on May 15, 2016 :
BOOK REVIEW: Sebitically Speaking
I rarely get impressed by write-ups on seemingly ordinary issues. But I soon realised that this is true only when the story is told with much ambiguity or, simply put, without a sebitical touch. Getting impressed is one inescapable experience of any reader of the book Sebitically Speaking by Nana Awere Damoah. The author captivates his readers in a rather speculator way making you want to read one story after another. Each chapter in this book is distinct in thoughts but is premised on socio-economic and other fundamentals of life. Sometimes in a tantalising comparative analysis.
I will not bore you with a chapter-by-chapter review. However, key issues that might interest you, and would probably require your further exploration of the book, even as a person with a cavalier attitude towards Ghana’s socio-economic and political development, are shared.
Firstly, the book is written by an author who, like many Ghanaian children, grew up in the lower stratum of society and never had many luxuries of life. The occupations of his parents were for necessities, not for accumulation of wealth. If you are familiar with Accra and the environment within which the author was brought up, you would probably appreciate this better. You learn more about this in chapter 10 and many other chapters. He, however, believes that education is the only strategy to close the gap in the social strata and ensures social mobility. It did work for him!
The writing style of the author is simple but deep, plain but sensitive and thought-provoking; done with the Ghanaian and, by extension, the African settings of storytelling. It gives you reminiscence of stories not in the Harry Potter fashion but a certain nostalgia of childhood when we would sit around an elder, illuminated by the moonlight, and listen to folktales.
The author conveys a message that, irrespective of the paralysis of leadership, a society that forthrightly pursues an agenda of change and acts rightly can bring progress. This reasoning is implicitly and explicitly conveyed in the book. Explicitly, he precedes chapter 12 of the book with this message.
The author questions the culture of silence with a rhetorical question, “What has got our tongue as a people?” in chapter 13. We are encouraged as a people to speak our mind with constructed thoughts. Sebitically Speaking is saying the truth with an emblem of respect. This is not only a call on us to challenge the unhealthy powers that be, but to do so in a manner that is progressive.
To say the book touches on every single sensitive domain of our national life would amount to ‘a repetition of what the book is meant for’. The author reflects on his religious denomination in chapter 15 and gave a profound conclusion: that he is a Christian. In an increasingly polarised religious environment, thoughts conveyed in this chapter is a call on us to uphold the basic tenets of our religious faith which, most often than not, are same for all religions. Religious animosity manifested through denominational delineations is more threat than potential. You may want to read more about this.
Holding on a little bit longer (Chapter 16) is a chapter you would derive further inspiration from. We are encouraged to persevere and hold unto the ideal practices despite the turbulence associated with them in the short-run. You really have to hold on a little bit longer because the door might just be about opening. While you might want to hold on a bit longer, never forget to be ready when the door is opened and the platform beckons (chapter 17). Your ‘baking time’ is as important as your ‘takeover’ time.
As if you are about to get satiated with the issues discussed by the author, he introduces a new dimension bothering on personal development and family life (chapter 18). He cautioned us to be wary of the brand we are creating for our families and the brand we would eventually bequeath to our children. He subsequently reminds us that good works cannot forever be trampled upon by darkness (Chapter 19) by giving us life-inspiring cases.
The book does not only have diagnostic flair but prescriptive prowess suggesting ways we could develop our capacities and dreams steadily. You will have many such relevant suggestions in the ebbing stages of the Sebitical series.
Finally, the issues contained in this book are raised Sebitically with the salad of speech – proverbs. In a rather philosophical tone, he spoke to the powers that be on the ills of our society – corruption, the economic hardships, the loss/lack of sanity in our social and economic space and the paralysis of leadership etc. If you are asked of the cost of an egg in Ghana, you may want to read this book before answering the question.
Sebitically Speaking is a book that motivates us to sever ties with ineptitude and embrace urgency in our public and private lives. It is a compendium of what I would call the Ghanaian drama and theatrical display. It is a collection of critical national issues swept under the carpet. It is a book you will never want to stop reading!
Abdul-Kabiru Tiah Mahama
(reviewed the day of purchase)