It seems the Ghanaian art scene is not going to allow accusations of abuse levelled against Accra Dot Alt co-founder Mantse Aryeequaye slide easily.
For more than a month now, individuals in the art community have been talking about how Mantse allegedly abused his other co-founder and now ex-lover, Dr Sionne Neely.
Accra Dot Alt, which the two co-founded, is the institution behind the world-famous Chale Wote Street Arts Festival, Sabolai Radio and other art programmes.
In a September 3 post, Dr Neely publically wrote about the alleged abuse for the first time – this gave a lot of people in the community the first time the heard about the issue for the first time in her own words.
Titled “speaking my truth,” Dr Neely’s recounts a moment when she was allegedly detained in her own home by Mantse.
“I hereby state that during the course of a decade-long relationship with Mantse Aryeequaye, I experienced multiple instances of violence, terror, intimidation and coercion,” Dr Neely wrote.
She recalled one night on December 29, 2017, where “for more than 3 hours I was held hostage in our shared flat, physically and emotionally tortured and coerced into audio-recording false statements while my life was being threatened with two weapons.”
“Mantse had accused me of having affairs with multiple men, which I vehemently denied. After assaulting me, he forced me to record false statements about these innocent persons, persistently stopping in between recordings to threaten to kill me if I did not speak,” Dr Neely said.
“At a later time, these multiple recordings were edited into two files that removed any other threatening expressions by Mantse; he then shared these files with a number of persons in Ghana as well as various members of my family and close friends in the U.S,” she added.
“This was in an effort to discredit me and the abuse he enacted upon me. I share these intimate details now in case the false recording is now released in a further effort to discredit this statement,” the Accra Dot Alt co-founder said.
Manste has not publically responded to these allegations.
For this, the joint statement from artists, activists, and sympathizers in Ghana’s arts community called on Mantse “to do what is necessary and respectful by responding to the allegations of physical and emotional abuse laid against him, committing himself to all the processes necessary to resolve this matter and to the same glare of truth that he expects to shine on other members of our community.”
The three-point statement also called out Mantse for reportedly recruiting the police to interrogate and harass members of the arts community who confront him about Dr Neely’s allegations.
We “condemn all forms of abuse in the arts community and declare our collective support for Dr Neely,” the statement also added.
“In the event that Mr Aryeequaye chooses not to respond, we will exercise our right to collectively boycott events that he is involved with,” the statement added.
You can read the joint statement from the members and friends of Ghana’s Arts Community here.
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