Naa Oyoo fictionalized a story about one of Ghana’s beloved dishes. Her sister Maame Efua Okine did the illustrations. Together they created The Kenkey Party. A fun and adventurous book about a Ghanaian dish!
An avowed foodie, Naa Oyoo wrote Kɔmi kɛ Kenaŋ Sane/Kenkey Party because of her fascination with Gã cuisine while growing up. Originally known as “otim,” kenkey evolved from the English word “cornmeal” to “kɔmi.” As a child, she broke her fast with Otimshinu, the broth from cooking kenkey. She also snacked on mashed kenkey sweetened with sugar, milk, and groundnuts. But most of all, she found the cooking and eating of kɔmi and kenaŋ, fried fish, among the Gã a labor of love and a communal feat. Apart from the farmer, miller, kenkey chef or seller, one could not discount the fishermen and fishmongers’ work.
Ghanaian writer Naa Oyoo
Naa Oyoo fictionalized one of Ghana’s beloved dishes, because, as a child who loves kenkey, you learn that sitting down to a meal of kɔmi, shito and fried fish is not simply a fun party but a creative, thoughtful and laborious process to which a whole community contributes. Kɔmi kɛ Kenaŋ Sane/Kenkey Party is written for Ghanaian 5 to 10-year old foodies and is best read out loud by both adults and children. However, she hopes that all African communities at home and in the diaspora can identify with the notion of teamwork described in Kɔmi kɛ Kenaŋ Sane/Kenkey Party and revel in the communal bond that meal prep brings.
Naa Oyoo Nii Owoo was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. She is the founder of the Afroliteracies Foundation and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto studying Language and Literacies Education. She is a teacher of Gã, Spanish and English and creates content for Afroliteracies’ Mawie Gã YouTube channel. She writes children’s fiction under her ancestral Gã name, Naa Oyoo but continues to write as Mama Adobea Adjetey-Nii Owoo. Naa Oyoo will eat kenkey with shito and fish for any and every reason.
Kɔmi kɛ Kenaŋ Sane/Kenkey Party is her first dual-language children’s book. It is inspired by her fascination with Gã culinary and gastronomic culture while growing up in Accra. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her husband.
Left: illustrator Maame Efua. Right: writer Naa Oyoo
Ghanaian Illustrator Maame Efua Okine
Maame Efua Okine is an early childhood educator. She is currently a Training and Curriculum Specialist for a Maryland child development center. In addition to working with children, she maintains a love for illustration. For her illustrations in Kɔmi kɛ Kenaŋ Sane/Kenkey Party, she drew inspiration from shared family meals with her sister Naa Oyoo and partnered with her to come up with their first children’s book. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Multimedia, and an M.Ed in Teaching & Learning - Early Childhood Education. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland with her husband Clement and their two children Zion and Zoe.
The Afroliteracies Foundation
The Afroliteracies Foundation is a think-tank for indigenous African languages. The mission of the Afroliteracies Foundation is to accelerate biliteracy for learners in African communities and the diaspora and promote indigenous African languages so that these languages become easily accessible in teaching and learning. You can also find them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.