Two of Ghana’s contemporary authors are using social media to whip up a new culture in the country’s reading circles. The use of social media especially Facebook to drive the initiative is particularly poignant.
The buzz is already catching up fast with most patrons hailing the initiative as a positive one, with demand for replication of their initiative across the country.
The two, Nana Awere Damoah and Kofi Akpabli, are behind the “Dakpabli Read-athon” initiative. At the heart of the idea, according to them, is ‘to take book reading to the level of pop culture,’ in the West African country.
As intellectual entertainers, we have been receiving requests to come out of Accra. We cannot continue not to serve other regions.
Through their Facebook page ‘Dakpabli Read-athon,’ they disseminate information about their plans and fetch feedback from the reading and the ‘listening’ public. Awere Damoah is one of Ghana’s most influential Facebook personalities and he uses his ‘clout’ to benefit the drive. On the other hand, Akpabli is an astute communication specialist and a CNN Award-winning journalist who also brings his insights to bear.
Imagine people irrespective of age, gender, colour, creed, professional and academic qualifications at an organized sitting. Be they students, university lecturers, civil servants or writers. Such is the pool of people Damoah and Akpabli read out their books to.
The reading sessions attract people from all over and are gradually becoming worthy hangouts that provide much more to patrons with their networking capacity.
So far this year, the ‘reading pair,’ have held four sessions, one of such dubbed ‘Tickling the Nsempiisms’ – coined from the titles of Akpabli’s third book (Tickling the Ghanaian) and Awere Damoah’s sixth and latest book (Nsempiisms) – in the capital, Accra. These readings in the capital had preceded another one hosted in Ghana’s resource rich region, Kumasi, in the heart of the Ashanti kingdom.
They started their collaborative activity in 2014 and read in public places to book lovers at least four times in a year. The initiative has also been well-received by corporate Ghana, with companies such as MTN coming on board to assist the effort of the reading pair. The two were part of Spelling Bee’s 10th anniversary ceremony in Accra.
“We were so encouraged by the over 50 book enthusiasts who attended, listened, asked questions, giggled and stayed on after the reading to interact at Vidya Bookshop in Osu. We continue on our journey to make reading pleasurable again,” Nana Damoah told The Mirror, a state-run newspaper in June, 2016.
Their reading at Jamrock in September this year scored very high in the number of high society patrons which included Deputy Minister of Tourism Dzifa Gomashie, PPP running mate, Bridget Dzorgbenuku, Prof. Adams Bodomo, Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh, and Eugenia Tachie-Menson amongst the over 150 literary lovers who thronged the venue.
About their regional tours, which started in September, Kofi Akpabli had this to say: ‘‘As intellectual entertainers, we have been receiving requests to come out of Accra. We cannot continue not to serve other regions. We have to do this, and Oseikrom is deserving of this historical first as the first step.’’ The next regional capital the reading train is stopping is Ho, in the Volta region, in November 2016.
Mr Akpabli is a university lecturer and columnist of a weekly social lifestyle newspaper, In addition to his other national and continental awards, he has recently been voted Travel Writer of the year.
He is author of four books so far: A Sense of Savannah, Romancing Ghanaland – The Beauty of 10 Regions, Harmattan- A Cultural Profile of Northern Ghana and Tickling The Ghanaian – Encounters With Contemporary Culture.
Nana Damoah, a chemical engineer by training, who delights in mixing words when he is not mixing chemicals, is author of books such as Sebitically Speeking, Tales from Different Tails, Excursions In My Mind, I Speak Of Ghana, Through The Gates of Thought, and his latest Nsempiisims.
Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa
Africanews, web journalist
Congo, Pointe Noire