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Spirit Boy - Paul Apowida

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Spirit Boy - The autobiography of Paul Apowida

‘My name is Paul Apowida and I am a spirit child.  My family believed I was evil and that I was to blame for the deaths of my parents.  Before I was five years old, I had been poisoned three times by men trying to kill me.  This is the story of how I escaped death and how my life has changed my country forever.’

Paul Apowida, one of AfriKids' first beneficiaries, has writen a book to tell his story. His autobiography Spirit Boy, ghostwritten by Lyndsey Jenkins and published by Silvertail Books, was published in November 2013, with proceeds going to AfriKids. 

Paul Apowida was born in the remote village of Sirigu in northern Ghana. When he was a baby several members of his family, including his parents, died suddenly. Soon afterwards, his terrified community, who did not understand what caused the deaths, concluded the infant Paul must have been responsible because he was possessed by evil spirits – he was a ‘spirit child’. They believed that if he was not killed quickly these spirits would cause more deaths. And so, following a decision by his uncle, Paul was poisoned with herbs by a local ‘concoction man’ and left outside to die in the merciless heat of the African sun. 

But Paul survived and Spirit Boy is his story – the incredible tale of his brutally traumatic early life and the remarkable journey he subsequently went on. Over the next twenty-seven years the boy with the unimaginably tragic background became a truly inspiring man, a decorated soldier in the British Army and a successful artist who at the end of 2011 went back to Sirigu for the first time since he was a baby. 

Spirit Boy tells Paul’s story in all its tragic and inspiring detail, from the loneliness and fear of growing up without his family and not understanding why to finding out the truth about his background, making huge decisions to leave his home country and join the British Army, serving in Afghanistan and then, the most terrifying moment of his life, returning home to Sirigu to face the men who tried to kill him. 

'It is a miracle that Paul survived. His story is inspirational and shows clearly that out of deep suffering creativity can grow and flourish.'
Terry Waite CBE

To find out more about AfriKids’ work with the Spirit Child Phenomenon

To find out about AfriKids’ work with the Spirit Child Phenomenon in Kassana Nankana in the Upper East Region of Ghana please click here
To watch a documentary with BAFTA and Emmy award-winning journalist, Sorious Samura on AfriKids’ approach to aid and sustainable development, including AfriKids’ work on the Spirit Child Phenomenon, please click here

To view the press coverage that Spirit Boy received please click here

  • A Catalogue of Artwork by Paul Apowida Download