For most once upon a times, the story of Kwaku Ananse, my husband, has been told too many upon that time and in countless forms. Ananse, quite the popular lad, has been featured in many stories and forms around the world. In Europe, he was nicknamed Dolus, Hermes (yes your belt) and Loki just to mention a few. He was even worshipped as a god by some. Through all this hype (as I choose to call it), these ungrateful storytellers have refused to tell the story of Ananse’s wife. Me! And it hurts! The birth of Eti Kenlenkele, a world wonder considering the size of his head, didn’t even get me into the folklore circles not to talk about making a movie of how a brave woman birthed a kid with the biggest head in the world.
All is however not lost. I have enlisted the help of my friend, the writer, to enable me immortalize the Sister Ama story. I have come to the realization (took me almost a century) that I do not need to wait on some drunk to tell my story orally. Call it taking matters into my own hands. Finally I shall also enjoy the spotlight. Well… every story demands a proper introduction. I go by Okonori Yaa in most of the Ananse stories out there but that’s just my stage name. My real name is Ama Ananse or Sister Ama for short. I reckon it didn’t matter to most considering I always spend less than 5 minutes in these folktales. Being treated unfairly should be something one shouldn’t juggle lightly. Unfortunately the Folktales and Imaginary Characters Guild has been defunct for decades now, therefore characters like mine are constantly being thrown under the bus. I visited the dwarfs of Snow White recently and I must say I was disheartened by their current conditions.
I have three kids: Naa Kohwia (my first and only daughter), Eti Kelenkele (my second child and son. His head, as the name suggests, looks like he carries the world but sadly, not its wisdom) and last but not least Efu Dihwidihwi (The last born. A spoilt brat and my husband’s favorite; partly because they both share a protruding stomach).
I have been 25 years for a long time now. Like I said I am an actress and have featured in a number of folktales and stories such as Ananse and the dog, Ananse and the pot of wisdom, Ananse goes to London etc. I am still awaiting my Oscar seeing as being a supporting actress doesn’t come easy with the three Ananse kids – those rascals. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the ultimate rascal, Kwaku Ananse. It’s been a roller coaster but the Maker being so good, we are still kicking it together.
Things I like… things I like… hmmmmmm! What do I even like? Well fufu and nkrakra is a staple in this household so that is certainly a favorite .Sometimes I feel like I forced this “favorite” on the family. It’s not like they have a choice. I like beautiful things: gold, diamonds, and things my husband steals, new clothes and shoes, Paa Joe the handsome son of Mr. Amos Quito, basically everything you women out there would love.
Over the centuries we’ve moved around a lot: from Greece to South America to Nigeria as pointed out earlier. And in all these locations, my husband has been the focal point and he has been given a different name by the people we have encountered at each point. I remember in Nigeria, Ananse hated his name. I mean what is Eshu? But, it serves him right after what he did to me in their country (that’s another story for another day). We currently live in suburbia Ghana and I must say, since we moved here some I-am-not-disclosing-how-many years ago, it’s been interesting. At least the Ghanaian people were kind enough to give my ultimate rascal an exotic name befitting his laurels. Business for my husband hasn’t been booming as much but somehow, we are trying to hold our own.
The business of trickery is quite a delicate one and the story tellers of Ghana don’t make it any easier for us to flourish. Limiting my role in these stories firstly is a problem. I mean how you can skip all this greatness (twirls) baffles me. Then there is the issue of these story tellers acting holier than thou by adding lessons to be learnt in the stories for these lost kids. From where I stand, if these kids want to be lost leave them be, don’t come spoiling someone’s source of income; especially if u are always high on local gin and pito while narrating a story you know nothing of. I certainly will not take you seriously if I were those kids.
What I plan to do with the help of this writer friend of mine is to tell you my side of the story. Tell you the true Ananse story. Not one told by drunk old men and women sitting by the fire side in some village with no form of formal education (how degrading). But that told by the beautiful and ever radiant Sister Ama through an educated, somewhat desperate, writer.
In my next rant, my story would be based on how and why my husband really spread wisdom across the world from the pot he stole from the Creator. Hint: There was a Gucci bag involved.
Enjoy your day people and respect your elders. Happy Holidays… Kisses!!!
A concerned and still fabulous Mrs Ama Ananse.