Vida was born on July 19th, 1978 in a small farming community in the Volta Region. She has three sisters and one brother. She is currently living and working in Accra. She enjoys music and dancing as much as she does writing.
Vida is OGOV's head of Ghanaian Promotions.
Five Questions with Vida Ayitah:
1. More than any poet on this site, you seem to be a poet of witness - you look to tell the stories of the people of Ghana, especially those whose voices are least often heard. Is this an intentional focus of your writing?
When I see people doing what they do for a living I sometimes stop to watch their faces. The thing is, the people themselves are telling their stories by the look they wear. I feel that no man’s story must ever go untold. After all, the laborers who work on our roads, on our farms, and on our houses are the ones building this nation. They, with their strength and sweat, are the ones the world needs to know about. Their silent voices are begging to be heard and recognized; therefore we should stop and listen. You cannot know any nation; its past and achievements, without first knowing the people who make all that possible.
2. Similar to the last question, do you usually have politically driven motives for your poems, or do the political overtones emerge simply by exploring people and their stories?
No political motives at all. As I tell people, I would do anything to avoid a political discussion; I even try not to entertain such thoughts. Funny enough, such overtones just sneak their ways into the poems. As I see it, one can’t really avoid such confrontations. Every single move that we make in this country, as with other people in other countries, is determined and directed by our politicians and their policies. It is interesting to note how the lives and behavior of people, even the most ordinary, are subject to change (improvement or deterioration), by global policies.
3. The comparison of the workers who don't "say a thing" with the foreign company that depends on the workers in order to speak (through the telephone connection they are constructing) is striking. What made you think of this image? What were you hoping for readers to take away from it?
It is like the chain of input to production, to growth to sustainability. The common laborer who goes un-noticed is in fact the one who makes it possible for these foreigners to carry out their businesses. A person may not wear a suit in the office and act important, but this shouldn’t make him least in the society in which he lives. Everyone ought to be recognized and applauded for their contribution to the state, little as it may seem. No economy will survive, let alone thrive, without the common people who work in all the little places we ignore.
4. What role do you think foreign investment should play in the Ghanaian economy?
At the moment we are seeing some improvement from these foreign investors. Jobs are being created in factories and construction places. The youth are being employed. However, the image and respect of the Ghanaian ought to be upheld. Our laws and regulations should be recognized and the people that are employed in these work places ought to be treated with fairness. It is true that we need these foreigners and the jobs they bring, but we are not selling our country to them. Ghana still belongs to the Ghanaians.
5. You recently joined the OGOV team, and are helping to lead our promotions in Ghana. How has that been going for you, and what help could you use from interested readers?
Yes, I’ve been on the OGOV team for a little while now. It was, in the beginning, quite overwhelming to be taken on for the post, but just as the art itself, the prospect is exciting.
To the people who visit the OGOV site and those who see our posters in town or read about it in newspapers, I hope they can encourage their friends and families to have more interest in poetry, and reading in general. A lot of kids out there have talent for the art, but they need the guidance and encouragement from the adults around them.
If we really want to make Ghana a reading nation, it ought to start with the adults who are in charge of the little ones. We need to be open and embrace whatever talents we have without fear or rebuke from anyone.
And please, keep visiting us.
Vida's Past Profiles:
December 8th - 14th, 2007
May 12th - 18th, 2007
March 31st-April 6th, 2007