Change Africa Podcast
Change Africa Podcast

Episode 10 · 4 months ago

Kwabena Agyare Yeboah

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Kwabena Agyare Yeboah is a writer and transdisciplinary historian based in Accra.

Our conversation with Kwabena embraces the interactions of different knowledge forms and disciplines with history. For example, he traces the history of Accra’s residential segregation back to its public health origins in the 1890s to cement the idea of the inner complexities of seeming banal outcomes in pursuit of what he called “valid answers” instead of “accurate answers”. Kwabena views time as a material for analysing the past (thus, his definition of history), drawing references to how artists may use materials to tell a story. 

We interrogate Kwabena on the ownership of art and its relationship with the capitalist elite, to which he cites the historical precedence of art in Africa as a communal good. Kwabena argues that in “saving capitalism” the “academy” and practitioners must be willing to learn from the people to allow the community to wholesomely own the narrative of the art. In talking about community ownership, Kwabena believes the people already know the art around them: the materials, the processes and the stories, and advocates for a new breed of ordinary people, not professionals, emerging as art critics and writers. Our conversation segues into the inherent differences between African knowledge forms and the West’s, the claiming of indigenous discoveries as Western and the understanding of African ways of knowing, exemplified in medicine and the arts, and why history must be retold and reclaimed. We also take a historical look at contemporary art from the global stage, tracing it to its Ghanaian origins and influences

We explore Kwabena’s birth to writing and poetry, his influences and his work. We conclude with thoughts on Nkrumah’s historical complexity and an insight into Kwabena’s favourite piece of Ghanaian history; a powerful feminist sex worker and politician who may have been pivotal in Ghana’s early politics. 

So we have another episode of the change up the Cup podcast. My name is Isaaco JD IN OA BA and I'm here with my co host, Dandiel Murky, and today, like always, we're going to be dissecting African issues, getting expective of some of Africa's bright as thinkers and doers. And we have what, as a person that I really admire, someone who has an expensive knowledge across African ideology, African thoughts and a lot of added disciplines. Is a very interdiscipline, multi disciplinary personality. We have with US carbonate edge ry of what, who has kind of put his other name, Gideon, into it. Is What is Alan name get into prison? But yeah, Corvena, glad to have you on the podcast. Thank you so much for having me in an Intro to our conversation today. So your twitter profile says that you are interdiscipline historian, interested in African history, sts, medicine, like health, environment, did your own public history. That's what it says. But I have known you for Hanna and I know that that transition to this what I say bio as a winding path. But if you were to describe yourself a year ago, hold you say, if not for this. What I I W transdiscipinary'll be difficult order. Said, I think if I remember when the boy was then would have been believe I cause conversationists a level of a one. I think that was the by your until theor before actually did today. So I would say that I am on the part of having conversations. So I am an Inter Eternal conversationist. I try to have conversations. You know, understand, but, as you ask, you for alluded to that fact that I don't think I particularly understand my journey. You know, it has been just a path of discovery for me, and so I would have said conversation is because I think that is even true today. So what do you mean by Trans Disciplinary Historian? Right, so basically what I'm saying is that I take an issue and then, kind of so as just one person, I look at it from different perspectives of different academic disciplinaries. So, for example, in a cry you have a situation of residentials education that happened right around the s after the an one thousand nineteen hundred, right, and you might think of it as just an Ebban planning issue or it is something for the special historian to wrestle with. But really what what started with was that right around the s there was this idea that is even true today, that anothlis mosquitoes were vectics of malaria. So the governor at that time, in the gold course route, to a committee that okay, how do we, you know, control malaria in a crab? And you know that would thing about the beginning coast of Africa being the White Man's gave Ya. So that discovery was kind of to help, you know, control malaria. But when the committee wrote back to the governor, they said, I know what, you have to pursue residentious education, you know. So that idea of residensis legating a cry started with a public health program problem. But if you look at it just from the perspective of Eban Planning, you miss the fact that there is, I idea of the body politics, for example, because what the governor was saying, the argument he was making us that you know what, the black body is a natural reservoir for malaria and other inficial diseases. So if you take them apart, that means that we cannot be infected by these people. So that was quite the restenss engaging happened in a crab. But you don't really don't. You didn't see it the context of set settler realism in Southern Africa, right. And so it starts out ...

...at a point in the nineteen hundreds. But what it does is that it has a legacy. When you look at a Carme right now, you are able to tell which places have good resources. Right, we are talking about count meet for example, you're talking about airport areas, but you realize that right in these places are so called informal settlements that are rouse. So, for example and investor or Ghana, you have Magina just close to work, right. So let the medinner settlement became a Labor Reservoir for the fun invest or Ghana. You look at the place like airport, you have movement, you know, circle, at a record rituals, a settlement for a little or middle class African people. Have it close to you. Circle. So for me, when I talk about transisciplinary, am looking at one thing and look at it from different perspective, different discipline. And so when I talk about is residential segregation in our Cras, then I'm for me, I start with part. The initial idea was that was public health problem, but it goes into economics, it goes into architecture, it goes into Evan Planning, and for me, my approach is not to stop, you know, I, you know, point investigative analyst are doing the awaking. This is the full of the money. Yes, I think that is my approach, that I follow where the story takes me, and so that is why I say that I am a trans discipinary historian. So it's basically trying to see history from the initial point of truth and the awakening what I say foundational concerts or problems that like, build the foundations of the realities that we have today. Yeah, and I feel that as human bees, we we are, we are wrestling with the idea of problems, you know, right from Beth we are, we are, we have to contend with that idea of solving problems, and I feel like problems are not, you know, are not native to a particular ethnicity, country or even physilogyn and opinion, you know, and so that is well for me. I try to also borrow from other disciplines, you know, so that you're able to understand and I think, I think that that is the idea of signary research. You know, in any could back and think about the renaissance period when we started having these categorizations about art signs, now at high art, you know the kind of thing. But if you think but about somebody like Aristotle, he was the guy who defined a tragic hero in literature, yet he's the same guy who give us the law for teasing. That instead is so much infected, you know. And so for me I think we can be be such on these two different size in pursuit of a certain kind of truth. But I also understand and have an understanding that truth could be an opinion, just like the lest professor considered the said, and I think, from from somebody who who creates from the world world view of a can, I tend to agree with that that truth is an opinium. And as much as we want the truth, I think it's difficult. So when I was when I transition maybe being mad cary said, we said that you're looking for valid answers rather than accurate answers, and I think that the idea I would see that I'm basic of valid ass is rather than truth. Pasay, but it's not. It's not. It doesn't mean that I am being I am being kind of not looking for that also, but I think that's the the idea of truth is a Lucy, you know, and I rather want something that is valid rather than the truth ass and I understand, you know, when you take it to a religious aspects, you have this idea of objective truth, which as as a practicing prison to it's kind of conflicting, you know, marrying myself left philosophy is with that religiousity, but I guess I'll be fine sometimes soon. So two things that I would like to, you know, talk about from what you just said before we move into other discussions. Is this phenomenon of labor settlements a jacent or near to wear more elites operations are happening. What do...

...you I want to take on what you think, maybe more of a futuristic take on what you think that our CRA and other major cities in Africa that are continually becoming a help for tourism, which is a good thing, but we are seeing that the tourism is basically more akin to any a question of local settlements, to high end settlements of elites only, and hot that would do for Labor settlements in the future. I think it's a question of how moves capitality. How do we save profits? You know, how people prioritize resources. You know, and I think it's a difficult question that we need a little more of practitioners to be intentional about your own practices. You know, and I really like somebody like you, Branhi Muhammad, who, who who is an artist based here in Ghana. He's shown two times at the Venice be nearly and it has recently established three accenters in his home, home hometown of Tamiy, and he talks about this idea of the contradition of the capital. So, for example, he, as an artist, kind of pulls to sacks and then makes colliges out of them. Some of them are so through galleries, you know, and the money that he gets through the seals are what he's using to meet these infrastructures and intervening in short lived futures of visions like on Chroma, who really wanted to pursue this this idea of sidos because of food security and stuff like that, but couldn't do it fully because of the cool and so I think that it's is a question about how intentional we are about the capital that we have you know, and how do we want to enlish in the city? It's I feel like now what the city, how the city is looking like, is that it is really a reflection of the inequalities that we have now, you know, and in an equalities, I think what widen. So we would, we would, we would have these people who are in so calling form a certain settlement, also claiming spaces in the so called elite side. And you so, I think you see that some whey is living, for example, where people abandoned houses have been overtaking by scatters, you know. And so I feel like that will, that would be what quite happen, because now you also seeing these high end buildings in a crime, especially around counterments, the Bonny and those places, things that people's alleged that are built out of money, laundry, you know. I can has the tea and everything. Yeah, but I feel like that is what will happen, that you still have this class war that we see in the species I anner, and you will see people try to make claims for spaces that high end people also competing for, and it's I think it's will already playing out in a crime all these places. So for me, whatee. Rather ask is how are we intentional about the capital? How how we thinking about the paracters of the capital? How we intentionally repairing? Where we take from, you know, and that, I think, is a whole conversation. Yeah, you also say that you operate from the account ideology of philosophy. I guess, what does that mean? So historic, historically, we have this idea that intellectual history is bomb outside Africa, right, and when, when the Europeans came in? You can see this very much in how medicine was treated. When you look at the eighteen century. Medicine of Europe, for example, wasn't any soucifcated, it wasn't more than what was happening here in our Africa. It was primarily plant based. But what happened when they came here? They rendered our medicine as so called Fetish Right. And so, instead of asking, what are the assistance...

...in place, why are these people doing what they're doing? Because it's clear in I can't thought that you could have a healer who is not a priest, the traditional priest, but every traditional priest less the act of healing using medicine. Right. So they existed a complex, a complex system of thoughts, but because people were failing to wed and didn't want to learn, they came in imposed certain ideologies on it, you know, especially also because our medicine played out in religious setting. But to a play from a can is to also put aside into two kind of I and I feel I know how the current axe because right as a world is as a word is using right now. But it's true, you know, operating from the margins of what moonage systems and putting it at power with fot. Happened in Greece, what happened elsewhere in the east of the world? You know. So really, when I say that I'm thinking about it Googie, who compared his series of lectures title dissentering, I think, moving the center of something that's forgotten. The title, but the whole concept of the series of essays was to say that, you know what they there's no center of the world. There are so many centers. Some of the centers were in at that some of the centers with Europe, and it is just an imperialist idea to say that. Okay, I hope maybe European enlightenment over part might have happened elsewhere in the world, in Africa or in Asia, so to say that I'm preating from a kind world views, to say that I value I can't thought every a kind of philosophy for you. I can't cosmology as much as I look to the Western tradition, of Western interetial tradition. So My insubstant the first question is that, as a historian, what is history trying to achieve? M You know, wh when you're younger, you think of history as remembering, remembering facts. You know, one thousand nine hundred and fifty five. This is what happened, I think, and my free into history is to look at analysis, to interpret the past. You know what happened, to have this filthy, care free ways to look at how can we use the past as a material? And I like the idea of using time as a material. I Know How art is going to their studios and they have a credit and stuff like that in the painting. I think that historians are like that also. You know, what do you do with the past as a material? And that I feel you would have to have every rose much adology can framework to to interpret the past. And for me that is why this transiscignary approach works for me because I could take just a piece of something and look at them from different viewpoints and to make arguments that on discipline, disciplines, you know, and for me that that is the interesting bit about how I think about history. Yes, yes, I got I kind of had a similar question like Isaac, but I would feel like to ask it a second time to really understand personally, when you're describing that pursuit of truth. Is it is the focus, like, is it solution orientated, as you use that material to eventually be able to create solutions, or is it more to spur the conversation, or it's just a pursuit of I don't know, exciting your consciousness or knowledge. I so part of mine, kind of my approach to to history and to my practice as acuity, is this public facing work right, and for me that that is why I think that the part that I did in journallysims really important, you know. And so the out of producing knowledge, I don't think you know. I don't think you know there's this traditional him that knowledge. I don't think the knowledge is in it itself. And if a scholars work ends with needed production, I think it's okay, because there will also be active is advocate and so on. Who would look at that theory or that those millage forms and build up on it. But I would want to do public face in work. I really want to do with that that is impactful, you know. And so when I talked about the residences and engaging in our crimes written at, how can we address the current issues of social equalities? How? Why is it that somebody growing...

...up in the nothing part of Ghana would have to come to a crime in order to assess opportunities? And you know, and it's almost like it is especial macca when they come to a crab, because you know where they are going. They'll go to name my circle, my dinner and other places it. It's almost like you have to come to those spaces in order to get for my initiation into a city. And so by talking about these things, we also bring into the populic consciousness what it means to enjoy at the expense of other people. They stick the accusing wood and, for example, you go to a cousin both centy and we are happy, but we forget that one day that was being constructed, over Eightyzero people were displaced and they had to be resettled in different counts. Many of them never recovered, you know. Many of them as still live in object poverty up to today, and that area is endemic of efficial disease, like system assis and others, you know. And so by talking about this, I feel is a good opportunity for us to interrogate the past and, most especially, to look to the forward, the future, because I feel that there's a way that we can learn from some of these things. When you talk about the cousomer dumb, I think we also talking about state let capitalism. You know. How do we? How do we? How do we? How do you become intentional about some of the large developmental project? Who Benefits? You know, how do we? I feel like it is goes a difficult question because for the courts would damp did for us is to have to devise this source of great energy, you know, electricity. We can see, we will do it, but people will be affected. How do we mitigate side effect, you know, and so for me that is what is I think it's interesting about the field of history using that material as object lesses. As the Christian writer, if you wire to say you've done cureteral and are carble work as well? Lass is are tit for how important a fids for African kind is and indigenous communities? And what is the intersection of archives and History Look like? What as it look part? That's an interesting question, because archive is like official documents of the past, and it is we need a contest of Ganna, for example. It almost like a pass, you know, and so they are selling people who are not represented in the archive. And for me the question is how do we write increase and increasive, expansive histories, you know, so that we are not telling only history from the senitized official rendering of history, and so then we have to think about expanded forms of so the archive, of course, is an important aspect of the word that you do, all we do, but also how do we treat our interviews, for example, you know, how do we listen to songs, because in even up to today, when you go to Mancanna, when you go to Noncana, Casan and Anka, in the nothing past of Ghana, they are songs that you you hear and know the impact that enslavement had on them, both transfer harn and then the Trans Athletic and so how do we Li see differently from how what we are used to, you know, how do we could be on the archive, the conventional race of telling history? How do we look at all these people who wrote petitions? For me, petitions are really important source of history, because it is almost like the Protestants, you know, people who were brief enough to protest could write petitions and they had all these counter narraties, especially when you look at their Cousoboda and look at the petitions. That ordinary everything folks road is also almost like a run counter to that brilliant fishionary pronouncement by somebody like him, Chroma, you know. And so by doing that idea of history from below, then we are able to at least move towards a fuller rendition of history. I would like to talk about art before we go back to other things. In our part of...

...the world right and I mean the history of other self, Alice, when you look at it from the people who own it, and least ownership of art, it's becoming history. It has always been for some time, but more so in Ghana, a thing for the elite. The question I want to ask us what is add and who that's belong to? I think that cution will between my philosophical leanings. I mean, if you pray from the less, if you pray from masses analysis, if you if you if you are an American pragmatists, you know, if you draw from that tradition, I would say that I belongs to everyone and that idea is highly prevalent in what pertained, you know, in African societies before at was commodified. You know, so when traditionally we had dances, you know, poets in the in chief courts and stuff like that, but the act that they produced was communion. Let's let's take the the some tradition, some tradition from Wata, which professor you know who, and Professor Cofy, and I want no raciously roots about when you go there, in the communities people built on the songs, right. So in the S and S S, there was this idea that could fee, I want to pagiarized his poems, you know, because in his tradition was a continuation of what pertained, and so somebody could sup with three lines, right, somebody who actuate, somebody would activate, and then in those communities the wood that old, this song was made by upon right, but in the waste imagination. If I am a poet and I'm operating, I would have to be attributed with that poem, right, and so when I want not, came to that wasting tradition of poetry writing. Then there was this argument that you know, as you pasiarized and you know when classic example or such a poem is Sung to sorrow, where there's every count of ancestors right and it and see that that poem is a communal crime. It wasn't only I want know who rule that poem. It was many people, changerations of arts, generations of poets who produced that poem. But that poem ended on the page as songs of sorrow and as a poem attributed to our honor. So really have to always wrestle with that idea. But I think that act belongs to the people and as much as now at has been commodified, there should be end and that's why I like what is happening as coming from Minister of Science and technology, because at the College of Arts people have started asking about how do we transform this idea of commodity to get in a side that people could actually benefit from arts as a field and as as a practice. So by taking that idea. They may have to be expensive about what is even act, you know, and I feel like as difficult to define now, because now we have the performative, we have all these that even workshops, even seminars, could be at forms, you know. And so the question is, harden the really use this gift of Arts, both as a practice and as a field, you know, to give to who this practice really belongs. And I come from the Arecenti region. When you go there for people who really have eyes, as we see away, they can differentiate between the can tell, if you bring them the more, who originated it. They can said that all these these clothes are made by the everstancelors who have come here. Oh, this is so called original Athenticuity, you know, and so people know, and for me that is what we have to do at this point of history, is to Tell Cet the academy on its head into be asking different questions, and let them collars grant her, but let's ask those questions. How differently can be Naim in the academy? You know, how different you can be as the questions that you've been taught to ask. How differently can we see, you know,...

...and by asking those questions, we would be open to the whole field of answers, the whole should of enqueras and and if we ask, what can ask do right? And then we begin thinking beyond the individual as a practitioner. We begin moving from the idea that I'm a couple of who has sold one million. You know's well for women, but really too for each to trickle down and see that. Okay, I'm a wafful is that, but how can am Apus a'm acus practice impact at this school? Are came in after him, and so for me that that that that is where we should move to. Of course that's leftist idea. Hey, but yeah, but COB so, that speaks kind of to the ask the question that Isaac asked with the belonging of the art. But would you say there is a differentiation in terms of who controls art, because I'm looking at the side of how public opinion can be influenced and definitely, I would say within different groups different society there is a different I mean it's different of who controls are. So is there a differentiation from that belonging part and then in terms of controlling, I think then it becomes difficult to just stated as a public good, because at the end of the day, there are people who have influence. Probably what reaches are you? Are you talking about the narrative? Are you? Yeah, more towards exactly than the control of the narrative. I mean it's like what art do we see? Yes, there are people who go out there and actively seek what they consume or what they listen to, but then there is also a lot of people who, I mean it's like, carry what gets to them. And that is my question in terms of what controls that and how that kind of differentiates from the belonging part, how your views are of that right. So part of the word that have been doing is to be collaborating with Wikipedia, US and groups, and I know how problematic big takes even for sure, but as a pragmatist I also tend to ask a different question. How can I use the problematic you give me? And so the collaboration they were keep you get yourself group, is to put Dunian at history on Wittipedia. So we are creating profiles on artists, art practitioners, cultural workers, you know. So we put Grace Quami, who was really active among the facet inuisition of post columniagainian artist in the in the realm of modernist arts. You know, we have had somebody of life, francs are Demola, who I think owns the old answered, the oldest gallery in Ghanana, sorry, and through who owns the oldest galery that exists now so again, for me it's just going back to the public, you know. And and when I crima was integrating the Institute of African state is he he said the interesting thing about going to town, you know. And and if we begin envisioning the academy as a by that Directional relationship with society, then we can remove some of these barriers into what the narrative, who owns the narrative, for example? But also that means that really, as practitioners, would have to be willing to sit control to others, because we are not only the tradition, the practitioners. Men could be, feels, the holders, but it doesn't mean that we are the only practitioners of those arts. That means we have to go back to the people who really know and understand right and when a green that in in smaller terms, we had we had people who were very religeable, a crowd who could reside he histories of terms right. So even at that level, maybe what we could do is to be creating community centers that communities could take control over. They're not the narratives I have. I am worry of, even as a curator, that we need so much of the narrative to the curator and the market to to decide on, and I feel like by asking different set of questions then we can come to different visions of who will you own the narrative? I think the...

...narrative belongs to everyone of us, whether we are practitioners or not, whether we're interested or not. Because I think that, and it has happened to me many times that the some of the most powerful in repetitions of art that I've head came from people who say they are not interested in that, you know, and that is also what contemporary acts as a field officers now you know, because had not been con Contemporary Act, someone like me will not, you know, be taken seriously. You gave me because I didn't go to ask who. I have been doing my science for how long? But then there's this this idea that Contemporary Act embraces of fields, embraces people and it's it's almost like pushing us to look at different directions. Years and so, for example, when I wrote an essay for Ibrahimhammer's monograph, I didn't I don't think that I even saw his work for long, but I knew this work. Why would I say that I knew his work when I hadn't seen his work? I knew as well because I grew up in a santom boom and my poem is almost like a transitionary zone for charcoal at a created tracks right at pre trials that carry charcoal from a temple Ngge. And when we study the attempable Erg Environment, they have these trees and there they almost also at transition to the north. So you don't have a lot of a lot of reinform. So that is why people prefer to bring trees around the area in mid Chacol. So the man stopovers in my home. So as a boy growing up in my palm I was interacting with ibrahe's work. With that knew that in the future there will be somebody that I'll write on his work because at my pounder stations there were these trials that will pat to day and we are student just you know, we're playing around, maneuvering over the amaze that the Bush trust had created. But I didn't more than my body was was collecting material. I didn't know that my body was leading. You know, before even came intellectually, I knew Ibrahim's work just and it isn't because we grew up in the same town. We need not that so, but because I had a different spirit with the material, just as a boy green up in a sattlement. And for me that is the interesting aspect of contemporary art and what it offers us. I think there's brilliant in circles into what our trade. was going to ask you because I was going to ask you questions on the tragetory of the narrative and contemporary acts. So it's like it's a great Steve Way. But one question is on narrative. One of the ways of controlling in Daniel's West's as critique. And you, I know you said the narrative belongs to the people, right, but how do we kind of allow for art critique then to become public conversation and move it from the academia and moving from the writers and moving from the so called professionals? That's my critique exist anywhere and everywhere. You know, seems assist even a man practitioners in traditional because people have different ways of doing things, different ways that things work for them, and they are not they are not necessarily convention standard, traditional with a boot things. So critique exist inside and outside the academy. But I think that one of the things that we miss as a people, and this is not even restracted to Danian and African people, is we need to understand that critique, critique, is an art of love, right, and so if I critique your work, is because I love you so much that I took time to go and see it in and to write about it, and that all these things are Lib and for me, that offering of Libor is a liber of love, right. And so we need to we need to we need to understand critique from that point that I can critique you and it's not it's not personal. We can still meet in person and be okay and be friends and still have different ways of approaching things. I feel that that is what is missing in the an art completing. Now,...

...apart from genuinely writing, we are going have enough of art critique in the academy right. And so we have so many practitioners, you know, imaging from Ghana, and that is the danger. Also, look at the Dinner Pavilion, for example, in two thousand and nineteen. It was almost we were as if we were was to seventeen hundred nineteen, who are passive. They got the first and a papilion who were passing in the narrative right. And so we were there and we saw pier materials image, but we never caught a good critique from Ghana. People were just hash around in the community, but nobody was hold enough to put something on the people. And that is also what is happening right now with the gooing Nice. Be nearly it happened, but people are talking about it. I've seen only one critique from Wiki Womga, who was spoking about the selection of the artists and stuff like that. We need that. We seriously need that, and part of the problems that we've been facing with the our work in the wikipedia group is is the politics of citation. Right. So I know that setting artists were big in Ghana. Were big as scholar practitioners. You know, I'm talking about somebody life. We should a tear EOBA teams and stuff like that, but when you go go there, you don't find anything substantial on them. Right. And so for wikipedia editors from different countries, when you read these entries, because we have the Badrom lge that, even though I don't have good materials to side, I know that this person is notable, but they're on the surface. Are Looking at who is right now about this person, how much is out there on this person? And so there is differential knowledge production that we are producing solely because we are not reading those critiques, we are not writing enough, we are not writing with US enough, we are not possessing ourselves in now, we are not anti needed proms that we are producing here enough, and for me that is the problem that we really need to think about that because even now our Narra team that we have from the art really comes from elsewhere and most especially from pure professional I think. I think it's very interesting when you bring the wikipedia because, if you are listening, you don't understand that's how wikipedia with, if you're supposed to write a wikipedia and profiles pages, whatever you are writing should be based on already produce knowledge that can be verified. Right. So you need to cite, and this the classical case of because we do not write about our arts before, because we don't write about our forms, that will produce it is almost impossible for you to validate a wikipedia entry. It's going to be difficult. I mean those things are going to be flagged and they won't have much credibility. So the question I have then is where that's this need to start from and and what had the rules of schools, for example, to play in that it? As much as I respect schools, I feel that an individual level is the best way to approve some of these things. You know, because we know, we know it, it. Those things are in our communities and when we talk about what contemporary art is is doing now, all these artists are using materials that we know in our societies. They are using plastic paths that are everywhere in a car and is else where. They're using DRUTH BADS, they're using, call it, tens, carrier backs and stuff like that. So these are things that we know. Also, I would say that we need, and as much as this is important, professionalizing the art, we also need to professionalize the art right so that you can have occasional writers ocase, not critiques, not necessarily people who double will that be like? Who are involved in it for such a long time? You know, just people produce unique perspectives. And to talk about schools, we need to decronize the current color. We need to listen to ourselves. What have you been saying? And so when wasting forms of eddication came in, that form was superimposed on our ways of knowing that we didn't take time to ask. What can we tea from this? And we know things. We know things.

You know. For example, it is seventy four. John Oni was a surgeon right who was attached to the British buttoner. Came to find a sentence, I think in the ten untlers until also, and then when he came he was tasting in cap coast. He started describing, writing his diary describing the disease. But when you look at the original reporting that he did for a wasting Medica Journa, he the first sentence was that disease was called CROC crow among the nities of West Ada. So right in his test he admits that the people that he came to meet the disease. But guess what, if you read medical books, he said that Joe on new fair described river plants, you know, but it was here for long that people had a name for it. Another example is because your cook, Kausha Cock, could only be described because he's Williams, who was a thetan white woman doctor learned from the woman. Because, of course, your care is simply translated as this disease of the disposed child, because there was this short should bath interval. People that the children will be disposed and then they weren't getting the enough breastment and even care for them to thrive as a as in fact invent and so we have our ways of knowing, in medical system, in political system, in social systems, in economic systems. How do really astrate this knowledge forms? How do we learn this knowledge forms? And for me that is the question. As practitioners working in two thousand and twenty two, we need to be asking ourselves how do we could decolginize, how do we bring our sub activities into the academic form, into the academy? How do we make ourselves seen? And by that I mean that we are dissentery, we are seeing to the whole world that there wasn't one traditory of medicine development and munt of what happened in the West in terms of medicine, was something that was already happening here in the south or in Africa, for example, it was imposting that an enslaved person taught hasten slaver how to do vast nation, you know, and that process that he taught, taught him, is what now, in cover time, we have a committing that basically came from an enslave man in Boston. And how did he know? He said to us in slaver that this is this was what we were doing to protect ourselves against small books. And so by that exposure in Africa, that enslave man led something that, by Trans anatic enslavement, took it to the worst and when it transformed West in medicine, it is just saying that all the idea of usneasing came from Boston, you know. But it is more than that. It goes deeper and we know that in India similar ideas of our sub adverst nation was happening there. You know. They were these forms of surgeries that we're doing, especially among immigrant houser Baba Muslim partitions. That was that all these things were happening here, but we seem to have forgotten that you to a human beings, me to have practices, me to have produces, and then you forgot that you could actually carry this forward. And and for me, that is what contemporary practice gives me the opportunity to reclaim some of these days. Yeah, I mean the I mean very interesting, because the kind of if other very interesting. But it also goes back to the control of narrative part to to an extent, because the way I was now looking at it is like, okay, we brought we have brought up the example of Wikipedia. So might there be the possibility that, yes, of course we need more critique, we need more material talking about or writing about our producers, are creates and so on, but could it also be that those kind of platforms have been developed with the knowledge and inside of the Western world and...

...therefore inherently work better for them, and could it also be the task to maybe create platforms that speak are more in line maybe with our way of moving history forward and like keeping history and speaking to like our in aligned with maybe how we moved on knowledge and history true time, versus how it is done in the West. So I'm trying to figure out, because he worked about the citation groups and trying to figure out do you think there is a way also, that there might be a need for different platforms that we need to create? Yeah, I mean as I and you know, to Anya, that I start as a pragmatist. I started problems right and I know that that constracted differentess of it behind that is a Western one and that if I with that word view that I have, if I go in there, I have problems. I am well aware of that. But to answer your questions, they already then we can look at people who are working in glait feminism, for example, which is I think is really an interesting field, that is imagined, how women of color are using the digittor that the Internet, you know, to click history, to clack practices, and you are forcing us to look, I think, differently, and I think that's an important thing to look at. If, if you are going directly for me to answer, their energy to yours, and they also alternative platforms that have been built. Oh, there's this professor at west of Ghana, city of anstated is I or butterly promserby. They who? WHO has a platform? I think count or something of that sholt that that is almost like not Narland or Goanna web. You know that people talk actively about some of these things, and himself is an active teacher of African world views, you know. And so things are happening, but for me I just choose to give the problems, you know, involve myself with the problems. What connelway says, the custom costotrophic. I really like that. The custom. I like problems, you know, because I think that that is a way for me to think. And so, as much as I appreciated the problems that those platforms offer, I like to contain everys of that. You know, and I know all the law says that you cannot break down the the the house of the master with his own truth. But you know what I'll try will do. Back to go temporary arts, can you give us, I mean if you have an idea, brief is fly of it in Africa and Ghana and how that is making, you know, back to the conversation, how that is mainstreaming ats and bringing it to to the masters plebally, you know, in terms of in terms of timelines, they said that contemporary art image from the s right late seventy. So that is when we have that. But in Ghana, Academic Wise, in k university. Then we are talking about someone like caricature city, who began looking at things different because the Curri Colum that was inherited having changed, myth from the colonial times when the a school was really formed. And so he started asking different forms of questions. You know, what what could act be? What is the printention of art side things? And he opened up really the space for his students, you know, to think differently, to think about things that people might not have, in my imagined in the systems as part of cannon. Ask Cannon, you know. But who knows what we would have, what we missed in that time? You know, who knows, because the frame, the historical freeming just admitted certain kinds of people, right. So I wouldn't mean say that, because when you look at somebody like confidel same, whose work of the fair contemporneus when, instead of looking differently and materials, it was first among the first badge of of students to be admitted for the degree be every program at...

...university. But he was very much contemprinious. You know, the ways that would we would we speak about contemporary art now. So that that is for me I'm him. I'm quite numb because I'm thinking about such historical freeming. When we even talk about historical at cannons. You know, this is modern is, this is Romantics. Know, at this period there was this renaissance period and people were doing that. WHO DID WE MISS? who was doing something else, you know, and may we start thinking about that. We completed history, we will completed the official reditional history and also to allow ourselves to allow our sectivit subductivities in them, in the framing of history. And so they are all these people who might have practiced, especially women practitioners. We don't know much about them, you know, and so for me generally goes back to maybe we have so much of a clean narrative not to tell, but who and what did we miss? I feel like it's an interesting question. Let's talk about poetry. You are doubling important. Before, before you came what you are now, how did you get into party? Do I men know? It goes back to me, I think. What did you do mom point? I don't know, but what I remember as my first thoughts was that my father was an avid reader of the newspapers, delegraphic and the mirror. So every Saturday he bought the mirror and then after he's read it, he would give me to read and tell me that I should find words. He had bought a dictionary in it in the House. So after I found new words, I would just go to the Disney find the meaning and then use those words in sentences and then he would change them if I had used them currently. So I think he was training me in the academic sense right. But I think when we were transferred, so that this would be post two thousand and four your transfer, he was transferred because it was the work I was this Parson Him we will transferred to a Sumer Soul in offense, so not the straight one. Other times we put them the mirror and there was I think. I think was the McMillan price. They were these two books that have won a prize and innocently, with my arrogant self, said that you know what, I too could be a writer, and so I started writing without any any tangible mentor. I started writing in the margins of the Ganny imaginaries. You know, somebody like me wasn't supposed to be writing at the time that I was writing, and I ad time I was. I was in, I think, premise sayes or yeah, premise ses. So that would be like two thousand and four, two thousand and five there about, you know. And so just by being on my own, I could know I forgot one. So that the major intervention in me seeing that I could write for myself was that our headmaster had come two a conference, I think it was a meeting of head teachers of primary and second cycles institutions or so, and he had made a list. So when he came there to back to the school, he wrote the list, a long list on the black boat right, and I couldn't write all of that. So I wrote a few and the ones that I wrote included poetry anthology. Forgotten the title number, but it was by a professor at leging in in Nigeria, I think. I can't remember you had. They had this green cover, and so that was my official initiation to poetry, you know. And in that early tradition of writing in Africa you had many of them having nationalist, massist left his leaning, and I think that part of what I met came from that. I my power. My favorite poet from that...

...r would be the gear, you know, the man who was said that he loved Africa like his wife and and and for me that was really instrumental in the way that I think. I think now. Yeah, so I think that was my journey to to to writing. But I didn't know that I had I had accumulated so much but just leaving, just by being a boy growing up, you know, and and I really thank God that I was born in the Simon Bo I didn't know because even from we had conciapothorty, who was a great highlifer, if you do it as a lit that that was a guy who said that song and he had a concert party also group the Kuma Cambray House, you know, and the plane and doing concert part. So you refer and us to the concert party tradition. I was experiencing it in the s. As a point growing up right, you had cinema shoes. I somewhere in the s I saw her Lord. There was this watail called Midway and there was another called video city. Video City was was operated by Charles and in Jiman, who was one time big financial of Messias and when cold goes, really its last African happy was the guy with Mr but where he recently died. And so my poem was dance, a hot bed of stories, of cultures that are never realized. You know, I never realized that video city was that big, because that man was also a patron. Allen Jima was a patron of second hand less in countermental. He got so much money and that's when he used for the forctacle. But also he produced the first video movie in Ghana, right, even if it wasn't successful, because he wanted to run the things different in the inside the people who were into cinemas also wanted to write right, running differently. So he never came back to video. But damn man, came from a poem ACA sample for they came from a pom. Then there was a big funder into calds. I think that Mr Jannimportant and I never knew him, but right at the ten of them of the Millennium, all these big politicians descended on m right. So almost the entire jail could for cabinet. Where in my pom for that funder, I should takuld be Tabil empty all these people. And then through the same regimes because because lating efforts, we had the rebarrier of a free fire. Look at, to say a few fire in my but I've never seen any funer as big as that one. And so I didn't know that my body was collecting all these materials. I didn't know that my body was making meaning of the Wednesday markets. Anyway, these were towns and big times. We have this calendar, you know, calendar that I'm made of event photographs. So maybe there's inhibration of the president. People come up, if I can, and thend their photos of the inhibration of if cause a cold means a major trophy or something. They do that right. And so I remember the deleted house of food player some Quai. I remember his calendar because as man Nelson was shaking the hand of the video I remember the Indian man that the Indian had got something, something, you know, all these this weird stories. Ninja and told o the two studios who were the two police men who were murdered in a blue command by lanka acid. I didn't know that that visual exposure planted a lot of things in me, you know. So when I agree up, these things were badging me. So I want to tell too, understand those things. So all the story that I'm telling now, many of them came from Ghana. Web Right, because I remember somebody was studying body who died and all these politicians came for his fuller. Then I really that, oh, he was a deputy, you know, deputy secretary of MPP at the point. So you are to be short. In the USIAD card demutral demore tradition of Organian politics.

I didn't know that. It was recent that I found out, you know, and for me that is that is why it's important. I think that we have to produce a Nubian environments for children, because we never know who we are producing and maybe we lost the nest, I stand, because the person didn't get a good environment to preach. And I feel that children are smart, we are will intelligenter that we give them credits in for and they are ways that they learn in the new things that we ourselves as adult having, if you fully comprehended and and for me, that is my lounge, writing, to poetry, to currit into history, to everything else. You know. You are said earlier that critique it's a label of Love. Would you say same about your style or writing, especially poet will you say that your poetry is a label of love to the world infense, I mean in efends. I think that when I stud the model that I knew was the nationalist. ANY FIRST GENERATION POST colonial African writers, the year when you showing car all the others, and so there was this particular viasion that I was writing to, responding to, because that was the world that I need right so I was participating in that tradition. So in that sense I would say that, and I think when I was moving away, I think I wrote the poem to say that to the nationalist who died and and I was referring to myself in that poem because I wrote in that tradition for such a long time and I thought to myself that, Oh God, this is so restricting, you know, because I found out these people who were writing other in other traditions and I realized that, oh, there could be different imaginaries, you know, as opposed to what I already knew. So I gave myself opportunity to learn and to look at things differently. So I would say that the entire journey is a little about love, you know, but not the poems themselves, because this peak different things. So I don't know if this APP be willing to talk about, but I want to talk about it. So if you are willing to play every know when your mother died. How did I affect your writing? I never wrote. I never wrote because I I think I will just to essays, very short ones, because I agree. Did you call right? I had I write about things. I don't write them right, and so it's easier for a writer to wake up and say my mother died and put it in and see my style is difference. I would like to talk about the memories. I would like to talk about how she picked a mirror and said to me that she could know more with the mirror because she was getting old and her her wrinkles were showing and assays she couldn't pick the mirror. I would like to use that mirror to think about my mother. I would like to think about mother through the work clock that we carried from different times that my father was transferred from into. You know you. I I think that that is just my style of being subtle. And did you call? Actually says that that he traffics in some subtilities, and I like activities because I feel that subtilties. Also. Her has has this way of expanding right because by try, by trafficking in subtilities. I am open the space for subbutivities and for people to bring up your own interpretation, so somebody might look at the peace and manner if you realize that I am talking about death or of my mom or something of that sult. And so for me it's just a stallistic issue. Yeah, but what I guess one question is moving more towards and so something I want to be clear is that what the experience teach you about grief. I have been having briefing the point, way, way, way before she passed and and when she...

...passed, I said to myself that there could not be any more grief froms that I could write, because I had been practicing griefs for such a long time and I didn't want to go back to to the to the idea of creeping and that comes from the traditions that I was so much stick in the nationalist because by the Sev s the missions that they had were crumbling down with cools and disappointment with some of the fighters that they fought alongside me and stuff like that, you know. So they started greeting, you know, they long creeve the country and that tradition I stick in I was practicing grief, grieving for a country that I thought I knew but didn't know, you know. And so, going back to those poems, I hear that have done enough for priving, you know, and maybe it's time to look at other things. Okay, now I just want to talk about the next chapter of your academic pursuit. What do you intend to achieve as a mission statement, if you were, if it was such a thing like that, for, I guess, the body of work that you are working on? I would want to say that I want to first of all surply and and hopefully end the trust of people that I should discreetly want to tell their stories, because I I want to do a work that is important to people. And I I said this because I did the work in wary and I was interviewing she's from the one up palace, and about two or three people referred a book to me that, Oh, you should go and read every ways the war and the waller and the wider people, and I thought to myself, what did this color do right that years later, people could refer that? Oh, if she disagree or if you think I am lying with this book instead, and for me. That the sort of impact that I want to have. I would like to open up to two people who might have been a WHO might be on similar path that I was on, I have been on and will be on. I really want to own discipline, disciplines. I feel that if people are willing enough, open enough to to reconsider things the Readian from what do you do be previously looking at it from the should be given the opportunity. So I would be interested in working with with a lot more of historians of medicine, students of race, people who are thinking with with race, along the lines of of Eban Planet, of civilication, of residency. I really want to do something different, and by saying I want to do something different, I mean I'm not going to invent a new field, but to bring different aspects of the new league forms that you already know and to radically ask what can these parts produce? You know, any who even said that the tutor is not doesn't equate to the sum of the parts, you know, and so maybe by just putting different parts together the sum might be different. The total, I mean the total of putting all the the paths together, will be different from the parts that make up the total. Who knows? Who knows the newly forms that you produce when we take at trantic signary approach to the study of Aban Planning or architecture or medicine. You know, and medicine particularly because we've been, I've been mugnalized, we put on the margins of the histories of medicine. And so if it the riches of medicine, is is an imagined fielding in African history. But history medicine has always been there. The Ellen explorers were think about plans, they...

...were talking about healing practices. If in those who settled on the coast of Africa or of a cry here, some of them India, books like the domes Jew. I've forgotten his name, but his books did issue. He said that had you not been for his affectual concubine, he would have died. And that is a practice of medicine in nursing writing. But if we look adapt test soon in through the Lens of economic or social history or along those lines, we missed that single line that keeps us an insight into the practice of medicine on the coast of the hiven coast. I wanted to talk about something, but that even has an interesting polity. So I think it is do some politics. You are an incommand sympathizer. I wouldn't call you an incromise in it in the in the sense, but you are in command suppertizer. What do you think that increments vision for for Ganna really was, if in your perspective, and how far, I mean in the opposite direction, have become? I mean how far our way have we come from that vision? And do you think the you believe in the genuinus of that? incomolation and Grammar, I will yeah, you could be right with that designation of being a chroma sympathizer. I I I tend to look at increment in his totality. You know, I am not a believer that in Crema was a saint holy. I don't believe that he was a devil holy. I think that if he had available in the time that he was living, was really a visionary. He he could speak things, you know, he had this inside that he could I mean like, if anyone who is interested in knowledge production, you should mean that the his speech at the opening of African states, the African genius. I don't I haven't read any African scholar being so clear about Africans Christ the neologies like he did in that test. And we wasn't even practicing as a scholar then. But that is also the point. But there, there, despite his good intentions, there were Miss Steps, you know, and I'm willing to talk about what we already know. I'm talking about things like who hosting the Nazis and us, we know to be nurses, will whosted by him in a cry and even though I think that he was in a nurse, I don't think he believe in the Nazis and I think was being a Pragmatis, you know, because these people were highly skilled, and so Hannah. She used Hannah to open a flying school in a Fenia and host horses. But I think it is hoist something. He was a doctor and he had opened a hospital in Tita, you know. So the third one, Kill Maya, went on to work with food and our culture organization in Cuba and Nazi in Cuba. So there were missteps. But I think that in Krouma is definitely this is definitely complex in any ways that it's difficult. You know, I think that he and that is that is what me difficult. To assess you, you know, because I feel like you should issue periodize and Chroma in order to do a better justice to your analysis. You know, because there is this fifty seven to sisty in Chroma, who was looking more toways the worst, you know, dealing with Israel, dealing with WHO West Germany, deal with UK, and there's this post system Chroma, who was looking more towards the east deer. And so I even though he's a socialist and know, I think first and formost is a pragmatics. I think that he he made is of opportunities and what wor for him, and so in that sense, I I come from that tradition of being pragmatist and so I kind of, you know, understand him from that, but I'm not agree with all the choices that he might have made. But we are far from that imprimized ideology, you know, and...

...maybe I mean I take the couse wodemn, for example, in his integrated development plan, there was to be a modern time, there was to be every way. They were to be both side of smelting companies and all these are cousin booth testole companies and the rest image from that. But we will able to sustain that vision. Know, you know now it is is sophisticating, under the breath of Chinese, important, testus and all those things. So we are very far from, I think, what increment intended for us. But I think that maybe a different questions that we could also propose is, is that hat can we use in Chroma to think, because I don't think that increment could be as as much as as much as a missionary that he was. I don't think that increment is ideas must might stand the entire period of time of humanity. But how could we built upon these ideas that he proposed in the systems, you know, how could we use that, I think, any vis in our futures? And so I would be free me a question and ask what can include you what kin anchromized ideas? No do for US leaving in Ghanna in two thousand and twenty two, and for me it's something that we have to wrestleve it that, as much as he was a visionary, he leaved his time and this for us to also envision our own futures, you know, to think differently, maybe agree in the security and carry forward that vision. We are far off I think, from what invision intended. But, more importantly, what are we doing with ourselves? I mean, I could ask a thousand questions about different things, but not to digress too much, I would like to ask one question that maybe will be the concussion of conversation. What one piece of standing historical information do you think that it's very intriguing to you and you like to share, whether in the African, Organian particular contest? I could ask you a lot of things, but I just wanted one. Right, I would all go for a commercial sex worker who whill leave the command say he's called at a Bassie, right, and so in I can't language in me here that people are being called baciful. Right to mean commercials is works. He was organized, and organizer in the least fifty s and any sisters right in commercy. So she organized a group of women and send them to assenting the king of our sentence and said to that, to that something union at that time, that we move official of relishing from you so that, as an unite, in response, give them a patron who was almost like their life patron, the Association of Commercials Works and Wow, and she initiated for me. This the killer per you know, even know Danaan politics, right. She when the celebration movement was formed, that politic party was almost like an extension of ascertain asnlism. Right. So, even o there are certain people who were powerful in city pep started moving instead of moving, you know, to join him and them. So this woman at the point was an end supporter. But guess what mean? She did the revesor symptom to do and see people and traveled with on Chroma on some of his foreign tops. Ever, we know this only because a newspaper have shared the demonstration that she led to the ascent to uni that they needed there. It needed the patron. So for the woman leave living as boy as she did in FIF s and sists, you know, and being visible with her work, both as a commercial sis worker or assess worker and as a politician and, so to speak, playing to big sides to get whatever she wanted. I think it's an interesting that is a book that I have. Biography is something that I would die for. If I write here by your graphy and the next minute I die, that...

...will be a fulfilling adventure, because I was a very big on say a heart man, in her approach to writing, you know. So how can we use this fragment, this paragraph that appears in the archived that we more of somebody like that? How, even if you don't get any other source, how can we emission and life through that, this fragmentary evidence? You know, and for me that is why Severa have month's really powerful in the way I think also about the Archive, fragment in histories and that woman. You know that, even eventually get to write that book, I'll be like a tap see that bitch, a know in in some attention to May being on that true for such a long Dan before producing that. And indeed she was a bitch. I mean a good way, okay, I mean we're going to have another conversation with you. Sometimes talk about I can't what's more detailed, but I think this is a good conclusion for today's episode of the change of podcast. We've had the most interesting conversation across different things, from art, poetry, the personality of comblage, area of war and, on a very resounding note, of and intriguing priests of history, of a feminist, access worker and a politician as far back as the s. This has been again a trilling episode the change her podcast. My name is as a quicken in a work and I've had here with me my very good friend Combla Aya what and my co was Daniel Mercy, as ideals, and see you this time for more interesting me station, so brilliant minds and doers across the continent. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you too, Goda.

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