Father's Day in trouble - Occasional Kwatriot Kwesi Yankah writes
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Father's Day in trouble - Occasional Kwatriot Kwesi Yankah writes

Last Sunday, Father’s Day, I had a special dialogue with friends and followers at the Coltrane Jazz Club, where I read excerpts on fatherhood, from my memoirs, The Pen at Risk. Before my readings, I gave a Father’s Day version of ‘Fellow Ghanaians,’ which I reproduce here for all. ‘Let me welcome you all to this special Father’s Day dialogue.

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This is the day Mummy has made to pamper Daddy. So to everybody here, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day.

But allow me to make a few worrying observations about this day. How come we had to do extra publicity, and buy extra space to announce this special occasion: ringing a bell, and beating drums throughout the social media to remind everybody, Breaking News: Today is Father’s day ooo! It was clearly not the same with mothers last month, was it?

And how come on this auspicious occasion of Father’s Day, all Chinese Restaurants have been closed for fumigation? As for Gift shops, owners and attendants have all left for a funeral or thanksgiving service; and Ghana has even decided that should Ghanaians be asked to choose one auspicious day for Dumsor, it should be Father’s Day. I wonder why. You may also have observed that since morning, Father’s Day well wishes you and I have received are only from colleague Fathers, who have had mercy upon one another knowing how lonely the world can be.

But let me not discriminate against Mothers.

The world has come a long way, from Tro Tro vehicle inscriptions in the 1980s such as ‘Girls are bad Boys are Good;’ ‘Fear Woman and Play with Snake.’

By the way, how do men refer to their wives at home? Happily, it is not as rude as ‘Hey my wife!,’ and she responds, ‘Yees, Me kunu.’ Indeed the world is kinder than that, and we use terms of endearment even if unwillingly. Most of the time she calls us ‘Daddy,’ isn’t it?

Fortunately, she does not say: ‘Roman Father, can you give me chop money today!’ But I have colleagues whose husbands refer to them by their first name: So then Father says, ‘Aggie’ and she responds ‘Yes Daddy.’

This means we have arrogated to ourselves the right to call wives by their first name, but expect them to respond nicely with ‘Yees Daddy.’ The situation got tricky when this 45 year-old man married his former student of 20. 

She was Jennifer. When they started living together, it took a while for the poor girl to adjust to the new situation, and use appropriate terms of endearment. In the first week, Man would call wife: Jennifer!!, No response, apparently unsure of the most appropriate reply.

When the man yelled louder, ‘Jennifer….,’. Jennifer’s response to her husband was ‘Sirrr.’ That was probably for the attention of Director General GES. But the most extreme case was my friend Kofi, who yells his wife’s name, ‘Dina, Dinaaaa’ and Dina responds from afar, ‘Yeeees Governor!’, that was perhaps the only way to signal who was in charge.

But who is really in charge, when between Father and Mother, one of them is Mother, who is nurse, counsellor, teacher, homework support, nutritionist, kitchen activist, family rep at PTA, manager--- all rolled into one. But let me not forget Mummy’s biggest job of all: taking good care of you, washing your ‘pampers’ and all if you are called Daddy.

Having said this, consider how cacophonous, that famous song would have sounded if it was entitled ‘Sweet Father,’ or ‘Sweet Grandpa!’

And men, please if there are pets in your household particularly wild dogs, watch out. On the family’s return home from shopping, you may observe your dogs wagging their tails, warmly fussing over Mummy, and pretending not to have seen the Daddy of the House.

Colleague Fathers, ‘forewarned is to be forearmed.’ In the event of armed robbery, don’t expect your howling dogs to rush and protect you first because you are King. 

Your dogs’ priority will be the hand that feeds them; it’s the feeding hand dogs protect, and make sure they do not bite. As for the hand that provided the chop money, each one for himself and God for us all.

Fellow fathers, to avoid security risks, let’s take on the responsibility of feeding the wild dogs every now and then, but we should never trust them, but still watch our fingers! Try all the same or else, barking dogs may conspire with intruders and wreak vengeance one day.

But in all this, let women have mercy on us, and not be tempted to abandon the kitchen, leaving the evening’s dinner to us in the name of ‘Today is Mother’s Day I will not cook.’ The consequences that day may amount to Daddy’s intervention in the kitchen, and Mother’s Day may produce runny stomachs.

For many fathers the closest to cooking they have ever done is gari soakings in secondary school, which they may be compelled to volunteer for the family any time Mummy is indisposed.

Happy Father’s Day to u all.

But you may ask why I chose the Coltrane Jazz Club to have this Father’s day Dialogue?

It is because the bar man is a celebrated Father, and indeed the most grassroots celebrity ever. He is a fellow Viking, by which I refer to past students of clearly the best hall of residence in the world: Mensah Sarbah Hall. Yet if you should look in the register of Sarbah past students, you may be disappointed you did not find his name.

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In the whole wide world, there is only one ‘Tom Sawyer of Africa,’ named after the original fiction character, created by Mark Twain. If anybody asked you those days, to look for a Legon student called Nana Amo Adade Boamah I, it would be a wild goose chase. If, on the other hand, you were looking for one Tom Sawyer, even rodents of Sarbah Hall would lead you to Room 401 of the Okponglo Republic. 

But beside playful mischief and boyish pranks, Tom is a great personality you would love to meet anywhere, particularly at this Club House.

He is a Humphrey Fellow; and has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, plus a Master’s degree in International Trade. He was once the CEO of Ghana National Procurement Agency.

He has been MD of Cocoa Merchants Ghana, and even once contested for a seat as board member of the World Cocoa Foundation. 

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With all these credentials, Tom in his retirement is an executive Barman and owner of the Coltrane Jazz Club, Adenta. As for his official name and title, Nana Amo Adade-Boamah I, let me lament for the records, that he is perhaps the only Nana who has not invited anyone to an Akwasidae in the past 50 years.

But on this special day, let me declare Nana Amo Adade-Boama I, ‘Tom Sawyer’ as my chosen ‘Father of the Year 2024.’

A Happy Father’s Day to everybody!

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