Feature Article of Saturday, 30 July 2011

Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta

My Hometown Winneba

By Kwesi Atta Sakyi

Tugging the saltwater fringes of the Atlantic Ocean,
Winneba in the Central Region of Ghana
Is kissed on the south by the white frothing foam of the sea
Fronted by coconut groves, sandy beaches, jagged rocks
And the estuaries of a lagoon and a freshwater river,
The old fishing town lies in a windy bay
It has charmed many a visitor to come to stay

Behemoth dug-out canoes
Are lined up along the settled beach area,
They lie like huge Nile crocodiles sunning themselves
Either after a sumptuous bloody and messy meal,
Or cooling off and waiting patiently for a kill,
Yes, the fisher folk here have many in common with
Their beastly brothers in the Nile waters

To the east snakes the Ayensu River
Carpeted on either side by unspoilt savanna woodland,
Towering over on the west stands the moderate Manko Mountain
Beneath whose eastern side lie the Muni Lagoon and plains,
They form a majestic sight of distributaries, dotted with wooded
Islands and species of assorted water birds,
They have provided a basis for a bird sanctuary for tourists

In the north-bound area lies a mushrooming built environment
Displaying varied architecture and a riot of unplanned settlements
From afar atop a promontory, it provides aesthetic beauty,
Vegetation blended with human constructions
In this area lies a large game reserve-Yenku ( literally means
We don’t kill)
Here lies the grounds and wooded areas for the
Annual Deer Hunt Festival
Displaying the cultural origins of the Effutu tribe
And their proverbial war bravery
It is a festival of colour, fashion, passion and cultural pageantry,
An inimitable festival worth the tourist circuit calendar in early May

At the centre of the town lies the old settlement
That boasted of a booming trade in the colonial past,
Its shores attracted Dutch, French, Danish and British sailors,
Also came the Syrians, Lebanese, Indians and Greeks,
Entered trading groups like A.G. Leventis, SCOA, CFAO, UAC,
P.Z. (Patterson Zachonis), Fisher & Sons Ltd, Millers & Sons Ltd,
Elder Dempster Shipping Line,

Winneba was an entreport for the cocoa-growing hinterland,
It handled exports of cocoa, palm kernel and lime juice
Receiving imported merchandise like textiles, grains, building
Materials, canned foods and assorted goods,
In 1962 it lost its verve and trade to Tema harbour to the east
Oh what a terrible blow to local trade,
Winneba has since been in economic comatose,
Needing a miracle to turn the corner

Lying to the extreme fringes of the town to the south-west
And south-east, are two ridges or promontories,
On the south-west are Scott Hill and Marine Drive
Abutting the University of Education South Campus,
On the south-east brow stands the Waterworks and
A landmark telecommunications mast seen for miles around,
On this are Radio Peace and my own abode overlooking
A 360 degree view of Winneba,
Here, you can espy the old town to the west far below
And the new sprouting area to the north,
The sea hugs the horizon to the south
While to the east lies a large carpet of low-lying
Unspoilt savanna wooded grassland,
All blend and meld into a cherished scenery
That I carry in my mind’s eye even when
Thousands of miles away as I compose this,
Winneba, town of salted fishmongers and hoary and
Huff-voiced fishermen who are gruffy,
They are notorious for their frankness and fearlessness,
I am very much part of them, am I not?
While they fish for fish, I do for words!

By Kwesi Atta Sakyi