It is the morning of 24th December, 2016 at the Kotoka International Airport. Mixed feelings of excitement, uncertainty, nervousness filled the Arrival Hall.
Annica looked on impatiently. The team members chatted away like girls – they talked about nothing. Yaa is having a tough time with this Facebook live thing. The day would be a memorable one and Jasmine needed something for the archives so she posed for the camera.
A dance ensemble stood by, waiting like a desolate animal setting to pounce on a merciless prey…
And there he was!
The drums rolled, the sound rose in intensity and pulled everyone closer to the entrance. Okyeame Kwame pulled in, looking both dead and alive. The mammoth crowd that stood in wait for his arrival was breathtaking, literally. That took his breath and left him dead.
Annica together with the children ambled into his arms, heaving relief from the pressures of a long delay. But she can comfortably shake it off now.
He is slaying in an army green suit over a sparkling white shirt parted by a fly tie made of kente that harmonizes with a pocket square on his left chest. But none of these is as expensive as the patriotic, philanthropic heart that pounds in his chest.
The fans sandwiched him haphazardly to take photos and he would surrender at each moment. If defeaning camera click sounds and blinding flashlights could kill, Kwame wouldn’t live past 40!
Then he spoke to the media about his Hepatitis B Campaign, his travel to the states, collaborations with foreign artistes, the trip to Jamaica, the awards he had won three days ago, and then dropped a punchline about sex.
Apart from Annica, we all laughed it off! She sunk her head in coyness…
And then laughed out even louder than the airplane that brought Okyeame Kwame
Okyeame’s presence at the airport had caused a stir. Nothing was happening that wasn’t about him.
His children, Sir and Sante harbored jealousy briefly. They aren’t amused about the divided attention Dad was giving them.
Briefly, just briefly…
The fans celebrated him with the esteem he deserved as an International Cultural Ambassador. They popped a Moet champagne in celebration of his graduation with a Master’s Degree.
But he grabbed the drink and served the gathering like a servant… like a servant without an option but to serve.
His humility surprised me, even. Jacob couldn’t be impressed enough. ‘Okyeame is too modest to be a rapper’, I whispered to Annica; who suddenly turned awestruck at the realization that his beloved is totally out of this world.
We all knew we do not need the Mayor of Cincinnati to highlight his legendary status but we did not know his deeds had gone ahead of himself – far beyond his own provinces. He had touched hearts he had not touched.
So, far away in another man’s land he had been called to be darned in smiles. The key to Cincinnati was presented to honor his impact to society through his inspiring music and the fight against Hepatitis B.
The key to the city
The drums rolled again. Tall fontonfrom being beaten on all sides shook the airport. The moves from the adowa dancers were fashioned in a way that was irresistible…
Enticingly irresistible. Make way for Kwame Nsiah-Apau! It’s Showtime!
He danced and danced and danced. He would rhythmically fly one hand over the other, make a jump or two and attempt to catch something in midair. His ‘adowa’ dance skills came in handy.
The day would be a memorable one and Jasmine needed something for the archives…, but nothing would be as memorable as the statement Kwame made during the interview, ‘”We have been here for 19 years but we just got started“.
Author: Patrick Fynn
Photographer: William Du Bois