Interviews

Interview with Ruth Wade Kwakwa, Organizer, Anancy Festival Accra, Ghana

Written by Denise Lee

This week we have a conversation with Ruth Wade Kwakwa, Organizer, Anancy Festival Accra, Ghana. The Anancy festival in Accra, Ghana is June 8th, 2013. Here is our conversation with Ruth.

Where are you from?
-I’m from Jamaica.

What is the main goal of inaugural Anancy festival Ghana?
-Goal is to use Anancy/Kweku Ananse as an international folk legend to make the connection between Ghanaian and Jamaican children and childhood. Most Ghanaians do not realise that Ananse has gone global and get a real chuckle about that. Almost like the chuckle Jamaicans get when we hear about Bob Marley festivals in remote corners of the world. Bob and reggae are originally ours, Ananse is originally theirs. I love the connection!

Are there any other organizations involved in Anancy Festival Ghana?
-We will be hosted by the Mmofra Foundation in Ghana, which has regular sessions with children, and emphasizes play, literacy and learning http://mmofraghana.org/

What does Anancy mean to you?
– I took Anancy for granted as a child, was tickled when I realised that he had international connections, and was awed by the fact that he had such a history. This is a great step towards creating links between Jamaica with West Africa, and Jamaicans and Caribbean people living outside of the Caribbean, with the Caribbean. Anancy is something for our children to hang on to. As an adult, I am also prying into Anancy and wondering what we can do to put a 21st century spin on him to make him more attractive to our children, and more relevant to their world. Our kids are way more savvy and cynical than we are, and can smell a ‘lesson in a book’ a mile away. We might have to get a bit more creative about how we weave lessons into our stories.

My favorite Caribbean author is …
– My favourite Caribbean author is Andrea Levy (OK, not quite Caribbean – Born in the UK to Jamaican parents). I’m not sure I have read anything by a Caribbean author that I hold near and dear since high school.

My comfort food is…
– My comfort food would be sweet and sour Pork, Jamaican style, from Barbican’s local Chinese Restaurant, or ackee, saltfish and mash flat/fried green plantain.

If I wanted to impress someone visiting my city I would take them to…
– If I wanted to impress someone visiting Accra I would take them to Makola Market, a huge scrambling market. Not for the touristy reasons though and not necessarily to impress them in the tourist sense. But rather, to give them a full-on, dive-right-in introduction to Ghana. Intense, 360 degree experience, which will either repulse or amaze them. You don’t stay neutral after a trip to Makola.
Thanks for the time. Where can we learn more about the Anancy festival ?
Anancy from Jamaica visits his cousin Kweku Ananse in Ghana is on  Saturday, June 8th, 2013 in Dzorwulu, Accra. Contact me directly at [email protected] for details.
Go to AnancyFestival.com, http://facebook.com/anancyfestival and Jamaicans.com for information on our city and others.

About the author

Denise Lee