Kassena-Nankana West District, Paul Apowida (believed to be a ‘spirit child’) based in the United Kingdom, has decided to tell his story.
Paul Apowida was among some babies whose birth some decades ago, coincided with some calamities and deaths in their communities and families in Sirigu. In line with the then tradition of the area, each of such children was tagged ‘spirit child’ (now outmoded and banned) and they were taken to a deserted hill where they were given poisonous concoction and left to die.
Paul Apowida survived three attempts to get him killed, even before he was five years, and was rescued by the Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church and Afrikids-Ghana, a non-governmental organization (NGO).
He is now a soldier with the British Army and has written a book, ‘SPIRIT BOY,’ that tells his story as a child growing up without his biological parents, extended family and in a new community. Paul Apowida, like many other children in those ‘dark’ days in Sirigu, lost his father before he was born. He also lost his mother after birth and was catered for by his auntie and her husband, who also died while Paul Apowida was still a child.
‘SPIRIT BOY’ is an incredible tale of how a boy labeled a ‘spirit child’ and was condemned to death, overcame that act of barbarity to become a prolific artist and soldier in the British Army.
In 2012, Paul Apowida returned to Sirigu from his base in the United Kingdom, to support an advocacy programme initiated by Afrikids-Ghana as part of the NGO’s efforts at totally eradicating the tradition of killing ‘spirit children’.
The opening page of the book, which is to be launched on Friday, July 4, in Bolgatanga reads, ‘My name is Paul Apowida and I am a spirit child. My family believed I was evil and that I was to blame for the deaths of my parents. Before I was five years old, I had been poisoned three times by men trying to kill me. This is the story of how I escaped death and how my life has changed my country forever.’
Now, the tradition of killing deformed children and orphans in the name of sending them back to the spirit world, has been declared outmoded and banned.
From Ebo Bruce-Quansah, Bolgatanga
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