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Kojo's Morning of Gold

Late into the night on Friday, March 7, students and staff took refuge from the onslaught of falling snow that was blanketing the campus. While the community around the campus seemed to lie dormant and cozy in their warm homes, Phelps-Stokes was buzzing with energy and anticipation. More than 100 students, faculty and staff braved the winter weather and gathered to support Kwadwo “Kojo” Juantuah and his new book, “Morning of Gold,” perfectly titled because the campus was illuminated in a soft yellow glow from the rays of sun reflecting off of the glittering snow.

Kojo took time after the program to sign books for fans.

In addition to readings from Kojo’s anthology of poetry, there were many other campus favorites who performed at the event. Kojo kicked things off with an introduction and then handed things over to the M.C.s Tianna Williams and Christian Motley. The two spoke about the many programs and activities on campus that Kojo is involved in. Kojo is president of the African Students Association, president of the sophomore class and works with several other campus organizations. Then the multitude of different campus favorite acts took the stage. FYAH and E.Y.C.E. took the stage and provided students with different styles of stepping and dancing. The Black Music Ensemble and two student performers, Breon Thomas and Eric King, all entertained the audience with inspirational songs.

Kojo came back onstage and read several of his favorite pieces from the long list of beautiful poems in his book. Below is an excerpt from "America, Land of Dreams, Here I Come."

One day, I’ll board a white man’s plane and travel to "A-m-e-l-i-k-a”
It has been a long journey drowned in tears.
It has been an arduous task, wearing me out,
sun-baked face; harmattan cracked skin.
But the coolness of American saw me through.
Long ago, before I could say my first word I heard adults talk of Amelika.
And saw the gleam in their closing eyes the unfulfilled desire of an unborn dream…
So America, oh America, here I come.
Poor international student with hopes and anxieties;
carrying on my back a family’s burden and on my head a nation’s future.
America, land of dreams, here I come.
America of honey, malt and milk here I come.
I travel without wings on the wheels of light;
preparing for the bright dream that is America.

The poems in Kojo’s book deal with every issue from leaving home, to love and romance, to the environment and religion. He was not the only one who partook in reading poetry; there was a long list of professors and students who also read selected works to the audience.

“I feel as though I am a bird who has learned to fly and now the mother bird is watching me take flight,” Kojo said, referencing to his mother being in the audience. The love and happiness Kojo feels for his mother is purely evident in the dedication of his book. “To my mother, Agnes Gyamfua Opoku, who has planted in me a precious gift.” Even though this was Kojo’s day to celebrate and rejoice with his mother in his accomplishment, that did not stop him from personally signing and writing messages in the front of every single person’s copy of “Morning of Gold.” Kojo’s dedication to his book also included all of those in the audience “whose dreams are yet unborn.”

Kojo was invested in this project for many reasons. He began working on the anthology of his poetry when he was only 12years old. The book was originally published locally in Ghana and has since gone international. “Morning of Gold” is currently available at the Berea bookstore and Lulu.com, but his goal is to also have the book available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s Web sites in less than a year.

Kojo said that he named his book “Morning of Gold” because it was supposed to be the beginning of a grand revelation. “I want to send a positive message of hope; I want the readers to know that Africa has talents too.” This seems to be the most important thing to Kojo when it comes to his book; he wants everyone to see a new Africa, a strong confident and talented Africa that is proud of its culture and creativity. According to one of the reviewers of Kojo’s book, Vicky Hayes of Berea, he has done just that; “Kwadwo is not writing alone. He stands with the history of his homeland, with love and with hope in this extensive collection of traditional poems. The reader walks in ancient light.”

For more information on Kojo and his book “Morning of Gold,” visit his Web site by clicking on the link below.

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