Interview with Poetra Ama Asantewaa

Poetra (a name culled from poetry) Ama Asantewaa belongs to a a class of emerging poets whose style little has been documented of in academic circles, yet pervades the impressive literary scene in Accra specifically, and Ghana in general. She is known for her straight-language and “in-your-face” social commentary that so forms the basis of her poetry.

In the past few months, Ama Asantewaa has been working on her fashion line called Alikoto Clothing, which in part tosses the bow-tie on top of indigenous Ghanaian fabric, creating an urban design that is both very Ghanaian and exotic at once.

alikoto white

When we received an email from her concerning her latest project, Jill of All Trade, from 1 – 12 July 2013, we thought we might as well broaden the scope and catch up with the fiercely charming  poet.

Creative Writing Ghana: Let’s start off with a summary of what you have been up to recently on the literary scene in Ghana

Poetra Ama Asantewaa: In summary, I’ve been underground. Not so much in the light of the media. I led a poetry workshop that was organized by Inside the Moskito Net in the foreign language department of the University of Ghana, performed at a few poetry events, and currently working on two scripts

CWG: When did you start Alikoto? We know it is a clothing line, why did you do it?

PAA: Alikoto started 2 years ago. My mother has been sewing for over 40 years, everything I know, I learnt from her. I was always sketching designs, threading needles and sewing shoddy versions of my sketches around the house. So it came as no surprise when I started a clothing line of my own.

CWG: We know you as a poet. We also know that many poets in Ghana indulge in other day jobs. But clothing/fashion? Really unheard of. Any comments?

PAA: My official day job is as a Networks and Systems Admin. I juggle that with poetry and fashion. I get less sleep and rest, but each of them is like babies, I can’t starve any of them. The satisfaction they each bring me is worthwhile.

CWG: This event that is coming up, what are the details?

PAA: Jill of All Trades is the name of the event, inspired by the current bowtie collection (which is also called Jill Of All Trades).  It is an event to celebrate women who are challenging the status quo and doing more than one activity (their individual interests) and doing each of them successfully. The event will run online and on a tv screen near you in ten days; with each day revealing a Jill Of All Trade, their journey, challenges and triumphs. There will be a networking event on the 20th of July at Taverna Tropicana to bring together people from all professions, to interact, network, share ideas and enjoy some music and poetry

CWG: You say it is for women doing more than one job/activity and doing each successfully; you are talking about yourself right and others like you?

PAA: Yes. More about others like me, than myself.

CWG: Should the men come? We know many men who run more than a single job and do it successfully.

PAA: Yes! Yes! The men are invited! Come in your numbers. We’re celebrating the women for now, but your time will come J

CWG: Any poetry event planned for the year?

There will be poetry and music on the 20th! There will also be a major event in the latter part of the year, details will be communicated once planning is fully done.

NB: entry to the networking event is by ticket, call 0269138921 for yours.



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