A biography of the author’s late father, a religious and community leader in Ghana.
Trebi Kuma Ollenu was the driving force behind many of the advances in the Ghanaian city of La in the late 20th century and the early years of the 21st century. Ollenu, known as TK, worked with the La Community Development Association to improve sanitation and establish public health facilities in the region. He also established La Community Bank, which offered microloans and local funding for local businesses. The first section catalogs Ollenu’s work in development and public health; later sections focus on his personal and religious life. Trebi-Ollenu portrays her father as a demanding but dedicated parent, one who had plenty of time to educate his children and see to their upbringing but who did not hesitate to punish them when they failed to meet his standards. Ollenu’s Christian faith was an essential part of his life, and the book details his involvement in La Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder. The book also addresses Ollenu’s early years and his final days, as well as the history of the Ollenu family during Ghana’s colonial period. An extensive notes section makes clear that the author thoroughly researched Ghana’s and her father’s history, and footnotes provide necessary information for readers who are unfamiliar with Ghanaian culture and politics. The writing is uneven, with frequent bursts of melodrama and overblown metaphors: “As though he were on a sartorial mission, he would tailor-fit various programs and projects to many leading personalities, professionals and businessmen of La extraction”; “They might have been a conglomerate of inexperienced young adults of various political persuasions, but a spirit of camaraderie had begun to exude a delightful ambiance.” The narrative as a whole, however, is both coherent and readable.
An affectionate portrait of a man committed to sharing his faith and seeing his community thrive. — Kirkus Review
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