After writing our final examinations in the senior high school, my mates and I dreamt of nothing but continuing to the University. The courses we were going to read were not as much of a problem as gaining admission.
It was with anxiety that most of us waited for the results to be released and when they finally came out, I had not performed as badly. My results could earn me a place in the University or so I thought.
My friends and I purchased the admission forms, filled them out and submitted. Again, we awaited to know if we had gained admission or not.
When the list of qualified candidates were released, my friends and I checked online. A few had gained admission and to my disappointment, I did not see my name on the list.
“Oh, they normally release a supplementary list. You have to wait for that,” my friends said.
Several days passed and there was no supplementary list with my name on it. Days turned to weeks and my friends who gained admission went to start their first semester.
That was when it dawned on me that I was not going to the University that year. I had no back-up plans. My family did not offer an alternative plan either.
As an individual in her late teens, that was perhaps, my first biggest disappointment and it lasted for several months. I had to explain to people why I was still at home while my colleagues had begun their semester. I had so many sleepless nights and I cried a lot too.
I believe I grew a lot older and wiser during that period. Looking back, I’m convinced that was definitely part of God’s plan for my life. The next year, I reapplied with the same results and amazingly, I gained admission. With determination, I began my life at the University. This time, I knew I was alone – ‘no friends, no squad.’ I knew I was solely responsible for the outcome of my four years on campus and I had to make good use of it and I believe I did exactly that.
***This is 16/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is to share something on grief, loss or healing.***
When a person dies in most communities in the Ghana, especially in the Greater Accra Region, the immediate family is informed.
While the body of the deceased is kept at the morgue, the family organises a one week-celebration to announce the date for the funeral. People who attend this ceremony may be very close friends, neighbours, work colleagues among others. This particular celebration is an entire day’s event. Individuals, who pass through this ceremony, may make donations of money, bottled water, beverages and food items to be used by the family during the actual funeral rites. Those who pass through this celebration are lightly refreshed with food and beverages.
On the scheduled date of the funeral, the corpse is laid in state (mostly in the family’s residence) at dawn on Saturday (mostly). After a brief ceremony with close family, the body is then made available for viewing by guests and attendants of the funeral. If the deceased was a Christian, church songs are normally sang during the filing past.
A church service may be organised for the individual at home. If that happens, the deceased may still be available for viewing. If the memorial service takes place in the church, the body is placed in the casket and transported to the church building. A short service is organised where songs are sang, prayers are said and tributes read by family, work colleagues, friends etc.
After the church service, the casket is lifted and taken to the burial grounds for internment. The dead may be buried in the city/town that he/she resided or could be transported to their hometown which could be several miles away from where funeral is taking place. At the cemetery, brief rites are performed before the body is lowered to the ground. Wreaths are then laid and final prayers are said amidst wailing and weeping.
The family and guests then move to a chosen venue where they are treated to some form of refreshment. Donations are made to the deceased’s family by the guests. A table is set where the donor makes the donation and their details are recorded. That information is furnished to an announcer/master of ceremony who mentions it through the microphone and publicly acknowledges the donor. This goes on till the donations stop coming in.
The next day, which is normally a Sunday, close family and friends attend a thanksgiving service at the deceased’s church. This is done to thank God for a safe burial. Prayers of protection, strength and good health are said for the family.
A ‘gbonyo’ or ‘dead’ party is organised after the church service for the family and the guests. Meals and beverages are served and the latest music is played over loud speakers and people dance.
The above is the general structure for most funerals in Ghana but it could vary depending on the status of the individual in the society (chiefs and other traditional leaders), the mode of death (accident, natural), religion (Islamic funerals are totally different) and their age (young or old).
Funerals in most communities in Ghana are known to be costly and lucrative for those in the business. Example caterers, masters of ceremonies, professional mourners etc. Recent times have seen a lot of families resorting to private burials due to the covid-19 because a bann has been placed on large gatherings. This is causing low revenue generation to those in this business.
How are funerals organised in your community? Let us know 😊
***This is 14/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is share about one cultural aspect from your community or country.***
Her popularity may be linked to her creativity and the number of books she has authored. She is an amazing storyteller who draws her readers into the books. Even though they are simple to read, they have very deeper meanings.
Her stories are well-researched and are likely to take you to places like Nsukka, Biafra, Lagos, the US etc.
She writes fiction, short stories and non-fiction. Purple Hibiscus, The thing around your neck and Half of the Yellow Sun are some of her works of fictions.
She is popular on the continent and outside of it, making news on main and social media. She is known for her works on anti-racism and feminism. The latter, which has earned her both admirers and haters. The haters critique her work on feminism and say it is too skewed.
She has a political science, communications and creative writing background (indeed, we have something in common 😊). Her books have earned her a lot of awards and she’s spoken on several platforms including Ted Talk.
She has proven that authoring a good book has the ability to shoot you to some amazing platforms.
I would, one day, like to meet the multiple award-winning African novelist – Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi from Nigeria. We are likely to have a chat about creative, story writing among other topics.
***This is 13/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is if you could meet a notable African personality, who would it be and why?***
You won’t believe what the Show Boy has done this time. Did you monitor the news yesterday? We are free from our colonial masters. It’s been a long and difficult battle and we have suffered very much but I want to believe this is the finale.
I actually wanted to see things for myself so I went to the Polo Grounds where Showboy Kwame Nkrumah delivered his speech. Can you believe there were no vehicles to transport me but I made the journey on foot. The over 7-mile trip was nothing compared to my yearning to witness this momentous occasion.
I was sweaty when I got to the grounds but the place was packed. I could not move without coming into contact with other people. When I finally found a spot that provided a good view, Showboy had started his speech.
Mansa, we have really suffered – not just from interferences from the British but from the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) who wanted self-government within the shortest possible time to the current Convention Peoples Party (CPP) who sought to govern immediately. If I tell you the number of lives that have been lost in this struggle, you will understand my joy.
Anyway, freedom smells good. I was not the only one who listened to the speech with great hope. I could feel the pride emanate from me when Nkrumah delivered his speech. My heart started beating and for no reason, tears began to fall down my cheek, especially, when Nkrumah uttered these words:
We have won the battle and we again re-dedicate ourselves … Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa. Let us now, fellow Ghanaians, let us now ask for God’s blessing…
It’s been a long road and we are finally free from oppression, unnecessary imprisonment of our political leaders, hardships and suffering.
We are finally going to manage our own affairs and resources. I know the world is watching from afar. I can sense Nkrumah is bent on aiding other African countries to achieve independence. Not only that, he also envisions an African union. Do you think that is possible? These are still early times, though. Let me not jump ahead of myself. I’ll provide you with regular updates and I hope to read your reply soon.
Your most optimistic Ghanaian,
***This is 12/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is choose an African event and write about it as if you were there.***
This post has got me scratching my head real hard because I am not fluent in my own local language known as Ewe (pronounced ‘Eh-ve’), reminding me of Steve Harvey’s attempt at pronouncing it on Family Feud. Ewe is the language spoken by the people from the Volta Region, which is on the eastern coast of Ghana, sharing a border with Togo. Ghana has 16 of these regions.
I am, therefore, going to list five Akan/Twi (pronounced T-wiii) which is the most widely spoken language in Ghana.
1. Obi nkyere akwadaa Nyame.Literal translation: Nobody teaches the child who God is. Which means: Innately, we (including a child) know the existence of a Creator/God.
2. Aboa a onni dua no, Nyame na opra ne ho. Literal translation: For the tail-less animal, God cleans/sweeps his body. Meaning: Vulnerable people have a special place in God’s heart. He takes care of them.
3. Praye se wo yi bako a na ebu: wokabomu a emmu. Literal translation: It is easier to break a broomstick than the whole bunch. Meaning: In unity lies strength/there is strength in togetherness.
4. Anoma aantu a, obua da.Literal translation: If a bird doesn’t fly, it goes hungry. Meaning: One needs to work or they’ll go hungry.
5. Kwatereakwa se obema wo ntoma a tie ne ding. Literal translation: If a naked man/woman promises to give you a cloth, just listen to his name. 😂 Meaning: You cannot give what you do not have. If the naked man had any clothes, he would have worn it himself 😂😂😂
On this note, do you have any proverbs in your language you’d like to share? Please do so.
***This is 11/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is share 5 proverbs in your vernacular and what they mean.***
An educational institution like the University of Ghana (UG) has a mind of its own. Unlike other public institutions that mostly dance to the tune of the government in power (whether good or bad), from what I’ve witnessed at UG, so far, it is a little autonomous.
In this covid19 period, for example, UG shut down before our President ordered all educational institutions to do so. This was immediately it recorded its first case of the virus. Currently, it has partially reopened for final year students to complete their courses. UG has made it flexible for these students to still work from home without necessarily being on campus and jeopardizing their lives. This was after the President called for the re-opening of schools and educational institutions for final year students (in particular).
Most African countries give toomuch a lot of power to their governments. The government of the day appoints Chief Executive Officers and bosses of organisations and most of them obey every command from the presidency (good or bad). For an institution to operate flexibly and creatively without a lot of interferences from government is difficult and for UG to take these bold initiatives is laudable.
Cumulatively, I have been at UG for about eight years (both studying and working on projects) and I love how the systems work even though there is always room for improvement. Individuals respect protocols and are not unnecessarily rude to others. For instance, an accountant may be frustrated by your actions but is still forced to be nice because he knows trouble looms when he does not treat you well.
I may not be privy to all that goes on in this institution but I can say it has space for dialogue and intellectual discussions. New systems are always being developed to improve teaching and learning and I wouldn’t mind being their brand ambassador and working there till I retire.
***This is 10/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is which institution would you love to represent and work with.***
Limiting the number of social media accounts I follow to only 4, in this post, is almost tortuous but here we go:
1. HeatherLindsey is a preacher, fashionista, vegan, mother of three and a wife. You can get a sense of her life through her posts. She is truly an inspiration to young women and I admire how she confidently posts everything (almost) about herself, family, husband and children on social media. She has a huge following and most of her posts go viral. I follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
2. Dromobaby is a page I discovered not too long ago but have succeeded in watching almost every video on their page. They feature women and husbands (sometimes) who share stories about their pregnancy journey. Some of the guests they feature are hilarious and others share sad stories. One that I wouldn’t forget in while is a woman who lost her twins after she delivered them. 😥😥 They feature Ghanaians (mostly) and I follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
3. BabiesbyBazal, Coos_n_Clicks, ElomAyayee, Twinkle_toes_inc (they are four different pages 😄)- these are businesses that take maternity shoots and family photos as well as photos of babies when they are as young as a week old till when they are about eight or nine or so. I love the creativity behind those shoots. The end product of the shoots are pretty and surreal that they will make you feel like having babies. 🙃They are all Ghanaian brands and I follow these pages on Instagram and Facebook.
4. Liezer-legacyproductions – I love comedy and this page shares skits of some hilarious individuals/comedians that we have in Ghana. The recent satirical quiz they produce is so funny that it trends on YouTube. I follow them on Facebook and I’ve subscribed to their YouTube channel as well.
**Can I add my Church’s social media accounts or you are tired? 😂😂😂
Which social media accounts do you follow and why? Do share.
***This is 9/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is 4 Social Media accounts and why you follow them.***
1. Trick us? We are aware the numbers matter so much to you – especially when you have to market your page to possible clients for adverts or for you to start earning (on YouTube). You have to gain a certain number of followers and clicks to posts but please consider your loyal consumers too. The click baits are too much. Will it be too much if we asked you to create a catchy headline/title that is still related to the post? We are tired of clicking to only see the headlines/titles have no implication whatsoever to the story/post. Are you tricking us or what?
2. Hang around Twitter and make news out of the most mundane issues? The fact that they are celebrities and pastors and presidents and known figures does not make everything they tweet newsworthy. We are now making celebrities out of undeserving people. This has resulted in people doing all sort of crazy things in order to trend. Really? Content creators. Really?
3. Take content from sites without properly citing the source? Academically, that would be called plagiarism and possibly leading you to lose your degree but in the content creation world, it seemed to be overlooked and it’s gradually gaining acceptance. For instance, bloggers take stories from other pages and slap it to theirs as if the one who created it does not even exist. It’s someone’s work, for crying out loud, please cite them.
What do content creators do that you wish they would stop? It’s a learning experience so share yours.😊
***This is 8/22 of the #WinterABC2020. The prompt is 3 things you wish African content creators could avoid***