Facing the Wall – the Kokonte story

Kokonte is a sumptuous gratifying meal and delicacy which is eaten in some parts of Togo, Benin and Ghana. It is usually served with peanut soup or groundnut soup with a tender finger of okra to go with it. Oh, and of course, any meat of one’s choice.

Depending on the flour, it usually turns out brown or black. In Ghana, to be precise, kokonte is usually eaten by ethnic groups such as Gas, Akans and the Hausa.

However, there are historical and immediate truths to point out here. In the drought and famine days of the early 1980’s, a lot of Ghanaians survived ‘by the grace of’ kokonte. At that time, the type of cassava that was available was only good for the production of kokonte.

Perhaps, that’s why this ravishing staple food is looked down upon and scorned like how Kofi Brokeman (roasted plantain and groundnut) was formerly scorned. Many Ghanaians would enjoy this food behind closed doors but when the suggestion is made to serve it at one’s birthday party or a great function, that suggestion is thrown out the window.

Kokonte is the bridge between banku and fufu and it has a distinctive dark colour. Kokonte can be said to come from recycled cassava, that is the transformation of waste into usefulness. This characteristic of the food makes it stand a chance to be advocated for and contributes immensely to the concept of the circular economy.

A circular economy is a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimised by slowing, closing, and narrowing material and energy loops. This can be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, and recycling.

Also called, Face the wall, this nickname for kokonte shows how much we as a people and a country are embarrassed by our own history and selves. I believe that kokonte is more than just a food, it is a symbol of how far we have come as a country and reveals the many scars of Ghana.

At the end of the bowl of this gratifying meal we find out that indeed there’s a reason and a blessing for every struggle and that there’s a silver lining in every dark cloud. It is my hope that we will be able to stop facing the wall and face the audience and our mirrors. With the belief that although the storms may come, they cannot carry us away.

 Written by: Emmanuel Hasford

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Kofi Appiah says:

    I like your bloc about konkote
    Keep it up, is my favourite

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments

      Like

  2. Akwaababafie says:

    So that’s the history of face the wall? I promise from now on not to look down on this sumptuous meal
    Can’t wait for the history of another local dish!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading

      Like

  3. Obed frimpong says:

    Wow! I really love face the wall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments

      Like

  4. Kwadwo Kensah says:

    This indeed has taught me alot on the history and origin of kokonte and the most important part is the significance of it all which makes us know how far we have come as a country all the way from the 1983 drought to our present day .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading

      Like

  5. Banahene says:

    Wow… This is a nice piece. I Never knew konkonte is eaten in other parts of the continent, and the history behind it is well noted. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading

      Like

  6. Hasford, Emmanuel says:

    Thank y’all for your comments.

    Liked by 1 person

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