Ghana’s growing literary scene may well be one of Africa’s best kept secrets – for now. From Accra to Cape Coast to Kumasi, local poets and authors are performing in poetry showcases, forming collectives, publishing anthologies and even developing mentorships for emerging writers. There is even a weekly show featuring guest writers that airs on CitiFM in Accra every Sunday.
Now Ghana’s poets have another social media outlet for sharing their creativity: #GhanaWrites2016. Started by two Ghanaian poets, the social media hashtag is linked to #NaPoWriMo or National Poetry Writing Month, a celebration of all things verse. Although the “national” celebration originated in the United States, each year an uncountable number of poets use the month of April to take on the 30/30 Poetry Challenge: write 30 poems in 30 days on a topic of their choosing.
#GhanaWrites2016 puts a different twist on the challenge. Poets can check on the campaign’s facebook page for daily prompts. The creators explain in their own words:
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After letting their inspiration run wild, poets can use the hashtag to post their own poem of the day on Facebook, Tumblr or their blogs. (Most poets will find Twitter’s 140-character limit too restrictive unless they’re writing haikus, but the popular social media site is a great place to link poems posted in other websites.)
Poetry lovers from around the world can check out the hashtag also to explore the wonderful world of contemporary Ghanaian poetry, including those Ghanaians in the diaspora longing for the imagery and speech rhythms that remind them of home.
Oswald Okaitei, an internationally popular Ghanaian poet and cantor who performs several times a month all over the country, says: “I’m interested – I plan to make time to participate.”
Personally, I have struggled in years past to stick with the challenge all month, but I look forward to reading daily offerings from some of the prolific young Ghanaian poets I’ve gotten to know via Facebook. In the meantime, please enjoy one of Oswald’s performances which aired on TV Africa.