Ghana Must Read

Whenever I read English written by students in college or university, there are times I really cringe at the sort of English that they write. It is true that spoken English is much better than written English but sometimes you wonder if truly they speak the kinds of English they write.
This trend I’m sure can be blamed on social media and the short message sites that have pervaded our system nowadays. People write as they hear it and even expect you to read as you see it hence it ends in some shorthand that could look like Gaelic and not really English.
Everybody seems to be complaining except those who are writing this atrocious English. In a group on Facebook recently, some guy became an instant celebrity by describing an incident that happened to him in a trotro and honestly for some of us we thought it will only take a cryptographer to decipher the words that were used because they looked like English, sounded like Gaelic and read more like cryptography. However, the simple essay, if only we can call it that, got over a 1000 comments with half those comments just making enquiries as to what exactly the story was. The other half was the mischievous ones just making sure of perpetrating the guy’s celebrity status and I won’t be surprised if he ends up putting it on his CV, as is obvious nowadays, that he’s a very social person who makes a post on Facebook and gets over a 1000 comments. That is the measure of his sociability.
If you think I’m kidding about people using Facebook as a measure of their sociability check out Nana Abynah, the girl in the middle of the one minute premature ejaculation sex scandal on Facebook and she now has a fan page with the status as a ‘Public Figure’. Now go figure!
Now the question I keep asking is what are we doing about all this? Are we just sitting back to laugh at the English, which pretty much tells our state of mind, or we are going to make efforts to deal with it one way or the other. If we are going to choose the latter, how are we going to go about that?
Some of us believe that the reading culture of the nation is at an abysmal low and as such one very important aspect of cultivating vocabulary and experience is being lost. With the pervading influence of the internet and social media sites, more and more people are neglecting the habit of reading, even if they had any, and it is important that this is learnt at a very tender age.
To this effect, the I Believe in Reading Campaign, as I have dubbed it, was set into motion. Yes! It is a personal campaign for which I have pledged myself to support anybody, individual or organization, who is doing anything at all to inculcate a reading habit or bring back reading into Ghanaian culture.
Together with my partners, Bliss Butterfly Network and Africa Youth Writers Organization, November 2014 was declared Book Collection Month and over a thousand books were collected. Over 600 books out of the total collection were children’s books that were donated to the Tamale Regional library Children’s section. Over 200 books were also distributed to individual children chosen at random and even random children who showed interest in reading on the streets. After all it was such a random child that inspired the whole project.
The project also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Regional Library to tag along and provide volunteers during the outreach programs of the library in the dusty hinterlands in the northern region. This is to ensure that even people in the far flung communities also get to read from the mobile library van.
Obviously the focus is now on children and inasmuch as it is cliché we believe in catching them young and believing that a reading child is a leader in future. The children are the future of our nation and it is better we start early and imbibe the reading culture into them to inspire them and boost their confidence so they don’t get to become some of the adults we read from on Facebook and also we read their college essays and cringe.
Throughout the year various organizations have programs slated for reading and writing all over Ghana. Africa Writers Youth Organization in collaboration with iHav Foundation is setting it off with the Pieces for Peace Project which seeks to distribute over 500 books to 500 children in schools in Tamale and Tema. They need all the support they can get.
I know of some projects too by Pastor Francis and his organization in Bolga and I pledge to support them too just as they supported the Book Collection Month and Pieces for Peace.
If you have any project that is to inculcate reading or any aspect to improve reading in this country please let me freely inform you that you already have one volunteer here.
Call me up on 0244526203 or send me a message on Facebook, Kola Nut.
That is me doing something about improving the English of Ghanaians. You can also contribute one way or the other, so find ways of supporting.

Join us let us make Ghana a reading nation.
Like I always say
It begins with YOU!!


2 Responses to “Ghana Must Read”

  1. Kola the Nut, you have said it without mincing words. I wish you would have been more blunt. I had in mind sending out English, Literature and Language students of the various Universities to do Internships instead of National Service with the junior schools to help provide a firm and sound foundation in English (both written and spoken).
    Thanks for your initiative. Blessings Always


    • thank you very much. just left a junior high school in the Tolon district and i was in tears because they had only 18books in their library for almost 200 children.
      donated books to them!

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