An Elegy – Part 9 By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr.

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Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

(For Rev.-Col. Eugene Boapea Boamah Sintim[-Brown], AKA Kwaku Brown,

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Retired Chaplain-General of the Ghana Armed Forces, 1941-2017)

 

Our elders have said

the full-length

of a frog

remains unknown

till upon death

he stretches out

his forelegs

and hindlegs,

and then

his full-length

and height

become the talk

of the town…

I remember

the day

you literally led

me by the hand

to my high school

admission

interview;

it was at

Okwawu Nkwatia’s

St. Peter’s,

the best high school

of its kind

in the country

at the time…

PERSCO

was then

in a class

all by itself,

PERSCO

was also

popularly called

Okwawu University or

The University

of the Okwawu

Mountains.…

Recently,

Israel’s Ambassador

to Ghana

was reported

by the press

to have said

Ghana has no

mountains,

only hills;

I snorted

with contempt

and expelled

the bloody mucous

that attended

such crap;

who told that SOB

we determine

our values

on the strength

of the warped

opinions of

strangers and

scumbags….

Anyway,

I had barely made

the passing

mark and would

in all likelihood

not have met

the intake

requirements

but for your close

connection

with Mr. Buabeng,

your Akyem-Apedwa

homeboy,

who had also been

your classmate

at Akropong-PTC…

Mr. Buabeng

was the Senior

Math Teacher at

PERSCO…

he would present me

to “Owudo,”

the German Headmaster,

and the rest of

the interviewing panel,

as his nephew;

and so I guess

I also got into

PERSCO as

a protocol kid;

Mr. Buabeng

was one of those

uncles

one never met

and yet came in

handy at just

the right

time,

a protocol kid

and his protocol

first-time

uncle….

How true

what our sages

of yore

used to say:

the beginning of life

is not quite as

important

as the end;

I would end up

collecting prizes

for English

and History

and Literature

and Geography –

funny for me

who barely understood

English and

marginally

spoke it

to have received

a prize

in the same,

a garland

around my neck,

victory-powder

 sprinkled

all over

my head….

You see,

at the interview,

I could not

understand

a single question

beyond

“What is your name?

And where is

your hometown?”

Everything had to be

translated for me

into Akan,

the Asante-Akyem

dialect

of Akan,

that is,

that was how

dumb blond

I was,

which was why

none of you thought

I would emerge

Flying

Red

Gold

And

Green…

the Black Star

was somewhere

nobody recalls

till this day;

and then I took

the History prize

because I had gotten

deep into

the curious

mystery

of African

enslavement

by white men

from England

and America

and Arabia

in fourth grade…

it was as if

it had been

an open-season

on Africans by

every damn

Eurasian

throat-cutting

buffoon,

an open-season

on the black man

and his

big-butted and

jumbo-boobed

woman –

the large-brained ape,

as Doctor DuBois

cast it…

and then

in my third year

at PERSCO,

I began reading

my poems

on Radio Ghana

and Ghana “Telefihin”…

on Variety Ahoy!

with Mr. Gordon

Avenorgbor,

and Solid Black,

with Mr. Carl

Agyemang-

Bannerman…

I never quite

made it to

The Voices of Out Time,

hosted by Joyce

Aryee-Lartey

or some such name,

though,

because that was when

destiny appeared

on the scene

and hoisted me

high into

the skies

and bam!

into New York City.…

Wofa,

today,

I recalled

how immensely

tall you had stood

head-and-shoulders

above all your sibs,

though you were

only the fifth

out of six….

Wofa,

today,

memory took me

back to where

and from whom

it all began;

and then

I started

laughing

and feeling

foolish about

how

scandalously

I had taken

you for granted,

    which may pretty

much explain

why in this dream

that I had

the week before

you took your

final leap into

the cosmic ravine,

you were me

and I was

you…

I told

my wife

it was

the most

bizarre

of all dreams

I have ever

had and then

Yaw Kafui called

and announced

your death…

since then,

I have been

tearing up

like a

waterfall…

8/4/17

(RIP)