Lucile Davis. Ghana. Mankato, MN: Bridgestone Books, 1999. 24 pp. $14.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-516-21351-4.
Reviewed by Kwasi Sarkodie-Mensah (O'Neill Library, Boston College)
Published on H-AfrTeach (March, 2000)
The book begins with some fast facts about Ghana: the capital, population, official language, religion, size, products, and major crops. It goes on to describe the flag, the significance of the various colors, and the currency.
The rest of the book is divided as follows: The Land of Ghana, Life at Home, Going to School, Ghanaian Food, Clothing in Ghana, Animals in Ghana, Sports and Games, Holidays and Celebrations. It also includes a hands-on activity on playing Big Snake, a game in Ghana. Nine Twi words and their pronunciations, four words to know, the addresses of the Ghana embassies in Washington and Ottawa, and two web addresses conclude the book.
Davis exposes the reader to a vast array of topics on Ghana: the geographical composition of the land, village and city lives, educational system, and various subjects learned in school, as well as the conditions of schools. Other areas covered are various Ghanaian foods, cloths in Ghana, including Kente cloths and weavers, various animals found in the savannas and other areas of Ghana, the popularity of soccer, and the Oware game (a favorite Ghanaian pastime), independence and other traditional celebrations. Astoundingly beautiful photographs accompany the narration, making each page a pleasure to read and look at. The Twi pronunciation guide at the end of the book is another added merit to the book
In spite of the usefulness of this book, it suffers from many flaws. A few examples. Davis states that Ghanaians make fufu by mixing yams, plantains, and cassava roots. It is confusing in the sense that these three food items are not mixed. It is usual to use only one or two of these items, rather than three or more. The author further mentions that Ghanaians may eat fufu with stew. As a matter of fact, Ghanaians eat fufu with soup. Stew and soup are very different. The author goes on to say that Ghanaians make most "ntamas" (cloths) out of kente. Cloths in Ghana are mostly made of other types of materials than kente.
Furthermore "ntama" rather than "ntamas" is the correct plural of the word. The indexing of the book is also very sporadic. For example, "durbars", very majestic Ghanaian celebrations, is not indexed. English mentioned on pages 4 and 11 is indexed as appearing on page 11 only. Of the cities mentioned in the text, only Accra appears in the index.
In spite of the major deficiencies of this book, elementary schools, school and public libraries will find Davis' contribution a useful addition.
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Kwasi Sarkodie-Mensah. Review of Davis, Lucile, Ghana.
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