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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Columnist: Asare-Addai, John

RE: Any Response From The People Of Prampram, Kumasi And Pennysylvania

I write in response to the Feature Article (Open Message to the people of Prampram, Kumasi and Pennysylvania, USA) that appeared on the Ghanaweb. ( August 7 2007 ).

Firstly, let me commend Mr. Sam Doku for his courage in coming forward to highlight such a demeaning and lamentable book written about the people of Ghana, our motherland. In his interesting assessment of the Feature Article, he proudly reviewed the contents of this book which although acclaimed by Americans is passionately disputed and much hated by most Ghanaians who read it - aptly titled "Captured in Africa" written by the American Evangelist Bishop Elvina Miller.

As the result of his comprehensive research work carried out for the feature article, I must say the greater part of the article was self explanatory and depicts concisely a definitive analysis of the brief history of Christian Prampram as discovered by Mr. Doku in his search for the truth regarding the book. Inclusive in the feature article, too, were numerous quotations taken from different pages of the book, with each quotation reminding us of the defamatory assertions, uncorroborated statements and worst of all the untruthful stories recorded by the author of the book Bishop E. Miller, about the people of Ghana, who she hardly knew. She failed to understand, and may well have underestimated the practical religious beliefs of the people she wrote about, just as she did not comprehend the normal behavioural characteristics of the community she met and worked with. The Bishop refused to accept her own ignorance of the 'uncharted territory' scenario that confronted her at the time. In view of this handicap she stubbornly proceeded to write, -- invented a few tales on the subject that deliberately humiliated and insulted the indigenous beliefs of the people of Ghana, citing Prampram town in particular.

The reviewer of the book deserves to be given profound credit for patiently dissecting the cruel assertions in the book purported to be the true accounts of events recorded by Mrs. Miller when she first visited our shores in the Gold Coast (Ghana ) in 1954. Curiously, excuse me to ask, I think it would be interesting to know what really inspired this lady to write such a silly book? Was the author possibly compelled to write this book under peer pressure, just to impress the folks back home, telling them about the wonderful work she had undertaken abroad, in order to justify her maiden journey to Africa, for instance? Well, I guess, we will never know the truth because the Bishop refuses to sing, at least not in public, over the internet or anywhere else. So there you are.

Although I have not read the book as yet, and do not claim to be an expert on Prampram affairs, just as many of my fellow ( Ghanaweb ) patrons of this forum who have not had the opportunity to read it. My only affiliation with Prampram is having fallen madly in love with the beauty of the locality on my only visit to the area whilst on holiday in Ghana a few years back. However, reflecting vividly on the impact the recent article had on the Forum whilst under discussion, knowing clearly the number of assorted comments attracted from ardent readers, and given the ensuing utter silence from the Publisher ( Wine Press Publishing ) and the author of the book following Mr. Doku's review: I am, hereby, inclined to wonder why this book should have been allowed publication in 1991 in the first place, and again re-printed in 1998. In view of its despicable declaration of defamatory and distorted story content that can seriously be mistaken to have racial undertones strong enough to agitate most Ghanaians readers. Considering, all this happened at such a prime time in our history of self-rule when we were supposed to be independent, articulated in our own ways of self-government and perhaps freed from this form of derogatory assessment of our holistic lives by foreign invaders of our fertile lands, whilst, on the other hand holding tightly onto the Holy Book and masquerading as redeemers of our souls. I rest my case, need I say more?

As weird as it may be now, however incomprehensible or uncanny as it sounds, we are told in 1954 when Mrs. Miller was held captive by the locals in Prampram, it was then she considered writing her story, not just any old story book as many of her late contemporary European missionaries before her had written but her own true account of how she was entrapped by the natives on her maiden tour of Africa. With a few fabricated tales in hand, wrote and published the book, pompously, ensured an eye-catching title of "Captured in Africa," for the whole world to read her fascinating but unreliable story.

Just reading this tear-jerking account of her capture by the natives of an African country alone must have endeared Bishop Miller to most of her adoring, faithful and unsuspecting readers back home who were enthralled by her incredible strength and God-given powers by which she was allegedly able to bring salvation to redeem the unbelieving savages as well as curing cripples, lepers and the diseased in Africa. Having amazingly conquered the devil Himself and removed the enormous burden of fetish worship from the inner sanctuaries of the people (so we are told in her written accounts). The floodgates to her great fortune began to open, welcoming regular donations from readers, especially, from fellow American Christians; she became rich and powerful, established two churches "The Oasis of Love" in Kumasi and settled amongst the so called heathens of Prampram and allegedly set about to convert their souls from the devil worship (fetishes).

But never in her wildest dreams did Bishop Miller expect; having published her first account of life as a captive in Prampram, that maybe, one day, she could be challenged to prove to the world the authenticity of her falsely written tales in her infamous book and that her challenge would come from a native born scholar, who may dispute and resent the account of her slanderous assertions. The sensitivity of such a person reading this story book one day will motivate him to campaign and publicly advocate for the total withdrawal of it from world wide circulation. Now we know that day has come! Alas, the long awaited native born scholar is here, Sam. Doku, a true son of Prampram! I sincerely think he is Bishop Miller's Nemesis to contend with for now, folks!

We also read from Mr. Doku's own account that not all the local people living in Prampram are presently happy with his sort of inquisitive mind, most persistently demanding and declaring to have the book withdrawn from world-wide circulation and furthermore halt future re-prints. The detrimental result of requesting such positive action from the author and the Publisher (Wine Press Publishing ) has put his family affairs under strain and his own life under threat from certain personalities in Prampram, just for stirring the proverbial murky waters in GaDangme land.

Now let us ask ourselves, why would anybody be so daft as to threaten the life of a fellow citizen whose only burning ambition is, to single-handedly fight to protect and keep-up the good name of his natural homeland from this discredited foreign prophet of African souls? The answer to the above my friends, viewed with careful deliberation can be resolved to the nearest degree by saying yes, it is true normal people can sometimes be reduced to treacherous status when faced with adversity. Equally so, under certain circumstances, desperate people tend to defend their selfish deeds, improper conduct, uncharacteristic and disreputable behaviour with threats of violence when duly confronted. This sadly could be the case in hand, causing a few sleepless nights in Ghana for those preferring not to have anything to do with the exposure of "Captured in Africa." Particularly vulnerable are the few timid inhabitants of Prampram, noticeably those that resort to threats instead of working on peaceful negotiations.

I wonder what the Elders of Prampram, the Traditional Council of Chiefs and the local Member of Parliament will make of all this on their doorsteps, regrettably I suspect, these folks think they have been spared the spread of the pungent stink from the proverbial murky waters recently stirred-up by Mr. Sam. Doku with the presentation of his feature article on the Ghanaweb. I honestly hope they will prove me wrong and act soon, for at the moment the whole world is waiting fervently for their response.

Will they ever respond to Mr. Sam Doku's probing messages and questions? Probably never in a million years!

Peace be unto the humble citizen who seeks the TRUE word, save him and his family from the threats of evil personalities.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.