That’s really all that comes to mind when I think about #theKenikodjomeetup!
I remember when the idea came up. Naa Adjeley and I were having some sister-sister bonding time over some pizza.
A meet up?
What would we do? Who would come?
Nobody had ever done anything like this before-I had no precedents to refer to.
I needed a plan- venue, activities, a strategy-and I had nothing.
I wanted a cool venue- a place that wasn’t ‘overused’, but nice. I also wanted a place with clean toilets (yes, toilets are a big deal for me). So Workshed came to mind. One of the co-owners was my friend so I knew that was sorted.
Richard asked me how many people I was expecting and I said 30? Maybe 40? Maximum 50. He suggested that I get a registration portal to track the number of people who planned to show up. Hence the Eventbrite registration page. I asked the registrants to indicate how long they had been reading the blog, what they were looking forward ro, among other things. This gave me a good idea of what to put on the programme outline.
World’s best readers!
I know I have always said I have the world’s best readers, but this meetup made me realize how true that is!
- Maame of Maame’s Pancakes offered to serve pancakes to everyone at the meetup
- Nuerki (#TGWTRH) of Piece o’Cake offered to decorate the place with boucakes (a bouquet of cakes)
- Gerard Nartey and Nick Adatsi of Epic Dreams graciously took up the photographer role
- Afiyo of Afiyo creations donated two sets of beautiful beads as prizes
- Honora of Honora’s donated a box of perfume and a necklace as prizes
- Talata of Demoure by Talata made me look like a queen on the day (You would think it was my wedding day)
- Araba of Esowba Couture gave me the perfect blazer (It fit perfectly and yet she didn’t even take my measurements)
- Raina of Precious Stones GH made a beautiful purse to go with my outfit
- Nii Ankrah in collaboration with iamAdinkra ensured that the live streaming was professionally done, without it costing me a dime.
- Akwasi and Mercy ensured that I had quality sound for the meetup
- Derek drove all the way to Ofankor with me to pick up the speaker and microphone.
- Rosie, Oye and Naa Adjeley assisted with general coordination on the day.
- Yasmin made sure everyone had more than enough food
- CPR supervised the set up (he was at the venue by 1:30) and everything that needed supervision
One of the things I was looking forward to was meeting the people who left comments on the blog and on the Facebook page. I went around, introducing myself to others, mentioning names of familiar faces and profile pictures, embracing those who felt like family even though we had never met and making sure that everyone had come felt a little less tense.
Ask me anything
This was the part I had been dreading. However, with the exception of Elikem’s ‘What is the craziest thing you have ever done?’, there was no question that pushed me to release any scandalous details. I also expected questions like:
- When is the next series starting?
- When are you publishing your first book?
- What was the hardest story to write?
- Is there a story you wish you could re-write?
We talked about my purity ring, how I managed to balance everything I was involved in, why Kafui died and Prosper lived, what the normal process for writing a story was, etc. By the time we were done with that, almost everyone had relaxed. It was time for my favourite part: Trivia and Quotes. They divided themselves into 3 groups: Ghana Jollof (because jollof rocks!), Kelewele (because everyone knows I like kelewele) and Kenkey (because Caritas was in that group). Every group had 10 seconds to answer a question for 3 marks after which it was passed on to the next group for 1 mark.
Ghana Jollof quickly set themselves apart with their own victory chant. The response to Richlove’s call ‘What’s our name?’ was a thunderous ‘Ghana Jollof’! Even I told them that if they lost, I would really laugh at them. The atmosphere was charged. People protested. Others cheered. There was a kenkey dance and a jollof selfie. Even Obinim had a place in the competition. It was all fun and games. Ghana Jollof was in the lead until a bonus question made Kenkey steal the first position, at the end of the Trivia section. However, by the time everything was over, the Ghana Jollof team had proven that they were born ready to be champions.
What struck me was how well people knew the stories and the characters. There were lines from posts that were more than a year old in the Quotes section that even I could not remember and yet people were calling out the titles as if they read them just yesterday. I was very, very impressed! Then we did a ‘What would you have done?’ session based on the #CapitalHigh and #KnowThyMan series. One of the reasons why I chose Anie as the MC was the fact that she knew the stories was passionate about the characters. It was easy to sit back and watch her moderate the conversation. We presented the prizes to the winners Carlian, Elikem, Araba and Kwame.
There were also Kenikodjo branded shirts for sale with inscrptions from #KnowThyMan and #CapitalHigh like ‘Purely Sapiosexual’, ‘I don’t do pizza boys’, ‘God must be smiling down on me’, ‘He shoots.He scores. He has her heart and the crowd goes wild’, ‘Unchartered waters’ among others.. There are a few more available. Just drop your preferred quote and shirt colour via Facebook, Twitter, IG or email and we will have your shirt ready for you at just 30 cedis.
I was in the middle of my vote of thanks when CPR and Anie interrupted me with a birthday surprise. Out of nowhere emerged a humongous cake lit up with sparkling fireworks candles, with the inscription ‘Kenikodjo, sweeter than this frosting. Happy birthday my love!’ Once again, CPR proved why the prefix to his name is ‘amazing’. Talk about a lit September! ❤
Then we took a group picture (with almost everyone in it) before digging into the food (pancakes, samosas, spring rolls, sandwiches, gizzards, sausages, chicken) and saying our goodbyes! I was exhausted but my heart was full! I really do have the world’s best readers!
Marilyn came with photoshoot props that said things like ‘No 1 fan’, ‘Writers are awesome’, ‘chronic bibliophile’ and other cool reader-writer themed things. Nick and Gerard set up in front of the beautiful wall mural at the Workshed and voila! A makeshift photobooth emerged! As you can see, we had loads of fun!
The rest of the pictures can be found on the blog’s Facebook and Instagram profiles. Tag a familiar face when you see one. Exciting times are ahead, please follow both profiles to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of the updates.
Just in case you missed it, this is the video from the meetup. It has already garnered 3.1K views on Facebook (all organic!) You can also watch it on the Facebook page or on YouTube. Those of you who were watching live made me laugh with the questions and comments you put online.
Now just when I thought the party had ended, I woke up the next day to find three reviews on the meetup: one from 2Eweboys, one from Unorthodox Reviews and the last one from Nana Awere Damoah. It was exciting to re-live the moments through their posts. As if that was not enough, the weekend edition of the Business and Financial Times did a feature on the meetup. I could not describe my joy..I still can’t!
The Kenikodjo meetup was a great success. God was glorified! I can think of a few things that we can do differently the next time we do this. Let’s do this again soon!