Starting out a couple of years ago as simple thoughts to his partner, Etsey Atisu’s column Epistles to My Bubune swiftly became manna across much of Ghanaian social media. So that, every time he submitted a new missive, it was pounced upon like vultures would a carcass.
It is not exactly surprising that the essays were widely embraced, judging by Etsey’s clout on Facebook–even if they were intended for a sole audience. But more than that, their impact was due to what they addressed, as well as the style they were rendered in. Sometimes, it would take months for a new letter to arrive, but the internet waited fervently, confident that each new installment was pregnant with realistic arguments for the contemporary love affair. Affection stories evolve with every generation, and so it is important to be afforded accurate perspectives on dealing with love in Facebook era. Testimonies from our elders are indispensable, but so are Etsey-esque accounts.
Epistles to My Bubune consists nearly forty articles naturally and intrepidly collected by Atisu’s gifted hands. And while it is expected of him as an Ewe man to possess superior audacity, the courage that is evident in the book oozes from a special depth: honesty. When we speak the truth, we shall fear no evil.
And so he takes on the weighty as well as the trite, sidestepping all political correctness: homosexuality, fashion, tiffs, spirituality, fears, death…even the dimples that have earned him the alias “Freshie” are explored in this compelling read.
Epistles to My Bubune is the picture of young love: foolishly hopeful and drenched in youthful zeal. At the same time, it feels like one which has taken on several decades and emerged prevailed. That a man –anybody south of 30 years can invoke this unique dualism is striking –again, not necessarily because he’s an Ayigbe man. Etsey is talented and committed to writing in a way that is probably not healthy. This may be his first book, but he could well submit another one by Sunday, and three more within a fortnight. Indeed, a key reason for his growing influence is the fact that, with one toe over the next, he pens long thoughtful odes to anyone who has even slightly been acquainted to him. Once more this “hobby” of his is significant in our dispensation because it restores hope in our capabilities as millennials to care for something/someone other than applications on smartphones. Today, birthday wishes have been reduced to mere emoticons, single hash tags and the exceedingly clichéd one-line post “happy birthday” –or its irksome abbreviation “hbd”. Obviously, these are intended more for the records than anything. Thankfully, this generation can boast of one person who aims for the heart. This is what it comes down to –humanity! Etsey typifies humanity.
“Bubune” translates from Ewe as “reverence to the almighty”. Let’s talk about that for a second. The book is strewn with verses from the Holy Bible –unapologetic reference to his faith as a Christian. Like his affection for the beautiful “Bubune”, his relationship with God is not something he is prepared or inclined to hide.
“I don’t see myself marrying anybody else except you but it is not a “do or die” affair. Everything I am doing now is geared towards that life with you and it is not to satisfy some public stunt or charade but because I feel it is right for me.”
As is the experience on each page of the book, lines as the ones above are deeply affective. It is the ambition of everyone on the quest for love to be able to utter such words. Love cannot be all you find in this life, but if you do, guard it with keenness. Etsey deserves commendation because he has valiantly mustered these words…in public. This fairytale with pretty Bubune (whom he has been courting for nearly three years) will work –and it must, because it is founded on honesty.
“I’ve always wanted that because you make me happy” reads another extract. “You can be a little difficult nut to crack but you still make me happy. And even when it seems impossible to please you, you still make me happy because you understand that we are in this relationship with only one goal – till the end”, it further reads.
Till the end!
“Epistles to My Bubune” may have started out as routine documentation of his journey with his journey with his partner, but it applies to everyone:
“…it is about simple and everyday issues that break or bind relationships, written in simple diction but with deep messages for the reader, especially young people in relationships”, observes ace journalist and fellow writer Manasseh Azure Awuni.
“…Etsey never lets go, as he explores, discusses, explains, and ruminates on the issues ranging from the mundane to the insane nsempisms that are germane to his relationship with his beloved Bubune. In the end, one cannot help but admire the love and openness shared with Bubune, and by extension, the reader, profiting much thereby”, renowned author Nana Awere Damoah also opines about the work.
And as these two are among our foremost Ghanaian scribes today, their words are powerful testaments to the quality of the work rendered by Atisu.
What gives all art its power is the willingness of the artist to go far into himself…how prepared he is to harness his own vulnerability. When we read Epistles, we feel the very sentiments Etsey is feeling as he pens his paragraphs –they are true to us as they are to him. That is what gives this work its profoundly trait of communal ownership…that is why it is unputdownable.
See first images from the launch: