Thursday, 17 January 2013

FROM GHANA WITH LOVE: Cape 3 Points with Adventure Junkies

This is one video on YouTube which really got me excited! I hope the Ministry of Tourism sees this because I think the biggest and most important challenge for the Ministry of Tourism is to make Ghanaians see Ghana. This is a literal and figurative task. Literally, the best thing for Ghana is that Ghanaians discover the amazing world in which they live. They should have fun in the own country, spend money in their own country and make friends from around their own country. But also in the figurative sense, if Ghanaians think of their country as the gem that it is the country would have pride in itself when meeting with the rest of the world in whatever context. Thank you Sharifa Issaka and Dust Magazine and of course Adventure Junkies - more vim to you all.

Black stars players wishes ahead of AFCON 2013

Of course I have just one wish of the Black Stars this year and that is that they win it. My alternating system of supporting the Super Eagles and Black Stars at different competitions means this year I support the Super Eagles. I will be realistic, the Super Eagles are not favourites for anything but truth be told neither was Zambia. I really do hope Super Eagles do well and improve and take the competition, however, the Black Stars are second favourites to win, they've been top 2 favourites at the last 3, since Ghana hosted AFCON, they've come close and with Egypt and Cameroon out of the competition they really should do as good as 1st place.

Go Super Eagles! Go Black Stars (but really Go Super Eagles!)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Akwaaba Dance Mix

Hawkers vs AMA/Mayor

Today I heard something which frankly pissed me off. It pissed me off because, well because I'm easily pissed off and ALSO because it involved the Accra Metropolitan Authority and the Mayor - a person who is not elected, when I think it is paramount that he is. Unfortunately for him, everything he does in that occupation will be analysed. You've gotta be sure you've got your shit about you if you're going to come into office un-democratically selected with a sort of what-I-say-goes-and-I-only-answer-to-the-President attitude. I won't say that everything he has done is bad but his handling of the hawkers in the past 4 years has been next to appalling.

So I opened Ghanaweb this morning after listening to the frustrations of Ghanaians on Rainbow Radio (Sky channel 0207). I was browsing through the days ridiculous news, like the President calling 4800 witnesses for the #ElectionPetition case. But I quickly got over the President's brazen mockery of the election petition because there was something else to get annoyed at. That was, the instruction from the AMA to the hawkers to pack up and leave by tonight. It's now just past 5pm and so I imagine the law enforcement officers to be out now overseeing this task.

I remain very indifferent about hawkers. On the one hand, I appreciate getting my newspaper 'on the go' but I don't like the noise, or the running alongside your car or the selling of food on the roadside (that might be a result of my UK upbringing don't hold it against me!) I fear for their safety and I don't like the social connotations the whole event seems to portray. The idea of poorer people running alongside coaches, trotros, 4x4s for just a small transaction frustrates me, it lacks dignity. But the hawker industry is massive and the problem is not the people but the lack of regulation.

In support of the hawkers, the AMA have not made substantial effort to provide alternatives to hawking. The markets burn almost biannually, the supermarkets collapse and don't have an assurance of safety from the authorities, THERE ARE NO JOBS ACCOMPANYING GHANA'S AMAZING ECONOMIC GROWTH. And yes that required caps because I'm literally shouting that at you. It's fundamental. Where does the Mayor expect these people to go, how will they be expected to eat, to send their kids to school (given that Ghana has chosen not to have free education). How will they keep up with rent (for those who have such obligations)? And you know what, imagine if none of these things are a problem at all, just what exactly does the Mayor expect people to do with their lives? Where are the shops for them to work in? Where are the employers? Are our new malls not filled with South African retail companies hoping to provide a 5* (read Western) style of service and consumerism?

When the Mayor shows me his alternatives I will stand right by his side screaming "Oya Com Ouutttt!" and when he shows a statement by the EC declaring him democratically elected to the post he now occupies I will stand by his side and remind the people that they voted for him, but so far, neither is true and for as long as this remains the case, I suggest he and his AMA, return to the drawing board and let the people of Accra live in peace.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Royal Africa Society: Africa in 2013: Prospects & Forecasts

The Royal Africa Society had it's first event of the year at SOAS, the university I attend. On the panel were Patrick Smith of Africa Confidential, Razia Khan and Komla Dumor a fellow Ghanaian who's done good and been able to live a life of travelling that I envy so much.

Anyway the event was about the future prospects for Africa this year. Have a listen:

I Wanna Move to Africa

I want to relocate to Africa. This is something I've had on my heart for maybe at least 7 years and I'm only 21 now.

I'm going to see what I need to do to make it happen, but watch this space!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Uninspiring Nature of Ghanaian Political Speeches

Yesterday, before the visiting dignitaries could begin congratulating President Mahama, the NPP's representative in the joy studios was evaluating his speech as being uninspiring. NDC sympathisers will take this to be sour grapes, after all, not one NPP parliamentarian will have heard the speech first hand to feel an atmosphere of inspiration since they boycotted the inauguration.

But I agree with him. That is not an indication of which side of the fence I sit. Speeches in Ghana are almost always uninspiring, they often feel more like lectures than ideological conversations with the audience. I watched all three IEA debates, and of the 8 speakers involved only the CPP vice-presidential candidate stood out as verging on the inspirational. Political speeches need to not only inform you of the speaker's plans but also compel you to be a part of it, to see the world as the speaker sees it not just for you to see the speaker.

Some of the panel suggested that the President would have written the speech himself. If that is the case I can only hope he doesn't do that again - hire a writer/blogger/journalist and bring more sparkle. There must be something that will capture the attention of the vuvuzela-blowing pure-water-selling party-T-shirt-wearing Ghanaians.

An inspiring speech is not just the words but the tone and body language. This is where the NPP must believe their guy has what it takes. Nana Akufo Addo has mastered the tone of voice in a speech. I believe that he believes every word and punctuation coming out of his mouth. His body language is a bit aggressive at times and this perhaps lets him down. Another candidate who has mastered tone is Abu Sakara the CPP presidential candidate, yet in the complete other direction of NADAA he doesn't do much on the body front. Of course we could argue that what I think of NADAA and Sakara doesn't matter since none of their speeches were made when taking the helm of the highest office of the land, and that is true which is why the NPP is justified in being so disappointed.

To be fair however, Ghanaian speeches have long lacked that vavavoom. The current generation are so set in their ways I doubt they will ever get it.