H.E. John Dramani Mahama

In collaboration with the New York University, Accra, the Department of English, School of Languages, University of Ghana, has held a special interactive session with the former president of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, on his autobiography, My First Coup D’état at the J.H.  Kwabena Nketia Conference Hall, of the Institute of African Studies.

The former President began by setting the context of his autobiography and read excerpts from three chapters: the chapter titled “My first coup d’état” gives insights into the era of coups d’état in Ghana and how the then young Mahama and his family survived; the chapter titled “Teenagers in Tamale” highlights the youthful days of Mahama in Tamale where cultural exchanges took place between the diasporans and indigenes of the town; and the chapter titled “Praise for the Powerful recounts the era in which some military heads of state and presidents conferred titles on themselves.

In her welcome statement, the Dean of the School of Languages, Professor Nana Aba Amfo, stated that the performative character of the joint classes of Advanced Creative Writing, The Life Story and Literature as Performance is intended to draw theory and practice together, and requires the invitation of practitioners of creative writing to interact with students.

The Head of the Department of English, Dr. Jemima A. Anderson, added that the interaction with distinguished authors was to enlighten students on the processes in creative writing. She expressed the hope that the interaction with the former president would be intellectually edifying and illuminative.

Head of the Department of English, Dr. Jemima A. Anderson

Professor Kofi Anyidoho, an instructor in the course, explained that the special interactive class session is a collaborative programme of study between the Department of English at Legon and the New York University in Accra. Speaking before the interactive session began, he gave a brief overview of the book and envisaged that the interaction will give students and the public some insight into the emergence of Ghana from independence into the lost decades of Africa.


During the interaction session, the students and the section of the public who attended asked many searching questions, including those about the style, setbacks, fictive elements, and memory lapses during the writing-up. The author and former President responded that his approach was to make it an easy read, and that any exaggerations in the work are intended to create humor.  The former president later revealed that he was working on another book.

A section of the audience

H.E. John Dramani Mahama endorsing copies of his book for participants