My First Coup d’Etat: Memories from the Lost Decades of Africa


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My First Coup d’Etat: Memories from the Lost Decades of Africa

John Dramani Mahama

My First Coup D’Etat chronicles the coming-of-age of John Dramani Mahama (former President of Ghana) in Ghana during the dismal post-independence ‘lost decades’ of Africa. He was seven years old when rumours of a coup reached his boarding school in Accra. His father, a minister of state, was suddenly missing, and then imprisoned for more than a year.

My First Coup D’Etat offers a look at the country that has long been considered Africa’s success story. This is a one-of-a-kind book: Mahama is a rare literary voice from a political leader, and his stories work on many levels – as fables, as history, as cultural and political analysis, and, of course, as the memoir of a young man who, unbeknownst to him or anyone else, would grow up to be vice president of his nation. Though non-fiction, these are stories that rise above their specific settings and transport the reader – much like the fiction of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Nadine Gordimer – into a world all their own, one which straddles a time lost and explores the universal human emotions of love, fear, faith, despair, loss, longing and hope despite all else.

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