Today we talk about Unchained, a book by SaCut Amenga-Etego published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author SaCut Amenga-Etego to get to know him better, what prompted him to the writing of his personal story in the book Unchained, as well the feeling he felt when he saw his book published.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- When did you decide to write your personal story?
I decided to write my personal story when I left Ghana to live in Europe. It didn’t take too long before I realised certain truths through my lived experience. One of those truths is the fact that Europe is not heaven and Africa is not hell like most young Africans in the motherland including me had wrongly assumed it to be. It was difficult for me to realise myself in Europe and time was wasting away before my very eyes. I had become a miniature of myself, unable to practice my profession as a journalist in Europe except as a writer of books. Another uncomfortable truth I discovered in Europe was that my university degree I acquired in Ghana was worthless over there without a second degree from a European university. This did not only give me a culture shock; it also threatened my self-confidence and gave me second thoughts about living in Europe. As I walked on the streets in Amsterdam or Milan or Paris or Brussels, one thing was constant; jobless, homeless and miserably trapped brilliant African youth who probably wish to return to Africa but cannot afford to do so either because they cannot afford a ticket or because there will be nothing back home to return to. The only thing I thought I could do for myself and for all the millions of young Africans both trapped in Europe and those in Africa doing all they can to come to Europe was to tell my story as an observer participant of this deadly voyage.
- What particularly significant experiences in your life find expression in your book?
I have had a number of significant experiences that many at my age haven’t had. The first is my cultural experiences of polytheism, animism and polygamy. That is, being a product of the mixed religions of African tradition, Christianity of the Roman Catholic brand, and secular data-ism. In addition to been born into a complex spirituality, my father married five wives and I grew up with many step brothers, step sisters and step mothers. The experience of climbing all the family steps is unique and significant but more significant is the experience of spiritually and culturally reconciling all the contradictions between the different theologies and rituals that differentiate Christian worship and traditional goddess worship which happens to be the primary source of spirituality and power to my father the traditional ruler of the land of Kandiga, something which I inherit as heir. I have also had significant political experience in my country working closely with the revolutionary Ex-President of Ghana Jerry John Rawlings and his wife Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and their children and other close associates over a significant period of time during which period I lost my political virginity. Also significant in my book is my travel experience from Africa to Europe and back to Africa. Being caught in the middle of the corona virus pandemic in Milan, total lock down and boarder closures, the desperate quest to return home to family in Ghana and my eventual evacuation back home by government of Ghana. And last but not the least, my significant investigative journalistic experience that got me arrested by national security agents of the government of Ghana, unlawfully imprisoned for six days without a criminal charge, eventually freed by a judge and immediately rearrested by rogue security agents for holding national secrets on my ceased cell phones. Interestingly, this most significant experience took place while I was already in the process writing this book and has indeed become the highlight of my book.
- What would you like to hear from your readers?
I would definitely want to hear about the impact of my story on my readers. The positive impact, of course. I know that I am different. And I know that it takes massive courage to be different in a society that is driven by so-called influencers and groupthink. What I would want to hear from my readers is stories of how my story dared them or gave them courage to be different, to think differently about issues of immigration, of culture and religion, of adventure, of politics, of journalism, of leadership, of love and life choices. Most importantly, I would like to hear many young readers from Africa and around the world saying that they’re inspired by my story to return to Africa from Europe or to remain in Africa and pursue their dreams rather than going to Europe to waste away or that I have given them the courage to stand up and speak truth to power in their line of their journalistic work or even that I have shown them the way to break immigration barriers, to be citizens of the world and at the same time never forgetting where they come from or who they are – their true identity. I would like to hear my readers say they truly believe Europe is not heaven and Africa is not hell and Africans do not need to migrate anywhere to make it in life. There is green grass everywhere – even on the deserts and savannah.
- What sensations did you feel by ‘reading’ your life on the pages of your book?
The first one would be the nostalgic sensations of having to relive a frame of my entire life on the pages of my book but also the strange but familiar sensations of having to read my life story outside of myself, as if I was reading about someone else’s story that is so identical to mine. Reading my own life made me feel like I could actually judge myself from a neutral perspective as if I was a third party in the story. There was also a feeling of pride at some of the accomplishments and shame and insecurity at some of the low points of my life. Overall the sensations are sweet sensations rather than otherwise. But I also felt sensations of amazement at the little hesitation with which I have ventured into many a brave new world without thinking or caring about the real consequences. But I also had a mix feeling about the likely political reaction to my book and the greater unknown consequences as a result of first time revelations about rogue operations of national security agents and their government official enablers in my country. Who knows? They just may unlawfully arrest and imprison me again for telling my story and exposing their dubious operations. Still, I am eager for the outcome of it all. After all it will be another new experience that I could share some day in another book.
- Are you planning to write more books?
In fact, this is not my first book. This is my second book. I self-published my first book in 2015. It was called PANAFEST IN THE DUNGEONS – An experience of natural mystic. This was my first attempt at writing a narrative of a specific part of my significant life experience as a student volunteer tour guide in the slave castles dungeons of Cape Coast. A lot of people haven’t heard of that book probably because it was self-published and hardly promoted. Hopefully one day it will get a break because I believe it is a very crucial cultural narrative. It was written like a memoir of my younger self. And yes, I plan to keep writing books for as long as I am able. I am a natural story teller. And I go through every life experience with much sensitivity and observation as though I need to narrate each experience to others in the present-future. Besides, I believe strongly that the most interesting and significant experiences of my life are ahead of me. And I believe that we can only find meaning in the stories we tell ourselves so I plan to continue to tell stories, to write books and to give meaning to myself and others.
Europe Books thanks the author SaCut Amenga-Etego once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Unchained. We wish him the best of luck for his book and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, may this book, as the author says, give you the courage to be different, to think differently about issues such as immigration, culture and religion, politics, journalism, love and life choices. Especially to you, young readers, to be proud of your Africa, of what it has given you both for better and for worse, without ever forgetting where you come from.
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy your reading!