miss this? The brevity and the truth is all in here. I have always wondered why competitions limit African writers to certain tropes by virtue of winning submissions? Can we not write good stories which do not have the stereotypical African writer styles?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s