Who is the Weaver Bird? (Winneba, Ghana)


“The weaver bird built in our house/ And laid its eggs on our only tree” is the beginning of a poem by the Ghanaian writer Kofi Awoonor. It is not only the beginning of a poem which symbolizes “how the white man came to Ghana” but also the beginning of an English lesson we will never forget. 

During our internship in Ghana we were given the opportunity to observe an empowering discourse between the students and their teacher on the legacies of Ghanaian colonial history. The students were given a poem by a well known writer with the goal of understanding and engaging with the symbolism in Awonoor‘s work. We had been given the information in advance that Ghana had made a conscious effort to decolonize its literature education, however we were still blown away by the beauty and power of this poem. The debate in the classroom after the meaning of “The weaver bird” was revealed quickly became emotional, the students‘ voices filling with anger, passion and mourning of what was lost and what was taken from them and their ancestors. Being able to witness this was an intense experience, it felt like an honour to be invited into this space and it was certainly deeply humbling. In the classroom then we were reminded that it is us who are the descendants of the weaver bird, that we still profit from a global system of colonial oppression and that we carry a responsibility within this system. This lesson precisely reminded us of why we are here – to listen and learn, respectfully and empathetically. To change the narrative.

Stella and Anna 

Group Picture when vistiting the beautiful Aburi Botanical Garden on a weekend trip

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