ISSN 2940-5181

‘Dotokpo’ and Soak Up the Ancestral Logic in the Ghanaian Spoken-word Poet Yom Nfojoh’s Record Alter Native

‘Dotokpo’ and Soak Up the Ancestral Logic in the Ghanaian Spoken-word Poet Yom Nfojoh’s Record Alter Native

Yom the Poet. © Yom Nfojoh, all rights reserved, used with permission

This critical essay offers deep insights into the Ghanaian performance-poet and writer Yom Nfojoh’s EP Alter Native. Yom shares allegories, autobiographical accounts, confessions, and critical self-reflections aimed at attaining personal freedom, self-decolonization, and self-reformation. For Yom, the radical decision to publicly share his personal struggles and issues of national concern through music, storytelling, and spoken-word poetry served as a liberating force that freed his mind from the colonial aftershock, the burden of personal guilt, and the Eurocentric education affecting contemporary African societies. As a result, both critical self-reflection and a scathing assessment of neocolonial problems serve him as a rebellious path to self-discovery, self-care, healing, and mental emancipation. By means of textual analysis and a systematic reading of Yom’s spoken word poems, the author deconstructs key verses and stanzas in his poems to reveal decolonial praxis, self-disclosure, and coded messages. Wielding his oratory skills as poetic license to freely ‘speak his mind,’ Yom also confesses the ‘sins’ and ‘ills’ of political elites to publicly reveal the post-colonial plight of Africans in contemporary times. Yom’s self-disclosure and self-decolonization processes operate as what Foucault diagnosed as ‘beasts of confession.’ Through this transformative creative process of sublimation, Yom employs spoken word poetry to achieve agency and to reassert personal power for self-reformation and positive national consciousness. Broadening the discussion, this essay incorporates the author's personal perspectives as an artist who likewise pursues decolonial aesthetics by highlighting his engagement with Aŋlᴐ-Eʋe Vodu art in relation to his artistic research and practice.

Published: 30.03.2024

Publication type: Essay