Afua Ataa Twumwaa Bampoh is a Ghanaian senior in Columbia College majoring in Financial Economics. She was once treasurer for the ASA and also served on the Afropolitan Planning Committee. She loves travelling, cooking, and exploring all things cultural. Our dear Afua has a twin brother and three older siblings.
How did you learn about the ASA? How did you join the ASA?
When I got to Columbia, I had three people who I already knew: Adwoa, Stephen, and Clement. Adwoa was more or less my school mother. She told me about the different events and groups on campus. She was like do you want to come to ASA? So I went with her to an ASA meeting one Morning night and I was like oo…these are people that I know, people that I can connect with, people who have similar backgrounds, or different backgrounds that I want to learn about, so why not? Then I started going to ASA.
Over the past four years, which ASA events have been most enjoyable?
Hmmm, ASA events…I like Mafia Night and then Afropolitan.
So why Mafia? Is it that you like killing people? Have you ever been a Mafia?
Yes, I have. I like Mafia because for some reason everybody seems more relaxed. I mean ASA meetings are relaxed. Yeah, people feel at home at lot, but people are more relaxed on Mafia Night. Normally on Monday nights, people come out with their bags are on their laptops but on Mafia Night people are much more relaxed. I think it is because it’s on the last day of school as well. Even though people are shooting each other, they are connecting at different levels and it is always an easy going atmosphere. And it is always fun to play games with people you know.
What about Afropolitan, what do you love about Afropolitan?
Again, it’s the culture; the way people are willing to be a part of something like that. Because normally, you don’t get people willing to be on stage or to expose their culture. For instance, when I was planning it with the skits, people were like I’ll be this, I’ll be that; people want to be funny… and even with the food, people want to help serve. It is amazing that people are willing to be a part of a show like that. Plus it’s a cultural show. I like it when I get the chance to tell my story to people. You don’t get that chance very often, you know?
You starred in the skit during Afropolitan in my first year and you were phenomenal in Kambi’s Decalage. How was the transformation from acting on stage in Afropolitan to being in Decalage?
Now, on stage in Afropolitan, it wasn’t very formal. It was just like you say this and I respond. I was comfortable in my own skin because I was doing it based on what I felt. Now, for Decalage, I had never done theatre before so I didn’t even think I could act. And Wangari came to me and said, “Why don’t you read over this script and see if you can do it?” And I was like this is my senior year; I want to do something different so I did. But when I realized the role that I was in -one of the major roles- at some point I was like Kambi, can you cut some of my lines? But one of the reasons why I said yes to the role was because every single part of the play resonated with some part of me and I thought it would be amazing to work with people who also liked the script and were willing to relay the message. A major difference between Afropolitan was that I was familiar with the cast of Afropolitan. Besides Kwasi, I wasn’t familiar with the cast of Decalage. And another thing about Columbia is that it is hard to make strong connections, but through Decalage (which is sad that it is rather in my 4th year) I found different people, different cultures, Black American, people who have experiences of both the African and American sides to share such wonderful stories and experiences with.
Do you see yourself doing more theatre in the near future?
If I get the opportunity, yes. I’m not sure if I’ll go looking but if the opportunity comes, I’ll take it.
We’ll be looking forward to an OSCAR
[Giggles…] Hopefully, I’ll become the next Lupita, “My dreams are valid.”
So you’ll be graduating in a couple weeks. How are you winding down your Columbia life?
It’s true. When I think about it; I’m like, wow, from 4 years to 5 weeks? That’s crazy but then my senior year has been good and it hasn’t been as fast paced and stressful as the past four years so it’s been a good tempo in my last few days here.
But before I move into the real world as people say, I want to make the most of my last few days here and I don’t even know what that means but I want to make sure that I don’t lose sight of things; even my connections with other people. For some reason, this semester I have been able to go out more, talk to different people more, and do different things. Normally, my Spring Break I don’t do much but this time I went to Puerto Rico with people I knew and didn’t know just to make sure that I make the most of my time.
Senior words of Wisdom. For those of us still in Columbia, first of all, what improvements would you like to see in the ASA and for the general folks out here what advice do you have for us?
I love the ASA family and I really like the fact that people realize that it is a family. But one thing we need to realize is, and we sometimes take it for granted, that you have people you can actually connect with and some people that you can fall back to when there is a problem. A lot of people consider family as people you can talk to and hang out with on Mondays but we should also realize that these are your siblings. So you should connect well with them. When you see them on Low, don’t just walk by, say hi because this is a big school and you can easily lose out on connections. Also, I think we should make the most out of our meetings. We should not just sit and talk about issues. It’ll be very helpful if we can ask during the meeting how we can apply this to us, to our school community and to continent.
So you talked about the ASA family. Have you found anyone in the family who you click with?
Wait, what do you mean?
Someone who’s pulled some strings on Afua’s heart over the past four years?
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I haven’t. Not in ASA.
Right now, no. There’s no one.
Alright, then all the best with the search.
I’m still looking…I’ll find the best person.
We’ll be waiting for those bells.
I’ll send ASA an invite.
What does the future look like for Afua?
Well, when I graduate I’ll be working with Goldman Sachs here in New York. I’m grateful for that experience. I was looking for it and I got it. I’ve been blessed by God so I hope to make the most of it.
I also want to be able to go to grad school and eventually get back home and make a difference there. Of course, I want to make a difference in something I like doing, something that I’m good at so that will be in finance. But I also have an interest in child development. So I want to find a way of improving child development in Ghana. That has nothing to do with finance but I’m still very much interested in it.
God be my helper, He’ll direct my path and show me what to do. And then Afua too will get married in the future.
Ah, I’ll be there to eat some Banku and Okra stew.
Thank you very much, Afua. You’ve been an inspiration to us and we wish you all the best.
Afua, Thank You for all your contributions to ASA! We wish you the BEST of luck in the future and will take you up on the invite to your future wedding! ;)