James Ebo Whyte, popularly referred to as Uncle Ebo Whyte, is acclaimed as Ghana’s most successful playwright and credited with the revival of theatre in the country.
As the Director and Lead Writer of Roverman Productions, a company he founded, Uncle Ebo Whyte has written and directed over 45 plays for stage since 2008.
Since 2008, Uncle Ebo set himself an ambitious target of releasing a play every quarter, something he had successfully done until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing the closure of cinemas in the country.
His plays include Not My Husband, The Day Dad Came, Unhappy Wives Confused Husbands, Dear God Comma, Rejected, Dora Why, Blackmail and many others.
Growing up from a neighbourhood which glorifies immorality, Uncle Ebo Whyte decided to make a U-turn in his life at the age of 15 when he became a Christian and has since not turned back.
Speaking on the Springboard, Your Virtual University, a radio programme on Joy FM, he said, “The models I picked for life were at my very formative years because I grew up in a neighbourhood where we glorified immorality.
“So when I became a Christian at the age of 15, I realized that none of them were consistent with the faith that I had acquired, so I was led to take my models from the scriptures and I picked three models: Joseph, David and Daniel.”
He said there were two things common in all of them – excellence in service and faithfulness.
Faithfulness in service
Uncle Ebo Whyte noted that based on the models he picked, when he entered the job market, his commitment was to work as if he owned the company.
“I developed this philosophy to work so hard that no matter how much a company pays you, there will be a balance for God to make up and that was my focus,” he noted.
He said although God indicated to him in 1976 that he had given him theatre, that promise was fulfilled in 2008.
“Within that time, I operated on another principle that whatever your hands find to do, do it well and when his time was due, he himself ushered me into this. It was then that I discovered that it had been a training for this,” he explained.
Top ten principles
1. You are not a failure until you blame someone else: This principle changed me from a whining complaining person into someone who takes responsibility for any situation. Don’t blame anything or anyone. It is a sign of weakness. Things may not be working for you but it’s not a sign of weakness; you fail when you relinquish the responsibility for your life to someone.
2. It is the wise son who finds a juicy bone in an egg: My mother explained this in a story. She said a man gave his children eggs and asked them to decide whether to boil or fry them, but one of them took his eggs back to the chicken coop and added them to the eggs that had not yet been hatched. With time, the hen hatched the eggs that he added. He didn’t consume the eggs that were given to him; he always took them back and had chicks that grew to be hens, and his eggs now had bones. It is not everything that comes into your hands that you should consume.
3. Resurrection still happens: In my life, I have had to start over from zero before at the age of 43. Sometimes when life throws you like that, it is very easy to roll over and die but resurrection is possible.
4. Thoughts are things: In Ghana, we waste thoughts and we don’t take responsibility for them, but thoughts are things. You are where you are today because of the thoughts you have had in the past. Your thoughts create your reality, whether good or bad.
5. Excellence is its own reward: In a lot of contexts, people say they are working hard but the pay is not enough so they don’t bother any more. Excellence is also a reward, so continue delivering excellence.
6. In life, you are either having dinner or you are the dinner: In life, you are either running things and making things happen or you are running somebody’s agenda or cause, quite often at your expense, and you have to be aware of that.
7. Life is for the courageous: You need to be strong and courageous in life. Life is not for the timid.
8. Life is not fair so just get on with it: There are a lot of people who are bitter and they think they have cause to be, but they are only bitter with what reality is. If you don’t get this, you will fill your mind with so much negativity, pain and misery.
9. Never give up: No matter what life throws at you, never give up. The point at which you give up may be the turning point.
10. A lot can happen in a very short time: Sometimes, you have to start again but don’t worry because a lot can happen in a short time. The right thing might take a few months.