African alphabets and the QWERTY Keyboard problem – by Ade Sawyerr

London ©2013


I attended ‘ABC’ at Frankfurt House the James Manye Naa Afimpong’s House before we moved to the james Town Mantse’s Palace at Mantse Agbonaa.  Our teacher was called Sigismund Owoo, but we all called him Sigi, and the school was called ‘Sigi Sigi kpee ŋaa, didɛ ʃala akɛyeɔ komi’ meaning Sigi does not eat crayfish, tilapia best with kenkey, I suppose a meaningless rhyme for those of us growing up in James Town British Accra in the 1950’s.  After Sigi, I was fortunate to follow an Aunt Mrs Mary Acolatse, who lived in the palatial Adorso House opposite our house, for a brief while, to the Accra Day Nursery, which she run before I started at Accra United at Adedaikpo.

I passed my entry exam into class one with flying colours, I had a lot of practice during my pre-school years, not studying as you would think, but doing a lot of hand stretching exercises because entry to primary school was determined not by what you knew but rather by demonstrating that you could touch your ears with your hand across your head.  Of course there were several things that I also had to learn before then.

Primary school consisted of learning the alphabets and this is where the dualism started for all of us.  Whilst we had learnt the English alphabet at home to give us a head start in school, lower primary school was also about learning the Ga alphabet, 26 letters but with differences from the English alphabet as shown below.

a b d e ε f g h i j k l m n ŋ o ɔ p r s t u v w y z


Continue reading “African alphabets and the QWERTY Keyboard problem – by Ade Sawyerr”


We are not Jews or descended from Jews. We are Ga!!!

We are not Jews or descended from Jews.  We are Ga!!!  by Ade Sawyerr

London January 2013


Far too many times have I heard the myth repeated that the Ga are descended from Israel and in fact Jews.  I have always restrained myself from responding lest I trample on the sensibilities of those who want to believe in myths.

Let me state here emphatically that all the folklore of our people may have pointed to the fact that we migrated from afar but no one has been able to provide the evidence of this unfortunate myth.  I do not even know why it started, perhaps in the mind of some of our elders who felt so culturally inferior that they seek to boost their esteem by likening themselves to people who they felt were culturally successful and superior.  I sincerely think as we search for answers for our problems we need to be proud of our heritage, more importantly we need that positive make that will shake us out of our self perceived marginalisation so that we can help to build a better Ghana and Africa.

We cannot be Jews and we also cannot be descended from Israel and the earlier we wake up to that the better. Continue reading “We are not Jews or descended from Jews. We are Ga!!!”

A Ga New Year Greeting


Afi oo Afi
Afi naa akpe wɔ
Kpaanyɔ anina wɔ
Wɔ fee momoo
Wɔ ye Gbo, wɔ ye Gbiena
Alonte diŋ ko akafo wɔteŋ
Ni wɔsεε afi lε wɔ tashi neke noŋŋ
Ni wɔsεε afi le ehi eha wo fe neke
Ni nyemi afee nyemi
Ni afi aya ni ebanina wɔ ekoŋ

Tswa ni omanye abla wɔ!

…. and the imperfect English translation!

Hail to the New year
May we live to see the end of the New Year
May the eighth day meet with us
So that we are as good as new
May we celebrate the Gbo festival of September and the Gbeina festival of May
Let no black cat, a symbol of evi,l cross our paths
And let us be around to sit together in the next year
and that we may be more prosperous
Bound with sisterly and brotherly love
As the year goes round to meet us again
That when we strike may glory surround us