In the heart of Kumasi lies Ghana’s bistro capital. Bantama hosts a daily night carnival. After dusk, shops close, shop fronts clear, and seats and tables are set. Bars and pubs open. Drink and meat freely flow. Men and women pour into the streets in brightly coloured clothes.
We espied a guy in a custard-coloured suit and hat, and another all in scarlet. Many a young man streaks a medium, white towel out of his back pocket, almost scything the street. Many a woman spikes school-rules, short, natural hair. They leave their inflated bosoms fairly out to treat, and swim from sidewalk to sidewalk in miniskirts or hugging jeans. The more mature males don hats from far-flung cultures.
We were touring for the famous British Pub. Legend has all the city capos haunting it at night. We cruised through many connecting streets. We did not find the pub. I asked a kebab boy. For “British Pub” he heard “Spar”. Between horror and suppressed snicker, I did not resist the urge to ask if he had Cane-Rat kebab.
A cabbie stopped to help. He acquired a fatuous frown, and said he did not know the “Parrrrrrr”. We sullenly settled for the “Soul Bar”. It did not have half the soul its name promised. It is a hatchery for fat, blood-sucking mozzies, and a flower/sewer garden.
Bantama is a street. Bantama is a scene. Bantama is a curious crowd. Bantama is musical. Bantama is the heartbeat of Kumasi at night. The name “Bantama” suffers from the ugliness of English spelling. I gather it should properly be spelt something like Baantoma.