Tag Archives: ghana

Religious Intolerance and Education in Dumsorland

Evenin’, Saints. I ain’t gonna keep you long. I just have something that’s heavy on my heart that needs sharing is all. For those of you not interested in Christ, Allah and Ghanaian affairs, feel free to sit this one out.

I have been keeping tabs on trending Ghanaian news and have been horrified by what I’ve witnessed. Ghana, Africa’s “shining example of peace”, has been exhibiting some pretty distasteful behavior where religion and education are concerned. Most African countries exist with a mix of religions, with Christianity or Islam dominating the population, depending on how determined the Arabs or Europeans were to convert their subjects and keep them converted. It’s easier to control people who believe in (or fear) the same spooky deity as you. This is why there was so much hostility towards indigenous African religions… the invaders couldn’t figure out how to turn it against our ancestors. Conversion was therefore often forced, and anyone practicing traditional religion frequently severely punished in the colonies. In return, “devout” Africans were rewarded with jobs, elevated social rank and schools in return for their obsequiousness. In time, people handed down their adopted religions to their children for these new benefits – some going as far as to change their names to more Anglo sounding or “Christian” names – and the rest became history. The work was done, now that the slave identified more with the oppressor than with his ancestor.

Fast forward a few hundred years, and Ghana is dealing with aftershocks of this mental enslavement we like to call enlightenment – and our children our suffering for it.

An African child, like any other child of the global village, typically has no choice as to what religion they are going to operate under until they reach adulthood. The religion one’s family practices is your inheritance. In my case, I lived in a multi-faith home where my mother was a Muslim and my father some sort of Christian. He drank beer, never went to church and rarely prayed, but he grew up Anglican so that’s what he identified as. My mother was responsible for my siblings and my religious upbringing. So we prayed 4-5 times a day, fasted at Ramadan and gave alms to the poor (when it was convenient). We also went to Soul Clinic International, a Christian school founded by an African-American pastor. Coming from America myself, I thought that our school’s Director and his family would help me ease into my new life as an elementary school student in Ghana since we had a “common” background, but my religion would prove to be a barrier from day one.

Every morning at assembly, I would have to say a prayer declaring Jesus Christ as lord. I was forced to memorize and recite Bible verses. My teachers often had unsavory things to say about Muslims. One afternoon, my 5th grade teacher stood at the chalkboard and told a joke about the salat (posture a Muslim takes to pray) wherein the punchline was “I sh*t, I was my nyash. I sh*t, I wash my nyash. Oooh God, if I’m lying, look inside my nyash!”

My classmates burst into uproarious laughter while they banged on my desk, willing me – forcing me – to find humor in this insult. I’ve never forgotten that day.

You would think Ghanaians would have matured by now, but recent events in the news prove otherwise. We still haven’t learned how to respect each other or get along yet.

The fact is, Ghana is nearly split 50/50 along Christian and Islamic lines. There are a sprinkling of atheists and a few animists, but these are the two dominant religions. The legacy of colonialism is that most of the development in the country took place in the Christian south while the Muslim north languished in the dark ages. It is a legacy that continues today. The north of Ghana has the highest illiteracy rates, less access to technology and abysmal access to healthcare. The north is also predominantly Muslim. So what is a Muslim who wants a better education/job opportunities to do but come south into Christian terrain? That terrain includes better schools – and in a few cases, like Wesley Girls – the very best the country has to offer. This is the situation we find ourselves in today. Students who are of varying ethnicities and religious backgrounds want to better themselves for their progeny’s sake and are being told that they MUST adhere to “compulsory devotion” or leave the institution of their choice.

Compulsory devotion. If those two words strung together don’t smack of the colonized mind, I don’t know what else does.

For the record, I am not a Muslim anymore. I converted to Christianity in college, and it was a traumatic experience. In fact, I don’t recall it with neither fondness nor pleasantness. Still, it needed to be done to save my soul from sin and death, etc etc. As traumatic as that was for me, I still had some level of choice, even though I knew my mother would be furious. What choices are these Muslim children who are being forced to attend Sunday worship being given? Of course, Ghana’s kneejerk reaction from a barely thinking public is “Go build your own schools!” I cringe every time I hear this. It sounds eerily similar to “Go back to Africa!”?

logo2One of the best things to ever happen in my tenure as a student was to SOS HGIC, even if it was only for the last 2 years of high school. It saved my life and my mind. The school’s motto is “Knowledge in the service of Africa.” There were no devotions held on campus. The Christian students were ferried by bus every Sunday to worship, and the Muslims prayed wherever they wanted. My sister and I would pray on Friday in my dorm room. It was far less stressful and we were all able to focus on our academics. HGIC graduates are some of the greatest minds in West Africa today.

I sincerely believe that we need to take God out of education in Africa if we cannot figure out how to implement the tenants of love and compassion. Telling folks to “go build your own” is not Christian compassion. Christ never forced anyone to follow him. In fact, the Bible says if anyone does not believe in the gospel to shake the sand from your feet and carry on to the next town. It does not say bend their heads into your religious yoke.

Forcing people to “worship” together doesn’t build a nation. Stable infrastructure builds a nation. Equal distribution of resources builds a nation. Tolerance for your neighbor’s beliefs – as long as they don’t harm anyone – builds a nation. But telling folks who want to do their part to participate in the economy via better education to kick rocks because you have your head in an ungodly religious cloud isn’t going to make that happen. These mission schools were created to make the Ghanaian a better brand of servant. They were created for the white man’s benefit… not ours. They have served their purpose in that regard. Isn’t it time we grew up? For whose benefit are we now seeking knowledge for?

It’s time to take God out of schools in Ghana, because clearly, we don’t know how to handle nice things.

 

President Mahama Does Not Believe in Ghanaian Excellence, and Neither Does His Cabinet

Caution: Melatonin induced rant.

 

Isn't she glorious?

Isn’t she glorious?

Excellency, honorable, Oga… monikers and attributes that get tossed around our political landscape like parched corn husks after a harvest. They are plentiful and useless, for how many of our parliamentarians can we truly consider to be of the excellent variety? Ursula Owusu readily comes to mind, but women (or men) of Ursula’s character and constancy are few and far between. Is this not evident in the manner in which the country is run?

This week, President Mahama gave the State of Nation Address, where he made more promises when he had just promised two months ago not to make any more promises. He said that moving forward, the nation would not be run as it had in the past, and that he “owed it to Ghanaians” to fix the power crisis. Yes, that is true, Mr. President. Not only do you owe it to us, but it is your JOB. These are the promises you campaigned on (and won) in 2012. You’ve spent enough time sitting in the mirror practicing your Colgate smile for the international cameras. The time to get to work has come and passed!

Can I just say how disappointed I am in John Mahama, his entire appointed cabinet and his party in total? The NDC is the worst thing that could have happened to Ghana and it is imperative that they be relegated to the toothless minority as soon as possible. They certainly must be kept as far away from the nation’s funds as possible. They have placed Ghana in a ruinous state, and the reason is simple: John Mahama and his NDC cohorts do not love Ghana. They are false paramours in this relationship, and they certainly don’t believe in Ghana’s potential.

Throughout any country’s history, there has been a man or woman of the hour. This person later becomes a symbol of the desperate times in that moment in history and a testament to overcoming. When Ghana needed independence, she had Nkrumah to see her through. When the country was mired in coup after bloody coup, JJ Rawlings unleashed a coup to end all coups. To everyone’s shock, he allowed the country to enter into a democratic era. (The IMF may have had something to do with this.) Now Ghana finds itself at a crossroads: do we go back to the dark ages, or do we forge boldly ahead and become the Black Star of the region once again. One could argue that a light shines brightest in darkness, but the depth of the blackness John Mahama and his sycophants have plunged the country in have utterly snuffed out even the faintest glint of light. Bootlickers, the lot of them!

At every opportunity that there is a camera or a reporter present, Ghana’s president admonishes Ghanaian citizens, chiding them into consuming made in Ghana goods. This despite the average citizen is mired in poverty and cannot afford a single ball of kenkey for each member of their family. But you know what these destitute souls can afford? Ramen noodles. Salty Ramen noodles encased with a layer of plastic that slowly poisons the consumer. Is this product made in Ghana? No! It’s made in China. China is force-feeding and strangling Africa with its cheap unhealthy exports, and Ghana is impotent in its presence.

You know what else China and India do? They build our chairs in Parliament…and this doesn’t seem to bother our MPs a bit. If it does, it doesn’t nearly enough. Every MP of good conscious should have refused to sit on chairs made in China during the chamber and made the bold decision to drag in a made in Ghana seat. But no! All these unimaginative, brain dead folks could do was “bemoan” the situation that Deputy Speaker Alfred Kwame Agbesi and the other leadership had placed them in. According this this genius, it would have taken 1-5 years for a local manufacturer to make the chairs and Parliament needed a quick turn around, which was why a delegation was sent to China months before the chairs were to be delivered and hurriedly put in the building. There was no bidding process, no query about how local manufacturers could split the order if needed and deliver on time, because Alfred Agbesi (NDC) DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GHANAIAN INGENUITY! I wonder how much he was able to skim off of the top of that Chinese transaction? A pretty penny, I’m sure. Did I mention the chairs began falling apart a day after they were assembled? A female parliamentarian crashed to the floor in an undignified heap a day after they were set up in the chamber. As is their normal custom, the NDC reps deflected and placed blame on the victim, saying she needed to lose weight. The woman is a size 8-10! Come on, you people!

kantankaOh, but that’s not all. In a stunning move of blatant disregard, Sports Minister Mahama Ayariga confirmed that after placing second at the recent AFCON games, each member of the Black Star football squad was awarded $25,000 in cash and a new Jeep Grand Cherokee which retails at at a cost of $76,000. 30 Jeeps meant a total of $2,280,000 spent…on cars. Now, this wouldn’t be so bad, if Tankanka hadn’t just begun selling made and manufactured cars in Ghana this December. What kind of a symbolic gesture would it have been for the Sports Ministry to decide to invest that $2million back into a Ghanaian company? What kind of signal would that gesture have sent to the nation, to see a Black Star cruising the street in a made in Ghana car? Unfortunately, such a move would have required intelligence, planning and forethought, and the Sports Ministry has this in short supply.

I can’t even say John Mahama has failed to inspire his leadership to believe in Ghana, because he hasn’t even been inspired himself. Oh, but Malaka! He wears Horseman Shoes, which are made in Ghana! Oh, but Reader! He just spent millions of dollars to vacation in Dubai instead of one of Ghana’s numerous – and beautiful – beach resorts. Why? Because the man DOES NOT LOVE or have pride in his country. These are but a handful of examples of how he and the NDC have shown their contempt for Ghanaians. Let’s not even start on how we went from being debt-free to puckering up and rimming the IMF for loans in less than a decade.

Time is progressing. Technology is only going to get smarter. People are working more efficiently. It’s time we had a man – or a woman – in office who is fit for the task of leading the country into the challenges of the new millennium. All Mahama and his cohorts have managed to do is re-introduce the country to the horrors of the 19th century. If Ghana were coasting, we could allow a handsome guy with speeches on fleek to carry us through, but we need a president who has the strength to lead the nation in this uphill battle. It’s time for John Mahama to resign. There is no shame in confessing you are not good enough for the job. You just look desperate and pathetic when you hang on for too long.

Open Letter to OccupyGhana and Other “Progressive” Ghanaians

This open letter was written at Kwabena Amporful’s request. Please direct all your vitriol to him in Facebook. I believe he is on Twirra as well. Don’t trouble me in my comments section. I would rather spend my Saturday blogging about the virtues of cornbread, but Mr. Amporful was insistent.

 

Dear Occupy and Other Progressive Ghanaians:

Let me put it to you plainly. You can’t win.

There, I’ve said it. Who am I? I am the spirit that rules this land you call Ghana. I am the menace that governs the actions of the nation. I am the shadow that follows and will eventually overtake you. I am Abonsam Moja – Satan’s Blood – and I cover every endeavor you mortals who call yourselves Ghanaians engage in.

I am the spirit who causes you to roll up your windows when beggars approach you at the traffic light. I am the voice that prohibits you from offering the lowly a kind word or an encouraging smile, even if you cannot give 20 pesewsas for ice water.

I am the ghoul who lives in the pastor who strikes the swollen bellies of expectant mothers, or convinces women their lives are meaningless unless they can cook jollof rice, and declares vehemently that God will not bless them unless they willfully place themselves in subjugation to a man…even if he is not worth the 9 months and 36 hours in labor his mother expended to bring him into this world. I, Abonsam Moja have even infiltrated your houses of worship! If your pastors, preachers and bishops truly believed in Christ’s power and blood, would they conduct themselves in the manner in which they do? Would they dare to spew false prophecy with the frequency in which they do? Hahahaaa!!! Yet they have blinded you all. They have told you that the more education you strive for, the less close to God you will find yourselves. They have told you men of science cannot be men of faith. As for women? They have told you it is better you learn how to cook than to go to school anyway. No wonder you dense lot haven’t created a fufu pounding machine yet. You are happy in your listless, mindless toil.

I am Abonsam Moja – the Blood of Satan – and you cannot defeat me!

I am the creator of the endemic condition you have termed “corruption”. Where you try to fight against me, I will adapt, morph and recreate myself. I am a virus. There is no curing me. No amount of street marches labelled as “registers of displeasure” will cause my existence to cease. I inhabit the souls of ministers who stand on the 5th floor of Flagstaff House, take pictures of you from the window and mock you on Twitter as you as you mill about with your placards and slogans and your recycled jama. How cute you look to me, OccupyGhanaians. You have the appearance of ants hit by unexpected torrential rains, and my sides split with laughter when I think about how I will cause you to scatter when the next set of economic and soul crushing programs I have in mind are manifested. Your demonstrations are little more than white noise to me. What, really, has any of these street protests changed?

Do you really think I am moved by any of these displays? I am ALL powerful. I am your government. And by government, I mean just that. I rule your passport and drivers’ licensing offices. I am the reason a CHRAJ boss can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to refit a palatial home while her offices don’t even have paper to print with. I am the reason the media can/has/shall drag rape victims through the mud and expose them to harm and ridicule without a twinge of guilt. I can do all this while you sit in your churches and mosques, singing meaningless hymns, doing salat and paying tithes and offerings as though you can buy your way into heaven. You call on my enemy, the Almighty God, but He cannot reach you because you are literally soaked in the Blood of Satan. How stupid you must look to the gods you think you serve. You serve ME, and you serve me willingly.

I dwell within many of you, and even if I have not managed to completely capture your imagination and your soul, you are not untainted by my influence. I am the spirit who begs the Ghanaian abroad – yea even shames him – into returning home to serve the country rather than “sitting on the sidelines” and then frustrates the earnest returnee until he is nearly driven mad. (S)he knows that with a few simple measures, the chaos at the harbor can be solved, the forests can be replanted and architecture can be revamped so that buildings run more efficiently. But you will label him/her too known and tell this person to return to America…or if they like, apply for a job as your subordinate. And when the professional Ghanaian chooses to return abroad where their skills will be optimized to their best potential, you shame them for not seeing the course through and staying at home to develop the nation.

Hahahahaa! It’s beautiful! I have created a craptastic human masterpiece, and my medium of choise is the toil, sweat and tears of the everyday Ghanaian!

I am the specter who would rather you all dwell in darkness, both physical and proverbial, than to see you prosper. Your doom enriches my sincerest servants. Dumsor could have been solved 30 years ago by the likes of Benjamin Dedjoe, Senior Electrical Engineer at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Arsenal division. But I do not want dumsor to end. What other campaign promises can my servants run on? This is why I have and WILL reject any Ghanaian’s offer to solve the electricity and human waste problems, even if those services are to be rendered gratis. We would rather kowtow to Germans than to solve Ghana’s problems with Ghanaian know-how.

Rejection Letter MOPE

You will not win this fight, so-called Progressive Ghanaians. You are too weak. Be honest, you have resigned yourself to the fact that it will always be this way, haven’t you?

Did I mention that I am also the patron spirit over football, the opium for the masses? You silly Progressive Ghanaians forget all your woes, as long as there is electricity for football. Oh, you say you are not among those, eh? Your progressivism is “different,” right? The Ghanaian who would label him/herself “progressive” is not of one sort or the other. That is the beauty of my plan. I have confused you all! A progressive Ghanaian is one who calls himself a women’s rights advocate while saying it is impossible to rape a Ghanaian woman because she is “cheap” by nature. A progressive Ghanaian is one who mandates monthly clean up exercises but does not provide the tools or instructions to do so. A progressive Ghanaian tells you to defecate in the sea so fish can eat your poo, rather than in facilities you must pay for. Every 4 years, dozens of “progressive Ghanaians” crisscross the country with loud speakers and flashy cars, promising free uniform shirts for students while their parents lose their jobs at factories or entire livelihoods because the cedi has fallen.

Speaking of the cedi, it didn’t rise when it was commanded, did it? Ask yourself why. >>>Abonsam Moja was covering that thang!<<<

You silly cartoons. I really do enjoy watching you. Until you learn to speak the language of the imbecile, you will never transform this country. And to do that, you must become imbeciles yourselves. There is no way out of this. Ghana will never work again. Not in 50 years, and not in 500 when the Chinese invasion is complete. Get comfortable in your mediocrity. Your demise is nigh.

Sincerely,

The Devil

 

Year End Review – My last post for 2014

The woman who threads my eyebrows is from Iran. Last year, she told me that 2013 was going to be a “very bad year”. Numerology dictated that it would. She didn’t offer any predictions for 2014 and I’m not due to get a threading until next Friday, so I’ll have to ask her then what her take on 2014 was. Did the numbers lie? Was 2014 supposed to set everything to right that 2013 set out of balance? Questions!

Let’s review the year together, shall we? We’ll take it in the bits: The good, the bad, the WTF?!?

The Good

I started the year off in heaps of debt comprised of medical bills and student loans. By June of this year Marshall and I had all of our debts paid off. I also published 2 books this year, which made me pretty darn happy, and then I joined the Kpakpakpa Movement, which guarantees me success in all my endeavors.

****Confetti!!!****

Lupita-Nyongo-Light-Blue-Prada-Dress-Oscars-2014The world got to see a spectacular super moon, which was pretty cool, and Malala No Last Name Needed Because She’s so Dope won the Nobel Peace Prize. Lupita Nyong’o slayed the world of fashion and drama with her ebony beauty and grace. Gas prices are currently down below $3 a gallon (in the US at least) all thanks to President Obama’s leadership. I don’t know who he had to bomb or snipe to get us there, but it spells out a very merry Christmas for the Murrikans. The rest of the world is on its own.

Also in not so much world related news, God is still awesome and He is proving it through Eddie James Ministries (www.ejworship.org) which mentors, feeds, houses and rehabilitates the homeless and hopeless through worship. Like hardcore, you cain’t deny its power, behind the veil worship. I’m only sad I just discovered this ministry this year.

The Bad

In other God related news, “Men of God” in Ghana and across Africa are ruining the continent with their occultism, foolishness or a mix of both. The people include Duncan Williams, Dag Heward Mills, Bleach-faced/ Pregnant Belly Kicking Bishop Obinim (no really, he kicked an expecting mother in the belly to ‘heal her’) and Lesego Danie,l that dude down in South Africa making his congregation drink gasoline to prove their faith. People who believe these are actually men who hear from God are better off worshipping rocks.

A respiratory virus known as Enterovirus D68 swept through the Mid-West and Western regions of the US and sickened hundreds of kids. Children in Pre-K to third grade were particularly susceptible and a few lost their lives. This virus terrified American parents, prompting some to keep their kids out of school until it had peaked and was on the decline. But Enterovirus D68 had NOTHING on Ebola. Ebola scared the sense out of every living American. I have never seen such unfounded hysteria in my life.

Wait. That’s not true. Americans treated AIDS and obesity the same way a few decades ago. I’m talking “You’ll catch AIDS if you hug this person” and “I don’t walk in the shadow of fat people because I may catch some of their weight”. Ahhh, Murrika.

The WTF?!?!

As for the WTF dierrr, it was plenty. For a complete listing of WTF global events, go to Twitter and dig out a list of the following hashtags:

  • #BringBackOurGirls
  • #ICantBreathe
  • The blue eyed felonious criminal model dude
  • #ISIS
  • #MyDressMyChoice
  • #Ferguson
  • #Jollofgate
  • #CrimingWhileWhite
  • #ElizabethLauten
  • #AliveWhileBlack
  • The Unhinged Ugandan Maid (I don’t think she got her own HT)

2014 was a HORRIBLE year for human rights, and for humanity as a whole. I think human beings showed their collective asses in 2014. Look at the ghastly things we’ve done to the children in Syria and Palestine. Consider how we’ve failed girls in India who can’t even go to the bathroom without risking rape. From Nelson Baani to Oscar Pistorius, and now to Shrien Dewani, we see that men have been given the liberty to both promote and carry out the execution of women with little fear of reprimand or true consequences. 2014 was an awful time to be a woman – white, black or Indian – in Africa. In Kenya, men were stripping and abusing women in the streets in broad daylight. In Ghana, there were several cases of women being attacked by rapists as they went to the toilet. The stories covering violence against women and girls seemed to be endless, and the shame and heartbreak only piqued by governments and police forces who were too lazy or too unwilling to bring justice for fear of the loss of the benefits of patriarchy.

But as deadly as it was to be a woman in the developing world in 2014, it might have been even more so to be Black in America. Sweet heavenly Jesus doused in frankincense. How many street executions have to take place before America wakes up to the scourge that is blatant racism and selective police brutality? Gawker recently released a list of names of unarmed (Black) civilians who were killed by the police while doing some of the following activities:

  • Looking for help after a car crash
  • Walking up a stairwell in the victim’s apartment building
  • Playing with toys in the park
  • Standing on the street corner selling loosies

And because America’s justice system is unrighteous, unholy and clearly given to bias, each of these predators have (or will) go free, never to be prosecuted for their crimes. White supremacy still profits off of the bodies of Black men and women – from book deals to ABC interviews – supremacists still find a way to make a buck off of the blood of our children, sisters, husbands and mothers; and in 2014 the profit mill was in overdrive. It’s disgusting. But as tragic as these events have been the reaction to this sort of violence from a particular cadre of Black folk has been even more alarming.

I am trying to decide if I can (or will) associate with the purveyors of respectability politics in 2015. Honestly, I don’t think I can stomach it. Oh, you know these people. You may even be one of them yourself. Those naïve folks who think that as long as you have your pants pulled up, wear neutral colors, pronounce your R’s and don’t drop your –ings, you’re somehow immune to a police officer’s bullet or chokehold, or more likely to get a job. Niggro, please. There are at least 3 studies that have shown that a drop-out white male with a felony background is twice as likely to get a job than a Black male with no criminal record and a high school degree. And none of these Respectability Niggros has yet been able to explain why Henry Louis Gates Jr was cuffed and arrested while wearing a blazer and an argyle vest on suspicion of breaking and entering his own house. The man was coming through the front door with his own key. These are the same people who would confidently tell you that as long as you obey the officer – regardless of whether you know your arrest/detainment is unlawful – you will be safe. You idiots. Yes! Imbeciles! The man in this video was complying with the officer’s orders and STILL got shot.

These Respectability Niggros want Black Americans to give up all their rights for the sake of white harmony. That’s not harmony. That’s Jim Crow. You’re setting the race back 100 years.

Twinsies!

Twinsies!

In conclusion, 2014 wasn’t a great year; but even in the midst of all this darkness, there were a few points of brilliant light. Those lights go by the names of John Legend and Jessie Williams. I don’t think I’ve ever been as impressed with any celebrity as much as I am with this pair. But as fantastic as these two may be, Franchesca Ramsey takes the crown when an exasperated Ms. Ramsey asks former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly what we need to do to “behave like good Negros” and to “please enlighten me on how not to get killed”. Ei. Sistah. We don’t say these things to white people in their faces ooo. We mutter them on BET and at the barbershop. The woman has Nzinga and Yaa Asentewaa blood coursing in her veins!

So, as we settle in for Christmas pie and pudding, let us reflect on what 2014 has wrought and how we can make it better in 2015. Happy New Year to you all, MOM Squad! I appreciate each one of you and wish you and your families nuthin’ but goodness and a joy/strength combo pack in hard times should they come your way.

Wiyaala to drop new single for Peace and Unity in Africa

Wiyaala press

Wiyaala drops her new single “Africa” on the 29th September. The song was debuted live at “A Night of 1018 Laughs” to a wildly enthusiastic crowd in a performance described by critics as “immense”, “awesome” and “the Angelique Kidjo of our time”.

Following her knock-about antics in the hit songs, “Rock My Body” and “Go Go Black Stars”, Wiyaala turns her attention to more serious issues:

“I was partly inspired to write ‘Africa’ by Sherifa Gunu, who helped me during some difficult times. Like my dear sister, I want to send out a message for peace. Africa is blessed with huge natural and human resources, yet we refuse to live in harmony? I’m not just talking about wars and terrorism, I’m also talking about hatred and jealousy on a personal level where we fight as individuals, bear false witness and create enmity between ourselves.”

“Africa” is the first single to be released from the self-titled album “Wiyaala” due out in November. The song, on which the singer plays the acoustic guitar live, was produced and recorded by Jurgen Von Wechmar at Sunset Recording Studios in Stellenbosch, South Africa. A video for “Africa” is expected soon.

 

Leave your comments about how giddy with excitement you are about this here. I’ll lead you.

Guest Post: This is What Male Privilege Looks Like

I just got this post in from Nana Darkoa who asked me to ‘put this man on blast’. Let her experience be a warning. Read, gasp and hide your kids. The rest of you: behave yourselves in public!

 

The plan was to enjoy an Ethiopian buffet at Hush Lounge in Labone. My friends and I were seated comfortably in a far corner of the dimly lit venue, chit chatting. We were 4 adult women, with a 13-year-old girl in our company. Her brother sat adjacent to us. Close enough to be within earshot, yet far away enough to retain his teenage cool.

I was drinking Smirnoff Ice and chatting with one of my friends when this man came and sat right in the corner where we had ensconced ourselves. I groaned inwardly, why did he have to come and sit right next to us when the venue was practically empty. You could tell he was drunk from the way that he lurched into the seat.

 My friends and I continued chatting.

“Excuse me, excuse” we soon heard him say loudly. Sure enough, Mr. Drunk Man was trying to interrupt our conversation. I looked up briefly, then away, and continued to talk to my friend. One of the women in our party must have said something briefly to him, which I didn’t quite catch before returning to our conversation. I couldn’t help but say to my friend,

“Ah, male privilege can be annoying. Can you imagine ever going to a bar, sitting right next to a group of men and then raising your voice at them to get their attention?” We laughed and went back to our conversation.

Mr. Drunk Man tried to interrupt us one more time with no luck and somehow started a conversation with Mr. Cool Teenage Boy whom he had sat right next door to. While I chatted with his mother, she glanced his way intermittently, concerned about whether or not he was okay. He seemed fine, and walked away after a while.

It was then that Mr. Drunk Man started trying to interrupt our party with something to the effect of, “Oi, I’m talking to you”. We ignored him and tried to carry on our convo. But would Mr. Drunk Man take a hint? Oh no. He just got louder. Eventually I said,

“Excuse me, we are trying to have a conversation. Please leave us alone”.

He started to swear at us. “Shut the fuck up.” “Ugly fat black bitches.” “Fuck off!” and even something to the effect of “You’re just looking for black dicks.” My friend said, “Don’t talk to us like that,” but that made no difference to him and he continued to rant and rave.

Just at that moment a male friend who had told us about the regular Ethiopian buffet at that lounge walked to the corner of the restaurant where we were seated. He tried to calm down the situation. “Good evening, Sir,” he said whilst making direct eye contact with Mr. Drunk Man. But oh no, Mr. Drunk Man couldn’t be talked down into civility. Eventually, security led him away.

 

van-lare-dosooThat night, I did some digging, and found out Mr. Drunk Man was called Lionel, and earlier on had taken to bragging about being a former Chairman of Ecobank (and the fancy school his children attend, and that he used to live in the States and had just come back from Brazil). So off to Google I went, where I searched for ‘Lionel + Chairman + Ecobank.’ Indeed, there is a (former?) chairman of the esteemed bank called Lionel. I did a Google images search with the full name I now had. Yup, it looked like the same man. I sent it to my friend. She was with one of the other women who had been with us at Hush lounge that night. They both confirmed it was the same man. Lionel Van Lare Dosoo, next time you’re drunk go home, don’t harass women in bars.

 

 

 

 

Are you Going to #OccupyFlagStaffHouse?

“Chile, I don’t want you mixed up in all dat revolution, y’hear? They gon’ KILL your scrawny ass!”

This phrase was repeated in various forms in Negro homes all across America in the 50s and 60s. Parents who had lived through Jim Crow and whose own parents and grandparents had come out of slavery and Reconstruction knew what a cagey government and ruling class bent on the destruction of a people was capable of. Asking for change was dangerous. They could (and often would) actually kill you – the fed up, ordinary citizen – to maintain the status quo. The fear of these parents whose children were seeking radical change and ‘revolution’ was real and absolutely warranted. They had often witnessed the fiery destruction that comes with change, and thus became apathetic.

That’s why I know for a fact that if I was in Ghana on July 1st, my father would absolutely forbid me from attending #OccupyFlagStaffHouse. It’s too risky, and that is why he would never permit his grown daughter to attend this event. And you know what? Despite the fact that I am a 36 year old woman with four kids of my own, I would have to acquiesce to his wishes or risk the shame of being branded a ‘disobedient daughter’ in the course of attempting to usher in change through civil disobedience. There are thousands of women and men who will have to make that same choice on July 1st.

For the benefit of full disclosure, allow me to state now that I do not live in any part of Ghana. I live abroad with my family and visit Ghana annually. Regular visitors to this blog know this, but for those who are coming here because of this hashtag, I do not want to give the impression that I am championing this cause from the comfort of my climate controlled home sipping imported coffee because I have the luxury to. I will neither condemn anyone who wants to attend this rally nor those who see no use in it. I understand each position equally. People are afraid, and they have every right to be.

For those of us old enough to witness or remember the stories “Rawlings Chain”, firing squad, people disappearing in the night or having your home razed because you had one too many toilets, #OccupyFlagStaffHouse is akin to courting trouble. Why do all that? Why not wait until 2016 and vote these NDC bums out!

The problem is Ghana’s decay is not an NDC or NPP problem. This is a Ghanaian problem. These “leaders” come from among us. My uncle went to school with JJ Rawlings. One of your uncles or aunties went to school with Kuffour and Co. Some of you went to school with Victoria Hammah. These individuals did not sudden garner a new set of mores when they got into political office and acquire power. For example, if a politician does not build a house for his mother within his first 2 years in office, he is insulted mercilessly. The entire family expects “to chop” some of the benefits that come with his position. The rest of us have to wait your turn to put a son in power! The politician then therefore becomes “hope” in himself, rather than working to create hope for the nation. No wonder these guys think they are demigods.

We have a culture of service and respect, but we keep it relegated to the realm of the traditional. You would never go to Nana’s house and drop your waste in his courtyard. But what do you find outside of the chief’s palace in our streets? You find people dropping Fan Ice and Pure Water wrappers in the road, plastic waste everywhere, and hawkers selling dog chains on barren patches of land with a sign commanding “Do Not Walk on the Grass”.

wasteIt’s all very cyclical. Ghanaians do not have the structures in place to allow them to be a better brand of citizen and so they in turn exhibit behaviors of poor citizenship. Our streets would not be so filthy if we had proper, reliable waste management, and the ONLY body sanctioned to provide that right now is the federal government. Give Ghanaians waste baskets and recycling containers on the streets, educate the masses on the hazards of improper waste, dispose of it properly and we will change our habits! But for Heaven’s sake, please stop this practice of moving our metropolitan garbage into the countryside and polluting their landscapes and water bodies. It’s demonic.

This is but one of the many, many issues that Ghanaians are protesting against on July 1st. People are asking for:

  • A commitment to better governance and transparency
  • An end to wanton, indiscriminate corruption
  • A tangible plan to power and provide the whole of Ghana with basic, necessary utilities like electricity and water
  • Access to better education for ALL Ghana’s children
  • An overhaul of the tax code and revenue accumulation practices
  • Ensure a proper functioning health insurance scheme
  • Scrap all policies which inhibit establishment and growth of business
  • A commitment to stop dicking with our progress as a  people

(Okay, okay! I confess. I added that last line item. It is not on the official list.)

 

What is so “revolutionary” about these requests in 2014?

That is why #OccupyFlagStaffHouse is not a “revolution”, although the idea itself is. It’s a peaceful protest asking and providing ordinary citizens a platform to exercise their right to protest the needlessly harsh conditions under which they find themselves. In a country as where the populace is as apathetic and conditioned to accept scraps as ours is, movements like One Simple Step and Occupy Flag Staff are paramount civil disobedience indeed!

Now, they naysayers who say there is no need or benefit in protesting want a “wait and see” approach. They say Ghanaians are lazy and that that they need to “innovate”, rather than demonstrate. But really, who is more innovative than the kindergarten boy who has to make his own toys out of milk tins and flip flops because his dad cannot find a job in Ghana’s abysmal economy? And every day, whether they are seamstresses or event planners, men and women have to get up and go to work doing the same thing: building their enterprises out of milk tins and chale wote. We cannot “innovate” our way to progress when there is only one functioning imaging machine at the harbor and your imported food items for your cold store go rotting in the container for an eternity while the officials scan other boxes that have been sitting there for months. A Ghanaian entrepreneur cannot “innovate” his way to success when he suddenly lands a long awaited deal and upon discovering he needs to renew his passport in order to travel and close said deal, is told that he will have to wait 3-6 months to get it because the passport making machine is broken!

Ah ah!

I get it. I understand people are afraid. They don’t want these Occupiers rocking the boat. Some say Ghanaians are not ‘fearful’ but rather apathetic to their plight. An apathetic population is the biggest gift you could give to a corrupt, inept government, because they no longer have to use bully tactics like firing squad and search and seizure to keep you in check: you’ll keep yourself in check. It’s easier to just shrug, suffer, sleep and repeat.

I think Edward Tagoe summed up the necessity of #OccupyFlagStaffHouse quite nicely:

edward

It’s a fascinating idea, isn’t it? That the Black African who all have said can only be ruled by force and the gun can use his/her wits and civility to change their circumstances? Isn’t that how we got our independence in the first place? And for all those asking “Ehhh…you’ve gone to sit in the sun on the grass and then now what?”

Well, that really depends on the Mahama Administration, doesn’t it?