Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2009

Interview with Ayesha Harruna Attah - Author of "Harmattan Rain"

*This interview was conducted and transcribed by Jemila Abdulai (Perspectives Editor, The Mount Holyoke News.)

She might as well be the youngest MountHolyoke alumna to write and publish her first novel in nine months, but from the creativity, attention to detail and high caliber of writing in Harmattan Rain, she could easily pass for a connoisseur.Ayesha Harruna Attah was born in Accra, Ghana, graduated from MountHolyoke in 2005 with a major in biochemistry, and thereafter pursued a masters degree in journalism at ColumbiaUniversity. In the warm confines of the Buckland living room, Ayesha recounts her memories of the comforting whistling sounds of Buckland’s radiators, and how what began as a few thoughts scribbled on a page came to be an entire book detailing the lives of three generations of women in Ghana.

Mount Holyoke News: How did you get into writing?
Ayesha Harruna Attah: It’s something that I always did in primary school in Ghana. I took part in writing competitions and at home…

Family & Friends (Mash Writes...)

Dear Diary,
I was going through the family album a few hours ago and I realized that there ain’t nothing like family. It’s a fact I just have to admit. Family supersedes everything; even friends. Let me put it this way, your family could be your friends but your friends could never be family. At least not strictly in the sense of the word. Through good times and bad, your fam’s behind you 100 percent, giving you moral support, telling you to remain strong no matter what. And even though the support they give to you isn’t always obvious, it’s there.
However, there are a few people in the fam who don’t care about the wellbeing about the other members of the family. Hey, we’re all human you know. Some of them don’t wanna do nothing for themselves. Let’s call them gold diggers. They got that rich uncle so they feel like they don’t have to move a muscle. These guys give family a bad name. Believe me it’s true; I’m talking from personal experience here. I don’t let that get to…

Family & Friends (Afi Writes...)

Dear Diary,Today started out bad, and went downhill from there. I literally woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Snoopy apparently decided sometime last night that my slippers were the best place to dump the remains of the hot dog I fed him. I trustingly slipped my feet into my cute Mickey Mouse twins… oh, eww! Utterly disgusting! I can hear the squish my feet made, right before the smell hit me.
As if my morning was not bad enough, Daddy decided to go and slip on Asante’s dumb old truck and twisted his ankle. Meaning, no tennis for Daddy this Saturday morning. Meaning, because Daddy has to stay at home, everyone else has too.
I would rather listen to a scratched Marylin Manson CD than stay home with a sick Daddy, any day! Not even the whole packet of ear plugs I practically stuffed into my ears could block out the constant moaning! Every one could tell he was exaggerating the pain a whole lot. His moaning set the usually good Tanika off... the last thing any…

Family & Friends (Bolade Writes...)

Dear Diary,
Friends. I’m sure just about everyone has friends but true friends are very rare. Yeah we all got the type of friends whom we can talk to about the latest songs, fashion and other related stuff. But how many of them show their face when you got a problem? How many of them bother to call you when you’re feeling too down? Well, that’s one class of friends.
The other set of friends are those who only come through when its time to chill. Ask them to help you with an errand or two and they busy themselves or ain’t feeling well. Invite them to a party and you can bet that they’ll show up with their latest designer clothes and ice. We all enjoy the company of the “boys boys” and “girls girls” but they are never really around when you need them. The closest they ever come to caring is by pretending. Like when they meet you someplace and go like, “charley I hear say u dey sick, abi u make better now?”. The best reply you can give em is “yeah, but with no thanks to you…

Family & Friends (Tungtaeya Writes...)

Dear Diary,
I got you just today, and it must be a coincidence (or it’s just destiny) but I’ve got this issue that I just have to put down…umm, how should I say (write) this?
Okay, you know my favorite friend Shola right? Well, she left Ghana and she didn’t even tell me! I thought we were best friends!! Yea, I know what you’re gonna say; the essential thing is that that statement is past tense right? Sure, we kinda drifted apart during the final months of school, but c’mon, she could have at least dropped a hint! And what’s worse is the fact that she asked Adjo to tell me…She knows I totally detest Adjo! It’s really unbelievable. I guess I didn’t know her as much as I thought I did.
All the same, I can’t help feeling lonely (yea, me going all sentimental is weird, I know) and sad. We shared some of the greatest times together. Laughing Out Loud…like that time when we decided to experiment with our chop box food in school and ended up eating nkate boga with pepper sauce and kenkey…that …

Introducing: The '16' Journal Series

Okay, so writing is one thing that I adore (evidemment). But at different points in my life, it has meant different things. At one point in time, it was for anger management. Yes anger management. This was especially the case when I was in junior high (JSS) and one of my classmates or another would annoy me. You know how adolescents are: They're already confused and their homonal imblanaces go and confuse them some more. Anyway, when someone tried to anger or annoy me, I would just pick up a pen/pencil and scribble away. And it worked wonders many times.
Eventually, I started compiling all those "Calm yourself down" notes to myself and thought about how difficult being a teenager or adolescent is. Thus came another era in my experience as a writer. I wanted to do something that was beneficial not only to myself, but most likely to other young people who were undoubtedly going through similar issues as myself. I got that opportunity when I worked as an Administrative Assi…

Being Strong

What is this I hear about being strong
‘You’re strong, you can handle it’ they say
And for a split second they have me believing the same
But in each agonizing moment that passes by, it all seems to be a cruel game
And with tear drops sashaying down cheeks once risen with smiles
You cannot help but wonder about the depth of all those lies
And each time the awareness of helplessness does throng
I ponder what they really mean by me being strong

Ironic it is that they should choose to use a title as such
In the moments when the exact opposite is what rules as sane and rings as true
With the passing of days of gloom and the culmination of nights a-blue
There’s naught left to do but relinquish all that is to the Power anew
And then…it is in that cry of distress, or that sigh of immense fatigue
Or those periods of life when the words ‘hopelessness’ and ‘failure’ seem to form a league
Then, I understand the semantics behind the words they spoke before

For being strong has less to do with gleaming muscles …


Chais pas pourquoi, I don’t know whyBut there’s this feeling of anticipation Right in the center of my chest It rushes up through my wind pipes And floods my eyes with tears I can’t quite put a finger on it But it feels like something is happening Or rather, something big is about to happen
Chais pas pourquoi, I don’t know why  But there’s this feeling of change Almost as though I can feel the earth spin on its axis There’s the impression, but no direct movement There’s a different aura in the air I wonder what it might be, this thing that’s happening Or maybe. Just maybe... ...Of course, I’m hallucinating again.

Tribute to Angel Wainaina

Angela Wainaina(center) was an exceptional and beautiful person, both inside and out. To some she was a sister, a daughter and a friend. To others, she was that voice on the radio who represented their struggles and talked about the issues that others avoided. To many of the participants at the 2008 Young Women's Knowledge & Leadership Institute, she was all that and more; she was one of us. An activist. Angel was always ready to help out, or just hang out after a strenuous day of talking about human rights, economic issues, sexual reproductive health etc. She was someone who spoke freely about what she believed in, but who also respected others' opinions. 

I have two vivid images of her in mind. One where she was in full Kenyan traditional garb, during our YOWLI conference, and the other when we were at a beach in Dakar. Beautiful and free-spirited. Its hard to imagine that someone as full of life as herself should be gone so quickly. Many YOWLIs connected with her on diff…