Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Free at last!

I'm no longer a student.

Any reading I do henceforth is for fun, and therefore it's probably just gonna be comments on facebook - not much change from when I was doing a degree then!

It's so weird, so surreal to think that I have done all I could ever do to attain this much coveted degree. It feels like the culmination - not of 3 years of study away from home, but of 17 years of study since childhood. For students like me, with parents like mine, this was the target. Everything else a means to this end, not to be mistaken for sufficient accomplishment. I could never turn to my Dad at the end of high school or college and say "hey Dad, this is it, I'm done learning. Getting a job." He's Nigerian, he would have just looked at my face. That's all. Just looking at my face would have given me the lecture a thousand words could never express. BUT NOW, I've gone as far as my Dad has ever required of me (although now he asks for a Masters or second degree).

And it's now I think that I feel true ownership of my life. Even how I choose to spend tomorrow, is finally a choice I make answerable to me and me alone. There's a fear - I don't know if any of you have experienced it before. Where you look at your life in the next 5, 10, 50 years and feel like what you do or don't do tomorrow will be responsible for how much your life sucks or rocks in the years to come.

I'm not much a fan of fear. I'm not much a fan of looking so far ahead, but it creeps up on me when my brain is idle. Despite the daunting reality of actually having to leave the student bubble and grow up, I'm excited in this moment that it is all complete. Stage 1 of mission: life, is done and until I decide to be responsible and dedicate myself to the job hunt - BRING ON THE SUMMER!

"Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty we're free at last" - Martin Luther King Jr. 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Last Exam

Over the last 3 years of uni I have had 10 exams. My final one was today. I know some people will dislike me for that fact, a few of my friends clocked 10 exams in their first year of uni, but of course in my defence we Humanities students have to write essays. I met some Engineering students at the Union today who complained because they had to write an essay based exam. Boo hoo welcome to my world!

Either way, Exam Number 10 marks my last ever exam. It was ok but perhaps not perfect, I didn't feel as inspired as I did at A-levels. My A-levels were a whole other  level of accomplishment. That's what uni feels like though. You've worked your butt off continuously for 3 years, so your last exam feels deserved before you've even sat down like "Give me my certificate already, I worked harder than I ever have or ever intend to in my life, I deserve I 2:1 for that alone!"

I've you're wondering about the topic of the exam, it was Politics of the European Union. Don't ask me about the politics of the European Union, I really couldn't hold a conversation on it. As you may have guessed from my blog my passion doesn't lie with Europe. I'm just so happy it's finished and gone, and I now have 4 days to tackle 12.5% of my degree. Yes, I've calculated it.

I hope you're enjoying reading about the gradual end to my degree. If you're about to embark on university or whatnot, trust me it's not so bad, just work your hardest from Day 1 and Day 976 will sort itself out.


Saturday, 12 May 2012

President for a Week...

Big shout out to the GhanaDecides Team and my fellow Ghana Bloggers.

In the week, Ghana Decides asked us (its followers on facebook) If you were President of Ghana for a week , what would you change?

Lucky for me my response: "I would organise holidays in Ghana for Ghanaians, so people from Northern Region will get to enjoy 3*+ holiday in the Volta region or Eastern region by the Lake and people from Central Region/Greater Accra had great holidays in the Upper West or Brong Ahafo or something. So basically everyone got a week holiday somewhere else in the country = social harmony."

won me some Make Fufu Not War stickers! yayy!

I just wanted to ask you though, If YOU were President of your country/ a country you feel close to, what would you change?

Leave your suggestions as comments below, but please be sure to indicate which country. It can be any country in the world!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I don't want to complain all the time. This isn't what this blog is about, and I'm not a complainer as such I just like to see people do beyond their best.

I'm here for the conversation, for the fun (when that returns to my life post-degree). But I did see this article on the eTV website. It scared me just a bit and to be honest if you read a few of my previous posts you'll know that I'm currently watching the footbridge situation very closely. It might seem insignificant, but actually it is a symbol of everything that is holding Ghana back.

If you have clicked the link you will know the problem I'm addressing today. A footbridge in Kaneshie needs repair after a truck defied rules and attempted to drive under it (it was too tall and cracked the footbridge). The people have waited for the government to fix it but knowing that nothing really ever gets done, they've taken to tempting fate and continue using the footbridge. I don't want to be melodramatic but basically any day now someone or some people could walk across it, fall and die. That is the reality.

So, I am saying here and now to the Minister in charge of footbridges pedestrian transport to have this thing sorted. For our safety. It might be silly to you but I have friends and family who are disabled in different ways and by different causes and what I have seen in my encounter of Ghana is that these people are not considered in the planning or running of the country. I think about my friends and family who will have to struggle for accessibility anywhere. And I think of the families of people who are injured and left disabled as a result of ignorant planning.

On a lighter note, I'll be a graduate in two weeks!

Dissertation Over and Out

How many of you have  done a dissertation or thesis?

If you have you will understand the feeling you get upon submitting.

I have 2 essays left of my undergraduate degree, and following that I'll have the best summer avoiding the London Olympics by helping young people to find themselves and find their inner strength in a 3 week adventure playground and community initiative.

Handing in my dissertation marked the beginning of that journey. It also marked the end of the journey I've embarked on for the past 3 year - my university life. It's emotional to think that it'll all be over so soon when this experience has given me so much. I'm in this limbo and I know that I will cry but I don't know if it's tears of sorrow, leaving this comfortable life behind, or tears of joy, grateful for all that life has given me and impressed at what I have achieved.

Graduation is on July 17th. After that, hopefully I can go to Ghana and show my grandmother so she can be proud. I'll be her second granddaughter to have completed university - after my sister. My grandmother being a young girl in rural Ghana pre-independence didn't have an education, but the one thing she would tell us from as long as I can remember is that we should reach university, graduate, get jobs.... and bring her money! ;D (bet you were expecting something deep and profound - nah, my grandma's got her priorities!) And now, the two of us as of two weeks time unofficially and July 17th officially would've done just that.

Handing over that dissertation, wow, it must be like how my mother felt when she sent me off to uni. You know that your job is done, there is no more left to do, but you worry... did I do enough? When all the examiners have been and gone, will the result make me happy?

I'll let you know on July 17th.

And if you were wondering about the word count:
13,419 words.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Hello MAVIN Records!

It's Don Jazzy Again!

Some of you will recognise that saying from some of the continent's biggest tunes over the past few years. That Don Jazzy is one of the continent's leading producers is undeniable. A while back he and D'banj met Kanye West in Dubai - if rumours serve me right - and it all seemed to be going uphill from there.

I don't know what happened cos I don't majorly follow musicians in the news or by their twitter, but I did find out that IDJA has set up an new record label and there's much talk about healing wounds. I can only assume Kanye has come and messed up things - and just like that perhaps Africa's biggest institution (if I can call MoHits an institution) disappears. I don't know the story, this is all speculation but given that D'banj and his bro K-Switch are both absent, it's the only assumption to be made.

I will support D'banj's official debut single in the UK when it is released simply because the African in me wants to see an African top the UK charts. I would have like to have seen it happen without Kanye, and a bit of me thinks it could have. But shouldda wouldda couldda's are the last words of a fool.

I'm just excited for MAVIN to hit the waves, African music is doing something amazing for our identity. Much love for those keeping it true to their culture, the skin of the talking drum was not created in New York, let's remember that.

Friday, 4 May 2012

BBC defending their coverage of Africa

I don't know if BBC are just trying to engage in the debate that they know is already happening or if they are trying to defend their news reel, watch this video for yourself and decide.


I would just add, BBC Africa is second only to Ghanaweb for my news, and yes, as Josephine Hazeley argues there are evils that need to be told. But BBC Africa has many a time had a slow news day and when I say slow I mean sloooowwww. There will be no new videos for days, no new news for days - in a world where we are told news is on a 24 hour rotation, constantly moving. A world where what is new news at 9am becomes old news by 6pm.

Currently sitting at Number 1 of BBC's most watched/listened is a video of an American kid unfazed by a lion in a zoo trying to eat him from behind a glass wall. This isn't a foreign policy article, nor a poverty reduction article, it's just humourous and presents the narrative that America is a super safe country. If we changed "US toddler unfazed" to "Congolese toddler unfazed" would you believe the authenticity of the video?

I think when African's complain about coverage in Western media it is unfair to rebut with the argument that atrocities need to be told. It is an insult to the African intelligence. No African is saying that they want to suffer in silence for the sake of good news, what they are saying is "when I have my birthday parties, make the effort to attend, don't just wait until my funeral before you see my face." (hehe I just made that quote up, go me!)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Does Ghana have a vision for the youth?

In an election year where we are asking people to vote on issues that will concern them in the long term we have been distracted by the debate over intemperate language in election years. Do not get me wrong, we desperately need to curb the culture of insults in politics which cover up the lack of policies within the two main parties. But! My biggest fear is that Ghana votes for a peaceful party with no clue... for fear of the aggressive party with ideas. Voting for peace will not necessarily boost the country's development.

What has sparked this? In November 2011 the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, told graduates to seek jobs in barbering and hairdressing. He tried to spin this to say that the initiative will help them start their own businesses, which I'm guessing would be barbering and hairdressing businesses - which is a market already saturated by school-dropouts. The Minister said his ministry would support private entities in these fields (which also extend to tailoring, mobile phone repair and computer assembly) to train other young people.

The positives of this according to Sam? Unemployed graduates become self-reliant. Like I said though, these are markets that are saturated already by many who did not make it to university - I would know, I have many friends who are in barbering, hairdressing and tailoring and sadly my cousin, who wanted to be a doctor was pushed to become a seamstress because her father deemed the teaching hospital she was due to enroll at as "too far". What do you think this does for her confidence? Look how her destiny has changed because of Ghana's myopic notion that higher education and a good office job is not really necessary.

Again in April this year the deputy, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, of the same ministry stated, that unemployed graduates were lazy. Really now? Where exactly are these jobs he claims are in abundance? The fact that the President initiated LESDEP, does not mean that LESDEP is working. Rhetoric and practice do not always mimic each other. Like his boss, Elvis said there were jobs in the mobile phone assembly and repairs, hairdressing, tailoring industries under the LESDEP programme. What this tells me is that LESDEP has not clarified its agenda. Is it aimed at drop-outs, or graduates? And if both, does it have the spread of  jobs to help everyone? Clearly from Elvis' own words, the answer is no. How degrading it is for a political science student to be told that he or she should ignore what they have paid to learn, in order to retrain as a hairdresser. Not that being a hairdresser is below that of a political science student but that the political science student cannot find work in the path of life he or she has chosen. Essentially what Sam and Elvis are telling young people is that their personal life choices do not matter in Ghana. From my grandfather's experience I can attest the fact that the last thing you want someone to do is settle for less than their dream. A truly inspirational leader as the Minister and Deputy are suppose to be, should be finding ways to build a "Better Ghana" on the accomplishment of its citizens dreams. Instead they are saying, "go down the mainstream path and don't try to branch out to what you want to do".

The deputy also wanted graduates to forget the idea that there are jobs waiting for them when they finish, he clearly wants Ghana to fall into the same trap as Europe if he cant see that the ONE thing graduates expect and hope for is a job at the end of the dark tunnel I call studying.

AND NOW! The Minister for Employment, Moses Asaga, is pretending to acknowledge the gravity of unemployment in the youth population but then also blaming private universities for high levels of graduate joblessness. So now the problem of the lack of job creation isn't the government who campaigned on this very issue but rather the problem is private entities who are creating jobs, by employing people to train others to be more ready for better jobs. Moses now says that private universities have saturated the market with sub-standard graduates, when his colleagues as early as November last year where saying there was space for graduates in already saturated markets - hairdressing, catering, tailoring.

In my eyes, Sam, Elvis and Moses don't have a clue. Really, I wonder how people as clueless as they are could be given such important jobs in the country. I think we can find others out of 25 million who could do the Ministers' jobs much better. They have in my eyes declared their negligence over issues concerning young people. If this was not President Mills' views then at best he is guilty of not knowing how to pick the best team for such an important part of Ghana's development. At worst he is trying to sabotage development from the bottom-up. Yes, Ken Agyapong was wrong with his comments and in an ideal political world the NPP would have abandoned him for the year and allowed him to make amends in other ways out of the spotlight. But, what danger is Ken words, when Sam, Elvis and Moses aren't even planning to build a Ghana for anyone to destroy? If campaigns such as Ghana Decides are to be effective they need to call these Ministers and other campaigners to account on their vision for youth employment and youth entrepreneurship. This is where governments are built, and toppled.