Ghana’s turn


Early one December morning in 1965, a few months after my arrival in Ghana, I was jolted out of a tropical sleep by a pile of Daily Graphic newspapers whumping onto the concrete floor of my small room. “What are those for, Atinga?” I called out groggily to Atinga Naga, the residence cleaner, as he stood at the door, several more such loads balanced in his arms. “You’ll see!” And indeed I did. Within minutes came an eruption of shouts, rubber flip-flopped footsteps, and slamming screen doors — unusual noises amid the staid gentlemanliness of Legon Hall, my University of Ghana residence. I leaped up and joined the swarm now flying from bathroom to bathroom, where we found our worst fears realized: the country, in its ninth year of independence, had run out of toilet paper. The new Ghana on which I had staked my future was in crisis. Not many weeks later, in the dark early morning of February 24, 1966, we heard the sound of distant guns and knew instantly there had been a coup d’état. The campus — and the capital, Accra — erupted as cheering crowds danced in euphoric and spontaneous celebration.

more from John Schram at The Walrus here.