Change Has Come

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2017 by kola

inaugnana

I have never been so proud of being Ghanaian as I have been these past few months in the round up to the presidential and parliamentary elections. There was a huge clamor for peace from every angle and this peace call involved people from all walks of life and various stakeholders. There were peace shows in various forms especially with music, people ate for peace at food bazaars and various mini functions all over the country.

Inasmuch as the body mandated for civic education was doing its bit on educating Ghanaians on the voting process it was up to Ghanaians ourselves to educate each other and support each other in the voting systems and the aftermath. Thankfully it all went well.

The election process itself was calm and very smooth with the security forces deploying personnel all over the country and I’ve got to comment the Electoral Commission too for an election well-handled even though they took a lot of criticism and with a new commissioner, all eyes were on the outfit to perform for which it acquitted itself well.

Ghana elected a new leader and voted out the ruling NDC government to be replaced by the opposition NPP. It was evident that Ghanaians were just tired of the ineptitude and inconsistency of the ruling government and wanted a change even though the then ruling government provided a lot of visible infrastructure.

But indeed it is well that the election affected the yuletide holiday celebrations and even though there was an obvious calm in the system, people had the anticipation waiting for the handing over ceremony on January 7 which went down pretty well without incident.

At the inaugural ceremony of the new president, looking traditionally elegant in his customized kente cloth, he emphasized that the change that we are looking forward to depends on us as individuals and until we each put our shoulders to the till this nation that belongs to all of us will still wallow in the doldrums of poverty that we find ourselves in. “we have no excuse to be poor”, he stressed.

The new president has a huge responsibility to see to it that Ghana gets better and for this daunting task he indeed needs every person who is a Ghanaian devoid of party colours, dual race or citizenship and even gender, to pitch in to make Ghana a nation worth being proud of in every aspect.

Change has indeed come.

Indeed like I always say it begins with YOU!

M.anifest – NoWhere COOL Album Review

Posted in Uncategorized on November 21, 2016 by kola

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1. No Where Cool
|I’ve sacrificed my personal life to be creative to get the music right. This album don’t make me happy and rich, I would gladly hang up the Mic.|
Being the first song comes with a funny intro stemming from a conversation between a caller and journalist. She asks; “Tell us why you are demonstrating“. Male caller replies; “Please the network is not good so can we speak twi?” Then a pure African groove gets in setting the pace for the rapper’s constructive flow. The song has it’s central message on how no place is convenient. It calls on listeners to accept the real plight of present dwellings and being happy in spite of the hot temperatures of the present. In here, M.anifest known in recent times to be the #godMC collaborates with the soulful songstress, Cina Soul and Dark Suburb

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Bananas And Groundnuts

Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2016 by kola

Dear Nii Kpakpo, it has been so long since i wrote you a letter but some events as usual have precipitated me write yet another missive. we have been well here and as you know being an election yea…

Source: Bananas And Groundnuts

Our Media

Posted in Uncategorized on October 1, 2016 by kola

there has been an issue gnawing at the back of my mind for a pretty long time and in these insomniac moments i am thinking it best to address it. oh please! i know inasmuch as it is a political season your first thoughts will be to think that i am going to go the way of the political pundits and write something directly political. please spare me.

the issue at hand is the changing trends in media reportage in this country. anybody will agree with me that the media has now taken several forms like the erstwhile hydra and with the influx of social media and its myriad applications what we now know as traditional media is fast fading away.

i will not bother to give a list of social media sites available online because everyday new applications are churned out by the big companies and even some young innovative ones equipped with sometimes a smartphone and internet access with coding abilities. the days of waiting for newspapers to get to your doorsteps when paper boys were boys of age who wanted to earn a buck with distribution are long in the dust. when families met at the breakfast table to discuss what was in the news over tea. please this is not a foreign concept as seen in the movies but it is pretty much Ghanaian when you have parents who take education pretty serious or are themselves educationists. that era when your dad will expect you to read the newspapers and summarize everything you read in a concise narration as possible whilst he sat in his favorite chair after work.

nostalgic someone?

well that is mostly in the past now. nowadays most of the newspapers have an online portal where with the aid of your smartphone you just log on and read and then for the discussion on the issues in the news you watch the morning television shows and the various discussion panels presented by the various stations on the issues. or you just listen to the radio for same.

however in this election year the sensationalism is all in the politics and the cacophony of discussions being a litany of achievements or the failures of one party as compared to the other and it is usually between the two major political parties of the country. some of us can not stand it and deem it as noise and therefore will rather wait for the other side of the media to bring up what is the news and then we catch up on the discussion.

by the other side of the media i am referring to social media. news travels fast on social media and say one thing and before you realize it goes viral on the popular social media sites especially Facebook and then the discussion takes off with people looking at the issue from every direction even the layman’s point of view – a very interesting perspective when you consider it. what has a lay person got to contribute to an issue they have no idea about. but that is the beauty of social media and at the same time it is its bane.

unlike with traditional media where sources have to be corroborated, social media has its own way of giving life to an issue. when a topic comes up on social media everyone who can type jumps on the wagon and wants to be seen as knowledgeable and just share what they think in relation to the issue. it is not surprising to find that a celebrity dies and social media is paying its respect and then if the deceased is a footballer and somebody writes something like ”rest in peace. really enjoyed his music”.

well as is popular these days i can’t think far on that.

since i am talking about obituaries there is this phenomenon of killing people on social media before they die and there are several examples in Ghana i will not get into where news on social media has reported a person’s death, usually untrue, and a month or so later the person has actually passed on. usually with social media rumors spread more quickly.

can you begrudge the traditional media people who still have not embraced social media? well not me. in more ways than one some people with blogs just publish anything that comes to mind (like i’m doing now) without the proper verification of the information they get because since it is their blog they write what they want. however it is important to consider the damage the stories that are published is going to do on the individual in question and even though there is no editor to demand that stories are corroborated, social media journalists have to respect some writing codes.

the importance of social media in news dissemination in our modern world can not be over emphasized and this is evident in traditional media taking stories especially on world celebrities off their own social media pages such as Facebook and recently Instagram and Twitter. and when sometimes there are parody accounts then you know the information is usually one of mischief or scandalous.

many times we say a picture is worth a thousand words but with the influx of photo enhancing applications such as Photoshop it is important to verify sources of photos before considering them because a photo could be skewed to tell a story of whoever took it or edited it to suit their viewpoint.

there are social media sites that are solely dedicated to fanning rumors like tabloids and others too that are purely satirical. these sites need to be watched carefully lest traditional media takes stories off these sites and publish them as factual.

the face of media is changing and it is important that we embrace the changes that come with it. it is important too that an individual learns to discern which information is news worthy worth pursuing and which one could just be satire and also to be on top of issues consider a variety of news sources before one believes what one hears in the news.

the ball is in your court now. how you interpret the news is up to you and whether you depend on the traditional media or on social media just be sure you are on top of the news. that is the only way you can also tell others about what is trending at the moment and in these times information is key.

like i always say it begins with YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenthesis

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2016 by kola

This article is inspired by a trip i took to the western region of Ghana specifically Takoradi which shaped my formative years in the seven years that I spent there as an adolescent and parts of my teenage. Psychologists will tell you that the age bracket between 11 and 17 are the ones that shape a person’s character most and for me these years were spent in high school as a little toddy getting bullied in my early teenage years and being a bibliophile not only nerdy but curious about a whole lot of stuff.

Takoradi formed me and holds many memories, mostly pretty cos all the bad ones are attributed to learning opportunities and therefore going back there after all these twenty something years is a milestone.

So I’m sitting in the bus waiting for it to get full with the other passengers so we move and this pretty older woman gets on board. She looks pretty familiar but I just sit in my seat quietly and look on. Once a while she turns in my direction and we smile at each other.  That I’m in the seat behind her gives me the chance to just observe and do whatever I have to do whilst trying to find a way to check if she really is who I think it is or this is probably a clone of who I think it is.

Ghana these days, you ask am older woman a question and she’s gonna suspect you have it in for her and swat you with her purse. I find it interesting through that in their very suspicion that your target is their purse it is very thing that they will use to defend themselves without recourse that the person could just snatch it.

But let’s leave that one.

Luckily for me the car stops at a filling station to refuel and whilst she’s making way to others to get off and do whatever they’re gonna do I ask casually if she was ever a nurse. She replies in the affirmative.  This woman is the mother of the most stubborn and most adventurous boy among my peer group when we were growing up. She is the most patient mother I know.

Back when we were growing up and in primary school her son was the instigator of most to the rowdy acts in the area. We were just stubborn and very adventurous. We raided people’s backyard gardens and farms for vegetables, undertook forays into people’s walled houses for ripe fruits such as mangoes and guavas and the best ones were gold fishing expeditions. Did i mention that once a while we formed a team to go partake in soccer fiestas in the locality? Those were the days of yore.

All this activities were mostly led by M the instigator. His favorite tormentor was the deaf and dumb man who had a vegetable garden not too far from the nurses flats we lived at. we just loved to torment him and sometimes just destroy his crops and run away. We also helped ourselves to the sugarcane that was in abundance in his farm.

With all this you can imagine the complaints this woman got from everywhere and how other parents didn’t want their children associating with M the Instigator since they thought he was a bad influence. His mother took all this in her stride and i am happy to announce that M lives abroad with his wife and family and when we talked about him her excitement at the mention of his name was obvious.

You’d agree with me and  my area boys too would, that our mothers are the most influential people and shaped who we have become today.  Mothers deserve vacation resorts but they will tell you they will be bored because their whole life is made up of chasing recalcitrant children around and when these children grow then it’s the grandchildren they will be chasing.

Thank you to all mothers. If you just finished reading this and like it or not, HUG A MOTHER.

It begins with YOU!

Ghana Reads

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2016 by kola

mabel

She sent me a letter soon after we met at BarCamp Tamale:

Hello Kola,

I’m Mabel the lady who met you at barcamp tamale and spoke to you about her books for change project.I haven’t been able to call you because I didn’t pick your number but thanks to social media at least I can connect with you on Facebook. I haven’t been able to come to terms to believe that I’m about to achieve my goal of giving out books to children and teaching them how to read as well after you pledged to support me.

Many are the people I spoke to and all I was told was “it’s a nice initiative”. Others will just go by saying “try sending your proposals to organizations for sponsorship because you can’t do this by individual support.

But I believed I was going to meet people like you who will be willing to help because you know the value of reading especially at early stages. My joy knows no bounds as I wake up everyday knowing that am gradually getting there.

Thanks for the smile you’ve kept on my face from 30th July till know,am just imagining the smiles that will be beaming from the faces of those children we’ll be giving these books out to in the upper east.

Thanks for showing support to the first project of future for Africa.


Thank you Kola Nut.

If the passion to get children to read and for this project to succeed does not seep through these few words then you might be more hardheaded than me.

After several weeks we stayed in touch ironing out a few details and a few days ago we met up and I could feel the passion in her voice. She’s raising 1000 books to be distributed to some deprived schools she has identified in the regions up north.

The #iBelieveInReading thanks to the benevolence and support of individuals pledged to provide a third of the total number of books required and so after the short meeting she went ahead to select 300 children’s books from our books in stock for her project.

We are not giving up on this cause and one project at a time we will get the Ghanaian child to read because we will always believe that a reading child is a leading adult.

Thank you for being there for us always.

Identify a cause by you and commit to support.

Like i always say it begins with YOU!

#TamaleChronicles

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Growing Up in Africa

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2016 by kola

There is plenty that can happen in an African context when growing up that shapes a person into who they become later in life. There are several influences and all this come together to contribute to the general well being of the person and thus affect their personality.

Growing up as an African your parents were super heroes whose words were bond and the law, they seldom admitted to making mistakes and only the grannies could put them to order which was very rare and such a delight to see, albeit secretly. No matter how old you are the saying “once you’re under my roof you’d do as I say” became cliche.

Most children in the Africans context are brought up the old fashioned way with the underlying tenets of spare the rod spoil the child and none of the current cosmopolitan cacophony of child rights and abuse etc. Children were brought up by the whole community not only by biological parents and that kept you on your toes.

Communal living meant that respect is a big deal especially to anybody older than you. your ldren went about greeting any older person they met in the streets because you didn’t know who was family and who was not so just greeted everybody.

Being in school was so important that there was no way you could fail in school because your parents had expectations for the fees they were paying and these expectations had to be met.

Against this background and more this anthology presents a series of stories with these traits underlying the African upbringing and how these traits affect various individuals in their journey though life.

Growing up and responsibility in the African context is not just ascribed but it is a hard acquired process that begins from childhood into adulthood. A child is introduced into responsibility when older children are tasked to care of younger ones as a system of baby sitting whilst parents go about their duties. Anything goes wrong and these older children take the blame for whatever it is.

These children grow into responsible adults with management skills already acquired from home and the formal education just strengthens what they know. In the same vein such relationships serve as foundations to adult inter personal relationships between same sex and the opposite sex, founding the basis for official, informal or even marriage relationships.

As you go through these shared experiences it is most likely you will identify with the stories and we sure hope you will do and be encouraged to share your stories too.

Tell you story too.

It begins with YOU!

* this was written as a foreword for the book Growing Up In Africa.  For a copy please go to 2Eweboys.com