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W.E.B. Du Bois wrote here.

Even before Ghana gained its independence in 1957, the country's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, began pushing the idea of pan-Africanism. He believed that "the black man is capable of managing his own affairs" and sought to unite African countries under this idea. Nkrumah drew the interest of a lot of African Americans, like Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois, who sought a similar freedom for blacks in America. Nkrumah actually commissioned Du Bois to write a biography of Africa; only three volumes of the biographical encyclopedia were completed before Du Bois's death. The house Du Bois lived in is now the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Studies in Accra, which houses the original copies of The Encyclopedia Africana. It also has Du Bois's original library. The books are locked up behind cabinet doors and sadly decaying, but you can peek through the slats and catch glimpses of the titles. The museum also has a small public library of books written by blacks or related to black culture. Along with other organizations like the Ghana Association of Writers, the museum seeks to promote literary culture--especially books written by Africans and other blacks.

Accra's bookstores range from street kiosks to westernized stores in shopping malls. EPP is one of the largest in the city, with two locations in Accra and chains in other major cities around Ghana. But many booksellers operate out of small kiosks that seem to have no organizational rhyme or reason. The books on these shelves often have an aged look about them, even if they aren't used. Other booksellers roam the streets and hang around bus stations, hawking their latest acquisitions. As a result, rather than looking for a particular author or book title in Accra, you're often better off going in blind and walking out with a surprise.

Literature is also available at festivals and on the radio. A literary revival has been underway in Accra because of groups like the Du Bois Memorial Centre and the Ghana Association of Writers, who host regular book talks and annual festivals. And every Sunday evening, the Writers Project of Ghana hosts a radio program that features readings and discussions by local writers.

Reading List

This Earth, My Brother

By Kofi Awoonor

Between Sisters

by Adwoa Badoe

Tales from Different Tails

by Nana Awere Damoah

Tail of the Blue Bird

by Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Ghana Must Go

by Taiye Selasi

The Kaya-Girl

by Mamle Wolo

A former WLT intern, Bunmi Ishola now teaches sixth-grade social studies in Houston, Texas. This Earth, My Brother by Kofi Awoonor

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Title Annotation:CITY PROFILE
Author:Ishola, Bunmi
Publication:World Literature Today
Geographic Code:6GHAN
Date:Nov 1, 2013
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