Our Days Dwindle: Memories of My Childhood Days in Asante

Overview

T. E. Kyei's memoirs trace his life from his early childhood in the opening decade of the twentieth century through Ghana's independence in 1957. The autobiography demonstrates this consummate cultural translator's ability to both intuit the questions raised by those unfamiliar with Asante culture and also seamlessly weave answers to such questions into his narrative. The detail on social and material life contained in Kyei's memoirs is unparalleled in the scholarly literature on Asante. His writings open up ...
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Overview

T. E. Kyei's memoirs trace his life from his early childhood in the opening decade of the twentieth century through Ghana's independence in 1957. The autobiography demonstrates this consummate cultural translator's ability to both intuit the questions raised by those unfamiliar with Asante culture and also seamlessly weave answers to such questions into his narrative. The detail on social and material life contained in Kyei's memoirs is unparalleled in the scholarly literature on Asante. His writings open up fundamental questions about the production (and producers) of historical knowledge about African societies and they will surely inspire a major reassessment of the categories and concepts Africanist scholars have used in their studies of African societies.

T.E. Kyei, served as the principal research assistant in the data collection for noted anthropologist Meyer Fortes's Ashanti Social Survey, which was published in the mid-1940s. As Jean Allman explains in her introduction, however, Kyei played a vital role not only in the collection of data Fortes used, but also in its interpretation. In this vivid autobiography, the author presents not only his personal and professional recollections, but also contributes significantly to our understanding of a crucial time period in Ghanaian history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The Asante have a remarkable sense of the historical past and the ethnographic present. The reputation of the much respected R.S. Rattray, who had become head of the new Anthropological Department in Kumasi in 1921, was built upon the comprehensive insights into their culture that they afforded him. But Rattray was an outsider looking in. T. E. Kyei is an insider looking out. In Our Days Dwindle he provides the reader with a masterful account of what it is like to grow up as an Asante, and in doing so illuminates aspects of society quite other than those covered by Rattray. This is an important work not only for the student of Asante but for those interested more generally in the human condition in Africa.”–Ivor Wilks Professor Emeritus of History Northwestern University

“Tom Kyei's memoir is an astute reflection by an Afican who grew up under British rule. Securely rooted in Asante culture, Kyei writes of the importance of his background in aiding his efforts to come to terms with the world of colonial modernity. This is a first-hand account by an intelligent and engaging African reporter.”–Tom McCaskie Centre of West African Studies University of Birmingham

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325070421
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 2/16/2001
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

T. E. Kyei (1908-1999) was educated at the Kumasi Scottish Mission School and at the Accra Government Teacher Training College. Kyei spent his life as a teacher, civil servant, and an ardent student and recorder of Asante culture and history.
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Table of Contents

Maps and Figures

Editor's Introduction

Prologue

Preface

A Stranger Home from Sekyere Kwaaman

The Town I Grew Up In

An Honoured Profession that is No More

A Myth? A Miracle? Or a Mystery?

A Land of Milk and Honey

Health Protection and Health Hazards

Men from Near and from Far Beyond the Sea

Father in an Oath-Swearing Case

"AFRINHYIA PA O-O-O-!" Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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