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Opinions of Sunday, 6 October 2013

Columnist: Awuyah, Chris Kwame

Miafo Hesin?ga Prof. Kofi Awoonor

Hede nyui
Mia fo Hesin?ga Efo Kofi
Ame ?eke max? gbe le asiwo o
They say Hesin? is missing.
Ashiagbor's son "went to hunt"
He did not return.
He went out to meet initiates.
Ashiagbor’s son has not returned home.
"The hippo has overturned our canoe"
The guns are "pointing to the earth"
They say he was cut down in the middle of a song.
Hesin? never falls.
Ame adze anyi, gake eha mat? o.
We will sing the "Song of Sorrow" at the festival.
We will never allow the dance of hyenas at our sacred ground.
We are celebrants and we follow the practiced steps of the ancestors.
Hesin?ga, Efo Kofi, gbe vivi t?
Wo gbe to lame nami
Hesin?ga Kofi, wo gbe le miafe ?ukawo me
Hesin?ga, your voice echoes in the recess of our minds.

When "the Sea Eats the Land at Home",
Your song reached shore to shore, above the roaring of the angry sea.
Your plaintive anthem captured the tireless struggles and travails of the brave ones
Who wage ceaseless battles against angry waves.
Your song "still lingers in the chambers of memory".

When Stanislaus, the shameless criminal, escaped from prison in Poonaville, Tennessee,
They "burnt down the jail… They could not eradicate the smell".
You were the only witness and we heard your testimony.
You remained steadfast, predicting that Stanislaus would hide in Nassau
The hideout reeks with toxic fumes of ethnic hatred.
That stench afflicted Rwandans and caused mayhem with untold tragedies.
Seekers would find Stanislaus in Denkyira, wearing flamboyant clothes in variegated
Colors, selling fools’ gold.
Stanislaus is trapped in consummate self-loathing
Stanislaus stands "like porcupine in clothes'
And "walked like the wandering duck into [Amega Dunya's] song."
Torgbega chuckles, "Will this too insult the poet?"

Hesin?ga, Efo Kofi, your voice has thundered across all lands.
Your "House by the Sea" is superior to the confining cells within the edifice of
Your songs made the stone walls glow with life
The guards danced Atshiagbekor, abandoning the marching orders of the dictator.
Hesin?ga, Efo Kofi, you dared us to "postpone dying" "Until the Morning After"
You made love to the earth and lived in its bosom.
You cleared a path on Earth for Brother Amamu,
Paving the way for Brother Lumumba,
Who got lost in the American racial desert, to return Home.
You told us when "ants break their ordered march", "there is chaos"
"But another time, one day, the ants will return to the rank"

You gave a soul to your songs
You buried your songs within the "Breast of the Earth"
Where it is impossible for the "Beaver Bird” to lay "its egg"
Your songs germinate within the fertile soil of Wheta
Spreading their roots within hot and dry lands
Your songs are celebrated in cold and icy lands.
Your songs flow through our veins
Your songs echo through the waves that touch each continent.
From Wheta to Dzodze to Accra to Kumasi to Sunyani to Bolga to Bahia to Rio de
Janeiro, to Havana to New York to Philadelphia
Your songs find a fertile and willing earth to nurture and sustain them.

Hesin?ga, Efo Kofi, you spoke to your brothers who are gone before you.
They are: Joe de Graft, Ellis Komey, Pao Kayper, Camara Laye, Chris Okigbo,
Alex La Guma, Robert Serumaga, and Geombeyi Adali Mortty.
Then there are others who recently joined the ancestral choir: Chinua Achebe, Efua
These are your words: "your tombs are the verses carved on granitic memoirs"
Hesin?ga, Efo Kofi, the travelers heard your words.
Those left behind heard your words.
Hesin?ga, Efo Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor, today, as you embark on this journey to join the
We offer your words: "your [tomb is] the verses carved on granitic memoirs"
Your songs will live within the hearts and souls of people of all land.
Langston Hughes' soul dwells amidst "Ancient Dusky Rivers"
Hesin?ga, Efo Kofi Nyidevi Awoonor, your soul lives within Ancient Lands.

When Shameless zealots waged war on you,
Vultures claim they are of royalty
They prepare for the harvest of death
There is no feast for vultures.
The laughing hyenas will never taste your blood.

Togbui Komi Ekpe, Togbui Amega Dunyo, and Togbui Vin?k? Akpalu circled Mama
Afedomesi's grandson.
The three unison voice has never been heard before.
The clouds parted as Mia Torgbewo maintain vigil over
Hesin?ga Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor
Efo Kofi, they have prepared you for the passage.
Brave warrior, you are home.
Woezor, Welcome home, Hesin?ga, Efo Kofi
Child of the Earth, Woezor, welcome
Brave Warrior, Walk Boldly Home.
Mia Fo, mia novi, Mia lorlortor, Hesin?ga
Hede nyui.
Hesin?ga Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor, Prof. Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor;
Hesin?ga Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor

Please note: the texts in quote marks are from Prof. Kofi Awoonor’s own poetry.

Chris Kwame Awuyah, PhD


Comparative Literature/English
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
October 05, 2013