Archive for April, 2017

GadaMedikal Nation 

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2017 by kola

The “Vagimas” have come and gone and as usual couldn’t just slide by with its quirks, pips and controversies. Inasmuch as I’d like to delve into the controversies first let me just mention that the event has never gone by without Ghanaians having a swell time whether positive or negative.

In a social media frenzy society it is obvious that whilst people’s eyes picked through the event with a fine tooth comb, their fingers will be busy with their internet access gadgets. It’s therefore not surprising that one can log on to any social media site Twitter, Facebook or Instagram being the most popular, and get a blow by blow account of the event as it unfolded. 

Furthermore following the right people can be a plus because it is only then that you enjoy a plethora of statuses with regards to the event being a healthy potpourri of sarcasm, funny quips, snide remarks and as is with social media, just plain “trolling” of persons at the event. One could end up going through a whole range of mood swings and emotions even more than either a woman at that time of the month or even a pregnant woman.  (Feminists leave me alone 😂) 

From the very beginning of  the show it was obvious that there was going to be a twist to this particular event. The red carpet was a stage and interestingly the hostess was bedecked in a flowing and trailing flaming red dress that could easily have been the red carpet. The people she in particular interviewed was a group of people, especially the ladies, with an interesting mix of fashion sense. It was so easy to recognize the four Spy Girls and other intresting cartoon action figures. 

As for her co host The Tailor, well it was the anniversary of his staged marriage proposal to his Big Brother wife and who can fault him showing her off that after two years they are still married. 

Fancy a northern artiste upstaging a southern based artiste at this particular event and the hullabaloo it has created. For some of us it’s not really the upstage but the question as to why of all the categories that Medikal was nominated the one Gadam took from him is the only one causing waves. 

I’ve been telling whoever will want to hear that the regions up north have their own music and film industry and some of the artistes up here have been able to go national in the main stream and once they get that far they’re international with bookings all over Europe all year round. Need I mention  Sherifa Gunu, Samini, King Ayisoba, Atongo Simba, Mohammed, Surina Issa, Wiyaala and a host of others. These are northern artistes mostly based up north and notice I didn’t mention VIP or Mugeez of northern origin. 

It is true that people up north love southern music and northern artistes have been fond of using southern “covers” with northern lyrics. I’d say this is them breaking their teeth. However the new crop of northern artistes have realized that with the right blend of authentic northern beats, mixed by quality trained engineers of northern origin, there could be a blend of northern music that is parallel to music from any part of the world. And yes! I applaud the ability to get this epiphany and the talent to explore it and make it work. If you don’t believe it just listen to Wiyaala’s latest album and inasmuch such am album wont win awards in Ghana, just as the albums of the Fokn Bois, the music will go beyond the shores of Ghana and not be stuck in some medical ward of Ghanaian underground music waiting to go to theatre. 
The new crop of northern artistes are not only talented but realize that they need management too of industry players to guide them in their activities. Thus in recent times we’re seeing more collaborations with southern artistes and even double concert bookings and this is geared towards putting them in the limelight. We now have artistes with fans not only based in the north but also to please the fan base in the south they highlight their own concerts. Fancy a northern artiste performing at the National Theatre and filling the place up. 

The television shows and cable networks are mostly in the south and as such when a southern artiste gets popular he’s interviewed on several shows depending on his manager capitalizing on his popularity. Northern artistes don’t have that privilege but still manage to break through courtesy of their fans. Sitting in a taxi right now and looks like the radio station is having a Fancy afternoon and everybody is singing. At the night clubs in Wa, Bolga and Tamale any time a Fancy Gadam music is played you know that’s when you can grab a gal and dance away to the tunes from the speakers. 

For those pundits who are creating that noise about Best New Artiste category it is important for them to realize that Accra is not Ghana and if even they used popularity to determine who takes that title Medikal would be nowhere near Fancy Gadam. Both artistes are talented guaranteed but those granting the awards deemed Fancy to win and oh! Check who had more votes. Northerners came out to support en masse.

Ghana is bigger than Accra and Kumasi and we shouldnt be deluded that being popular in the south means you’re popular up north too. If there is a lesson learnt from this particular edition of “vagimas” that will surely be it. 

One last thing as shared by my friend and pseudo bodyguard, Jacob Yawson in a round table discussion with Godwin Agoligi at The Observatory during lunch,  why can’t we just theme the awards night so we can at least create a cultural and tourist agenda with the awards. Let us showcase our rich culture and unity of purpose in diversity when we let our designers create clothes with African prints instead of the mimicry of caricatures of fishes,  animals and other things including cartoon characters that we find on our non existent red carpet. 

So that when you’re asked what are you wearing you not only mention the name of the designer but also the type of cloth and educate us on the name of the cloth. So for example at the next themed event Medikal would’ve hardened up and will be in a Woodin caftan called Enfamihu designed by Debby Couture when asked “what are you wearing?” 

Indeed this particular edition of “vagimas” will go a long way of creating trends. Joe Mettle won the Best Artiste (auto correct spelling Best Baptist 😂) and I love what one of the artistes said when asked if truly he deserved it and honestly I’d repeat it any day to anybody who thinks Fancy Gadam shouldn’t have won Best New Artist. He said ” if you want to know who the artiste is, just go out there and buy an album!” Simple words but very loaded. 

The critics and pundits will always be there to criticize and everybody takes home one thing or another from such shows. Whatever you took away I hope it helps you to be a citizen and not just a participant. Making a change in your own corner is not a corporate action but like I always say it begins with YOU! 
PS.

for more insight into northern music and film who better to guide you through than the Ghana Film Institute valedictorian of his graduating class Rabiu Fishbone who’s also a producer of a northern music show on the only northern television station NTV on Multi Tv. His blog is rafiufishbone.blogspot.com

And oh! If you still got problems after all this insight then I’ sure it’s not too risky to settle down to a Sister Debbie cuisine breakfast of One Kalypo and Two biscuits.. 😂

Ghana Work Attitude 

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2017 by kola

Long read from a Dutch-Ghanaian gentleman as I read on a social media site. I believe it is worth every word he wrote. 

DOES  STAFF WANT TO AND KNOW HOW TO WORK IN GHANA?

March 31, 2017 
Sometimes I write based upon recent events, but I also write about things I see and hear and things relating to my educational or professional back ground.
This time I write out of frustration.

I have the wellbeing of Ghana and Ghanaians at heart, proof of that is my assuming Ghanaian nationality and frankly there is no other country in the world where I prefer to live (or die).  I used local content and local produced materials 15 years before both outcries for it became relevant to most Ghanaians.
But I have to admit to my fellow Ghanaians, that especially Ghanaian employees and service providers don’t make it easy for me. My wife a born and bred Ghanaian has given up long time, but I am not that easy, I hardly ever give up on my goals, targets and dreams. 
Where does my frustration come from?
My frustration comes from workers, employees or however you will call them and people who are providing services like; *mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, masons, and security guards but also shop attendants, petrol station attendants and many others.*
I always hear captains of Industry, employers and owners of companies complaining about high levels of taxes, lack of electricity, too expensive electricity, bad roads to their companies, bureaucracy, corruption and everything else.
But they are always carefully avoiding one subject: the quality of our workforce.   In general  (but there are exceptions) the Ghanaian worker doesn’t care about the quality of his job, and doesn’t have any feeling for his profession nor his customer/client. Sometimes they show a total apathy to work and just aim to dragging themselves to the end of the week, simply because they need an income.           
In Europe there is a saying for people with low ambition: “his only planning is to go to work and come home tired”, but in Ghana I mostly have the feeling that coming home tired is not part of our workers plan. It made it almost impossible to employ an honest hardworking, motivated person in Ghana!

Not only our soft cultural behavior, mostly coming down to not calling a spade a spade, a politeness, strong unions and high will and participation to strike against almost everything increasing production, a judicial system that fights tooth and nail for rights of employees, 50 years of almost total neglect of skills based education, lack respect of a well trained worker and low morals in general have created a very low quality workforce in Ghana.
I have worked with employees in the hospitality sector, printing and news sector, NGO’s, construction and several other sectors and the employees are mostly not fit for their job.
I read an article a few weeks ago, “China’s unfair competition for Ghana”.
I reacted and wrote: Why? Is it because a Chinese employee will work 6 days a week with his wife and children, goes 1 week a year on a holiday, (if he goes, mostly he doesn’t) and works dedicated and hard to deliver, even without supervision? That’s than an easy answer for me, so if a Ghanaian also does the same that would make it fair competition isn’t it?

Or do we expect the Chinese to come late (or not at all) when it rains, show up late (or not at all) after a public holiday, arrive standard late at work, work officially 5 days, but are there indeed 5 days but don’t really work, ask days off for the many funerals to attend, would that make Chinese competition fair?

The reason I got frustrated (this time) is the following:

My wife is running a construction company and 2 months ago had to fire her crew of 7 workers because we found out that whilst she was working, friends of her workers robbed our house. She called a friend in Accra and he said he could send masons and laborers.  He had plenty workers because there was not much work in Accra. On Monday they showed up 2 hours and 20 minutes late to start, but instead of starting to work, they all needed to eat first.    

After eating, they were all walking with their full bellies looking like they were not really in the mood to start. As you will understand they know exactly when lunch time started and took an hour break after which my wife had to push them to start again. By 1.20 instead of 1 she had everybody going but the next day she discovered that after she left at 4 the workers also had immediately stopped.       

This went on for a few weeks, in which they worked an average of 6 to 6 and half hours a day, telling my wife this is heavy work so they don’t work 8 hours. Than a national holiday, actually falling in the weekend was celebrated on a Monday. As every Ghanaian will understand (little bit more difficult for me because of my Dutch background) 5 out of our 7 workers didn’t show up, because of celebrating, 1 came on time and 1 of them showed up 1 hour later, complaining that he had to walk all the way to the work side because my wife didn’t wait for him.

To cut a long story short, my wife sacked all of them; naturally they left with most of the tools we provided, which is called stealing in the rest of the world, but we got used to that. My wife managed to get a new group altogether, or actually tried twice to get a new group, the first group didn’t show up, the second group postponed 1 day, but because she simply didn’t have a choice she accepted that and work finally started again.

I am, besides my daily job running a guesthouse, and my workers are mostly on time.
However I have some other small problems, like stealing and lying and as a result of that I had to lay off 4 crews of 3 girls in 2 years.

Tea, milk, jam, soap, cutlery, glasses and cups but also towels and even bed sheets are disappearing in no time. I admire my girls for their team spirit because even if all of them know who had stolen something they all declare they don’t know.        

I recently lay off another girl who I caught sleeping on the job (this time without a guest) and my “trusted” worker with me for over 6 years declared without blinking his eyes that he never knew the girl is sleeping and watching TV during working hours regularly.
This problem is definitely not a high class lower class problem, foreign and local nor black or white problem because most of my Ghanaian and some of my foreign friends (maybe not all of them understand employees tactics) all complain about low quality of work done, laziness, lying, stealing and low moral towards work of the Ghanaian workforce.

The public sector is not different, lying stealing, low work performance, absence and on top of this all corruption. 

To me the most annoying thing in the behavior of workers is the fact that when you complain about this behavior and low quality of a service provided, they react in a way that you should rather be grateful that they came to provide you the service. Let me end with one example.
I am quite handy myself and although not trained in plumbing, I can easily say that I am a better plumber than most people in Ghana calling themselves a plumber (I used 9 different plumbers over the past 10 years). The outlet of my toilet was leaking and I was simply not in the mood to do it myself, so I called a recommended plumber. After breaking one of the tiles behind the toilet and putting all back together he stated that he “fixed” the problem.  But when I put the water pressure back on and flashed my toilet I found out that not only my toilet outlet was still leaking, but now also my water supply was leaking. He was polite said sorry and started all over and when we tested again this time he solved the outlet leaking but the water inlet was still leaking. Trying to fix that he spoiled the float valve inside which needed to be replaced and when I finally started complaining he left and insulted me because he was doing his best to help and I should respect him for that instead of complaining about everything, he left without being paid, but called later that I owe him 2 days pay.                                                                                       
To cut this long story short, last Saturday I removed the toilet, replaced the broken tile, put in a new float valve and connected all to the outlet and to the water inlet in about 2 hours and not to my surprise there were no leakages.    
The result I am expecting from this article?
I hope that my article will trigger an open minded discussion in Ghana so we can all think about ways to tackle this problem, through education but also through informing our youth and training them in ways to work, like the rest of the competitive world because with this type of mentality towards work developing Ghana will be a difficult task, for this and any government to come.
I also hope that the Government of Ghana realizes that we need to train skills among our youth and pay attention to attitude change. Because when I calculate roughly what our society is losing in its attempts protecting ourselves against stealing, robbery and our general safety, I estimate that, that alone almost doubles labor costs in Ghana.
The costs of loss of materials due to wrongful use, spoiling of materials and tools due to unprofessional use is many times higher than that and we urgently need to extend our skills training to become competitive.
Ghanaians among you who have traveled have seen the differences abroad are complaining about exactly the same things as I, a new Ghanaian is complaining about. 
I will always remain positive, and I am sure we can improve, but we need a lot of help of other positive thinking Ghanaians to fulfill this enormous task.
My last remark: I hope no foreigner is reading this because it is a message to Ghanaians and not  meant for foreigners.
Written by

*Nico van Staalduinen*

Social Media Generation 

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2017 by kola

This piece is written by my friend David Appiah Danquah who has his own brand of satire I admire him for and always manages to make you think things through when you’ve read what he has to say. 

David writes :

This week I’ve read a lot of commentary on my timeline about how to behave on social media, in particular deal with insulting comments and hostilities.

I’ve learned two things from all the comments:

The first

This generation is heavily invested in their social media personas more so than they are in their real lives. They’d be very successful in life if the reverse were true.


The second

The heavy investment in social media has led to this generation becoming less mature in handling confrontation and ironically more likely to be involved in a social media confrontation.
Let me explain the second point more carefully. When Black people were being killed left and right in America I heard a Police Chief in a very large American city explain why his officers had never been involved in police-related shootings for more than a decade. According to the Chief, he decided years ago to only hire military veterans, nightclub bouncers, security officers who had been involved in tense, high pressure and real life combative situations.
The Chief said some police departments in America make the mistake of hiring individuals straight from university who have never been in a fight their entire lives; never thrown a punch, never been hit with a punch, never had to calm a drunk person in a nightclub, never been shot at by an enemy, never been beaten up, bullied or attacked by another human being.
When they hit the streets of America, it is their first time in a high pressure situation, but now they are given a gun to maintain law and order. 

Imagine someone who has never been thrown a punch in their life being confronted by a large Black man who is acting aggressively? Of course they’d panic easily and use the only option they have to diffuse the situation: draw their weapon and shoot.
Now, the same is true of this generation on social media. Think about it. Like young police officers who are carrying guns on the streets of America today, many social media users were born in the Internet age, and given Internet-enabled mobile devices to interact with a world they know very little about. Thanks to the Internet, a teenager in Apagya can interact daily with another teenage in Seoul, having never had the opportunity to learn and understand Korean customs and sense of humor, likes and dislikes. 

The chances that a snide comment from one teenager to another would trigger a confrontation is extremely high.
The Internet has thrust this generation into a world without boundaries and social media has weaponized their daily interactions. 

The truth is many of you have been cuddled into adulthood from birth, protected by your parents and society. You have never been in a real fight, except for the verbal fisticuffs on your facebook page. And because social media has limited your physical interactions with other folks, your history of confrontation and aggression is limited to the digital world.
When I was a kid my friends and I did actual verbal insults. We use to call it “causing”. We would trade “your mother is so fat jokes” and the winner would be the one with the most painful insult. After that we’d laugh and go home to our wonderful mothers.
Nowadays, if I tell you to go f*** yourself, you’d block me from your Facebook wall with your admin powers or from whatsapp because you can’t handle it.

Well, go f*** yourself! (If you can’t handle this post) 

Me : David! 

David! 

David! 

Social media etiquette is about the individual. Interacting with people you hardly know doesn’t mean they’re not human. If you want respect you have to give first and it will be reciprocated.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!