Tribalism In Africa: Treat Me Good, I’ll Treat You Better; Treat Me Bad And I’ll Treat You Worse

Standard

I write for infoboxx which is an informational portal that attempts to enhance and empower the lives of our audience by delivering topical, educational, entertaining, and useful information.

Below is my first article submission to publication.

Ethnicity, tribalism and xenophobia all stem from an irrational fear of people based on their ethnic and tribal background, or country of origin. The notion of tribe and ethnicity is still a contentious subject in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some tribal nuances continue to reinforce our suspicions about other tribes. On my maternal side, I am an Assin from Nyakumasi Ahenkro in the Central Region of Ghana.

On my paternal side, I am an Akyem from Oda in Ghana’s Eastern Region. I was informed that my maternal great-great grandmother was married to a man from the Northern part of Ghana, and that my paternal great-great grandmother was Ewe. In South Africa, where I spent my childhood and early adulthood, I was very aware of the tribal tensions between Zulu’s and Xhosa’s, and Xhosa’s and Tswana’s. I have heard Tswana and Sotho women chastise Xhosa women in Johannesburg.

Some have gone as far as to tell them to stop speaking Xhosa in Johannesburg or else return to the Eastern Cape, a mainly Xhosas province. The Vendas and Tshonga who lived in the Northern part of South Africa, were seen by all the other tribes in South Africa as the lesser tribe and were often ridiculed for their dark skins and accents when they spoke English. As a foreigner in South Africa, I was called all sorts of names growing up. “Ama Ghana”; “Qwereqwere” (a derogatory name for foreigner) were a few.

I remember being chased down the road by children in my neighbourhood in the Ciskei. “Ama Ghana Hamba kuye khaya” (Ama Ghana Go Home) they would shout. I must have been 5 years old. This was my first xenophobic experience. I am not too sure how I internalized this experience as a child, but it left an indelible mark on my future interactions with black South Africans.

Click to Continue Reading

Advertisements

Bukom Banku: Ghana’s Funniest Boxer

Standard

When  you hear the name Bukom Banku in Ghana you cannot help but chuckle to yourself. This larger than life boxer has coined such grandiose idioms and pearls of wisdom that after reading his quotes you are left confused and dazed as he pummels you with his unique English phrases  a lot like what he does in the boxing ring, his words will leave you knocked out. Bukom Banku is outrageous and very funny.

I have compiled some of my favourite quotes from Bukom Banku, who describes himself as a ‘self taught  English speaker.’

In an interview with KSM Ghana’s answer to Jay Leno and the Saturday Night Live genre of comedic entertainment.

He asked Bukom:

“Where did you learn all this English”

Bukom: “Is my own mentality. I have the Bukom Dictionary. Anytime I wake up in the morning I teach my own self.”

Bukom Banku  speaks in Pigin English which is  a language mainly spoken by the youth (All social classes) in Ghana. According to him, he has never been to school but has succeeded in  creating  his own “Bukom Dictionary” which only he truly understands.

Continue reading

A New Year

Standard

It’s the first month of the new year, and everything feels fresh. You may have set new goals, started a new relationship or friendship, or a new job perhaps…

Some of us have the daunting task of reinventing our lives, setting new goals and tackling the year head on. Perhaps in 2013 you ended a friendship, relationship, quit your job, or experienced a personal loss.

C.S Lewis said that Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.

So this month has been declared as the month to let go so we can all move forward. Letting go offers relief , release and hope. A  renewal and a second chance.

I do hope that we set some definitive goals for ourselves, simple attainable goals.

A challenge for us all is to become the beacon of hope, to get involved in our communities, and to build a society that is just, fair and uplifting.

We will triumph once more! Happy 2014.

Start Now

Standard

“I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me thirty years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.” – Aliko Dangote

Read more: Start Now.

Start Now

Standard

Start Small and Dream Big, Start Now!

“I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me thirty years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.” – Aliko Dangote

 As the Managing Director of Zhest Consult I spend my time training entrepreneurs in Ghana by helping them to shape and fine tune their business ideas and to grow their businesses. Through my interactions with these young business people I often get the impression that many of them would like to grow their business at a pace much faster than they are currently moving. Many young entrepreneurs are also impatient and give up too soon because they set unrealistic goals one such example is making millions of dollars within a short space of time. Add to that the fear of failure and our natural risk aversion which is a characteristic of a Ghanaian’s social and cultural attitude, creating a breeding ground for uninspiring entrepreneurs and businesses.

Continue reading

Lemons!

Standard
a few slices of lemon a day keeps you in tip top shape.

a few slices of lemon a day keeps you in tip-top shape.

I love lemons! When I visit a restaurant the first thing I’ll ask for when the drinks menu passes round is a glass of water with some lemon slices and a straw (sipping or drinking lemons with a straw is highly recommended due to the high acidic nature of the lemon when consumed without a straw as the lemon may recede your gum line).  I’m not being a cheap skate lemon water improves digestion.  Drinking a glass of lemon water half an hour before a meal does wonders for you. You’ll never suffer from indigestion.

 

In Ghana the Hammatan season has just begun, Hammatan is characterized by cooler weather and constant rain. It’s basically Ghana’s version of winter (the coolest the temperature will go down to is about 20 degrees centigrade). It’s also the silly season for colds, flu and the dreaded sore throat. A few weeks ago I woke up with a sore throat. I sliced a lemon into quarters and sucked the juice from the fruit two hours later I repeated the process every two-three hours.  I also gargle with hot water and salt solution. The following morning my sore throat had disappeared and I was feeling better.

A staple in almost every Ghanaian dish is the tomato. If we were to conduct a ‘what’s in your fridge’ survey across households in Ghana, tomatoes would by far be declared the food of choice found in all Ghanaian Fridges. With our present dumsor problems (power outages) most of our fresh produce decomposes in our fridges. Slicing lemons in half and placing them in strategic areas in your fridge will make sure that your fresh produce stays fresher for longer. Lemons slows down the molding process. by just placing 4 half lemons in your tomato chest your tomatoes will last longer. Try it! It really work,s not just for tomatoes but also keeps all produce fresh.

Continue reading