Part memoir, part history lesson, My First Coup d'Etat
is a collection of true stories by a Ghanian man who grew up close enough to his country's politics to have some real insight into Ghana's historical events. At the same time, he was far away long enough to have a spectator's perspective. What makes this collection even more interesting is that shortly after its release, the author, John Dramani Mahama, was sworn in as Ghana's newest President.
President Mahama grew up as the son of an out-of-favor politician while Ghana suffered coup after (relatively bloodless) coup. The "first coup" referred to in the title occurred in 1966, when President Mahama was only seven years old. It resulted in his father, a government minister, being imprisoned for more than a year. At the time, President Mahama was a boarding student in the southern city of Accra, Ghana's capital,...
Beyond the Book
The modern country of Ghana is named after the kings of a medieval civilization in West Africa, the Wagadugu Empire. Later absorbed into the Mali Empire, they were a significant power in trans-Saharan trade, with their capital city on the southern edge of the desert being a major port-of-call for traders and political movers and shakers. Much of Ghana's population today can trace their roots back to this ancient state. Ghana was reputed as having the richest gold mines in the world -- hence the Colonial name for the region, "The Gold Coast."
Attracted by the country's riches, the...