Are we truly independent?

Today my country is celebrating its “independence” day with the usual symbolism, diversion and pomp by the leadership. Meanwhile, hungry children will be marching in the sun together with horses. Many will faint. Others will be swearing oaths. At first I wondered why the quaker or bobs red mill will not be fed to the children. Then they said no, they will be: SWEARING OATHS, AS IN MAKING DECLARATIONS. Oh I get it now. I swear some of these children will be marching on an empty stomach today. UNICEF please intervene.

Speaking of “independence”, is Ghana truly independent? If yes, in what regard? If no why?

Is Africa itself free considering that African economies are fully controlled by the Pound or the Dollar or the Euro? What is Africa’s USP in the global market? Do we have bargaining power?

Are we aware at all of our own realities?

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Africa, my Africa

We want to go and
See what’s happening
In the underworld.
Perhaps the gods and
Ancestors know why.
We ran and ran and
When our feet refused to
Go, we saw that we were
Back in whitey’s chains –
In the oppressor’s talons.
Africa cries for a liberator.
How can her children go
Hungry when she has
Fertile land? How can she
Be poor when she has gold?
Nkrumah said revolutionary
Path will bring freedom but
Who will fight for us?
No one wanted to fight.
Whitey’s dollar is working.
Lumumba is gone.
Sankara is gone.
Madiba is gone.
Nyerere is gone.
Kenyatta is also gone.
And so is great Nkrumah.
Heroes die soon and
The clowns live long.
But Africa, my Africa is not
What is shown the world.
My Africa will rise…again.

Cleptocracy, Kakistocracy and Elite Capture in Africa

Although this post is specifically about Ghana, most African nations share same problems associated with governance and economic development. The term elite capture simply describes a situation where resources designated for the benefit of the larger population are usurped by a few individuals of superior status –be it economic, political, educational, ethnic, or otherwise. Typically, individuals or groups take advantage of government programs aimed at distributing resources or funds to the general public by using their elite influence to direct such assistance in such a way that it primarily benefits the elite group. In some cases it benefits their own associates, family members or friends. Cleptocracy on the other hand, is a rule by thieves and Kakistocracy is a rule by the most unqualified or the morally corrupt in society.

Ghana is a country of make-believe. Even little kids acquire this instinct of crafting lies for no apparent reason. The entire society is organised around  speculations, superstitions and farcical ideas. Facts and truths have no grip on the Ghanaian mind. The quickest and most effective way of influencing the Ghanaian is through music, the least effective is through the written word. Books influence only a thin stratum of intellectuals. The politicians know the people so well that during every election all the major political parties compose music that plays countless times on the airwaves. They know that the average man or woman on the street is not really interested in lengthy manifestos. Just give them music and entertainment. Added to this is the problem of ethnocentrism. You can visit a typical Ghanaian organisation and notice that almost everyone in a particular office, unit or department belong to one tribe. And when tribal affiliations set in there is absolutely no room for reason.

The most corrupt people in Ghana and Africa for that matter, also happen to be the elite class, most with doctorates. They form the core of the cleptocrats. Their luxurious lifestyles often cost the state more than necessary but nobody takes any action to stop this lunacy. Let me explain that a PhD in Ghana does not necessarily mean the holder has contributed anything to the field of knowledge. Here, a certificate simply designates a title. The worst mistake one can ever make as a subordinate is to try to report an allegedly corrupt official to one’s overall boss. One will be reporting to the ‘thief executive officer’ and thereby identifying oneself as a traitor in the organisation. This can cost you a promotion or salary increment etc considering that firing a public servant in Ghana is not a straight forward procedure. The thieves, supported by the ignorant masses, continue to rule in Africa.

Dusk At Seaside

….for your viewing pleasure. I love water and also blue is my favourite colour. The golden reflections of sunlight on the water was amazing. Of course the camera didn’t do this place justice.

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After bathing, I sat facing this chair. Sometimes all you need is a little solitude.

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This guy run across the view finder. I don’t know him.

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I met a clown who acted for free.

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That’s all folks!

A Bird

If I was a bird, I will

sing for those in despair.

I will fly high into the heavens and

 

send a petition to the gods.

Perhaps I will build my nest high

up in the midst of twigs and enjoy peace.

 

O, wind of the heavens,

redeem all venomous serpents

who dare the falcon’s flight.

 

And grant wings, I pray thee,

to those poor flightless rats

Who suffer the serpent’s wrath.

 

© 2014. Tawia Tsekumah.

 

Is Religion “Emotional Positivism?”

 

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Rastafarianism is a religion that emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s. Their membership has grown into millions all around the world. Its popularity was made possible by legendary reggae musician Bob Marley and many others. Marley often praised their king, Ras Tafari, in his songs and advocated the daily smoking of marijuana and the growth of dread locks. Rastafarians believe in most of the teachings of the Bible; they also believe in reincarnation. Although Christianity is now the predominant religion in Sub Saharan Africa, the red, yellow and green in many African national flags is derived from the Ethiopian flag.

One of the major criticisms I have always heard as regards Rastafarianism is that they worship a dead Ethiopian king. They call him “His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie,”  “The king of kings,” and “The Lion of the tribe of Judah.” And many people despise them for that. Rastafarians still consider the African continent their true home and the “promised land.” But why descend harshly on them? Aren’t all the prophets of other religions dead yet still being worshiped? Is Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and Confucius not dead yet are still being worshiped? Why criticize Rastafarians for worshiping a dead Ethiopian king? I think the difference here is that the said king – prophet of the Rastafarians – was a black African coming from Ethiopia.

The Rastas, as they are called, believe the Ethiopian king to be the direct descendant of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba in the Bible, thus Emperor Haile Selassie being the last prophet after Jesus. His Leadership qualities are also praised worldwide. But what does Rastafarianism teach us about faith? Why the Ethiopian King? These are the key questions we need to ask. To subject religion to logical analysis is a waste of time. The source of all religions is emotions.

Religion is the direct opposite of logical positivism. It is positivism embedded in the emotions and I will tell you why. When Mussolini of Italy invaded Ethiopia (Then Abyssinia) for the second time in May 1936, the Ethiopian king, Ras Tafari, initially went into exile but returned five years later and with the aid of British forces successfully repelled the Italians. This was a major “undoing” for all sufferers of the slave trade. Many Africans, especially in the Caribbeans, were very joyous and they believed that the king could not possibly be human. Therefore in my understanding, to have a positive view of every experience – to focus on the victories not the failures – to allow positive energies but not the negative, all in re-channeling of the emotions to a good use, that is what constitutes a personal religion. Organised religion still remains a hoax.

To live with the knowledge that one was taken from his homeland as a slave and sold to work on a plantation is a really painful thought. It even creates spiritual problems. But if now it was said that the Ethiopian king had been able to crash the Italians, an imperialist nation, then the Emperor must indeed be an incarnate of God. This, I believe, is the brief psychological journey that led to this new religion. It is an inspirational story attempting to “undo” a grave harm and it is no different from stories of exile and triumph in the Bible. Ethiopia remains the only nation in Africa that has not been tainted by colonialism.

As regards marijuana as a sacred herb, it is always said that everything God created is good. If the herb was not good would God have caused it to germinate? According to Rastafarian doctrines, many governments have criminalized marijuana because it makes people rebellious to authority. All governments aim at controlling the masses and marijuana, as a herb of enlightenment, obstructs that. Hence it is illegal to smoke marijuana in most countries.

Babylon (a metaphor for the civilized world of evil, exploitation and domination) will eventually fall to pieces and all Africans scattered abroad, as a result of the slave trade, will return to Africa and be ruled by a single union government. This is a Rastafarian prophecy. Let’s see if it will be fulfilled. But for now, please let’s leave the Rastafarians alone. All religions have their faults.

 

In 1963, The Ethiopian King delivered the following speech to the UN: (an extract which inspired Bob Marley’s hit song “War” in 1976)

 

“……On the question of racial discrimination, the Addis Ababa Conference taught, to those who will learn, this further lesson:

that until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned;

that until there are no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation;

that until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes;

that until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race;

that until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained.

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed;

until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will;

until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven;

until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.

The United Nations has done much, both directly and indirectly to speed the disappearance of discrimination and oppression from the earth. Without the opportunity to focus world opinion on Africa and Asia which this Organization provides, the goal, for many, might still lie ahead, and the struggle would have taken far longer. For this, we are truly grateful.”

 

 

Africa Is A Beautiful Place

WillieWaddell_VictoriaCameraClub_AfricanDawn_Birds

Image credit: victoriacameraclub.org

 

The birds, the trees,

The animals and the people –

There is nowhere like Africa.

But of course it depends on

 

How one looks at it.

When you go to the restaurant

And a menu is presented,

You decide what you must eat.

 

It is the same with knowledge,

Especially about Africa.

To me, Africa

Means Abundance…

Kill That Voice

photo credit: ingervandyke.com

 

Many a time

We hear voices.

Voices, telling us what

we can and cannot be.

 

Sadly some of these voices

Live on in us into old age –

Still telling us what we can

And cannot do.

 

But I tell you,

Kill that voice

And listen to you.

‘There is nothing good or bad

 

But thinking makes it so,’ says Shakespeare.

If you think you can, then you can.

If you think you cannot, then you cannot

And for that matter, you should not.

 

 

A New Beginning

New beginning...

Photo credit: alexkess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctors and Scientists do not know everything,

They condemn that which they do not understand,

And fix meaning where there is none,

Many times, doctors give people death sentences,

When in fact there is a new life ahead,

They say it’s the age of reason,

But the more rational we become,

The more problems we create,

I do not know what your worry is,

Maybe you have a health condition,

Or maybe you have lost a loved one,

Or you are simply on the wrong side of life,

Whatever it is,

Take a look, deep down into the depths of your soul,

And perhaps, just when you understand ”Why me?”,

You will be healed and that will be a new beginning.