So Much Ghana Love

God, I love being a Ghanaian, don’t you?

Although my hybrid blood prevents me from claiming to be a 100%, unadulterated Ghanaian, I am compelled to “foreskin” on that part of my heritage and claim it exclusively as my own.

Every culture has something to brag about – something that makes them unique and special. The French created crepes and edible underwear. The Germans mastered beer making. The Irish engineered a rash of violent and physical sports that are best played on county roads. Americans think they live on the greatest country on Earth. And what for Ghanaman? Allow me to elucidate:

There is nothing like a Ghanaian sunrise or sunset. Ghana sits squarely just above the equator, which means the sun rises and sets at 6 o’clock every day without fail. If the molten heat didn’t compel our citizens to retreat in search of shade at every waking moment, we might realize how lovely that hovering omnipresent orange globe we call the sun is.

Nothing beats the smell of burning wood and charcoal in the morning! Whether you live in Labone, Legon, Tema or Tamale; in the poshest or poorest of neighborhoods; you are guaranteed to be greeted by the scent of someone cooking breakfast over an open flame. If you’ve never lived outside of Ghana it’s easy to dismiss the pungent smell of outdoor cooking; but for us “been-to’s” it’s really quite comforting.

Cops and Robbers: Ghana’s police and crooks are so very predictable. To circumnavigate the antics of the police who are looking to supplement their paltry incomes at our numerous in-town borders, one merely needs to have a supply of ready cash to bribe the officer into forgiving your offence (which could be as grievous as having your review mirror skewed too far too the left). To avoid being trussed up by an armed robber, never carry a mobile phone (or large amounts of cash) with you at night. The inherent problems in both scenarios are obvious, but calling the police on you cell/mobile in the event that you are robbed is fruitless. Our boys in blue have no vehicles.

We’re not angry. That’s just how we talk! I imagine it might be really alarming for a foreigner to find himself in a room of five or more Ghanaian men (and that one too-known woman in the background interjecting ‘Ehhh! It’s true!!’ at any given opportunity) engaged in what would appear to be verbal combat. The fact is, the conversation is most likely jovial, never combative. Even a roaring and dismissive “Your modda!!!” from one conversationalists to another is done in love and/or jest. We’re just a loud, boisterous group of people. We don’t have whisper cells.

Ghana Maybe Time: If an appointment is scheduled for 2 o’clock, show up at 4 o’clock and pray the other person even decides to show up at all. It’s just understood.

Anyone can be a celebrity. Everybody is somebody in Ghana. Even our nerds think they are somebody. It only takes a modicum more effort than the next guy to be a star. If you rap, rap a little faster. If dance you, dance a little harder. If you are friends with people who are already celebrities, add more celebrity friends to your repertoire and that alone will make you a star. It’s an easy formula.

Ghanaians don’t fight: We are not Nigerians. A Ghanaian will always raise his hand and threaten to slap you, but he will never land the blow.

We’re all broke, but you’d never know it by the way we dress. That’s all.

We don’t know our national pledge: For a country that boasts to be the first to gain independence in Africa, it’s a tragic but-o-so amusing fact. I won’t even lie  – I don’t know the pledge beyond the first line myself… NO ONE does. This video proves it:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D11QVA7yog

Politiricks: Did you know Ghana has no circuses anywhere in the country? And why would we need them? All of our politicians are clowns anyways, minus the face paint. Besides, they are far more entertaining to watch, and our people can observe the comedy they provide  for free. Politician gawking is one of the few remaining gratis amusements that Ghanaians are still afforded.

We’re the best of friends: Part of Ghanaian culture that has many other nations beat is our brand of friendship. Name 6 other places in the world where you can walk in on a friend, unannounced, find that friend eating and have him/her smile at your uninvited and unexpected presence, point to their food and proclaim “you’re invited!”. At your leaving, said friend will then “lead/throw” you as you go home. To ‘throw’ someone in Ghana is the process of walking with them to an acceptable point in the direction of their next destination. If they’re taking a cab or tro-tro, your job as the host is to wait with them and make sure they board safely before you turn and walk home. I’ve spent hours ‘throwing’ friends. It was one of the few justifiable excuses that delayed me from tackling my housework.

I love being a Ghanaian! A handkerchief toting, chaley wortey wearing, kelewele eating, oware playing, hustling for my money Ghanaian! 🙂

  • You. Are. Amazing. I’m tweeting this to everyone I know.

    PS – Did the French really create edible underwear? …Huh. I guess they ARE useful at something, after all.

    • Thank. You. 🙂

      Tweet it oooh, tweet it papa! All GH fuor should recognize how dope our country is.

      NB: I don’t know for sure if the French created edible undies, but it seems the sort of thing that a Frenchie would do. Besides, I think I heard a comedian mention it in passing. If I heard it on TV, then it’s probably a lie.

  • Harriet

    There’s also our own special take on law and order – woe betides any thief/ kiddie fiddler/ random criminal caught hiding behind your house. A crowd will appear, beat your ass and pose for pictures with the police when they arrive. And none of that namby pamby negotiation or armed police stand off with some nutter that goes on for hours; a well-aimed stone to the head will bring the fool down so we can all go home and sleep.

    Ghana anaaaa?!

    to the

    • Eiii!!! How could I forget?? I’ll never forget the first time I saw Ghana’s version of law and order in action. I was living at Asylum Down with my grandmother 6 yrs old and some guy had stolen a shirt from the line in the area. Somebody shouted “julor!!!” and no less than 115 people showed up and beat the ever loving crap out of him. I mean stones, sticks, fists, shoes – oh! The police had to come an rescue him. The guy I saw get burned ALIVE at Teshie Nungua was not so fortunate though.

      Ahhh….Ghana justice.

  • Allison

    You just took me home again — especially about the smell of burning wood. My grandparents live out in basically bush country and had no real modern conveniences until very recently. The smell of that open flame is definitely one of my most vivid memories of my childhood. I would never have thought that Jamaica and Ghana had so much in common. Funnily, my sister is dating a Ghanaian and, through him, I’m learning a lot of the similarities. Their kids are going to be in for a treat when they sit down for the when-I-was-growing-up stories. That, or horribly frightened.

  • Ghanaians and Jamaicans share a common gene pool, so I’m not surprised by your sister’s present love for one. And I’m betting on the latter: my kids will be horribly frightened.

  • hmmm Malaka! Not all Nigerians fight….an unfair generalisation…
    that said, i do love ghanians; have had too much contact with y’all!

    • You see?!? You are fighting even now! 😉

      But I can agree with you. That is an unfair generalization based on the reputation of a few.