To go somewhere means you’ve left somewhere. The start of a journey can also be the end of one. Like listening to music. You start a track and you’ve left the world of no music, you move onto another song and have left the previous behind. It may not be forgotten but it isn’t the place you’re currently in and possibly going. This is one of the experiences felt and shared in Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi.
Taiye Selasi is of Ghanian descent and the book’s title draws from the name of a bag that is used to carry large quantities. The bag got its name from a point in history when a lot of Ghanians fled to Nigeria to escape uprising. Nigerians weren’t necessarily pleased at the influx of immigrants and coined the phrase “Ghana Must Go.” The book isn’t set in that time but invokes the essence of that period. The book focuses on a Ghanian-Nigerian family whose stories we get introduced to due to the loss of their father.
Tales of how the family is interwoven despite separation and disconnect showcases how they are tied together by the bonds of blood. The way Taiye Selasi brings about her novel is superb. The first page alone holds some of the most beautiful writing I have ever laid my eyes upon. Her style makes you feel not only the emotions of her characters but brings you to the place they are at. As much as your heart may break from reading certain bits,you cannot help but to continue flipping the pages.
Ghana Must Go effectively talks on cultural differences, love, family relationships and how they shape our lives. “‘There was no equivalent expression for I love you in Yoruba. If you love someone, you show them,’ her father liked to say.” How love is expressed through various relationships but particularly through family and how it spans continents springs from the pages of this novel. You won’t be disappointed.