Archive for March, 2013

Insomniac Blues

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 26, 2013 by kola

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i do not know what is happening lately but then i am getting worried that i can’t sleep at night. it is not like it is a new phenomenon with me because i have gone hours on end without even yawning. if my memory serves me right i think i once did 32 hours without sleep and it wasn’t like i was inactive. i am an avid sportsman and this feat was achieved during one of our inter-colleges sports and athletic meets when i was in high school.

why do i let my sleep pattern bother me in recent times, i do not really know but it seems that the more people hear about my condition, the more they think i need help. if i did need help, i wont have to go very far because my mom is a retired nurse who gave her due as a hero of this country for forty good years. in her own words she spent forty years changing bed pans and cleaning people’s vomit. well she paid her dues and thank God she is now retired.

furthermore if i really needed help and it was spiritual i didn’t have to look very far. my dad is a reverend minister who will by the Holy Spirit exorcise all the sleepless evil out of my system.

so why do i let it bother me. quite recently i have made a lot of ‘friends’ and these friends have come to get closer to me because i have a good ear for bullshit and i give it out in equal amounts although i am quite circumspect about dishing it out. i have also come to develop a tough skin and being a cynic nothing really gets past me and gets me emotional apart from idiocy and sheer stupidity.

my friends, having realized i don’t sleep at night will call at odd hours wanting to talk because they cant sleep. they have come to realize that if they wanted somebody to talk to at any time of the night, then at least there is one nut who is always awake. funnily enough, sometimes i can force myself to sleep especially when i have meetings to attend in the morning and these are the times i wake up with the most missed calls on my phones.

for those my friends who think i am a chronic insomniac i keep referring them to the wikipedia catalogue on insomnia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insomnia) and upon careful study of the symptoms and cure for insomnia i do not think i am sick.

so as i sit here, i have decided for the last time that i will not be bothered with and by what snide remarks people pass about me to me or behind my back. there is nothing to change about being the absolutely fabulous person that i am.

hey, call me anytime you want and at the end of the day i decide which calls to take and which ones not to take. if i don’t pick up then i’m asleep because i sometimes also need the company via phone instead of in the mazes and labyrinths of cyber space and social media.

well, it is time to make a decision and like we always say, it is best to sleep on it. how do i make a decision if i can not sleep.

My #BlogCamp13 Troubles. Was it worth it?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 24, 2013 by kola

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It is 23-3-2013 and the D-Day of #BlogCamp13.  Apart from a date (no pun intended) in the evening with one of the cutest daughters of Eve I know, my schedule has been cleared for weeks including coordinating a coast to coast tour package for Keta to Axim which would have fetched some good money. But hey, who am I to miss out on an event set up by like-minded people, people who want to see Ghana do well alongside the rest of the world especially when it comes to ICT and using online resources. These are serious people (@BloggingGhana) who are serious about projecting Ghana’s image in different ways, in all the different respects and in all the different related topics to society ranging from text blogs, picture blogs and just general blogs. This they do through social media and with all the technological devices available.

Prior to the day of #BlogCamp13 I was psyched up for this, being among the first to register for the event. But time constraints had prevented me being at any of the pre-camp events which were a prelude to the main event. Furthermore hearing good things about the last camp, even made the anticipation grow leaps and bounds.

On the eve of #BlogCamp13 it had been a school day and a late night out. I could not resist an Accra City Blues Moment when I had found myself near the Korle Lagoon and I needed to see what that area looked like at night. Accra City Blues is an initiative I started with my friends @ofoli_kwei and @dcdynamics that roamed the streets of Accra raising various issues of Urban Life on social media especially after dark. We intend to get stories titled Urban Chronicles and as we travel to different cities we Chronicle our experiences in whatever city for example #Tamale Chronicles which became very popular on my Facebook wall based on my travels to Tamale in the past.

#AccraCityBlues involves writing on social media everyday events that are typical to urban life like a trotro ride with a woman who bleaches during the day and alternatively kayayei going to sleep in dirty streets after a hard day at work. On this night in particular, I discovered that there has been a proliferation of makeshift pubs on the Korle Bu – Mamprobi route which means that more and more people are consuming alcohol in Accra and we need to figure out why.

#BlogCamp13 is here. It is D-Day and I almost oversleep until that call wakes me up. It is my father-in-law’s daughter who works more effectively than an alarm clock when I have to be at events. I attempt to go back to bed and just ignore her but now she calls all three of my phones simultaneously until I pick one up to confirm that I am awake. What would I do without an alarm clock like that?

The first thing I do is to attempt to go the bathroom and get freshened up and ready to hit the road. My bathroom has been taken over by some visitors I have in my house and apparently it is so comfy one of them was seemingly asleep in there. I have a long way to go, I think, so I rush downstairs to the standing tap and take a wash down right there at the tap then back upstairs to jump into my already ironed clothes, thanks to ECG.

 I have to go all the way to Teshie Kofi Annan Peace Training Center, where I think the event is going to be held. Yeah right! Shake your head at me. That is where I thought the event was going to be held and apparently I wasn’t the only one. Sorry to my fellows who got lost, we are kindred spirits.

When people tell me that Sowutuom (where I live) is far I retort that we live in a global world where at the touch of a button you can be in another part of the world reading experiences of people as if you were there yourself. Why can’t we apply that to transport? We read about other places and get to share experiences because somebody has taken their time to paint the picture in words or pictures for you and that is the blog or through social media. This is what #BlogCamp13 is about I think.

So I first jumped into a Lapaz trotro and the driver’s mate had the pungent overnight odor like he had slept in his clothes. Who cared? I was on my way to #BlogCamp2013. Next I boarded a car from Lapaz bound for Teshie Nungua because the venue I was thinking about lay on that route. The trotro moments were interesting like de fish selling woman who ate a whole breakfast of kenkey, fish and ‘wele’ in a polythene bag right there on the trotro. Furthermore, like in every trotro interesting conversations developed and I will admonish people who really want to blog on social issues to just board a trotro once in a while. There is a dearth of information in one trotro ride than will take you a day to research on the same issue in a library or online.

Today the trotro conversation was moderated by a well dressed young man who claimed to be from Kwahu, a region in Ghana known for its astute businessmen. The Kwahus also like a favorite animal for their soup and that is the bat. His whole conversation was hinged on the bats that were roving freely and flying atop the trees at the 37 Military Hospital. This young man had heard that the soldiers will not allow anybody to even attempt to catch a single bat unless at a time when one morning the bats were hunted down and given to the people around who wanted them for all kinds of favorite soups.

His contention was that if Kwahus were allowed to hunt these bats freely, the bats wouldn’t the nuisance people claimed them to be. He gave a whole cooking program recipe on how to prepare bat soup where the whole soup resides in the bosom of the bat and to get some of the soup you have to press the bosom also known as ‘mia ni bu’ (press its chest). He also talked about the current Asantehene being an astute businessman consolidating all the Asante projects and promoting the kingdom through education by setting an example himself of enrolling in Regent University as a student. The humor part of the conversation was when he said that if there was a sea In Kumasi, the Asantehene would have put a wall around it and gained revenue for it from eco-tourism. This I found pretty interesting.

Early morning drive through the streets of Accra and people milling about going about their usual business. Typical commercial drivers weave through lanes always in a hurry. Finally I get to the Kofi Annan centre at Teshie and am surprised not to see any people going in or out. Baffled, I walk across the street to the security gate only to be told that I had to go to the centre’s ICT annex. I leave you to imagine the expletives that went on in my head but I calmly asked the security where it was located. He politely told me to head back to Accra mainland. Now I get back into another trotro and try to call @ofoli_kwei. Then I remember his phone number that I have is the one he lost a few weeks back. Oh chale! Another wahala in the making when I discovered I had lost my wallet in the first trotro but had some coins to pay for the fare to Osu then resort to walking past the Stadium, the Osu Cemetery, the State House then the Scholarship Secretariat to the AITI Centre with 2 laptops – one in a back pack on my back and the other slinging on my arm.

Like everything else that I do, the walking was tiring but it was fun. Never believing in coincidences and taking advantage of every situation, I found the walk through the Osu area opposite the Castle Road, the former seat of Ghana’s government very enlightening with how the Ga local people go about their Saturday mornings, their social sleeping arrangements in compact compound houses and general welfare. Meeting the old woman who was obviously older than the obituary on her door reminded me of Achebe’s proverb “an old lady gets uneasy at the mention of old bones and death”. Quite ironical, in this case, to live in a house with an obituary poster of another woman you are older than on your door.

For the events at @BloggingGhana’s #BlogCamp13, you just have to log on to twitter and follow the hash tags and if you are a good reader, a marvelous story will unfold before you. I say Ayekoo to the organizers and sponsors of the #BlogCamp13 and @BloggingGhana Awards. Kudos to all the award winners, keep up the good work of putting Ghana on the map of the world. We are a small country but with our voices raised, we can shout with our fingers and our pictures too.

As for me, I will tell my story later.

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Remembering Chinua Achebe

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2013 by kola

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“I believe in the complexity of the human story and that there’s no way you can tell that story in one way and say, This is it. Always there will be someone who can tell it differently depending on where they are standing; the same person telling the story will tell it differently. I think of that masquerade in Igbo festivals that dances in the public arena. The Igbo people say, If you want to see it well, you must not stand in one place. The masquerade is moving through this big arena. Dancing. If you’re rooted to a spot, you miss a lot of the grace. So you keep moving, and this is the way I think the world’s stories should be told—from many different perspectives.”
― Chinua Achebe

So I woke up this morning, yawning through my insomniac eyes and thanked God for a beautiful day. Little did I know that my Africa was in turmoil. A literary giant baobab had fallen. Chinua Achebe, it was reported and as I have come to know, had gone up to join the ancestors in the grand durbar in Heaven.

In honor of his memory I decided to share some quotes from his books and eulogize the man who pioneered African writing, who stood a lone pale figure and told the white man ‘to go and eat shit’ literally.

I am sharing my facebook statuses as I have them on my page.. Mind you, I am not trying to do an anthology of quotes but it is just that I feel sentimental about Africa losing a literary giant that Achebe is.

1.  As a man comes into this world ..so will he go out of it. When a titled man dies his anklets of title are cut so he will return as he came. The Christians are right when they say that as it was in the beginning so it will be in the end.
– Chinua Achebe, No Longer At Ease

You brought out traditional perspectives as against the imported Christianity like no other showing their similarities and differences
Rest IN Peace
#RememberingAchebe

2. “Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am – and what I need – is something I have to find out myself.” 

― Chinua Achebe

You set out to making us discover ourselves as Africans  within the global context. We did not need the white man to tell us who we were.

Rest IN Peace

#RememberingAchebe

3. “When a man says yes his chi says yes also.”
– Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Your Chi blessed us all with a new literary genre and started The Empire Writes Back Movement.
Rest IN Peace
#RememberingAchebe

4. What kind of power was it if everybody knew that it would never be used? Better to say that it was not there, that it was no more than the power in the anus of the proud dog who tried to put out a furnace with his puny fart….”
– Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God

Rest IN Peace
#RememberingAchebe

5. “If I hold her hand she says, ‘Don’t touch!’
If I hold her foot she says ‘Don’t touch!’
But when I hold her waist-beads she pretends not to know.”

― Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

5.  “Only a foolish man can go after a leopard with his bare hands.”
– Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God

But like a fool you went after the white man with only your pen and traditions to prove him wrong about Africa. That Africa was not a Dark Continent but just misunderstood. Thus like the great wrestler of Umuofia you paved the way for other writers to follow in your stead.
Sometimes the fool is wise.
Rest IN Peace
#RememberingAchebe

6. “Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.”
– Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Death has shot you with its icy arrows Prof
Rest IN Peace!
#RememberingAchebe

7.  You cannot plant greatness as you plant yams or maize. Who ever planted an iroko tree—the greatest tree in the forest? You may collect all the iroko seeds in the world, open the soil and put them there. It will be in vain. The great tree chooses where to grow and we find it there, so it is with the greatness in men.
— CHINUA ACHEBE, No Longer at Ease

Achebe was writing Things Fall Apart in reaction to Joyce Cary’s Mr Johnson and Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness which portrayed Africa and put the stamp on Africa as The Dark Continent full of primitive peoples and barbaric acts, a people who did not want to be ‘civilized’.
Achebe’s contention was that if the white man did not understand the African culture there was no need to condemn it and he took a stand against the British colonizers as rather being barbaric in their quest to conquer the world by forcing civilization on Africa through the use of Christianity.
In his works therefore, he takes pains to explain the customs of his Igbo people and through proverbs and rhetoric pointed out the African social systems in all aspects be it political, social norms, religion, taboos, education, you name it.
By this Achebe pioneered a movement where African writers now started to write back using extensively transliteration as can be seen especially in Ama Ata Aidoo’s plays, Ayi Kwei Armah & Kofi Awoonor’s satiric novels and also Attuquaye Okine’s poems. This movement has been known as The Empire Writes Back because it was time to go against what perceptions existed in the world about Africa.
To borrow another proverb from Soyinka, a contemporary (still alive) ‘until the lion learns to talk, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter’. Africa, through Achebe’s pioneering works, had gained a voice and has been talking back since.

8.  “If you don;t like somebody’s story, write your own”

– Chinua Achebe
Achebe did not like both Joyce Cary’s and Joseph Conrad’s stories so he wrote his own. He saved our progeny from blundering like blind beggars into the spikes of the cactus fence. His stories are our escort; without it, we are blind.

9.  “Go back and tel Ezidemili to eat shit. Do you hear me? Tell Ezidemili that Ezeulu says he should go and fill his mouth with shit. As for you, young man, you may go in peace because the world is no longer what it was. if the world had been what it was i would have given you something to remind you always of the day you put your head into the mouth of a leopard.”
– Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God

You put it defiantly to the west that they could shove their perceptions about Africa where the sun don’t shine. This positive defiance was a characteristic trait that our leaders needed in the struggle for independence.
Rest IN Peace
#RememberingAchebe

10.  “They seemed to release his spirit. He no longer felt guilt. He too, had died. Beyond death there are no ideals and no humbug, only reality. The patient idealist says, ‘give me a place to stand and i shall move the earth.’ But such a place does not exist. We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. the most horrible sight in the world can not put out the eye. The death of a mother is not like a palm tree bearing fruit at the end of its leaf, no matter how much we want to make it so. And that is the only illusion we have.”
– Chinua Achebe, No Longer At Ease

Rest in the bosom of our Lord as we thank Him for blessing you with your talent which you shared with the rest of the world.
Rest IN Peace
#RememberingAchebe

Colored Girls

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2013 by kola

for-colored-girls-poster

i wrote this when i saw the touching movie about what different categories of black women have to go through every day as portrayed in America but is prevalent all over the world.
it is my point of view and is subject to discussion. let us open the dialogue and talk about the issues at stake in this world that we live in.

i saw colored gals
the movie
and i was moved
saw how black mothers
black sisters
black corporate women
black philanthropists
black hustlers
black students
they all got their grooves on..

the black mother struggles to keep her children safe
keep herself on the border line of sanity
the corporate woman is apathetic
she has higher education
she’s been deceived it’s a land of equal opportunity
deceived by her education
deceived by the corporatocracy..

the black philanthropist helps others
but does not practice what she preaches
other philanthropist
helps young girls get out of the ghetto
through sex-expressive dance
but gets drawn into a ‘situation’
ironic!

colored gals try to work together
yet separated by the ideals
giving advise on how to deal with life
yet caught in the middle
defiled by life in the end..

did she she really slap the corpse
OMG!! *sniffles*

the black mother
abused by religion
tearing her daughters apart
both are victims of abuse
right from the cradle
lured with the importance of money
sure of the power of money
and the dread of the lack of money..

what is it with colored gals
that touches me in places i did nott know existed
is it the language its scripted in
oh! such beautiful language
poetic! even
reminds me of other stories
Get rich or Die trying
Poetic Justice
and Eve’s Bayou..
Dr. Maya Angelou?

soundtrack of Colored Girls
should be aptly titled
Anthology of Colored Girls..

colored girls
the struggle goes on..

movie trailer

further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_Colored_Girls

Dark Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2013 by kola

So a friend of mine posted on his social media page that he could see the stars out so bright and I said to myself ‘wow! That must be a wonderful sight.’ It is a marvelous blessing to see the constellation so magnificent in the sky especially in an urban city like Accra.

Apart from the nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, what else came to mind was that if he could view the beauty of the constellation then like everything else in Ghana presently there must be a downside. To every blessing in Ghana now is attached a misfortune in disguise.

It did not take me long to fathom what this misfortune in disguise was and as by now most of my Ghanaian readers would have also made the connection, this good friend of mine was sleeping in the dark. His electricity, as that of his whole community, was off. This is what had made him resort to admiring the constellations instead of thinking of the woes of the land of his birth.

As I sit in the dark and pen these random thoughts that come to mind, using the lights reflected off from my Techno T9 phone (yes, it is a China phone without a torchlight, very rare) I sit naked at the window of my upstairs apartment letting the cool breeze wash over me. There is no electricity as far as my eyes can see and the whole area for miles around is in darkness. Even the police station across the road is swathed in darkness and I wonder what kind of law enforcement will be done in the darkness. The electricity is no respecter of persons and unless a person can afford a generator then that person covered in the blanket of darkness like everybody else.

There are no lights as far as my eyes can see. The whole community for miles is in a blanket of darkness as there is no moon, there are no stars and all I hear is the occasional chirping of birds, crickets making their usual noises. If it was the raining season, I am sure I would have heard the frog choir in full gruff melody but since that burst water pipeline created a pool at the end of the street for over a week; I can hear the occasional frog croak in search of a mate. That makes me wonder if in the sweltering heat even the frog would enjoy the mating moments with the mosquitoes being overlords of the pooled water.

So the same phone that provides me with lighting to pen down my random thoughts is the same phone I’m using to browse the social media circuit to keep abreast of what is going on with the rest of the world. I might be sitting in the dark but I don’t want to be in the dark when it comes to events all around the world and me. After all, the whole world is not dark abi? Talk about multitasking in the dark. In times like this I do thank my Maker that I live alone half the time because the last time I was caught in such a situation I had to provide to a ‘standing fan’ for another person to be able to brave the heat and sleep. That is to say me standing to fan the other person to sleep. What a task!

Those of us who attended high school in the old Common Entrance days will remember with nostalgia the days of ‘senior da oh da.  senior da ansa na ma da’[1] whilst we the junior boys fanned our seniors in school to sleep. We also reciprocated when we became seniors, letting junior boys fan us to sleep and the cycle continued way after we even completed school when those junior boys also became seniors after we had left.

So it begs the question, after 56years of independence, are we moving forward as a nation, are we marking time or we are rather trudging backwards with vim? Does Kwame Nkrumah’s slogan ‘Forwards Ever Backwards Never’ apply to any situation in Ghana presently? Maybe yes because instead of using ‘bobo’ lanterns to provide lights to write this blog, I could choose to use, as most people do, a Chinese manufactured, battery operated halogen lamp or as I am doing now just the reflection of the lights from my Chinese manufactured phone. That could be progress abi? That is moving forward. Or?

Not to delve into Ghanaian politics but the much touted Better Ghana Agenda has really made Ghana better indeed by raising our hopes. At 56years after independence, should we still be hoping?

Yeah I know! I know I am raising more questions than answers but as I brave the mosquitoes in this darkness, penning down these random thoughts, spurred on by my good friend’s observation of the beauty of the stars, I wonder what difference I can make. Then I am reminded of a saying I swear to have seen somewhere that if you think you are too little to make a major or significant impact, they you have never been in a dark room (with darkness as far as the eye can see) with a single mosquito.

Ghana belongs to me and you. Let us strive to make a difference no matter how small.

Long live Ghana!


[1] Song in Twi sang as lullaby whilst juniors in high school stood at the bed of seniors.

Senior sleep oh sleep, senior sleep before I sleep.

THE DUSTER & THE DRIVER

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2013 by kola

KWAME GYAN'S BLOG

(this was inspired by my morning ride partner, Joan Coleman)

Next time you step out of your house in search of a trotro or perhaps riding in your car, observe what I’m about to tell you.

The duster is that almost ‘four square’ piece of cloth drivers often use to clean (well) dust off their cars. They are often yellow in colour. Aside the fact that the yellow may be so faded that you may see them as white or cream, we’ve lately had some designer dusters in town. Some have flowery designs in them and are found in various colours.

So that is the duster. It is primarily intended for wiping off stuff from the outside or inside of a car. But guess what, it has a lot more uses than we know, at least as far as a taxi or trotro driver is concerned.

Duster as a Sun…

View original post 401 more words

On The Eve of 56 years of Ghana’s Independence

Posted in Uncategorized on March 6, 2013 by kola

On the eve of Ghana’s 56th Independence Day, I went to town and made the following observations about the true state of our nation Ghana. Our founding fathers who sought for Ghana to be truly independent I am sure will be turning in their graves.

First off, I woke up with no electricity. The Akosombo hydro-electric dam that had been built by the nation’s founder Dr Kwame Nkrumah still remains the main source of energy. The energy that used to cater for a few million Ghanaians now caters for several more millions 50 times over and present and past governments have not seen it fit to expand the electricity that Ghanaians use. It is however interesting that Ghana has still not abrogated its contract of supplying electricity to its neighbors Burkina Faso and Benin who have recently sent a delegation to the president of Ghana seeking to appeal for more electricity to be supplied to them, with population increases and other reasons, when Ghana itself is going through a load shedding due to inadequate supply. Ironic really!

Putting on a shirt that isn’t too crumpled, I jump into my jeans and I head off to town. It is only when I step out of my house that I hear most radio stations playing a particular voice. It seems as if all stations are tuned in to that voice and I notice folk with transistor radios listening with rapt attention. It is only then that I am reminded that it is the presentation of the budget to parliament and the nation by the Minister of Finance. I laugh softly to myself when the thought occurs to me that most of the people listening with such rapt attention hardly understand half the economic jargons the minister is going to say.

I also get a flashback to the day before when a friend of mine, a journalist had put up a post on social media to weigh public opinion on what to expect from the budget and another friend had replied “2013 budget: blah blah blah blah yeah! Yeah!” That is to say that what the minister will say about the budget was going to be a lot of hogwash but then the majority in parliament will say it’s the best budget ever and the minority will probably be bearing placards that read “STEALERS”.

As for me my contribution to his opinion poll post was to say that I did not even know that the budget was going to be presented on the eve of Ghana’s Independence Day but the significance was not lost on me especially with the recent hike in fuel prices which has had a rippling effect on the prices of goods and services in the country.

I smiled all the way as I sat in the trotro and used my phone to connect to the internet to see what people were saying about the budget being presented. Unfortunately there was next to nothing on all social media sites and my prognosis was right that Ghanaians did not really care what was in the budget anymore. It was for the bureaucrats to deal with and not the ordinary Ghanaian. Somehow I was disappointed but in many ways I was happy that Ghanaians have come to realize that they did not have confidence in the government of the day or any government for that matter.

My destination for the morning was to go shopping for African jewelry for a good friend of mine who lives in the States and wanted authentic African jewelry to highlight her origins in Ghana. In many instances, some people will head for the Centre for Arts and National Culture which had been created by the selfsame Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to showcase our rich heritage and culture through arts and cultural artifacts. But there are other arts and cultural villages dotted all over Accra and Ghana and this time I headed for the one at Shiashie near the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.

This art and cultural village has been in existence for years and it will interest my readers to note that even students in the University of Ghana, Legon which is 5minutes drive away do not know of its existence. This is because westernized living, culture and life forms have taken over our traditions and our youth have lost their bearing. On the eve of independence, there are no visible programs anywhere to showcase the struggle for independence. There is no platform set up visibly on the history of the country for the youth to know what kind of struggles were fought for them so they can enjoy the freedoms they call ‘swag’ of today. As Bob Marley said, ‘if we do not know our past, how do we know what our future holds for us?”

The first shop I entered in the craft village had carvings, beads and rusted machines. I was profoundly hit by the metaphor of the state of our nation Ghana. Here is a shop that once obviously had a thriving business but then here were trinkets lying about, beads scattered, machines left unattended and rusted and there was dust everywhere. Just under a tree, a few meters away, lay a young man who at that time of the morning was taking a nap. Can we relate that to any of our government agencies and ministries? Here I was, ready to spend money to buy artifacts, and the shop was just abandoned and the attendant lay snoring under a tree nearby. I just sighed and walked on.

It was my interaction with the next shop attendant and artist Danbo that made me realize the true state of events in the artist village. I realized that it was not my fault that business was not booming for them and they had been ignored so I could make the best bargains and the best deals with the little money I had in my pocket. It dawned on me then that this is exactly what the foreign investors come to do in Ghana and rape the nation and we have no say in the matter. They have the money we need to survive and being the astute businessmen that they are, they sign deals that are favorable to them. Usually we are so desperate that we do not even bother to read the fine print and just sign the deals. This is a recurring trend and a devious cycle that keeps haunting us from generation to generation.

It was a fun experience walking through the artist village and enjoying the creative ingenuity of African youth as they have carved pieces from wood and molded metal and made use of all sorts of materials to create art even drawings. But at the same time it was a sad time because on the eve of Ghana’s 56th independence day, to think that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah commissioned workable and useable Arts and Cultural centers all around Ghana, the present government is commissioning a gargantuan project that might turn out to be overambitious, The Hope Village which could very well turn out to be what it is aptly described to be ‘The African Dream’. Only posterity will be the judge of that. Let us all wait and see.

With one form of cultural heritage under my belt, I decided to feed my curiosity in another cultural heritage, music and headed for the National Theatre which was the venue of the Musicians Association of Ghana’s (MUSIGA) Ghana Music Week.

The week was slated to showcase 56 years of Ghana Music and as usual had been launched in pomp and pageantry. From the media hype that the Ghana Music Week had enjoyed, I had expected to see the National Theatre buzzing with activity but alas, I was reminded that this is Ghana.

Reports had indicated that the Ghana Music Week could be easily comparable to music festivals all over the world so I had expected to see a variety of music genres being showcased and even played simultaneously all around the theatre. The only obvious group present was a traditional cultural group just doing traditional dances that I found remarkably educative and entertaining if you know what to look out for in a traditional dance.

The other activity going on was Appietus music studio set up where some folk were playing loud music and just in there having fun and the stage being set for a concert of ‘Bless the Mike’ later on in the evening. The Bless the Mike concert was fun especially when Mutombo the Poet was invited on stage (during the ‘kasahari segment’)[i] to do his piece on ‘Finding HIpLife’ which coincided with showcasing the next generation of hip-life artists.

Ghanaian music has travelled a long way and I am happy that MUSIGA has taken a spearheading role to promote Ghanaian music both locally and abroad and check on copyright issues so musicians can benefit from their works. Musical artistes in Ghana are not appreciated for their works usually because of piracy and it is important that we all pitch in to help appreciate our own brand of music in Ghana.

From the National Theatre I decided to take a long walk through the streets of Accra. It is very fascinating and interesting to see Accra for what it is when you take a walk down the streets when they are less busy than they usually are during the day. Open drains flow freely into the streets, burst taps vomit out treated water into filthy drains, water hydrants leak freely, filth piled on the streets from daily activities and the best of all, late night food vending for the street dwellers.

Our nation Ghana, on the eve of its 56th independence day needs to wake up from its sleep in the shade. Juxtaposed to the refurbished and rebranded GOIL gas station is the Trades Union Congress (TUC) building which has not seen any renovation in a while with rusted air conditioners sticking out of windows like rusted tucks in the building. Just a few meters away is the Telecom giant TIGO with its magnificent blue glazed edifice. Need I say more?

But the most fascinating moment of the journey was joining my fellow street dwellers at a wayside eatery run by 3 northerners who in spite of the darkness (lights off) balanced torches between their head and shoulders, on their neck, to illuminate the food they were serving to de throng of people lining up to buy their food. The foods on the menu were egg sandwiches, noodles and jollof rice. In my opinion, people thronged to these guys not only because they were men trying to make a buck but also because the food was served hot at all times. The jollof was served direct from the coal pot on which the cauldron was placed and it was very affordable too.

My earlier statement that the average Joe did not need any government rhetoric in order to survive was epitomized by these young men, who had migrated from the northern regions to the capital and found a business for themselves. Whatever budget the government presents, they are in no position to understand half of it for it to make a difference in their lives.

But 56 years after independence, we still have a public transport system that works from 6am to 7pm and after that if you want to go anywhere you are virtually stranded like some market women I met on my walk from the National Theatre to Kaneshie.

They had waited to catch a trotro but since none was forthcoming they had to keep walking and hope to get to Kaneshie station to get a bus home. Even at Kaneshie there were more people waiting to catch a bus home and you would not believe how late it was. One would think it was early evening. Is this the kind of system Dr Nkrumah envisaged in his 7year Development plan after independence?

Well, these are my random thoughts as Ghana heads into celebrating another Independence Day. Will it all be about marching past and showcasing our incompetence and ignorance? Will our independence be reduced to just funfair with no recourse to building on our developments?

God has already blessed our homeland Ghana!

Long Live Our Motherland Ghana!


[i] Kasahari is the Twi word for rap