Archive for April, 2016

Giant Bullies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 28, 2016 by kola

This post is inspired by the fact that it is being written as part of a new series I’m introducing on my blog,  #ThrowbackThursdays where every Thursday I bring you a story from my past.

Today’s story comes from September 1987  when a batch of 189  students were admitted into Ghana Secondary Technical School as freshmen. Ranging from between 10-18 years, the younger ones were easy prey for the seniors in school. This was especially true because we were so tiny and as such were easily bullied.

Interestingly the first few days we were even bullied by our own mates and it took a few days for us to reckon that they were freshmen like us. This is because we were the last batch of the Middle School Leaving system so we had to enter school with older guys who were more technically inclined and they formed the core of the 18 year olds.

In our system freshmen were admitted and got to school about a fortnight before the continuing students came to school but some seniors especially perfects were around to help with orientation for freshmen. But some of the seniors were not prefects and they were there to fleece the freshmen of whatever they could get from us being as innocent and naive as we were.

Thus began the nights of being rudely awakened at night to stand by your chop boxes for inspection. Every time they came some Freshers lost a tin of something, milk or sardine, and those who didn’t have were made to feel like they had the worst coming to them when school reopened. The givers were promised protection against bullies and were convinced it was the good seniors we were interacting with during those first days.

One particular senior with a crazy cut hairstyle introduced himself as Bob Satan, would come to the Freshers dorm at nee hours with a large jute sack and wake everyone up for inspection of boxes. By te time he left, about some two hours later,that jute sack was full. And he kept coming almost every other day for the 12 days we were in school before the school actually reopened.

How could Bob Satan be good and claim that he would be a protector against the other seniors. During orientation Bob Satan will be around to scare us that if we didn’t give him our food we were going to do the hardest menial jobs around the compound when school reopened and he could ask the prefects in charge to be lenient to those he liked.

So yes we endured this for days not only from Bob Satan but other seniors like him until the day we were all assembled together as freshmen in the school  assembly hall for our various houses and classes to be allocated to us. It was on this day that we had the revelation that even some of the “seniors” who had been bullying us the smaller ones were our own mates, Freshers like us, from another dorm who had taken advantage of the situation and also joined in the fray to bully us.

For what we did to them in retaliation, that will come in another chapter of this bullying chronicles.

After that assembly, we were grouped into classes from Form 1 A to D based on our physical sizes. We stood in one long single file and the headmaster just used a cane to divide the classes and took down names. Obviously some aspects of this was hilarious because you found an older student but due to his diminutive structure in the same class with ten and eleven year olds who were full of mischief and very boisterous.

Furthermore it was obvious that  the A class will be more fun than the D class because that was where mischief dwelled.

It was also at the same assembly that we were assigned to our various dormitories: eight in all – from Richie to Einstein.

School reopened with the regular and continuing students trooping in and then we were anxious to see if all the stories we heard about bullying in secondary school was true. We had just encountered seniors like Bob Satan and even some of our own mates. Were we prepared for what lay ahead of us?

For now we had survived the first wave of bullying. With school in earnest and all freshmen in our respective dormitories, we would meet different seniors and different treatments will be meted according to which dorm you were in.

Next week the story continues…

#ThrowbackStories
#HighSchoolChronicles
#BullyingMustStop

Awarding Letters

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 28, 2016 by kola

Do not award Academic Brilliance in Africa
When I saw the news item that Ghana after 58 years of independence at 59 is still giving awards for academic performance, I immediately realized why we are where we are. Africa is late and Ghana is late. Why?

Because we focus on the weightless matters. Africa is still awarding and rewarding numeracy and literacy whilst others are rewarding ingenuity, innovation, invention and solutions to problems.

In this knowledge-based-exams-oriented regime of education, I do not believe in the intelligence of our brilliant and cleverest. Albert Einstein observed that “the sign of true intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”.  Think about this!

All it takes to be a First-Class student at any level of our educational ladder is obedience to the whims and caprices of a teacher who sees the brain of his/her students as a pot to be filled rather than an energy field to be ignited.

Africa’s bane is its way of education – an education always at the knowledge level. The ‘chew and pour’, ‘cut and paste’ education has failed us and shall continue to fail us.

It’s insanity, i mean total madness to continue to do the same thing the same way always to expect a different result.

Our way of education hardly go beyond the knowledge level being the lowest level of learning. We cram without any understanding of concepts; we recite by heart making the rote learner the favored; we study towards exams and that’s why our education cannot solve any problem.

Africa must stop rewarding these First-Class but knowledge-based-cut and paste-chew and pour laureates and start rewarding the First-Times of the continent (ingenuity – inventors, innovators  interpreneural initiators).

An educational system that is without a sense of comprehension, the power to apply what is learnt, the analytical and synthetical prowess as well as the ability to make cogent assessments and valid evaluation of given situations to solve today’s problems and give ideas for tomorrow’s possibilities is not worth its name.

Africa must stop the Textbook Education.

Our streets are choked with long queues of a people who have no clues to our challenges in spite of the cues to help us out. I do not believe in our educational systems. Yes, I don’t! And again with vehemence, I say, I don’t believe in our educational systems!

Why should I believe in an educational system that makes robots rather than thinking individuals; an education that puts all in the same mould trying to kill their individuality and the spark in every individual souls; an education that has no respect for individual talents, potentials, capabilities and abilities; an education that has no clue as to how to harness these potentials into skills relevant to today’s agenda (I doubt whether there’s any agenda to talk about); an education that is continuously creating employees that no industry needs to employ (Africa needs employers and not employees); an education that is capping seeds that must be exposed for growth; an education that allows the teacher to dominate the learning process and if you care to know, to even think for the student; an education that to be frank has no relevance to everyday life et al.

I further show you the surprises of African Education.

“African Education system has surprising outcomes. The smartest students pass with 1st Class and get admissions to medical and engineering schools. The 2nd Class students get MBAs and LLB’s to manage the First Class students. The 3rd Class students enter politics, and rule both 1st and 2nd Class students. The Failures join underworld and control politicians and businesses. And best of all, those who did not attend any school, become prophets, and everybody follows them.”

This kind of education with these kind of results, I don’t believe in it. This textbook-exams-oriented education, I don’t believe in it. And I have no apology whatsoever. I won’t recant because I can’t watch my child through this kind of education.

Our various governments in Africa are afraid to invest in education. They claim we don’t have the means but we have means to cater for their ostentatious, opulent lifestyles.

Why do they put us and our children in this unnecessary-all-fit-all-mould called African Education whereby they fly their children abroad for their education? I do not mistake the true meaning of education to mean African Education.

Education in Africa by all standards is no education but an exercise of taming the human will and power to dormancy with its dogmas instead of training it to be useful.

Africa, wake up out of your slumber and educate your children or else your development shall always mean underdevelopment.

Unfortunately, we are still preparing ‘office clerks’ to sit behind ‘office desks’ when your vast lands are left untouched and your rich resources are never beneficial to your children.

Do you still sleep on when poverty, hunger, thirst, preventable diseases and curable diseases are still killing your children incessantly? Africa, do you watch whilst the uneducated who pretend to be educated lead your whole continent into oblivion and total darkness?

That is not possible! Africa get back to work and educate us in the way of true education or else your doom is sure.

I look forward to a new Africa; an Africa with a new kind of education giving meaning to true education. An education that will make us think and act for ourselves; an education that respects the individual person and his or her abilities; an education that will ignite our brains as fuel and power to begin to burn; an education that will help us out of the colonial chains and tear down our fears; an education that will prepare the tomorrow’s person today; an education that will cause us to challenge the status-quo and push the limits; an education that will break the limitation of imitation; an education that will make the African a true African to play his or her part mightily in the global economy, technology and politics et al.

As a trailblazer, oh Ghana, don’t forget that “our independence is meaningless unless it is linked to the total liberation of the African continent” said the legend Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

But this I dare to say it differently that “our independence is meaningless unless it is linked to the total liberation of the African MIND”.

This I believe is possible through the kind of education that we offer our people and the kind of awards that we give.

Ghanaians, step beyond your textbooks and get into imagination and use your creative thought for that’s where you’ll find a new world which must become your world.

Happy 59th Independence Anniversary to you Fellow Ghanaians and Africa!

E. Quaye
Author,
Philosophic-Poet, Motivator
Lecturer, Sch. Of Theology and Missions
Valley View University.

Comedy Weekend

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 19, 2016 by kola

Sometimes it is very important to take things easy and relax from the busy schedules and the daily routines of daily life. Based on how Ghana living has become so fast paced everywhere in the country, there is the need to find an outlet for all the stress and hustle we go through daily. Most Ghanaian residents therefore use weekends to rest and attend social events such as birthdays, weddings, funerals, outdoorings etc because thats usually a welcome relief from the monotonous routine of daily life.

But what if this also becomes monotonous and boring then people further need to find other outlets. It is these outlets that the entertainment industry in Ghana provides. Musical concerts, live shows, movie premieres, food festivals, and just general meet ups all fall under this category and sometimes they prove more fun than the usual hangouts at social gatherings during weekends.

Over the years I’ve made it a point of making sure that in every month I’d attend one such show so I’m kept in the loop. This also falls in tandem with my resolute resolve to spend a weekend in every other month traveling to see a part of Ghana that I’m yet to see.

So this past weekend two of my passions unified when I had to travel to Kumasi to see the Pure Comedy show organized by SwitchLine productions which featured Ghanaian comedians like DKB, Foster Romanus, Empress Jacinta, Khemical, OB and others, with David Aglah as emcee.

With an array of comedians like this I find it pretty interesting that some Ghanaians say there are no comedy acts in Ghana and personally I think such people should rather check their sense of humor.

Patrons were served with jokes from everyday events and situations, entertainment and current fashion,  women and relationship issues, the political cacophony of an election year but the most jokes featured on the “angelic” and transformational abilities of Bishop Obinim. Almost every comedian took a crack at him and it worked.

Comedians had us laughing so hard some people ended up literally rolling on the floor. It was such a good night and worth the trip.

Being a social media freak too has its benefits cos met online friends for the first time at the event and it also became partly a social hangout obviously with lots of groupfies.

The amazing thing about social media is that it keeps you in the loop and one friend had a birthday party that was to span the whole weekend so after the comedy event, just switched into party mode. Itinerary for the party included seeing the movie premiere of the latest Ghanaian movie Amakye and Dede at one of the conference halls of KNUST.

it was a crowded space when the five of us got there and movie was billed to show 3 times (5pm, 7pm, 9pm) but organizers had to add 11pm cos of the crowds.  Being a hot movie tickets were selling at the gate at inflated prices with even security detail selling tickets or acting as middlemen (event organizers really need to check this in Ghana).

We managed to get in and the hall was crowded with people standing but boys just walked straight to the front of the screen and sat right there on the floor with the justification that after all when we watch movies at home don’t we sit on the floor. Lol

The movie is great with a beautiful story line and production quality pretty good. Actors and actresses acquitted themselves pretty well and it is a successful blend of those who act in Accra and some of those in  kumahood. Very hilarious at some points.

Having to laugh two days in a row is a blessing especially considering how much people in other places spend to be entertained. The cathartic effect of just enjoying these shows whilst meeting and making new friends is priceless.

Ghanaians need to find outlets for their pent up emotions and take time off their busy schedules to relax and just enjoy life. You see obituaries lately and many young people are dying and the life expectancy just keeps dropping. The human body needs to be content and loose at the same time and it’s not only exercise that will help but the feeling of a general well being.

However for a person to achieve a general well-being it takes a conscious effort to want to live right and live free. It’s a personal decision.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!

Presidential Buses

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 7, 2016 by kola

So something pretty interesting happened on my way back from the basketball court this evening and it really gave me a sense of the kinda society we live in.

In the changing faces of transport in Tamale now, the preferred and most popular choice  of transport for the indigenes who live am reside in Tamale and its surrounding areas is either the “mahama kambuu” aka “yellow yellow” mainly for general commuters and for the commercial purposes the “motor king” which sometimes conveys not only goods but also the market women from the outskirts of Tamale into the metropolis itself.

Now all of a sudden te arrival of the fully air-conditioned presidential branded buses and even though they’re sparse and so far I’ve seen only four running the four main Tamale routes, the indigenes will not miss a chance for a ride in it especially when we’re in the heat season (36 degrees average) and it feels like a portal to hell has been opened somewhere in this town.

This evening the women had already piled themselves into a motorking ready to move when one of these branded buses almost empty just parked in front of them.  Come and see screaming and rushing for the driver to stop so they get onto the bus instead.  According to them the presidential ride was there to get them to their destination.

How they disembark jumping down from the motorking, for women, is another story on its own.

So you can sit in the capital and do your politics and talk all you want but to these local people, they’re riding in a presidential bus that takes them home after a hard day’s work.

After all all the former presidents have their photos on the bus too..

#GhTransport
#TamaleChronicles

Wa Travelogues

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 5, 2016 by kola

image

Whilst waiting for my Tamale bound bus to get full I decide to sit at the lorry station of the big buses from Accra as they arrive and let off passengers who have travelled over half a day through the night to get to their destination.  The task is to try to put the different passengers into who they are:  business travelers, students, people coming back from holiday, general visitors and the most fascinating group of all the Johnny Just Comes (those who are coming to Wa for the first time)

The last group of passengers are so interestin to observe cos they don’t want to seem as green as they really are and are on their phones trying to get to their contacts that they are here. They have all sorts of perceptions about visiting up north and are on a look out for the young boys who are always around the station ready to carry load or the taxi, and quite recently, the “mahama kambuu” boys.

Not too long ago I was one of these people..

Contrary to these group are the familiars who get down and have this look on their faces of being pissed if the person supposed to meet them is not here waiting. After that many hours on the bus they’re not ready to smile until they get out of their clothes, take a shower and get some real sleep in their comfy beds.

There are also those who are meeting the drivers of the bus to collect parcels of one thing or the other sent from the capital. These ones have various looks on their faces that indicates that they know what is in the parcel or whether they don’t know. Sometimes money changes hands and you see smiles.

Well, very soon all the passengers are gone and left with the loading boys who take the out the load sent to people to be received from the office later. 

If you’re reading this know that no matter who you are you will be one of these people every time you travel. Safe journey and welcome wherever you go. Ghana is beautiful and the people are very hospitable. Make the best of it..

OK time to go check on my bus. Whilst others are coming some of us are leaving and the cycle of life continues.

Goodbye Wa till later..

#WaChronicles
#GhanaTravels