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Sun, Oct

anis haffar

  • Instead it’s among the first, exactly because of what it is doing in Africa.” He continued: “France is one of those countries that by printing money for 14 African states prevents their economic development ...

    Written By Anis Haffar - Some readers sent me a link (January 22, 2019) titled, “Italy wants France sanctioned for ‘creating poverty in Africa’.” That morning, I had just watched a BBC report on that very same subject.

  • How can somebody like me from a small tribe - the Ahanta people in the Western Region - be called to go to work in Accra; I mean how are the people going to receive me?

    Somebody from this small place, Apowa, and now Bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi, and now shot up to be the Bishop of Accra! I did my minor seminary at Amisano and then joined the Spiritans, a missionary congregation.

  • Presentations have become the de facto tool of communication across disciplines and boundaries; in other words, you not only tell your story – you show it.

    Written by Anis Haffar - Courage was famously defined by the American writer and Nobel laureate, Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961), as “grace under pressure”. That definition resonated with Dr Joyce Aryee’s remarks to pupils from the Crimson Dawn Junior High School (JHS) of Akosombo when she said:

  • It’s so childish indeed, this business of wanting the good things in life without putting in the thinking and the work that goes into making those wonderful things possible. To crown such infantile attitudes, factories and industries have been bought and converted for all night and day prayer vigils daring God to leave His throne to come down to earth to grow crops, provide transport, clean the gutters, fill our potholes and then proceed to deliver the currency for the nation’s prosperity.

    Why do poor African countries continue to pray so much but choose to do so little? There’s the gnawing wish list – perpetuated by tithe hungry prophets – for the good things in life: nice cars, designer clothes, gold jewels, widescreen TVs, mobile phones, double decker refrigerators, good food and the rest; but why does the nation neglect to promote and develop the relevant vocations and industries that make those wonderful things possible?

  • An episode comes to mind. Standing out in the hallway and peering through the window of this particular KG One class, I observed the difficulty the teacher suffered in the attempt to bring some order into the chaos. Impulsive, energetic and nimble, children at that age are not wired to sit still – much less to listen.

    Written By Anis Haffar - There's no such thing as a perfect parent, but there is such a thing as a great parent. Similarly, there is such a thing as a great teacher. Whenever I’ve visited basic schools to do pre-service class observations - to inform the design of an upcoming teacher training - my first ports of call are the Kindergarten (KG) One classes.

  • Written By Anis Haffar - It will be tough to separate Winston Churchill’s command of the English language from his wicked wit. While a lessor idiom might suggest, for example, that “It’s time to stop beating about the bush,” Churchill might capture Africa’s education dilemma thus: We must “now lay eggs instead of scratching around in the dust clucking. It is a far more satisfactory occupation.”

  • In a previous column, “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” (December 14, 2015), I noted that it was difficult to forgive the absurd reasons I heard when discussing (on radio or TV) the issues of school discipline with panels of grown-ups who should know better than hurt children.

    Written By Anis Haffar - The invitation by the Tema International School (TIS) Amnesty Club to be the guest speaker and launch their campaign (January 2018) against corporal punishment in schools took my mind back to my own childhood, to a gory incident, which I shared with the audience.

  • One can understand the discomfort some may have about the true picture on the ground, but there's no choice to save the public schools from apathy and neglect.

    Written By Anis Haffar - It's been said that there is nothing called darkness; it’s just the absence of light.

  • I noted that Lifelong Learning must incite the responsibility and pride of every teacher everywhere. These days internet sites that showcase best practices ...

    Written By Anis Haffar - It was insightful listening to Conrad Hughes - on Skype from Geneva - contribute as a panellist to the Tema International School (TIS) Educational Forum, Monday October 1, 2018, on the theme, “A Transforming World: The State of School Education in the Next 15 Years”.

  • Written By Anis Haffar - Quality education is a loaded concern. The discipline of teaching, for example, involves a great deal about competent teachers, appropriate subject matter, quality instructional strategies, the relevant teaching and learning materials, and so on. But a key concern was the state of the school environment itself. Are the schools safe enough to protect the child from the dangers of physical injuries, and death - as we witnessed early this year?

  • Written By Anis Haffer - Yes, it’s time to make education in Ghana sane again – starting off, especially, by meeting the hygienic and safety needs of the nation’s children in the 14,000 odd public basic schools across the country.

  • In Apiorkor’s “The Matriarch’s Verse”, the matriarch symbolises the all-knowing, empathetic woman. The book’s cover displays the silhouette of a curvaceous, voluptuous ...

    Written By Anis Haffar - Sometime, somewhere – between the past and the present – between drama and song – have been strewn petals of folklore waiting to be resurrected and fresh life pumped into them.
    Sankofa, as we say in Akan, supports re-visiting one’s cultural heritage and sifting through the rummage to retrieve all that is useful and noble.

     
    Magic of literary artistry

    No doubt, two women that consistently stood out in the annals of Ghanaian literary culture have been Efua Sutherland and Ama Ata Aidoo. In their works, they used the genres of drama and oral folk art to depict the Ghanaian experience.

    Artists tend to provide multi-dimensional galleries as the media for enhancing our daily perceptions of life.

    Through the force of literary artistry, for instance, a lens is focused on our motives to expand our appreciation of one’s experiences. Artists tend to make it their business to explore inuring materials to alert us about the ways in which the world around us was shaped and reshaped.

    If we pay attention, we see that writers, for example, cast illuming rays of light that stretch as far as the eye can see. In a way, they help the discerning mind to connect the dots looking backwards.

    Efua Sutherland

    In her foreword to “The Marriage of Anansewa”, Efua Sutherland wrote that she used a stock character, Ananse, as “a kind of Everyman, artistically exaggerated and distorted to serve society as a medium for self-examination.”

    Ananse — presented as the pervading character behind our motives — was “made to mirror in his behaviour, fundamental human passions, ambitions and follies as revealed in contemporary situations.”

    In her iconic play, “The Marriage of Anansewa”, the Ananse character is entangled in webs of deceit as he attempts to lure a daughter into a marriage of convenience for himself, as depicted in this dialogue:

    “Anansewa: As for some old chief with fifty wives, that won’t do at all.

    Ananse (with cunning): Supposing it isn’t some old chief but the finely built, glowing black, large-eyed handsome as anything, courageous and famous Chief-Who-Is-Chief?”

    In the end, Ananse’s cruel scheme to get rich quick backfires, and the only way out was for his daughter to perish.

    Ama Ata Aidoo

    In turn, Aidoo presents a taste of modern marriage in the face of tradition. In a resistant posture, a bride rooted in western tradition — by the name of Eulalie — rebels against the demands of the African culture she had married into.

    She wails at her African husband: “Eulalie, my people say is it not good for a woman to take alcohol. Eulalie, my people say they are not pleased to see you smoke … Eulalie, my people … My people … Who married me, you or your goddam people?”

    Aidoo’s “The Dilemma of a Ghost” is now a classic piece of drama listed for study in a Cambridge IGCSE course – Literature in English.

    In the foreword to a Festschrift to celebrate Aidoo’s 70th birthday, Margaret Busby — a noted Ghanaian publisher in the U.K. — quoted the following words by her: “only a woman knows what it is to be a woman and can give expression to the essence of being a woman.”

    The new woman on the block

    In Apiorkor’s “The Matriarch’s Verse”, the matriarch symbolises the all-knowing, empathetic woman. The book’s cover displays the silhouette of a curvaceous, voluptuous motherly woman behind a light curtain. Her hands are raised, and her head is not visible. The woman and her surroundings are in black, with subtle shades of grey.

    For Apiorkor, the blackness in the silhouette sports the elements of power, fear, mystery, strength, authority, elegance, formality, death, evil, aggression, authority, rebellion, and sophistication. As she notes, for all other colours to have variations of depth and hue, black is required, and the elements symbolise the true essence of “The Matriarch’s Verse”.

    The matriarch figure is as close as she is distant; and though she is clearly invisible, her presence cannot be missed.

    For the author, the portrait bears the sensuality and bold femininity that defines the book. She believes it captures the mystery lurking behind life’s curtains.

    Humble, courageous, sensitive and shadowy – the matriarch is a keen observer of the lives entangled in the bobbing and weaving world. A window to one’s soul, she voices out the human story through the eyes of those without voices.

    Woman to woman

    The fire in Apiorkor’s belly is devoted to every woman who feels lost, troubled and drowned in the deep waters of social expectations and womanhood. In a verse, the new author quipped:

    “To you [who slay everyday] I say that your existence needs not depend on a fleet of men sailing in and out of your delicate waters, but never docking at your harbour.”

    The verses are fashioned for “all the women, who have lost hope and have begun to feel they tread the path of this treacherous world alone, To You, I say you have a bleeding sister in me.”

    Apiorkor was a pioneer head prefect at Tema International School (TIS) and majored in English at the University of Ghana, Legon. Today, she designs content and produces shows on Accra-based Citi 97.3 FM and Citi TV.

    The new author is most welcome to this bourne from which no true artist quits. Her maiden book will be launched at the Alisa Hotel, Accra, Friday,October 4, 2019. Yours truly has been captured – avec plaisir – to review the verses at the launch.

    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Website: www.anishaffar.com

    The author is a trainer of teachers, a leadership coach, a motivational speaker and quality education advocate.
    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Blog: www.anishaffar.org

     

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