The tendency for pathetic things to happen is very high, when a person or a people misunderstand or misinterpret an unfamiliar phenomenon. Akan’s new single ‘Helebaba,’ which features Worlasi, broaches this subject.

He raps in the song about a certain ‘Kweku Appiah’ becoming an ancestor and bequeathing him with the wisdom of the ancestral realm­ knowledge that comes across as unintelligible to the living.

To draw a parallel between that (plus the general subject matter of ‘Helebaba’) and the advent of foreign religions on the continent, there was the belief, and it was the practice in many pre-colonial African societies, that members of the community who displayed the attributes possessed by the persona in ‘Helebaba’, were channels carrying messages from other realms to the living, and thus their ‘incomprehensible’ actions were not attributed to some evil spirit that need to be exorcised by pastors­ as is the case in ‘Helebaba’.

The almost outright rejection and adoption of precolonial ways, and ways of the colonisers respectively, has led to these and other beliefs and practices largely being reduced to mere superstitions, pathologised or demonised.

On a symbolic level, ‘Helebaba’ is a pronouncement of the unorthodox, the unconventional, who dares swim against the current, who says ‘left’ when everything around them suggests that ‘right’ is the path to follow, who says a refreshing, self-assured ‘NO,’ when the whole chorus is singing a monotonous, disturbing ‘YES.’

This is a resistance. It is a messing up of the order; a kind of disruption that should be embraced and encouraged.

Photo by : @thestudioaccra