Benjamin Kwakye

Selected Works

Collection of poems
An epic chronicle of Rwandan born Shama's struggles and triumphs as an immigrant.
A collection of short stories
A collection of three novellas that explore grief and the tenacity of the human spirit.
An epic novel on the African immigrant experience. Winner of the 2011 IPPY Gold Award Multicultural Fiction (Adult )
A novel of intense sibling rivalry that stands as a powerful metaphor of Africa’s socio-political past and present.
"[A] compelling revelation of post-colonial concerns presented through a brilliant weaving together of events... "
--CWP Citation
A compelling portrait of relations between the rich and poor in urban Ghana.

Legacy of Phantoms (Africa World Press, 2015)

Legacy of Phantoms

Legacy of Phantoms narrates the internal battles of the twin Kakra as he struggles to come to terms with a past so jarring he is able to recall its details in a disjointed and piecemeal manner only. It entails intense sibling rivalry that flirts with fratricide, shocking betrayals, joy and pain, and triumph and failure. As his memory negotiates this complex terrain and as he relives past experiences, Kakra comes to the realization that he must embrace the past in order to assert control over his future. In language at once poetic and accessible, Legacy of Phantoms offers a tale that stands as a powerful metaphor of Africa’s socio-political past and present.

“‘Legacy of Phantoms’ reorders the ideological exposition of crass materialism, from the perspective of a detached participant in a contemporary Ghanaian setting.

The themes of corruption, lack of compassion, nepotism, and especially opportunism are relevant issues in African polity. These are all present in Legacy of Phantoms. Readers everywhere in the post-colonial world will identify with the issues as raised in the novel. The novel is however ideologically richer than other novels of its kind because of its use of metaphors to identify colonialism, exploitation, capitalism and Christianity.

‘Legacy of Phantoms’ has a lot to offer in fashioning a new direction for African literature. The style is engaging and the use of idioms and metaphor rich. Perhaps the greatest contribution this novel will make to the corpus of African literature is its psychoanalytical appraisal of the past through the smoky lens of the present, with the future in sight. Students of African politics will find the novel helpful in understanding the psychoanalytical considerations that inform some of the present colonial discourses. The universal truth that the novel tries to advance, that the mastery of logic, truth, communalism, is always present but that it is also displaced and is never completely absorbed by the generality of the people. Scholars will find the position of the novel and its writer engaging."

Dr. Sola Adeyemi