Nights in the old Africa

By Kojo Mensah Kingsley

August 26, 2023



A dive into the pool of identical nights in the old Africa
Nights ruled by grandparents and every good story teller
The nights flooded with tales that kept us together

Nights that begun with the best games to play
Not games played alone on phones like the ones we have today
Ghana’s Ampe, Nigeria’s Suwe and others, never failed to keep boredom away

We play till we go astray from the day’s stress
And laugh at the ones who are proud of not dirtying their dress
Till story tellers comes with their night’s address

Usually, an old voice’s advice disguised as tales for our delight
And yes, we loved hearing made-up stories under the moonlight
Even the fiercest foes forgo fights for fun at night

To attract eyes passing by the bonfire is used as a bait
No tickets needed, no guard to stand at a gate
For there was no gate, just an open space with lots of ears that can’t wait

Though the serenity of the scene at dry seasons was always a first choice
At rainy seasons, frogs carelessly croaking made our hearts rejoice
Crickets, always expected to chirp to sets the mood for granny’s voice

We encircle the bonfire, so the cold breeze is murdered
The trees shadowed by darkness stood still and ordered
As golden butt fireflies dance with the beauty they invited

Surely, those were good old nights to be an amateur
We’d start what an Akan will call Anansesem (Spider’s story) with an overture
Then silence, as Granny takes us on an adventure

Granny’s shaking voice usually making comedies sad
The interlude follows shorty, led by the village’s funniest bard
We sing it to welcome the part that made wrong-doers feel bad

Yes, the harsh honest advice right after the interlude
Forcing fighting friends to resolve their feud
Compelling all consciences to examine their attitude

An experienced voice teaching us to relax
And resolve feuds by brains and mouths, not by an axe
Words telling us not to roam the street wearing just our slacks

When the night gets old and there are enough sleepy bodies
Dying embers, deepened darkness, and a colder breeze
Tale tellers end their reign with “Go straight home,” commentaries

When the elders depart, then comes teens’ favorite hour
The perfect time to tell our crushes they’re like a star
If your crush is absent oh how unlucky you are

And lucky you if her brother is a friend of yours
After a brief flirting around we start finding our doors
We escort ourselves, usually in groups of fours

Finally, the last two friends living next to each other
Part ways, tiring each other with gossip and laughter
We sleep deeper, even as bats and owls scream louder

now the owls have migrated and the bats are gone
The frogs that croaked grew lazy now they just yawn
clubs are so loud crickets are only heard at dawn

These new nights in Africa we are always apart
so once in a while like today let’s toast and chat
about those nights that deserves a place in our heart

In remembrance, feel the joy nothing can surpass
Close your eyes, raise an invisible glass
Let’s make a toast to memories every night in the old Africa made for us.


These new nights in Africa we are always apart so once in a while like today let's toast and chat about those nights that deserves a place in our heart

-Kojo Mensah Kingsley

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About the author

Kojo Mensah Kingsley

My name is Kojo Mensah Kingsley, I was born at Kasoa in the central region of Ghana and currently living at Fetteh Kakraba which is also in the central region of Ghana . I graduated from Ngleshie Amanfro senior high school in the greater Accra region of Ghana and later graduated with a diploma in Broadcast Journalism at Ekacity Media College in the Ashanti region of Ghana. I had an internship at Issaniya Televison (ITV) at Kasoa.  Currently I am a full-time video editor and a graphic designer for DJTV Ghana. I am an unpublished writer with a passion for reading and writing poetry. Currently, my favorite poets are William Shakespeare, Ama Attah Aidoo, and George Lear.