Wofa Adwo, The Man of the House - Nana Agyemang Ofosu

Wofa Adwo, the man of the house
Wofa Adwo ei
Nipa eregye den
Wofa Adwo the man of the house
Indeed I am

Surrounded by children of no mean ages
He still lives in the dark ages
Of filth, treachery and food shortages
No plan to manage his family
But he is able to afford wine made of barley
Oh poor them
Mobutu the eldest left home
When he found his rhythm
The father had no idea of him
But he muddled through to a foreign land
Years and little was heard of him
Senghor the youngest has started school
But he walks a mile every day
He is tired, but his desire eggs him on
He is sad when he returns home
To no food, no electricity
And another mile to fetch water

Wofa Adwo ei
Nipa eregye den
Wofa Adwo the man of the house
Indeed I am

There is a gloomy shade of horror for the mother
She is at the mercy of slaps and beatings
When she demands money for upkeep of the home
The home is starving but Adwo is partying with friends
Wofa Adwo ei

"Man no be firewood" he says
"I will soon vaporize like camphor
So let me have a good time"
His character due him three of his sons dead
But he cares less
He knows he can marry and bring forth again
The woe of his famiy is no worry
When he is belly full behind closed doors
He walks in flashy shoes and clothes
But his house is wailing
Oh Wofa Adwo
Why this, why bring chaos to your home

Wofa Adwo ei
Nipa eregye den
Wofa Adwo the man of the house
Indeed I am

By virtue of his position as the Abusuapanin
He visits the shrine and consults the oracles
Even here he has stolen the drinks of the spirits
No wonder his six remaining sons
Gang to kill him
And take over his possessions
But he survives with no knowledge
Of the attempt made to terminate his life
Wofa Adwo, in his gluttonous element
Sank into the valley of his family's anger
When he stole the artifacts of the family -
He walks now with nothing
The new Abusuapanin, Peter Dafa
Has said he will inspect
And will take back all the lost family possessions.


OneGhanaOneVoice said...

NOTE: This poem was initially published with an error: it was missing the final two lines. This was our error, not the author's, and we apologize for it.

If you read the poem prior to the posting of this comment, please re-read it!

Darko Antwi said...

Through a compass of wits and artistry, Nana Agyemang Ofosu has mocked the 'gluttonous element' of some leaders in our socio-political setting.

Ofosu's 'Wofa Adwo, The Man of the House' is as extravagant as 'The Phoenix', and as revolutional as 'For my Husband, an Educated Fool' - written by George and Nana Yeboaa respectively.

As a lover of African languages, I would like to congratulate Nana for using his prerogative to combine the less known Akan and the almighty English.

In some cases where writers have made similar attempt, the subordionate language has been seen as a bubble wrap over the dorminat English - unless it is guided by footnotes or there's a proper integration.

When a writer fails to apply any of the rules, it's very likely that readers would throw away the wrap - and make use of the main item in the package: English. And as a result, some parts of speech are evicted.

Without any attempt to discredit Nana, I will say that the intended comic purpose of the refrain would not be realised by a large group of his readers, unfortunately.

To avoid littering and waste, , Prince Mensah - in his poem 'Keta Stories' - went to the height of providing footnotes for some keywords of the Ewe he engrafted. Anyway, the bulk of Akan used in this poem requires an entire stanza translation, a right reserved for the writer - but in agreement with his publisher - and to the benefit of readers, let's not forget.

Where there's no translation, we can still (through a certain 'mental strain') evaluate Nana's verse with what I will term Taylors Yardstick. In using Taylor's superlative method ("say it more clearly"), we would be able to measure or assess the nature of Nana's speech by rating clarity over simplicity, quantity and the defeciencies he presents.