Thursday, 26 July 2012

No time for it...

I really don't want to post this before publishing my post on President Mills' death but I'm afraid I must. It will be quick. I promise.

I'm not sure about other Ghanaians but I for one am offended and annoyed by the comments of JJ Rawlings on BBC concerning the health and death of the late President.  It seems that he cannot resist the urge to take every platform available to him, to promote himself as an omni-wise statesman (I use those words with much sarcasm and irony). It's an utter shame that Rawlings could not praise the late President for his conduct as President, he some how made it about himself yet again, by praising Mills' conduct as a Vice to Rawlings and connecting Mills' qualities to why he Rawlings, in his infiinite wisdom, chose Mills as Vice.

In addition, suggesting that Mills made a decision to die earlier and implying that this was irresponsible is frankly extremely distasteful. The man is dead and whether he died this week, or the week after he won elections is neither here nor there, he suffered and he died, he is our President and we must mourn and consider his family who have lost much more than we have.

It seems, Ghana still has one obstacle to overcome. The personality that is JJ Rawlings, in my opinion needs to be pacified. The fact that he could not avoid politicising the death of President Mills until the end of the week of mourning tells me AND SHOULD TELL ALL GHANAIANS that his spirit is not in tune with the vision and ambition of the nation. At least the opposition party suspended campaigns and return to Accra in respect, and I have heard nothing but positive words from them. Rawlings on the other hand seems hellbent on fueling and sowing conspiracies and elevating his image in this time of humility.

May the President's soul rest in peace and may Ghana's future remain peaceful and unified, maybe without the insensitive judgemental voice of JJ Rawlings disrupting it.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I Graduated!

I graduated two days ago.
Would have posted on the evening of grad day except I was busy getting ill.

The past 3 years including the travelling around South East Asia, and living in Singapore and meeting the most amazing Americans, Europeans and Asians have been great. Life changing in fact.

I did expect to have some sort of life revelation - to find myself as so many Brits manage to in that part of the world. That wasn't really the outcome but I feel as though I've taught myself so much because of it and that's good enough.

Over the past few years I've met THE most talented and inspiring people. My friends, this summer, are all doing spectacular things and meeting important people, because they don't hesitate to take the opportunity when it arises.

If you are considering university, don't think about the cost, think about everything else. It's an invaluable investment into who you are and who you will become.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Congratulations: South Sudan

I wrote this last year with the hope to release it on South Sudan's first birthday but even I couldn't imagine things going as bad as they did. A Part 2 of this post will follow but until then, read this and think of how much things have changed. 

I'm half Nigerian. Those of you who know Nigerians, will know that their children's names are often literally translated into sentences which describes the circumstances in which they were born. I will call South Sudan, Abeke. It is Yoruba and translates as "We begged for her to caress her". Africa's newest child was definitely begged for and she is a testament to the African spirit of perseverance.

It is rare that people from the African continent have something to smile and cheer about. Except for the South African World Cup there haven't been many positives penetrating Western media. I can think of a few nice things - Ghana discovered and tapped oil, Nigeria had genuinely free and fair elections, Senegal got a massive statue just for the sake of it! North Africa have managed to depose all but one of their supreme rulers. South Sudan gaining independence after years of conflict and months of preparation trumps them all. It convinces us that even the deepest of conflict such as those we have had to witness in East Africa, can come to a happy ending. It tells us that in the face of drought and famine and whatever else is attacking the Horn of Africa, people can find comfort in a new identity, a sense of being and true equality.

But it isn't all plain sailing for South Sudan. They will struggle immensely. Most African countries can compare themselves - at independence - to other countries and claim that they were in fact more advanced than some of the world's current leading economies. One I always hear is Ghana vs Singapore or South Korea. South Sudan won't have the pleasure of looking back to "the glory days". They lack the infrastructure. For example, South Africa had to lend it's Air Force services for the independence celebrations because South Sudan doesn't have an Air Force, neither do they have roads or well-established schools. They don't have much infrastructure because Khartoum didn't invest in them when the country was whole. So they'll have to build the country from scratch which will be a feat and a half considering they might not get much help from the AU or wider community. The IMF encourage countries to seek private foreign direct investment, but given years of war and destruction, poor life expectancy and low literacy levels South Sudan won't have much to attract multinationals - apart from the fact that the eyes of the world are on them and in support of anyone willing to help the country. A good example of a successful split will be the Koreas and the juxtaposition of South Korea's wealth against North Korea's poverty.

South Sudan's story may not match South Korea's entirely but it has the possibility to be the new shining star on the continent. The world's newest country can boast of three things as it begins it's new life. The first is a children's hospital, which is so necessary right now given the droughts and resulting famine attacking East Africa and particularly its children. The second, is national unity. It will of course be a struggle to condition people to seeing themselves as fully South Sudanese rather than Sudanese but this is an independence that was pushed for from the grassroots and so I expect that encouraging communitarian ideals should not be so hard. The final, asset that the new country can boast is that it is rich in oil. Currently, the oil is under South Sudan but tapped and refined in Sudan and so there will need to be a deal between the two countries concerning who actually gains from the revenue of the oil. I would expect that eventually South Sudan will become a truly thriving independent country through tapping and controlling their own resources and only then will we have something to really celebrate.

Friday, 6 July 2012

A win on both my houses

Sarkodie from Ghana and Wizkid from Nigeria jointly won the Best International Act Africa in the BET Awards.

Congrats to both of them.

BUT. BET needs to fix up. What is this joint award bull that they keep pulling? When the most popular champions of Black Entertainment can't even show African talent the respect that they would show European or American talent, it's a sad day for Africans in the West. Sarkodie is frankly good enough to win the award outrightly, and Wizkid is good enough to win it outrightly too. Both artists are making it big off their own back and making diaspora communities proud of our heritage. What BET did last year and again this year is something I've expected from MTV or any awards show geared at not making other "races" uncomfortable with the idea that we don't need to be placed in a box and limited in our achievement or style.

The joint award in my opinion shows that BET doesn't rate African artists still. So I will tell Sarkodie and Wizkid and the other nominees: when you rearrange your awards cabinet to fit the BET award on, remember to keep your local awards front and centre because they come with a real appreciation of your work; the GMAs, the MAMAs, the Kora Awards and 4syte Awards, they are all worth so much more than a BET award because they will truly reverence you as you deserve. Even MOBO Awards are less condescending.