Her name is Effie Nkrumah. Formerly known as Benumah, she is a multifaceted artist – writer, poet, actress and director – and she also works in the Academia.
She tells AfroWomenPoetry that she started consciously writing in 2011: “I needed a way to get my questions and thoughts out – it was quite accidental but I was mulling some questions that were bothering me and I ended up writing what I believe was my first poem – ‘Remember the Days, Big Butt?’”
She states that her artwork always reflects her origins – for example, she promotes “multi-ethnicity” instead of other nomenclatures such as “mixed” or “bi-racial”. With her poetry, she aims at prompting people to discuss issues deeply. “It encourages them to think differently, to look at things from a point of view they may not have thought of or – dare I say – been privy to before. My work encourages people to change and search and ask questions of and for themselves”, she explains. The power of poetry, according to Effie, resides in its openness and accessibility: “Yes there are rules, some who write it “better” than others, but it is truly for everyone”.
By writing poetry, Effie’s goal is “to ask questions, express thoughts, worries, observations and wishes without having to write a paper, a script or a song”. The key factor is that audiences may identify with or learn from the poet’s experiences and feelings.
Born in Zimbabwe to Ghanaian parents, and grown up in Sydney, she currently lives in Ghana and moves between there and Australia: thus, she constantly represents both places and the both sides of her essence. “When I was working in New York I felt the responsibility of representing my Ghanaian side more acutely. Simply because ignorance still exists, especially about Ghana”.
When asked about the collaboration with her fellow artists from Africa, Effie outlines a positive picture of this community. “As an artist from Australia I know how vibrant and diverse our Afro artists are. I find that these collaborations are in fact easier when we meet on common soil – such as in Ghana, in Nigeria, etc.”.
Link to the Italian translation of the interview
Read I traverse the world