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The first shots in Sub-Saharan Africa against corruption and all forms of bad governance have been fired. Several years after the Arab uprising though. The despot president who once grandiosely referred to himself as “Excellency Sheikh Professor Doctor President”, former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, was run out of Banjul, Gambia, in January last year. Another despot, Robert Mugabe (former president of Zimbabwe) was also forced out last year by the people he took for granted for so long. The other scandalous and corrupt former president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who also took his people for granted has finally been given the boot by his own party. In all these cases these corrupt leaders were allowed to remain in power for far too long. There appears to be a pattern here. Why does it take so long for the citizens to get rid of their corrupt leaders? And why did this come several years after the Arab Spring? These are serious questions for another day but for now as they say ‘better late than never’.
Corruption has become entrenched in all spheres of government in most African countries and it’s about time the citizens address this cancer through the democratic structures they already have. Africa already has its fair share of challenges – low economic growth, poverty, high unemployment rate; all the result of incompetence and corrupt governments.
The lessons here are clear for all Ghanaians to see and learn from. We shouldn’t wait any longer than is necessary to say ‘enough is enough’ if our government takes us for granted. My fellow country men and women wake up and smell the coffee. As our fellow Africans, the Nigerians, would say “Shine your eyes”.
For those who get into power only to enrich themselves and their cronies and mismanage the economy instead of serving the people who elected them, be warned! As they say in pidgin English “We no go sit down make them cheat us everyday”. The first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, once said “Ghanaians are not timid people as has been suggested in the foreign press. Far from it. They may be slow to anger and may take time to organise and act. But once they are ready they strike and strike hard. It pays no one to tamper with Ghanaian freedom and dignity”. Corrupt governments who take their citizens for granted take heed. It should serve as a warning to all governments across the continent of Africa. A word to the wise is enough.
With the Independence Day anniversary fast approaching and with not much development and progress to show for all these years we need to take stock and do things differently. Let’s use the Independence Day anniversary (6th March) to contemplate and find solutions to our mostly self inflicted numerous problems to better ourselves and make our nation more prosperous rather than waste any money and time on any Independence Day anniversary celebrations.
Happy Independence Day Anniversary Ogyakrom!
Citizen Paa Joe
(A concerned citizen & a good governance advocate)
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Although your work on earth is done
Your life beyond has just begun.
Your struggles here were hard and long
But they’re over now, you’re finally home.
Life wasn’t easy, by choice or fate
A decision made, sometimes too late.
A fight to the finish, always strong
Rest easy Sister Naa, you’re finally home.
Written by Lynn Casstevens
(Tribute to a departed cousin, Alice Darlington,
Posted by B’jor)
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My child always wanted to sail on an ocean
I look unto you now
And can only imagine how your dream has been poisoned
With the salt blistering your skin
And a look of bewildered terror
And demands such fear of the young
Who clutch their hands, so aware
Of the black mass which swells beneath them
And which I cannot urge them to forget
On a wind which on other days may serve as the breeze
To a family holiday, or a yachtsman’s paradise
But now only carries the howls of a nightmare
As custodian what hell I have brought you to
A hell which you cannot understand
But have accepted, though trust ought abandon you
My brother always wanted to see new lands
But not to flee his own
You charge into peril
But what land greets you now,
A land with arms open or a closed fist?
Robbed of a country and an identity.
To be the strength of your convictions
To be the strength of your convictions said my grandfather
But now I have no strength.
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We clasp onto wishes for hope.Wishes, that wet the dryness of our tongueswhile our parents pile bricks and ruin againstthe door from inside.
Sweat drops from my father’s face,He smells as though time has run out.We hear the music in their feetthe percussion in shell cases ringing concrete,greeting our door like neighboursfor Sisi, who talks about London and France.And, me.Yomi Sode
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A humble request to every Ghanaian.
🔖 1. Don’t throw away garbage on the roads/streets
🔖 2. Don’t spit on roads and walls
🔖 3. Don’t write on walls and currency notes
🔖 4. Don’t abuse and insult others
🔖 5. Don’t misuse water and electricity
🔖 6. Plant a tree every year
🔖 7. Follow traffic rules
🔖 8. Take care of your parents and grand parents, take their blessings and always respect them
🔖 9. Show Respect
🔖 10. Help the less fortunate
🎈*We got to change ourselves and not the country. Once we change ourselves the country will automatically change*
🔊 If we want our kids to live in a clean and safe environment then pledge to follow these simple rules in your everyday life.
🎙 No one person or leader can change the country alone; it’s you and me who can change our beloved nation by changing ourselves
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They surely do not make them like him anymore.
A true iconoclast.
He always reminded me of the words of MLK,
“Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion.
The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody.
Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different.”
Three examples of his firepower;
Time reveals the truth
……Rest easy Mr. Hentoff.
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There appears to be a sense of expectation coming out of Ogyakrom. For some of us, we can not escape the feeling of dejà vu ( pls don’t add all over again).
We are certainly not pessimists since we never wear our trousers with a belt and suspenders at the same time!
However, knowing fully well the paradigms within which Ogyakromians operate and their intransigence to real change, we cannot shed the tugs of apprehension.
We need real and serious change.
The weighty question is if our new leadership has the kahunas/ stomach to effect the seismic attitudinal change needed and back it with concrete actions that will propel us along a trajectory of real and sustained development and progress.
Already, the cast appears to feature several old actors.
But perhaps it is much too early to worry that the mists that have beguiled our national aspirations will not be dispersed.
These were the sentiments that I was preoccupied with as I strolled through the Mkch Médina yesterday.
I had entered a fandouk and was rummaging around in one of the stalls when I came across a pile of half a dozen old Holy Qurans.
Each one was bound in a solid leather cover that had a warm dark glow from the patina. The script was elegant; bolder in some volumes but executed always with a deliberate delicate beauty that evoked a work of art.
In the same booth was a heavy scabbard in silver plated metal with exquisite filigree work.The sword handle featured both metal and wood- with solid patina on the wooden part- evidence that this antique piece had seen use.
Further search yielded a midnight blue antique woolen wedding cape with an attached hood.
The cape had the most elaborate hand done silver thread patterns of spirals and moorish arches located in front and extending over both shoulders to the back.
It had a few moth holes, but still a definite show stopper for any damsel even today on the red carpet.
“Zwein. You like? C’est ancienne”, said Rashid the bronze skinned well built stall owner with the short cropped dark hair.
“Zwein, it’s beautiful”, I replied as I caught my breath.
A Moroccan architect friend some time back had alighted from his spanking black Mercedes “palanquin” (with cream leather interior) wearing a black Djallaba which he had accessorized with a black cape; he looked so majestic- all six foot and a hundred kilos of him.
Funnily enough, just last week, B- the designer, had offered me a black cape.
When I tried it on, Texas Eddy said that I looked just like the famous picture of Emperor Haile Selassie the All Conquering Lion of Judah.
B had intoned that if I appeared for dinner at any Michelin starred restaurant wearing the cape, I would immediately be offered an excellent table even if I did not have a reservation.
Maybe it’s time to take the plunge.
Perhaps, the first outing with the cape should be to the Le Comptoir and see how many belly dancers come to dance on my table.
The last time we were there, we were good enough for two belly dancers and one passed her red scarf around Texas Eddy’s smooth pate.
His son, Alex had never and I am sure will never look so wide eyed.
That was fun!
But I am sure sure that a black cape in Accra will get the tongues of especially the Charismatics and regular Ogyakromians wagging.
I certainly will not be prepared to hear their mouths, so maybe I should pass and keep it only for the Red City.
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On Fridays just after midday, the streets of Mkch become awash with fine hand made Djallabas – the traditional long robes of the Moroccans.
In winter, dark browns and black predominate for men; often in wool with the head covering/hood symmetrically folded and allowed to fall gracefully over both shoulders.
For the finer examples, there is a hand made globe of linen with delicate thin three inch tassels swinging like a pendulum from the end of the hood.
The more rakish men leave the hood askew over one shoulder- that is the authentic Marrachi way- they are more hardy desert influenced people and sometimes use the hood to carry fruit or bread.
The symmetrical fold is the preferred way of the Fasi- that is those from Fez.
The traditional Berber Djallaba is made of a coarser wool. This gives it more texture and the cloth often has chalk stripes.
A fine pair of socks continue where the robe ends just above the ankles and the feet are shod in a pair of leather “Moroccan Adidas” aka Barbouche – the preferred color being yellow.
I have not had the courage to wear the full garb yet since my roommate is convinced that adding the Barbouche makes me look like an elf! So fine leather loafers it has been.
Soon after mid day, the call of the Muezzin is heard all over the ancient city, summoning the faithful to the Friday prayer in the numerous mosques.
For me, Friday late afternoon is a good time to find an outdoor cafe close to the magnificent train station on Mohammed VI Ave and watch the “Epicurean migration” while drinking mint tea and a crisp croissant.
This is about the time that the Red City fills up with visitors from Atlanta to Auckland and from Copenhagen to Cape Town. The tinge of excitement and anticipation on the faces of the visitors is palpably evident as they spill out onto the huge plaza in front of the station and make their way under the sturdy palms.
The majestic pillars supporting the roof of the main concourse in the station mimic the surrounding palm trees.
Some start their visit on a high note by taking a horse drawn carriage ride.
Is it not risible that the apellation, “Gateway to Africa”, has already been appropriated by others?
Ignorance is bliss!
The yellow Marrachi petit taxi cabs are then in full flight and often not enough for the visiting throng. Undeterred, the host of visitors start a purposeful march with their wheeled suitcases along the tree lined sidewalks to their destinations for the city is pedestrian friendly.
An iPhone or Android with GPS becomes an indispensable companion in this digital age.
Russians, Chinese, Europeans, Americans, a small sprinkling of Africans- all on a footed quest for the “Epicurean Protocol” that the Red City has provided for a thousand years.
Epicurus advocated living in such a way as to derive the greatest amount of pleasure possible during one’s lifetime, yet doing so moderately in order to avoid the suffering incurred by overindulgence in such pleasure.
The emphasis was placed on pleasures of the mind rather than on physical pleasures making it totally distinct from hedonism.
Perhaps, if you will, an “ethical hedonism”.
Is this not an important facet of living in or visiting the Red City?
Do the physical pleasures of Mkch (and there are a considerable number of them to rival any other city in the world) not enhance the mind and spirit?
In our age stalked by the Berlin truck driver, the Istanbul New Year’s eve shooter and other madmen and mad women, can we really believe that in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the flaming tombs of the Epicureans are located within the sixth circle of hell (Inferno, Canto X)- the first heretics seen and appear to represent the ultimate, if not quintessential, heresy?
Maybe we can ignore the above simplistic rant by Dante since we have already seen children spontaneously offer flowers to the Mkch police on New Year’s day for keeping the city safe.
I shall certainly visit the Epicurien again after midnight with my roommate; enjoy a steak with a Medallion Merlot, dance with the Halle Barry and Ursula Andress look alikes (who are there to “ginger up” the place) while smashing a tambourine on my thigh and round it all off in the Theatro.
But tonight let me salute Venus as she graces the night sky before setting at around 930 pm in the west. Then of course, the Katsura beckons for a light supper after placing a few aliquots of Jura on board again.
Thankfully, with the arm accessory, it is only a ten minute walk from the box.
Long live the Red City!
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I tend to get loud when speaking my mind.
Even a little crazy some of the time.
I’m not a size 5 and don’t care to be.
You can be you and I can be me.
I try to stay strong when pain knocks me down.
And the times that I cry is when no ones around.
To error is human or so that’s what they say.
Well tell me who’s perfect anyway.
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We clasp onto wishes for hope. Wishes, that wet the dryness of our tongues while our parents pile bricks and ruin against the door from inside. Sweat drops from my father’s face, He smells as though time has run out. We hear the music in their feet the percussion in shell cases ringing concrete, greeting […]
I AM monarch of all I survey; My right there is none to dispute; From the centre all round to the sea I am lord of the fowl and the brute O Solitude! where are the charms That sages have seen in thy face? Better dwell in the midst of alarms, Than reign in this […]
Although your work on earth is done Your life beyond has just begun. Your struggles here were hard and long But they’re over now, you’re finally home. Life wasn’t easy, by choice or fate A decision made, sometimes too late. A fight to the finish, always strong Rest easy Sister Naa, you’re finally home. Written […]
To sail on an oceanMy child always wanted to sail on an oceanI look unto you nowAnd can only imagine how your dream has been poisonedWith the salt blistering your skinAnd a look of bewildered terror Faith hammers cantankerously at the tableAnd demands such fear of the youngWho clutch their hands, so aware Of the black […]
If roses were red and violets could be blue, I’d take us away to a place just for two. You’d see my true colors and all that I felt. I’d see that you could love me and nobody else. We’d build ourselves a fortress where we’d run and play. You’d be mine and I’d be […]