Talented Ghanaian rapper popularly known as M.anifest held a very interesting interview with his grandfather on BBC Africa on Monday, January 9, 2017.
M.anifest’s grandfather, J. H. Kwabena Nketia is a 95-year-old Professor of Music Emeritus of the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. This gives us a hint on the reason behind Okraku-Mantey’s counsel to M.anifest over his beef with Sarkodie.
Playing at the background was Manifest’s song ‘Invincible’ from his album, Nowherecool. There are speculations that the track will be another song from the album to win another International Song Writing Competition Award.
The discussion bordered majorly on the difference between Ghana of the colonial period and Ghana of today.
Listen to the audio of the interview here [it starts at the 18th minute]. Also read the excerpts below:
Mr. Grandpa, I think my first biggest question was. What do you see as the biggest difference between Ghana back then and Ghana back now?
“Well, first the independence period as an exciting period because we were beginning really to accept ourselves as Africans and so forth and so on—trying to be on our own when we became conscious of the fact that we were colonial. For me it was an interesting period because we had a few revolutionary people like the musician Amu who suddenly discovered his culture and wanted to wear African clothing and teach African kind of music and so forth.” – Grandpa
For people who don’t know I guess we can explain Ephraim Amu as a pioneer in the study of African music and Ghanaian music.
“Yes, he was a pioneer…he was a musician who wanted to follow his own culture and wanted to perform African music, teach African music and so forth. He was the first to become conscious of the fact that colonial era was making us despise our own culture.
“Certainly, many cultures borrow. There was a scientist who said that “all cultures borrow.” What is important is how you use what you borrow.” – Grandpa
Judging from what I here from you, there were conscious efforts made very early in the beginnings of Ghana by… yourself to find a careful balance between the things that we learn from the western world and being able to create new traditons and combining the two and it is a difficult thing to do nowadays in Ghana—We are very exposed but I think I have greater resolve to maybe seek more from tradition and to seek more from an authentic Ghanaian way of being.
“Anytime you move out of your culture to another culture and to other cultures you a’re collecting all kinds of ideas that you are able to bring into your own composition. The foundation is in your culture. That is what supports you.” – Grandpa
Okay Grandpa, one final question. Do you like my music?
“Yes, yes, yes. Well, I am learning something from your way of…you know the kind of emphasis you bring into your thing. “Creativity is not just a one shot thing you know. It is a continuous thing and life’s experience will shape whatever you are doing in terms of a creative result emerging from it.” – Grandpa
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