Feel free to use these images and photos of Ghana for non-commercial uses, particularly in coordination with Dilemmas of Culture in African Schools (University of Chicago Press, 2005), but I would appreciate attribution and your letting me know that you have used them. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions.
Afari Amoako, an Akan and English language teacher currently at Abetifi Secondary School, helped me with translation from Twi to English. I am very grateful to Robert Wood in my department for inspiring me technically and teaching me how to digitize and edit my videos. All errors (visual, verbal, and otherwise) are my own.
Streaming Videos from School Cultural Competitions
Comments from a group discussion among students performing in a dance-drama competition The dance-drama performed by this school troupe tells the story of Kwaku Ananse the Spider (a trickster figure) who pretends to die and is buried in the fields so that he can eat all the crops, but he is found out by the townspeople. The visuals depicting the dance-drama are overlaid by comments by the dancers involved in the performance itself from a focus group discussion, in which they criticized their performance and the lack of support they received from teachers (see pages 172-175 in the book). All student names are pseudonyms. The film is a little more than a minute long. In Windows Media
Performance of School This amusing skit of a school classroom is performed by a school troupe from the Volta Region at the national cultural competition held in Cape Coast, May 1999. A student cleans off the blackboard, the teacher then writes notes on the board, and then “lobs” questions at the students whose answers they “lob” back to him. The teacher then marks the students’ notebooks and beats one student who has done a poor job (see pages 145-152). The dance-drama continues with an exposition of various ills plaguing Ghanaian society such as teenage pregnancy, drug use, government corruption, and cross-border smuggling. The film is a little more than a minute long. In Windows Media
“Let Us Not Denigrate Culture” (Yentoto Amammre ase), performed by Adwoa Opokuwa from Mampong Presbyterian Secondary School in the Akuapem North district secondary school competitions held 19 March 1999 (see chapter 3). It is about 5 minutes long. In Real Media | In Windows Media
“This Nation’s Future Depends on Culture” (Oman yi daakye gyina amammre so), performed by Abigail Mintaah, from Kwawu South district, in the Eastern Regional secondary school competitions, held in Koforidua, 4 April 1999 (see chapter 3, particularly page 96). It is about 4 minutes long. In Real Media | In Windows Media
First-place winner in drum language in the National Cultural Competition, Cape Coast, May 1999
This performance of drum language is notable not only for its quality but also because it is performed by a girl, Akua Yeboah, which pleases the audience very much (as you hear by the clapping). You see the students setting up the drums, then the performance of drum language in which Kwaku Ababio recites phrases in Twi that Akua Yeboah imitates tonally on the drums. She is then tested by the judges in the Sisala language to see how well she can imitate the high and low toned qualities of a language she may not understand (the translation I provide of the Sisala drum language text is actually a translation of the Twi language version of the same judges’ text, so there may be some inaccuracies apparent to a Sisala speaker; my sincere apologies). Both students are from a school in the Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana. While the poem contains some traditional phrases, the meaning of the “drum poem” illustrates the orientation, like many of the other drum poems, towards the theme of the national competition, “Culture: Gateway to the Nation’s Prosperity” (see chapter 3 for a discussion of themes and pages 176-177 for a discussion about girls drumming). The video is about 5 and a half minutes long. In Windows Media
Second-place winner in drum language in the National Cultural Competition, Cape Coast, May 1999
The second performance is interesting because it is so clearly praising a traditional chief, the paramount chief of New Juaben traditional area, Nana Daasebre Oti Boateng, thus differing from the standard of orienting the poem’s meaning towards national ends (see pages 87-88 in the book). It is performed by Kweku Boateng from New Juaben (Koforidua) in the Eastern Region. Note the traditional appellations and praises, some of which are difficult to translate. He is then tested by the judges in the Ga language (the same apologies apply here as to the Sisala translation above). The video is about 4 and a half minutes long. In Windows Media
Powerpoint Presentations (with photos and maps)
“Ways of Learning in Akuapem, Ghana” Talk given at Bard College, October 2004.
Responsibility, Risk, and the Scattered Family: The Emotional Responses of Ghanaian Parents and Children to Transnational Migration, Childhood Studies seminar, November 2007.
“What is the Impact of Transnational Migration on Families Left Behind? An Examination of the Experiences of Mothers and Children in a Town in Ghana” for the University of Amsterdam Conference on Transnationalism, Children, and the Migration-Development Nexus, December 2008
“Eye Anti Afia”
(It is Aunty Afia (Cati Coe))
Drawn by Solomon Dankwa, age 11
Primary 5, Presbyterian Primary School
Abiriw, Akuapem, Ghana