Sunday, 17 August 2014

Ghanaian Trolls, Almost All You Need to Know

Trolling is an art and I don't mean to brag but i'm good at it. I was trolling long before trolling was cool. Social media just gave me the platform to take my talent to places that hitherto I couldn't. Back in the old days, trolling was considered a noble art and us trolls had a lot of respect. These days, the profession is full of glory hunters who have no respect for the etiquettes of the job. The rise of these glory hunters has led to a sort of uprising from the trolled.

If you have to use profanities or insulting words then trolling is not your calling. If you have to think too long for a witty come back, trolling is not for you too. True troll’s stings are instant and comes from using their targets words or mistake against them. In a way a troll is a predator lurking somewhere near by just waiting to pounce.

Most of best Ghanaian trolls reside on twitter. It's amazing how much sting one can fit into 140 characters or less.

Meme Makers
@Qwestmatic and @Mike_Nkansah were meme lords extraordinaire long before the "abrokyire" memes, vines and GIFs flooded the local meme industry. Like the cheap imported Chinese fabrics that have virtually collapsed the local textile industry, these foreign memes have threatened to kill the local meme-generating sector. These two, in addition to the new-age cohort of meme-generators have, however, held their own by providing Gh Twitter with all-purpose as well as specific memes.

Long before I knew they were called memes, @QwestMatic was making them. Qwest is the Rumpelstiltskin of memes. He turns innocent looking pictures into hilarious memes. He'll make you famous for reasons you might not be too pleased about. His meme are not generic memes of people who live far off in other countries.  They are of people well known on Gh twitter. By crudely photoshopping regular pictures, he’s able to caricature even the most respectable people and turn them into laughing stocks. He introduced us to twitter story telling an art which has become popular especially after any twitter organized event or controversy.
The secret to being a renowned meme legend probably lies in having a huge meme arsenal or the ability to generate one within a time that the tweet it is in response to is still viable. These trolls can even fit a meme to your harmless "Good morning" tweet and invite "strangers" into your mentions with their [insert laughing and crying emoji].

Meme generation is a high level specialist troll group which requires the actors in this group to identify and highlight the funny undertones in supposedly ordinary everyday photos like Twitter event shots and your Facebook "blasts-from-the-past" photos. A picture says a thousand words, but a picture with words say a thousand and one words; that is how influential these troll memes can be.

Sports Trolls:
Meet @Stayne_ a Manchester United fan who lives to torment Liverpool Fans, Arsenal fans and any other fan that dares to usurp his dear club's throne. This fellow takes more pleasure in seeing rival teams lose than seeing his own team win.  In the 2013/2014 Premier League season, Man U led by David Moyes were having a terrible season and Liverpool looked all set to win the league. For Stayne, the thought of Liverpool winning the league hurt far more than his team at seventh place. Liverpool somehow managed to throw away their lead thanks to a slip by their captain and talisman Stevie Gerrard.

The misery of Liverpool fans nourished him. He took great joy in reminding Liverpool fans how Man U castaways like Bebe, Don Fangzhuo and the likes had more premier league medals than their great captain. 
His account was recently suspended for five days after Liverpool fans worldwide reported him as spam. After the account was unblocked, he continued where he left off, unrepentant. He' is like a plague, sent by the gods of football to torment everyone else. 

Snake Under Grass:
They look like mild mannered tweeps until they are not. Their Clark Kent to Superman transformation always catches you by surprised. Meet @Quasiadu, snake under grass troll numero uno. He's the puppet master behind the Against Supporters Union (ASU).  He and his legion of trolls only exist to cheer whichever team is playing against your favorite team. The 2013/2014 EPL season was filled with glory days thanks to David Moyes and Stevie Gerrard. Jose Mourinho going trophiless was an extra bonus.

The Snake Under Grass' favorite victims are other sports trolls. Members of ASU were constantly pitching camp in Stayne's mentions.

@Quasiadu and @Stayne_ achieved international notoriety during the London Olympic games when Nigeria played against the USA in basketball. Their constant trolling of the Nigerian team's abysmal performance didn't sit too well with Nigeria twitter. This led to a fully fledged war between Gh and 9ja twitter. At the peak of the hostilities, these two left the battlefield for some high ground so they could admire the chaos. Nero, watching as Rome burned.

Grammar Nazis:
That’s what everyone calls them, probably because they want to purge the world of all bad grammar users. These groups of trolls are mainly opportunistic hunters. They mind their own business till someone makes a spelling mistake or grammatical error then they pounce. There used to be accounts that were solely dedicated to this form of trolling but they seem to have faded away. Grammar Nazis are probably the most tolerated kind of troll, that is until you are the one being trolled.
I’ve noticed that the quality of English written on twitter has improved a lot late. Either the trolls have scared people into writing proper English or they driven the bad nuts away. Once in a while though, you still find someone writing something so terrible, you can’t help trolling no matter who you are.

Once in a while, someone types some gibberish that even the Grammar Nazis refuse to touch.

Religious Trolls:
Religious trolls fall into two categories, Atheists and Christians. For some reason people of other religions don't seem to troll as much and Atheists seem more interested in hounding Christians.
The Christian troll's favorite word is “Blasphemy”. They can't take a joke. They appear uninvited in conversations that have nothing to do with them and start asking you to repent. These are not your regular Everybody-is-Holy-on-Sunday-Christians. When they are not hounding everyone else with random Bible verses, they are tweeting things like, “The sun doesn’t shine at night so retweet if you love Jesus”.

All atheists on twitter seem to know each other and the moment one of them enters your mentions, there rest follow and pitch camp. I really don’t get the Christian versus Atheist debate. The Christians won’t be convinced there is no God and the atheists won’t be convinced there is.

In the end, they are more alike than they like to admit. They are all trying to shove their opinions down your throat.  

Technically there’s a third group. The confused ones. They are on the atheist bandwagon because they think it’s cool but don’t understand the basic principles. Funny thing is they are more aggressive than the true atheist and are always in an argument with someone and contradicting themselves. You have to admire their misguided determination.

Bloggers and Mixtapers:
Technically these guys should be considered as spammers but let’s just call them trolls. The only difference between Bloggers and Mixtapers is that you probably follow the Blogger and have no idea how the Mixtaper appeared in your mentions. Mixtapers are among the most slandered people on Gh twitter but they have tough skins and don’t really mind the abuse.

Annoying People and Parody Accounts:
This account, @SkuBoye, is rated 18, NSFW and generally anything that children shouldn’t be looking at. He account was suspended but he came back with another and just continued being annoying. His over the top trolling of has led to some really epic responses from some Ghanaian celebrities.
Jon Germain's respond to SkuBoye's tweet led to the hashtag #JonGermainCanFind

@pweedyella is not as X-rated as @SkuBoye but no less annoying. I’m not sure if the person behind the account is a he or a she but the person definitely has no sense of moderation when it comes to trolling.

As far as I know this is the only spoof site in Ghana.  They take serious topics and turn them into jokes. In a country where serious topics are a joke anyway, this account isn’t running out of topics anytime soon. It’s always interesting when people take a story from YesiYesi seriously. Very often, news sites will take a story from this spoof account seriously and repost it as news. Your favorite Ghanaian politician or celebrity has probably been ridiculed by YesiYesi more than once. 

Do Not Feed the Trolls:
Do not fight with trolls unless you can knock them out. People might not be paying attention to what is going on but will drop everything to come watch a fight. They might not agree with what the troll is saying but will immediately gang up on you if you get abusive.

However, if you manage to give the troll a good punch they will carry you shoulder high and then turn on the troll. Twitter folks are fickle. They are just here for the thrill. Whoever is providing it gets their support regardless of who is right or wrong.
@NiiLexis spent a lot of time trolling Guinness until one day this happened...
Unfortunately, the Guinness Ghana account was closed down not long after but they definitely gained the respect of Gh twitter folks after that epic comeback.

By popular request I'm adding this guy, sigh. I really want to say something nice or funny about this guy but I keep drawing blanks. There are annoying people, there are arseholes and then there is @Kwakutii. From all indications he's an intelligent guy but as someone said, he doesn't have 'Efie Nyansa' (wisdom). His insensitivity, ridiculously entrenched positions and know-it-all attitude rapidly earned him infamy on Gh twitter. This guy just gave trolls a bad name.

This guy was was the most blocked person on Gh twitter. From celebs to sports men and even people who knew him personally, everyone was blocking him. I'm not sure why I followed him for so long but I finally had to block him after he made some insensitive remarks to a friend about a family member she had lost less than 24 hours earlier. His account is no longer active on twitter, I don't know if twitter suspended his account or what but i'm not too perturbed.

Hasta la vista @Kwakutii, you won't be missed

Don’t bother explaining. Twitter folks don’t care. Sarkodie’s Irish cream line at on BET Chypher was a trolls delight and Sarkodie’s attempt to explain it led to more trolling than he expected.

Follow these accounts if you are brave enough but don't say i didn't warn you.

Any other kind of troll i forgot about? Leave that as a comment


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Ebola, Rumor has it...

Eating cola nuts cures Ebola, according to rumors flying around in Ghana, at least. First I found this hilarious. Surely, no one would believe this. However, it stopped being funny when I found out how wide spread this rumor was. I heard some radio stations and TV stations had aired this. This is just one of the many ridiculous stories making the rounds about Ebola, AIDS, Cholera and most deadly diseases. The problem with this is Ghanaians tend to believe unfounded rumors more than scientific facts. People will turn down conventional medicine but religiously apply these strange 'remedies' and end up dying with discolored teeth to show for their troubles.

I investigated where these rumors started and found out there was a chain message going round on WhatsApp. One of those annoying, “Forward this to 10 people and see what happens” kind. Why anyone will take those things serious is beyond me. Anyway, so I kept searching and finally came across the name Dr Maurice Iwu, a Nigerian. His claims aren’t supported by anyone else and various medical groups in Nigeria have come out to refute his claims. It took me a whole 10 minutes to find this out. So why couldn’t radio and TV stations investigate before putting these stories out there? Have they forgotten the Fauster Atta Mensah debacle so soon?

Meanwhile, in Nigeria where the cola nut cure is supposed to have originated, they believe salt and not cola nut is the cure for Ebola. Salt sellers couldn’t be more pleased. I heard that people have been adding caps of salt to bathing water. People have taken to drinking salt water and over salting their meals in an attempt to avoid the deadly disease.

Then there are the spiritual solutions. Whenever there's a tragedy that grabs wide attention, all manners of “spiritual gurus” pop up in an attempt to make a name for themselves. Recently, a witch doctor lost his not-so-hard earned reputation when he nearly drowned. He had been called upon to act on his claim that he had incantations with which he could communicate with spirits to release the body of the allegedly drowned afro-pop musician, Castro. The irony. As a Christian, when pastors cash in on disasters for personal glory, I get very angry.

There are two groups of pastors when it comes to cashing in on disasters. There are those who swear they are experts in eschatology and always claim every disaster is a sign of the End Times. These people keep predicting the end of the world and well, we are still here. I’ve heard a few pastors on radio say that Ebola is punishment from God because of homosexuals. Another said it was one of the prophesied pestilences that herald the Second Coming of Christ. This group is generally annoying but not as dangerous as the second group.
The second group, which in my opinion is the more dangerous, is the ‘Miracle Workers’. These pastors claim they can cure anything. A few years ago, there was one group that refused to have their children immunized against poliobecause their religious leaders told them not to. Polio would probably have been completely eliminated if not for such groups.

People are dying from diseases that could have been cured if people sought early help instead of spiritual solutions. Sick people are traveling all the way from Ghana to Nigeria to consult pastors when a hospital is nearer. For me this is frustrating. My opinion is that these religious leaders should be arrested and charged with murder any time one of these people dies. One of the most annoying things about people who seek spiritual solution is, whenever the said patient is about to die, they manage to take the person to the hospital. By which time, it is usually too late for the doctors to do anything. If however, the doctor manages to save the patient, you see them in the churches of these charlatans giving thanks to the pastor for saving their lives.
In recent times, there’s been a new group of conspiracy theorist. Their mantra goes something like, “So-so-and-so disease was created in the lab by white people to kill black people”. For me these people are just entertaining. I love listening to them spew big words and twisted scientific concepts to suit their arguments.
Two Americans are reportedly responding to an experimental Ebola medication.  Obama recently said, the cure isn’t ready for Africa yet. "They conduct dangerous drug trails on unsuspecting Africans all the time but the one that actually works they won’t try on us?", was what one said to me. Conspiracy theorist had a field day. I honestly have no opinion. I just want a proven cure made available.

So if rumors are to be believed, no disease is caused naturally by pathogens. Certainly not Ebola. It’s either spiritual or artificial. People have been advised to stay away from bush meat but knowing they can’t be bothered. They hold fast to their archaic views to either cause panic or to holding on to some ridiculous cure claim.

Anyone who knows me would know I’m a bit of a germaphobe. Ever since the Ebola rumors started I’ve been overdosing on hand sanitizers, bathing every time I get back home no matter how brief I was outdoors and staying away from anything I didn't cook myself.

If you ever meet me don’t offer to give me a hug or handshake. Stay a safe distance and throw me a peace sign. Peace!

what is the strangest thing you've heard about Ebola? Please share


Thursday, 3 July 2014

PMS: Ghana's World Cup and That Time of the Month

I swear I didn't make any of this stuff up. Not even the ridiculously unbelievable parts. It’s all true, I promise.

After a somewhat impressive performance by Ghana’s Black Stars at the last two World Cups, big things were expected at our third outing. If only we knew what was coming…

We lost to our usual whipping boys the USA and that wasn't even the worst thing about our tournament. There we allegations of match fixing with a video of certain football Administrators agreeing to bribe referee influence matches. In their defense, they were set up but as Micky Bricks said, "You can't con an honest man". This also wasn't the worst thing to come out.

Stories of unpaid bonuses and player agitations began to filter into the country but officials kept on denying them. I understand that a man is due his wages and no one would be happy if they weren't paid. What I didn't understand was why on the biggest stage players were more concerned about money than about playing. Forget about patriotism, it died long ago. Why not play for personal glory? Think of all the money you could make if you put up a great performance. Kevin-Prince Boateng moved from lowly Portsmouth to AC off the back of his 2010 performance.

I’m not sure what happened but the next thing we knew, there were rumors that our president had made available a chartered flight from Ghana to Brazil carrying in excess of $3 million (US not Zimbabwean). My first reaction was, “this is too ridiculous to be true”.

Turns out it was true. The news spread like wild fire on social media and foreign news outlets. Every news channel made time to mock the ridiculousness of the story. In this age of technology? The president confirmed he had sanctioned this transfer and some members of his cabinet didn't seem to see the big deal.

John Boye kissing his share of the booty

By this act, they had managed to caricature the whole nation till not one drop of respect was left to save face. One TV station, Globo, in Brazil managed to broadcast live the landing of the money plane by planting secret cameras somewhere. Apparently, the Brazilian government also insisted on counting the money so it could be taxed properly so the counting was also shown live on TV.  The sharing of the money was also shown live on TV. One player was shown kissing his share of the booty as he came out of the money room. The next day Ghanaians were the butt of all jokes on social media. The money plane saga was so incredulous that a Hollywood director is think of making a movie out of it. We lost to Portugal in our last game completing our disgraceful outing. There was still time for a bonus act as there was some controversy even about them coming home. It’s not like we didn't see all this coming before the tournament.
Meanwhile, back in Ghana, everyone was going on strike (or threatening to) due to unpaid wages. Polytechnic Lecturers at the time this post is being written have been on strike for 7 weeks. Not a single f*$k has been given about their strike. I’m not even sure the Government knows they are on strike because no serious attempt has been made to address their concerns. We can fly $3 million in 2 days to Brazil to satisfy under-performing footballers but can’t pay whatever pittance lecturers are asking for?

Then it was announced that on the first of July, Electricity tariffs would be increased by 12%, water by 6% and fuel prices were also expected to go up. This prompted a movement of social media #OccupyFlagStaffHouse which led to a demonstration. Police armed to the teeth tried to prevent this peaceful demonstration but failed. While the demonstration was going on, members of the president’s cabinet (Hannah Tetteh and Joseph Yammin) found time to mock the protesters further proving how far removed politicians are from the suffering of regular folks.

But this isn't my most ridiculous story of the past two weeks. Government has managed to secure a loan of $156 million to help support the educational sector. Part of the loan would be used for scholarships, new building and… wait for it… providing sanitary pads for female high school students. I swear I didn't make that up! This news sparked some hilarious comment and memes on social media to cap off a ridiculous couple weeks in Ghana. Given the way so many other government interventions have gone, you don't need too much of a stretch of the imagination to picture how this program will end.


Friday, 23 May 2014

Interview Me GBC #InterviewMeGBC

Social Media isn't a very forgiving place. We are just waiting for the next blunder to entertain ourselves with. After the Fauster Atta Mensah debacle by GTV, Gh twitter wasted no time mocking Ghana Broadcasting Corporation with the hashtag #InterviewMeGBC started by @dk_osei

Feast you eyes. 


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Fraudster Atta Mensah (Social Media Reactions)

I first heard of Fauster Atta Mensah on twitter from Spoof site @YesiYesiGhana. At first I thought they had made up the story so I laughed. Then I watched the video embedded in the article and I was gobsmacked.  Here was a guy on GTV, the state owned nation, who claimed to be a Nobel Prize Laureate among other things being interviewed. The host of the show took about three minutes to finish reading his credentials. By then, it was obvious to me the guy was a fraud. Then they showed pictures of him working at NASA, another with a robot arm and one in a space suit. I had seen better photoshop done by 15 year olds in under 5 minutes. How on Earth did GTV not see through this? Then someone sent me a link to the Church of Pentecost’s site another to OMGGhana all with the same guy. What the Hell was going on? How could anyone be so gullible?

The video was upload onto the Ministry of Science and Education’s YouTube Page and later taken down but this is 2014. The internet never forgets. It had been downloaded many times.
A lot has been written about this so I will just post the pictures, tweets and facebook post and you can decide. I don’t know if it was down to lazy journalism or what, you decide.You will find a list of all the webpages he forged on here


Monday, 19 May 2014

Ghana 2.0 Update, Now Downloading....

People keep asking me, “Dela why are you not on whatsapp”. Well aside the annoying chain messages, my mom is on whatsapp. I remember the first message I got from her, “Dela, I don’t like your profile picture”. My first reaction was shock, shock that my mom was on whatsapp in the first place. The fact that she was complaining about my profile picture wasn't a surprise. If you know my mom, you will understand.
I had always considered my mom a technophobe and with good reason. It used to be that any time she wanted to watch a movie, she would shout for me and I would come connect the VCR to the TV for her. I liked this arrangement because it gave me some sense of importance and power. Any time I was upset with her for punishing me, I would change the connection and go out to play just before she got back from work. No video for her was her punishment for punishing me. That was long ago before I grew a beard but I still took comfort in the idea. These days she only calls me to send a mail to so so and so address for her or to check her mail.
She had now gotten a smartphone and was sending her own mail and sending me whatsapp messages every other minute. She was now independent of me and I didn't like that. As for my Dad, the least said the better. The old man had become such a big fan of technology that his current phone is always nicer than mine. He had found a way to trade his old phones for new ones and was always current. Signs of the end times! Quite a few of my friends have complained about their now tech savvy parents.
People in Ghana are becoming more tech savvy every day. Not as fast as in Europe or America but they are getting there. Gone were the days mobile phones were luxuries. Now they are necessities. I remember when Vodafone, then OneTOUCH started selling SIM, they cost an arm and a leg. My dad had to write an application and pay a lot of money; he got his SIM card early because he knew someone who knew some. Now a SIM card is so cheap even kids can buy them.
Then came Hi5, then Facebook and all the many social media platform and everywhere young people were visiting cafes to ‘like’ people’s status and poke them. We’ve come a long way. Every serious business has a website. Everyone and their mother has a blog. Everyday someone is launching his mobile app. More people are reading Computer Engineering and Computer Science in the University. Ghana 2.0 update is on!
Still the biggest challenge to even further tech development in this country is cost. Recently Vodafone decided to put a limit on data bundles. Previously, if you bought data for a month, you had unlimited data till the month was over. Now, you have a certain amount of data to use which could get exhausted before the month is over. If you didn’t finish it before the months end, it would expire and you had to buy new data.
Lots of time, people have data but can’t browse or the internet is too slow. This cuts across major the network providers. People are constantly complaining about network outages. The ISPs do not compensate you for your lost time.
There’s nothing in the world more satisfying to today’s youth than free fast WiFi. A very rare thing in this country. You should see the unbridled joy on people's face when they get free and fast internet.

Another challenge is the mistrust of all things new. The banks recently tried to introduce an electronic payment system call Ezwich. This didn't catch on very much because people just prefer to handle the real cash even though the card is safer. I had an Ezwich card but could never seem to find a shop that had the card reader to accept it.
If you live in Ghana, you know that getting directions to anywhere is a chore. Poor street naming means to get anywhere you need a popular reference point. So you say something like, I'm going to Sytris bookshop, it's near Papaye at Osu. Recently, I had to go to a Blogging Ghana meeting at 37 Mensah Wood Road. I didn't know the place so I entered the address into Google Maps, hailed a taxi and showed the map to the driver. I know, silly me. All the driver kept asking me was, “Please, where is it near?” I'm not a great map reader but Google Maps' direction helped me direct the driver. On arrival the driver said, I should have told him, “After Shiashi take the right turn from Galaxy International”.
Our current President is quite tech savvy. He prefers to read his speeches from a tablet, has a twitter and facebook account and there are quite a few selfies of him around the web. The website of the presidency is updated often (though I'd like the see more information there) and the other ministry seem to also update their sites regularly. I remember under the previous president, I went to one ministry's site and it hadn't been update in over two years.
The most active politician on social media is the Honorable Hanna Tetteh. She's very active on twitter and replies as many of her followers as possible. If only more of our politicians were like her... sigh!
Ghana 2.0 update is on! Let's hope that we don't get the dreaded, “Download failed at 99%”

Kasahorow Keyboard: 
Ghanaian languages have characters that do not appear in the English alphabets so typing a sentence in Twi or Ewe on your phone can be a problem. The Kasahorow keyboard which is available in the Android Play Store (sorry iOS and Windows users) has all these characters so you can type freely without having to replace Ι› with 3, Ε‹  with n, Ι” with )or C, Ζ’ with f etc. It's free so you don't really have an excuse not to have it if you are an Android user. Kasahorow is a twi word that means, “Many Languages”. 

Easy Taxi:
EasyTaxi is a mobile app that as the name implies, make getting a taxi easy. Rather than stand at the road side flapping your hands at taxis as we do in Ghana, just get easy taxi. This app is available on iOS and Android (No idea about on Windows Phone). Just log into the app where ever you are and turn on your GPS and enter your destination. The nearest easy taxi to your location will call you back and will be with you shortly. I must admit when I first used the app I didn't think the driver would arrive early. The driver arrived five minutes after the request and I was a bit embarrassed because I wasn't yet ready. The driver, Isaac, reminded me to wear my seat belt and we left Kaneshie to Lashibi. Comfortable ride. When I was done with whatever I went to do, I used the app again to get another ride back home. Very convenient. Both taxis were very comfortable. It's was a good experience and I recommend everyone to try it. For now Easy Taxi operates only in Accra but I'm sure they will spread to other parts of Ghana soon.  

the Easy Taxi I took from Kaneshie to Lashibi

Animation on how to use Easy Taxi
There's an interview with the MD of Easy Taxi Gh here that you can read. 

If there's an app or a Ghanaian technology you would like me to check out, you can write about in the comment box and I will check it out. Let me know what you find frustrating or pleasing about technology in Ghana. 


Thursday, 15 May 2014

It's an Itch (Writing Process Blog Tour 2014)

Apparently there’s a blog tour going on and I didn’t even know. I seem to be lost in my own world these days. Tsatsu (@_tsatsu) is the one who passed the baton to me and I had to go tracing the genesis of this tour. I should have known Ozionn (@Ozionn) had something to do with it. 

What Am I Working On?
I've got two blogs. A poetry one and this one, a satirical one. I’ve not written a poem in a while but I’ve got a few satirical post cooking. So much crazy stuff going on these days that I’m spoilt for choices on the satirical front. So many options that I can’t seem to choose. For me poetry is much harder to write than Satire. I need a heightened emotion to write poetry.

What Makes My Work Unique?
I’m not sure if my work is unique. There nothing new under the sun. What makes my work relatable to however is that I don’t force it. If I’ve got nothing to write then I don’t. If I don’t like what I’ve written I send it to the bin. I don’t bother trying to patch it up or revamp it. I either like it or I don’t. It’s either good enough or it isn’t. I don’t bother doing midway. No grays, just black or white.

Why I Write?
It’s an itch that must be scratched. Have you had an itch somewhere on your back that you can’t reach? The frustration! That’s how I feel when I get in the mood to write and for some reason I don’t have the opportunity or time to write what’s in my mind. It just keeps bugging me till I finally write it down then I can heave a sigh of relief.
Writing is a means of relieving pent up emotions. When I write an angry poem I find that my anger dissipates.
I’d like to say something noble like, “I write to cause social change”, but that would be a lie. I write mainly for myself. I’m a bit of an egotists. Nothing inflates my ego more that getting positive reviews for what I write. If I vent my emotions about something that bothers me and it causes some positive change in society that’s a byproduct that goes to feed my ego. I’m only looking to change myself, to be the best version of me and if that somehow brings the best in others then that’s ok.  I not naΓ―ve enough to think I can change the world. I can only change myself and hope others do the same.

How My Writing Process Works?
I just keep writing till I want to stop. I try not to be bounded by any strict method. Oh, I'm very lazy at proof reading my own work. Typical hypocrite. I see mistakes in other people's work but never seem to see them in mine. If you see any errors, just leave a note in the comment section.

One Person I’ll Pass This on to?
Terry!! He blogs at economistaTerry Delves and for some reason tends to change his twitter handle often. His current one is . SMH. Over to you Terry
 I'd like to pass it on to Eyram (@Sweyram). She's my favorite lazy blogger but her next blog post will probably come out when i'm 50.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Foxes Have Holes but the Son of a Ghana Man...

Matthew 8: 20
Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

I remember talking to a friend in Europe some years back, she had just turned 19 and she told me she was moving out of her parents’ house. According to her she was too old to live with her parents. I was 20 going to 21 and the thought of moving out from my parents’ home permanently hadn’t even occurred to me. When I graduated from University, it was straight to my parents’ place without a thought. When I got a job in Accra, far from my parent, I moved in with some relatives and would have lived there indefinitely if I could. Eventually, I had to move out and find my own place. 

I knew rent in Accra wasn’t cheap but I didn’t think it would be that expensive. How naΓ―ve of me. Everywhere I went, landlords were demanding 2 years rent advance and agents were demanding 10% extra of whatever I was to pay the landlord. Each time I did the maths I just wanted to go back and live with my parents. I finally found a place where the taps run more than 4 days a week, a luxury in Accra by any standard. After almost emptying my accounts paying 24 months’ rent advance, I finally moved into ‘my own’ place. That night I couldn’t sleep. I had spent 90% of all my savings in the last two years in one day!! I couldn’t afford a bed; I bought a mattress put it on the floor and didn’t even bother with any other form of furniture.  

According to the rent law of Ghana as at 2012, no landlord is supposed to charge more than 6 months’ rent advance, but this is Ghana. Apart from the male/female sign on public toilets, no other rule works. In fact, when parliamentarians are getting their exorbitant undeserved rent allowances, they are given enough to cover 2 years advance. The law makers are breaking the law, no surprise there. 

Towards the end of last year, President Mahama announced an affordable housing project. Nobody took him serious. Successive governments have made the same promise from as far back as I can remember. Generally what happens is, an obscene amount of money is pumped into the project and less than half way through, the project is abandoned of some new affordable housing project. If the project is completed, which is almost never, the buildings are immediately bought by people with government connections who definitely can afford them and rented out to those who need them who can’t afford them. People who need these building will never afford them and those who don’t need them will keep buying them. In the end, it is “as you were” for everyone.

According to a report by the Housing Data Centre, Over 70% of workers not likely to “ever” own a home. In my opinion, that percentage should be even bigger. According to the report, people who earn below Gh₵4000 per month aren’t likely to qualify for a mortgage. Very few people earn that and given that houses in Ghana are sold in dollars (US not Zim), even people who earn Gh₵4000 per month won’t be able to afford buying. This is getting depressing; let me move to something else.

How about building you own house? Just last week I heard a bag of cement was being sold at Gh₵25! In 1997 a bag of cement was the equivalent of 50p. Ok, maybe that is too far back. In March of this year, a bag of cement was Gh₵20.50. It’s no wonder there are so many uncompleted buildings wasting away. People budget and start building then suddenly prices go crazy and they are priced out of completing them.

Writing this getting me very depressed so I’m going to stop. The president says Ghana is not the worstcountry in the world. According to him, it is pessimism that is holding us back. Let me go and be optimistic so that things get better in Ghana. 

“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of 'Ghana' Man has nowhere to lay his head."