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Words With Matter. Critical News, 31st May 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on May 31, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I am watching the sketch artist on the sidewalk of Osu. There is a semi-circled crowd, every one of us caught in his gift as the creation comes to life with every stroke of his pencil. He is doing a simple drawing on two separate easels, side by side of each other.

He mimics every stroke on each one, equally dividing his attention to both of them so they all tow to life in tandem. His drawing is Oxford Street of Osu. The right easel is the right side of the road and on his left he captures that side, each easel showing the shops and fine detail the ordinary eye misses.

We glance up from the easel each time he makes a tiny revision and retains small detail; we with regular eyes murmuring how we missed the obvious.

But my attention is flitting from easel to the gorgeous damsel to my left, pretty beyond reality. Large eyes and luscious lips captured in an egg-shape face, which lights up each time she inhales in awe of the creationist, chatting animatedly to friends, used to her beauty, un-awed by this enchantment.

She herself is a fascinating statuette of proportions, a leg-length loose gown clutched in her left hand, failing to hide the figure beneath the dress. She is not immediately conscious of her allure, or maybe she is; every man in the half moon stealing glances even as they pretend to admire the creation unfolding before our eyes.

He is gifted by nature and she, our gift from nature; the two blending to demonstrate the wonder only a coincidence of nature can intermingle in a particular place such as we find ourselves.

For us ordinary, passing through the world people, we can only stare and admire; wondering what faults persons such as these two might possess. But in such awe you don’t even dream to approach and ask wherefrom such fine.

In a shift of moment, the artist lets us into his mind. The left side of the sketch gradually darkens, shop windows turning dark, shop lights switch off, and streetlights darken on that side. In contrast, the right side brightens, takes on a cascade of brilliance, with every shop window clearly revealing its attraction to the buyer. He is showman and he has a show to finish.

The Shoprite store on the far end clearly tells us where we are in the sketch, Koala on our left the only edifice recognizable in the dusk of his skillful shading.

We all wait in anticipation of the finish, the miracle of Nature’s pencil totally absorbed in the anticipated end, completely engrossed as only something of equal beauty can be.

Now its over, he sits back, admires his work and signs his name on the bottom of each piece. Kwame Boakye. Then as if reading my mind, he captures the essence of our city. He marks the canvasses; “Dum” for the left and “Sor” for the right.

I can’t help but start a clap. It has been a wonderful experience. I contribute fifty cedis to his effort and take both canvasses. I turn to give one sketch to the triumph of life, but she is gone and all I hear is her laughter as she turns heads with a rear jiggle in every step.

There is a video doing the rounds on social media, a speech given by Michelle Obama, motivating her black people with her story of success, praising her husband and her daughters, as they are soon to crescendo from the White House.

There is another delivery by the Mayor of Bayelsa State in Nigeria and another by Professor Lumumba in Kenya. Each one of them gives you hope that there are persons in the dark African continent who can make change and can bring about some semblance of progress to us, the gifted persons of Africa, who have so much opportunity, it has turned us into statues of idiocy.

Michelle Obama concludes her story, saying the impossible can be done. Don’t forget Barrack Obama is origionally Kenyan. Where do I search my Ghana leaders?

Well, back home our landscape was dominated by the NPP brouhaha and the expected calming speech by Nana Addo, flag bearer and a hope for all NPP party members that some change will make us human again.

We have been in darkness so long we are in danger of becoming some sort of human moles, half dressed when we can’t see our faces in mirrors.

But is the NDC government saying they cannot do a simple thing like keeping lights on for twenty-four hours? We are turning the corner into the second half of the year. Is there any more time left to do meaningful things to convince Ghanaians they have been working on many things while we haunch in the dark?

Nana Addo appears to have calmed the waters with his words and address to NPP followers. Of course there are always the critics who say he should have been more forceful and addressed the issue of Paul Afoko and Kwabena Agyapong more deliberately and there are those who think driving issues of history under the carpet will only postpone the inevitable of the Akyem/Ashanti clash.

The inside track on this is a bit transparent. Paul Afoko’s brother has been charged with the acid attack and possible murder of Adams Mahama, circumstantially perceived to be in a long time “fight” with Afoko. There is no evidence of an NDC vs NPP combatant matter, despite the fact that the NDC would like to make it so, dragging a scorecard into the fray as to which party is more violent than the other.

So the big question becomes, “is it acceptable for a brother to attack his brother’s perceived enemy? Would it have been acceptable were Alan Kyeremanten’s brother to have attacked Nana Addo during the elections for flag bearer to say his brother has been disrespected?” I can’t see that scenario.

My conclusion is that Paul Afoko is in trouble and his brother in even bigger trouble if he turns out to be a murderer. Ghanaians are calling for justice and this is much too important to allow to fester in the open like many other politically motivated murders and persecutions in our history.

I think Nana Addo gave a calming speech. I think what he said, how he said it and the intention of his words have soothed the waters for a while. What happens from the NPP’s own internal processes should unfold over the coming days. We wait and see.

Our history is replete with “unwise” words. Victor Owusu implying that Ewes are “inward looking” took away his presidential ride. Our history is replete with many other faux pas.

We need some government to fix the Kwati-Hohoe road and Golokwati-Bimbila. Make it motorable and give Ghanaians an opportunity and find trading space beyond such harsh conditions.

I drove through the Volta Region and parts of the Eastern Region a few weeks ago and I can’t believe that a road that was promised since independence is still pumping “Antor’s dust” as it was called, ever since Nkrumah abandoned the Eastern corridor as punishment for the people there supporting Antor as their MP, because he had been pushing for a separate Togoland against Nkrumah’s wish. Words that Antor believed and said.

And that is how we play our politics. The little you say, the more words you capture and the vicious play of tribal lineage and factional support, still dwell in some minds, personal allegiances and traditional biases still eroding our determination to achieve success as the black star of Africa.

Until we regurgitate the past and do a history exorcism, I am not sure we can ever rule out all the petty factions in our politics.

So was Adams’ murder insulting words carried too far? Is “dumsor” a word we can fix with the artist’s pencil, or a quirk of foolhardy over-expenditure, born out of incompetence?

Ghana, Aha a yε din papa. Alius atrox week advenio. Another terrible week to come!

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One Response to “Words With Matter. Critical News, 31st May 2015”

  1. 👍🏿

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