Monday, 17 October 2011


Yen na ye gyimi( It seems we are the simpletons)
                                                                       -Reggie Rockstone, hip-life impresario, poet, thinker 

Costs me more to be free than a life in the penitentiary
                                                                     - Tupac Amaru Shakur, poet, thinker, hip-hop meister

Encounters with ATMs that do not work can be dramatic; I had my moment a few weeks ago. I slotted in my card with great expectations. Machine began that raspy sound indicating the imminent flow of cash that can trigger an orgasm if you worship mammon. Then it ceased and then posted very mournfully that totally baleful note: “ Sorry blah blah blah.” I was almost cursing. There I was low on cash and time pressed and my best bet was waiting for an hour for the bank to open for business!!! I found a seat and waited. The drama began to unfold.  In the next few minutes all who came and could not withdraw their money had this caricatured long drawn, depressing look on their faces. Some will stare at the screen in disbelief; others shook their heads; some others literally froze. Money swine as we say in Ghana!!! As I watched the interaction between man/woman and machine I pondered on Ghana and modernity. The incontrovertible logic of the industrial/post industrial machine is that stuff must WORK ALWAYS except in compelling extenuating circumstances. If you erect traffic and street lights electricity MUST flow. Taps are not decorative pieces; water MUST flow through them. If you put workers on a single spine salary structure their accounts MUST reflect the change; essentially no buts and ifs are allowable. Maybe we have not come to terms with the brutality of this logic; maybe this logic is inhuman; maybe for us this logic is just a nightmarish pretence that we are pretending to flow with; just may be……

Ghana may yet get to this if........
And then I waited still more bearing Time’s excruciating march eavesdropping on a conversation. “They come around and then convince us to support them. I will leave my dwellings at dawn and go to their rallies. I used to play the drums at such gatherings; keeping the atmosphere feisty and charged. I will keep hitting the drums till my palms felt sore, numb and red. When we got hungry they brought us buckets brimming with soaked gari and sugar and gallons of akpeteshie(local gin). Then we will go and stand in those snarling queues while the sun pounded us mercilessly and wait and vote. When they win the elections they spit us out like the saliva from early morning sawi, ta kotcha(chewing sponge). Good riddance it seems. They simply vanish like the sun dipping over the horizon after a long day’s work. We stupidly give them jobs. They put on their suits in the morning and jump into those gleaming contraptions. We are the fools. This time I will not give a job to any one and starve.” This was the monological  conversation between two security officers at the bank. Was this the conception of politics, government and governance on the street? The ordinary citizen feels used, abused and neglected and that is a time bomb that may yet blow up in the face of  our political and other elites.     

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