I don’t know if “jealous” is the right word to describe how I feel about my friend Amma Bonsu’s most recent undertaking. Perhaps “dreadfully sick with envy” is a more apt depiction.
Amma is my ‘junior sister’ from secondary school. In 1991 she was a spritely fashion forward girl, tiny even by Ghanaian standards. In fact, the only things that were big about her were her chubby cheeks and her smile. In 2011, nothing much has changed. She’s still fashion forward, civic minded, and apparently, really (really) adventurous.
A few months ago, Amma did what I have always wanted to do: Abandon everything and go see the world. She dropped everything and put her tiny bold self on a plane to go and discover Africa.
This is huge for several reasons. Many Africans never travel outside the confines of the borders of their country of birth. The reason? “Why should I go and see someone else’s poverty when I have my own right here?” as my dad put it to me once. The assumption is that the rest of Africa is pretty much the same, a notion that is made popular by Western media. Subconsciously we (of course) know it’s not true – I mean an Ewe is about as similar to a Zulu as a cow is to a chicken – but we allow ourselves to be sold the notion all the same. Perhaps it’s a part of our African coping equation/ mechanism to deal with the disappointment of not being able to afford a trip abroad. Africans use the 3 Ds to explain and justify life events: Denial (that anything happened precisely as it did), Disgrace (assumed that a wrong doing party will experience after their treachery), Doom (God will certainly punish all those who cause me wrong). It’s easier to deny that other parts of Africa may hold greater wonders for other African tourists, than to save money for a ticket and go see for ourselves.
Anyway, the point is, you need to go to http://www.ammazingseries.com to check out what Amma uncovers through the lens of a young African woman discovering her continent. What a refreshing perspective – a true departure from the BBC/CNN/PBS angle that we’ve all become accustomed to. She writes well, takes pictures even better, and produces videos even better than that!
Sister Amma, ayikoo!