Some of the questions I was asked when I said I was travelling to Gyakiti on Saturday, July 30, 2022 were: Where do you say you are going? Gya… what? Do you mean Jejeti? Is it in the Western Region? And, do you mean Ekiti in Nigeria?
Many people I spoke with before and after my trip had never heard of Gyakiti as a town in Ghana. Indeed, when we got to Akosombo and I told my driver we still had about 30 kilometres to cover in one hour on a bad road, he was surprised.
In spite of all I told him before we set off, he took Gyakiti for a suburb of Akosombo, like Teshie/La are to Accra.
So, where is Gyakiti, and what took Accra to Gyakiti over the last weekend of July 2022?
Gyakiti aka Akwamu-Gyakiti is a peninsular village/small town about thirty kilometres north of Akosombo in the Eastern Region.
It is surrounded to the north, east and west by the Volta Lake. Access to it therefore is only from the south from Akosombo meandering around the lake.
In a June 2020, Citi FM You-Tube clip titled “Gyakiti Chief appeals for completion of stalled roads,” the chief made a passionate appeal for the completion of the only road linking Gyakiti to the country.
Unfortunately, as we say in the military, “Situation, no change,” as I saw it myself! The road remains bad and dusty!
Incidentally, the town before Gyakiti is Akwamu-Adumasa, hometown of Nana Ansah Kwao IV of Joy FM, where he is the Chief.
Gyakiti is one of six Area Councils that constitute the Asuogyaman District Assembly. The six are Anum, Boso, Frankadua/Apeguso, Atimpoku, Gyakiti and Akosombo.
Interestingly, while Atimpoku, Akosombo and Gyakiti are on the west of the Volta River, one has to cross the Adomi Bridge to get to Anum, Boso and Frankadua/Apegusu to the east of the Volta River.
So, what took me and indeed a whole host of Ghanaians to Gyakiti on Saturday, July 30, 2022?
It was the funeral of Mrs Ofosua “A’fio” Mamphey, mother of Air Cdre Kwame Mamphey (Rtd) and his siblings that took Accra to Gyakiti.
A retired Air Force pilot, Air Cdre Mamphey has served as the Director-General, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, and also as Ghana’s representative at the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Montreal, Canada.
Not surprisingly, Ghana’s Aviation industry was heavily represented.
Led by the Chief of Air Staff (Air-Force-Commander) AVM Frank Hanson, former Chiefs of Air Staff were all there, as well as retired senior military officers. Retired Airline Captain Paul Forjoe led the civilian aviation group.
The Garrison-Methodist Presbyterian Church (GMPC), Burma Camp, where Air Cdre Mamphey worships, had a big delegation led by the Director, Religious Affairs (Chaplain-General) of the Ghana Armed Forces, Cdre Paul Adjei-Djan.
When my generation aged “70-plus-or-minus-five” was young, we never understood why our parents spent most weekends attending funerals. They patiently told us, we would understand them when we got to their age.
With poetic justice operating, our children the younger generation, do not understand why funerals should dominate our lives so much!
In my January 2017 article titled Bring back History and Civics, I concluded by saying, “Ghana Education Service, please rescue Ghana from ignorance and deliberate distortion of facts.”
Going to Gyakiti convinces me the more that in addition to calling for the return of History and Civics, Geography must also come back!
Akwamu-Gyakiti is part of Ghana’s ancient Akwamu kingdom with its capital at Akwamufie, with a rich history Ghanaians must know about, among many more!
The fact that many people I spoke to before and after my trip had never heard of Gyakiti reinforces my conviction about Geography. In secondary school, Geography ensured we did not only know about Ghana, but about the Canadian prairies, the Argentine pampas and the Russian/Ukrainian steppes etc.
In our current situation where secondary education discussions emphasising STEM, swing between two-and-half years and four years, bright young students arrive in the university deficient in basic general knowledge, taken for granted in the past.
As Dr Samuel Johnson, credited with writing the first English dictionary in 1755 said: “The supreme end of Education is expert discernment in all things….” not only in some things. For education to be effective, it must be holistic!
Finally, the only road to Gyakiti needs to be fixed urgently. This is fertile agricultural land on the banks of the Volta Lake where lots of cassava, plantains, yams/cocoyams etc are produced only to rot because of inaccessibility.
As the woman continued packing the twenty-cedis corn I had asked for into my pickup, my driver at a stage told her “Madam, it’s enough!” And yet, my favourite fresh corn sells for two cedis in Accra.
The potential for fishing from the lake cannot be overemphasised.
My driver summarised the trip saying, “Sir, going to Gyakiti has been good education for me! Now, I know that beyond Akosombo, there are towns such as Ajena, Adumasa and Gyakiti!”
Leadership, lead! Fellow Ghanaians, wake up!
The writer is former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association, Nairobi, Kenya & Council Chairman, Family Health University College, Accra.