Fiction vs. Evidence: A Critical Review of Ataa Ayi Kwei Armah’s Wat Nt Shemsw and the eurasian Rhetorical Ethic
Ọbádélé Bakari Kambon
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, P.O. Box LG 1149, [email protected]
PhD Student, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, P.O. Box LG 25, Legon, Accra, Ghana, [email protected]
m Dd grg iw.k wrt
NEG.IMPER speak falsehood STAT.2M.SG great (one)
‘Tell no falsehood, you are a great one.’ (Bak 2016: 227)
At the 2018 Great African Thinkers Conference on Nna Chinweizu, attendees—the first author included—took a pledge that “In all branches of our lives, we must be capable of criticizing and of accepting criticism. But criticism, proof of the willingness of others to help us or of our willingness to help others, must be complemented by self-criticism—proof of our own willingness to help ourselves to improve our thoughts and our actions. This is a sacred principle and it is my sacred duty to apply and defend it at all costs” (Chinweizu 2018). In response to that call to action, this article represents an effort to restore MAat ‘Maat.’ Ataa Ayi Kwei Armah’s Wat Nt Shemsw: The Way of Companions epitomizes undeclared fiction masquerading as an accurate reflection of the mythology of classical Kmt ‘Land of Black People.’ By cross-checking Ataa Armah’s undeclared fiction with actual historical, iconographical, and archaeological data, we are able to debunk his numerous misrepresentations. We find that the best way to approach Kmt ‘Land of Black People’ is through direct engagement with actual evidence rather than through the distortions of fiction writers turned Egyptologists. Further, we will address the personality cult, or what we term “Ataa Armah’s Manor Shemsw model,” which embodies the rhetorical ethic whereby all egalitarians are equal, but some egalitarians are more equal than others (Orwell, Baker, and Woodhouse 1996).
Keywords: Maat, Ataa Ayi Kwei Armah, Wat nt Shemsw, egalitarianism, rhetorical ethic
Kambon, Ọ., & Songsore, L. (2021). Fiction vs. Evidence: A Critical Review of Ataa Ayi Kwei Armah’s Wat Nt Shemsw and the Eurasian Rhetorical Ethic. African and Asian Studies, 20(1-2), 124-153.