Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday launched the first ever book of Ghana’s former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings at a ceremony held at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra.
The 331-page book titled: “It Takes A Woman,” is believed to be the first in a series of four books that are expected to provide deep insights into the political activism and experiences of Mrs. Rawlings, whose husband came to power through a coup d’etat in the late 1970s.
The book not only speaks about her political career and advocacy for the empowerment of women, children and the marginalized within the Ghanaian society and beyond but perfectly chronicles her family life and the struggles of her husband in capturing power especially the activities of the June 4, 1979 Revolution.
It also speaks about her childhood and the ‘funny’ fears she harboured then about adulthood, as during her conversations with her father she had wished not to live beyond age 40 because she did not want to go beyond that age for fear of seeing her skin wrinkled.
The Vice President, who made an interesting joke about that, said “thankfully she is 70 today and very beautiful.”
Dr. Bawumia, in a statement, revealed that the book provides readers with an insight into the politics of Ghana right from the era of independence.
He added that “It Takes A Woman’ teaches the path to seeking development and welfare of humanity and it teaches that the development and welfare of humanity can be tough and rough but with perseverance and fortitude, the crown of success awaits.”
He further added that “I will like to recommend this book to everyone seeking to have a detailed appreciation of the underlying spirit of women in the Ghanaian family and public service.”
According to him, Mrs. Rawlings’ autobiography would excite readers who expect to learn of the tenacity of a woman in form and by definition akin to Yaa Asantewa of the Asante lineage.
He said, “The readers who are yearning for a first-hand account of some of the happenings especially the beginning of the June 4 Revolution, will learn a lot, as they say because she has a filla.”
The Vice President revealed that “In fact, when I read the title of the book, It Takes A Woman, I initially thought it was a bit provocative but the more I think about it, the more I realize that yeah, it is true. The role and contribution of women in our society have historically been underestimated but in truth, it’s a really enormous contribution.”
“Where would we be without our mothers?” the vice president quizzed, and encouraged men to appreciate women and treat them as equals.
He stated that “in a typical Nana Konadu’s style, the book pulls no punches in its criticism of gender discrimination and chauvinism, inequality and an aggressive pursuit of personal aggrandizement.”
He likened the former first lady to other great women around the world like the late Winnie Mandela and others who contributed immensely to the civil right movements, liberation of Africa, advancement of science and technology and education and promotion of human rights.
Dr. Bawumia observed that “Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings fought for what she believed in. She fought for her conviction and used the opportunities that face her way to promote major changes in the welfare of Ghanaian women; single-handedly she has empowered the Ghanaian woman.
Mrs. Rawlings was the First Lady of Ghana from 4th June 1979 to 24th September 1979 and 31st December 1981 to 7th January 2001.
In 2016, she became the first woman to run for President of Ghana after leaving the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), a party founded by her husband, Jerry John Rawlings, to form the National Democratic Party (NDP).
The relationship between Mrs. Rawlings and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has over the years been a ‘growing love story,’ and the presence of the Vice President, his wife Samira Bawumia and the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, is a testament of the healthy bond between the NPP and the Rawlingses.
Africans Must Write, Read
In a brief remark at the event, Mrs. Rawlings stressed the importance of reading and writing to the development of the African continent.
She observed that it was necessary for the older generation on the continent to inculcate into the younger generation the habit of reading.
According to her, “One area that we need to strengthen is the ability to document and analyse historical information.” For her, that will help guide the continent, its people and for that matter Ghanaians.
She stressed that “we need to constantly improve on the quality of life and so we need to read as individuals and inculcate the habit of reading into the young ones. We have to encourage the young ones to read but because of the existence of iPads and tablets they are not picking books to read out of curiosity.”