Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Truth be told. I've never been a fan of 5Five. I've always seen them as many of the one hit wonders in our entertainment scene. And I was am right. When their current single dropped, unfortunately, I liked it. I wasn't happy that I liked it. In fact I was more aware of my surprise for liking it, that the fact that it was an enjoyable tune that was to be liked. Naturally, my default setting when it comes to hiplife music is "to be disliked on first hearing". Fortunately, I have whitelisted a few exceptions that disprove the rule, but I'm very wary of those; and 5Five is not on that list. That said, I'm big enough to admit when I'm wrong, when I'm wrong. I was unhappy to admit that 5Five had managed to prove me wrong and work their way to my brownlist (awaiting approval to the whitelist club), with their Move Back track (featuring the one and only Apietus). Imagine my surprise when I heard this track from DJ Cyndo (youtube link below). No matter how slow your internet connection is, I implore you to have a listen.


Now check out this viral video oh 5Five's Move Back.

Notice any similarities, correspondence, differences, or variance?


After hearing both tracks, a range of possible questions pop up in my mind.

  1. Was there a Sampling?

  2. If there was a Sampling, who is the Samplee and who is the Sampler (who sampled who?)?

  3. Did the Sampler pay dues to the Samplee?

  4. Is the Sampler aware that there is a Samplee around the corner?

  5. What will the Samplee do if they realize that the Samplee has given no credit for the Sampler's hard work.

Sincerely, I want to believe that DJ Cyndo sampled our GH boys. But we all know that when it comes to the average GH hiplife track, they are live on Copy Cat Boulevard. So you be the judge. For me, this is why 5Five and several other hiplife groups will never ever ever play at my wedding!!!


Monday, November 1, 2010


I don't usually like forwarded messages, but a friend sent me this and I just had to share it with you all. It is a list of the required dowry from the major ethnic groups in Ghana. I am uncertain as to who the author of this magnificent piece is, but I doff off my hat to this person. I have made slight modifications to suit the style of the RebelRyter's Realm.

Just for the record, I am Akuapem, so this list will be added on to the list I so freely furnished in my previous post.

The Gas

  1. 10 pieces of white cloth (to be worn by the lady during pregnancy & for the outdooring)

  2. 20 crates of Star beer (10 for the mother-in-law, 10 for father-in-law)

  3. Albion or Nissan Bluebird car

  4. 4 live pigs (for domedo - a term for grilled/fried pork)

  5. One akasanoma radio (for listening to Obunu 93.3FM)

  6. 2 years advance rent (as you will be staying with your in-laws)

  7. 1 CD compilation of DJ Gblagazaa's Mixx feat Screwface

  8. 1 Pair Trawler

  9. 1 drum of apeteshie - (a locally brewed alcoholic beverage - 100% alcohol). This will be for the purposes of offering libation.

  10. Valid residence preferably in James Town, Mpoase, Mamprobi, Chokor, Teshie, Tsui Bleeoo, Teshie Tiafi-ahe

The Ashanti

  1. Valid visa to Germany/Spain/USA

  2. Shares in Obuasi Goldfields

  3. 1 Store at a Commercial Business District

  4. A degree in "yobbing" (incessant and unnecessary bragging)

  5. DNA Test results to prove lineage to the Asante Kingdom

  6. Middle School Leaving Certificate (standard 7 accepted)

  7. 5 sets of mortar and pestle (for years of fufu pounding)

  8. Cassava & plantain farm (no fufu powder)

  9. Must speak fluent "capo" language

  10. 1 copy of Everyday English

  11. Valid residence in communities such as Abossey Okai, North Kaneshie, Sukura and Russia

The Ewes

  1. 10kg of "atama" snuff (for the father-in-law)

  2. Oversized Tema-station suit (for future growth and expansion)

  3. A Cassava farm

  4. Multi-colored XXXL towel for father-in-law (if he's from the Southern Volta)

  5. 10 pieces of white "Obroni waawu" singlets (for the father in-law)

  6. 8 pieces of multicolored vest (for Mother-in-law). To be used on market days

  7. One stall at Asigame (for mother-in-law)

  8. Connections to work in government agencies preferably post offices and hospitals

  9. 20 sets of neatly wrapped chewing sticks

  10. My First Copy Book (for retired fisherman now turned student

  11. Valid residence preferably in these locations: Madina, Agbogba, Adenta, Haatso, Libya Quarters, Ashaley Botwe

The Kwahus

  1. 3 year valid SUSU Savings/account

  2. Hardware store- dealing in cement, iron rods, paints, roofing sheets etc.

  3. Middle School Leaving Certificate

  4. Ability to sponsor Easter trips back home every year

  5. Valid visa and work permit in Spain preferably apple plantations

  6. One drinking spot

  7. Valid residence in areas such as Dome, Taifa, Kwabenya, Saint Johns etc

The Krobos

  1. 30 packs of GSMF approved condoms (protection sake)

  2. 20 funeral cloths

  3. Ability to perform paternity tests often

  4. One blue kiosk

  5. 45 pieces of mercy soap/cream and ointment

  6. Residence in a compound house

The Akuapems

  1. a Presby Hymn book (Akwiapim Version)

  2. A Bible (Akuapem translation, hard cover)

  3. 2 tubers of yam for (otoh - mashed yam and palm oil meal)

The Fantes

  1. 20 crates of Ovaltine/Tetley tea bags

  2. 50kg of sausage

  3. 77 containers of jam/margarine

  4. 67 crates of ideal milk

  5. 10 boxes of turkey wings

  6. 6 crates of eggs

  7. 1 seagoing canoe

  8. Required High School-Adisadel College & Mfantsipim

  9. Participation in keysoap TV programmes especially Cantata & Concert Party

  10. Connection to work in government agencies such as Post office, Ministries and Newspaper agencies

  11. The man has to prove eligibility to rise up to be a Principal Secretary

  12. Qualifies to live in government bungalow

  13. A side plan (done by the most renowned architect in the country Architect..........) which will always be in his back pockets, to exhibit/show the building plan he will never be able to put up.

  14. Tons of carton of beefi nam for light soup.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Before I go any further to discuss the topic for this blogpost, please be aware that what you are about to read in no way tries to condemn or justify the culture of Bride Prices or Dowries in our traditional marriage ceremony. This post only seeks to discuss into some detail, the constituents of the Bride Price in view of current modern cultures, practices and trends.

Now onto it.

I’m sure most of you have at one point or the other in your lifetime been to a traditional engagement ceremony in Ghana. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, it is usually along the same lines. A man and a woman date for some time; the man asks the woman to marry her (or the woman coerces the man to ask him to marry her :P); they agree to be with each other forever and then comes the Knocking Ceremony. As the name implies, it involves the man knocking at the door of the lady’s home, then being invited in by the bride's family. The man’s entrance is usually with singing, drumming or dancing (sometimes all of the above). Him, his abusuafoɔ (family: nuclear and extended) and friends come in bearing gifts of all forms, sizes and shapes - the Bride Price - in a colourful display. It’s very fascinating really. The elements of this gift package include, her dowry, a Bible, the engagement ring, yards of fabric, underwear for the lady, a suitcase (portmanteau) jewellery, a goat, a cow, a car (in some extreme cases), among other things. Some families prefer to give out a list and from what I’ve heard, this is the subject of many a debate, both internally and externally. It is very likely that if the potential mother/father-in-law approves of it, the potential son-in-law will disapprove of it. And so on, and so forth. Sometimes, the engagement ceremony is put on ice until some amicable agreement is achieved.
Let's milk the cow dry, shall we?



But I'm no expert in tradition, so I won't go any further down this road. My case is very simple. If in 1945 owning a full piece of Printex wax meant the world to you, in the year 2010, a full piece of Printex wax print pales in comparison to a 60 inch Plasma television! All in favour say "Aye aye Captain Rebel".

What in goodness name am I going to do with bails of Printex or GTP fabric? Perhaps if I had a shop in Makola, that would be ideal. But I'm not, so go figure! I like tradition, don’t get me wrong. I admire the thought that went behind the action back in the 1700s. Note: Pass tense. You do realize that these traditions were based on the customs of the era in which they were created, and back then, there was nothing like High Definition Television!!! I dey lie?

So I am making a decree, right here, right now on this World Wide Web. This decree goes out to enlighten any man out there who may dare to marry me, that he’s not going to get away easily with a few pieces of cloth and a portmanteau. No no no. I'm a modern girl (anybody know the equivalent of 90's girl in the 2000s?) as such, I have modernized my traditions, with modern items in my modern engagement list. As such modern items such as the full range of all of Apple’s products; I’m talking iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macbooks, iMacs, and whichever Apple product may have emerged; a 60-inch HDTV; designer watches (emphasis on “watches”); 12 sets of pants suits, some artwork from a famous painter (preferably a dead one), a complete gym set to maintain my figure after having our children and several others. I could go on until eternity. I want practical items, things that apply to my life in the year 2010. I don’t want to do things for the sake of tradition. The tradition must be applicable. We must evolve our traditions and in effect our bride price! Is that too much to ask? I don’t drink schnapps; nor does any other member of my family. So it would be prudent of you to bring in a bottle of Alize or Chardonnay or something like that. Forget about the old stuff. It’s absolutely useless! What am I going to do with unending yards of cloth? I might make a series of bed sheets out of them. That’s all their good for (from the Rebel's perspective, that is).


If traditions are based on the lifestyles of people, and we both agree that society evolves, why don’t our traditions evolve with the evolving society? Why do we stick to irrelevant customs made for people who have been dead for years now? Someone tell me why. If you think of a good reason, please let me know. I’m counting on you.


Monday, October 11, 2010


I wasn't going to talk about this one. I tried. I really did. Ever since I hung my "couch" (In the Couch with Freddy) I've been purposely oblivious to media goofs such as this. But this GHALLYWOOD thing is getting to me.

When I first heard the term Ghallywood, I was hoping it was a bad joke that would die quickly. You know, one of those things that come and go in a fleeting flight of folly. It seems I underestimated our affection for the absurd, and this pains me so.

Which illiterate thought up the name Ghallywood? And which other less-than-illiterate folks decided to be disciples of that silly name?

First of all let's be original. If we can't be original, let's copy wisely! Study these names wisely. Hollywood, Bollywood, and Nollywood. If you are smart enough, you will realize that only the first letters of the country/city were used. So the reason behind the name Bollywood is derived from the city Bombay, (now known as Mumbai) in India. For those of you who don't know, Bollywood got its name because it rivaled Hollywood in the production of movies somewhere in the '70s. Our Nigerian brothers decided to follow in that fashion and were smart about it. They settled on Nollywood. Not that Nigerian movies are that great or that they rival the movie production industry in Hollywood or Bollywood, it's just because they are Nigerians.

Now in our haste to "belong", we came up with the distasteful word GHALLYWOOD, going against all the rules in the game of the -WOODS. And to add to that, our movies suck! Big time. I'm talking major league sucking. They are much worse than the Nigerian movies, with the exception of a few.

I've seen a lot of this name loosely thrown about in the media lately and I am disappointed in the National Media Commission, the Ministry of Information, the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Actors Guild (or whatever they call themselves) and people like David Dontoh and Efo Mawugbe, who are supposed to be guardians of our arts and creativity in the country!

We really are pathetic and I am not ashamed to say it! If there are any out there who agree with me, please, let's run it up a flagpole and make sure the message gets drummed in. GHALLYWOOD is just dumb and ugly. It's an illiterate expression of creativity and must be buried before it begins to decay and starts to smell real bad.




Wei nyinaa yε nkurasesεm!

If you want to be noticed that badly, why don't you come up with better names. In any case, why do we even want to name such a dead dog we like to think of as an industry? It's plain silly if you ask me.

Instead of us looking for better ways to improve on the quality of the silly home videos we call movies, we are searching for names to adorn it. A monkey is still a monkey, even if you put it in Louis Vitton stilettos and wear it make-up. It is still a monkey. No more, much less. Let's grow up and start thinking about what is important, rather than coming up with silly names that don't add jack to sh!t.

The Rebel has spoken.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

my.dictionary.of.special.vocabulary.used.in.ghana (Part II)

Since my last post about Special Ghanaian Vocabulary, I've received quite a few comments suggesting I add a few more items to the list. And as with almost every movie in Ghana, part two is inevitable. So by popular request, here's an update on my previous post.

At Loggerheads phrase

Definition: to be in a stubborn dispute or disagreement.

Trust me, I'd rather have you mad at me that to be at loggerheads with me. Eeish! Just the sound of that phrase terrifies me. The worst part of it is that this sort of language is used by children in primary school. Primary school oh, primary school students have mastered the art of this not so primary language. Ei Ghana!

Light Off phrase

Definition: Blackout, Power Out

They have given light off. Seriously? They gave it to you? They probably wrapped it up nicely in a box with a bow-tie on top and delivered it to your doorstep, right? When the power goes out, not only do the lights go off; the refrigerators, the fans, the air conditioners, the tv sets, the radio, the computer, everything else goes off. Would it be any different if I were to turn the light switch off? Would that be light off as well? Is it the same as ECG cutting off your power source? Ebei people!

Yesternight n.

Definition: Last night

Yesterday, Yesternight, Yesteryears... I don't even need a dictionary to tell me that yesternight is an archaic word. What's more to be said? But in all honesty, do we have to put ourselves through this?

Take In phrase

Definition: to have a bite or to eat something

Would you like to take in something? Yes indeed I would. I would like to take in a breathe of fresh air without you polluting it with your gobbledegook! I went up and down and through the definition of take and I couldn't fine any phrase such as take in. Why people? Why? Why? Why must we torture ourselves this way? Can't we simply say, "What would you like to eat" or "Would you like to eat something?

KAMBOO n. (also known as Canvas)

Definition: sneakers, tennis shoes

Can anyone, anyone tell me why we call sneakers KAMBOO? I've searched everywhere and have come up with nothing!

Jeaner n. or v. (not sure)

Definition: A pair of jeans

How does a pair of jeans become known as "jeaner"? Were we trying to come up with the verb form or we just wanted to make it sound educated?

There you have it people, I don't know why we do it, but that's just how we do it in Ghana. We make it our own and make it stick forever. You've gotto love it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

my.dictionary.of.special.vocabulary.used.in.ghana (Part I) (abridged version)

Buried deep in the fertile soils of our subconscious speaking man are words planted before our time by our colonial masters. Words that we still use even though our forefathers are long gone. Words that show where ghana has been and how very little far ahead we have come. I know, it even shows in our language. In the paragraphs below, I shall expatiate (ahem!) on a few of them.

Alight v.
Definition: descend from a train, bus, or other form of transportation .
For a word that even the dictionary describes as Old English, we hear it rather often in our day to day transportation life. This is often used by people who try to sound educated in a trotros or taxis. In one trotro, a young girl nearing her stop called out: “Mate, I will alight here.” I had to suppress a giggle. Were you to say these same lines elsewhere on this continent (and I won't mention names) you might be mistaken for a suicide bomber ... Now be warned. When I buy my Range Rover and you hitch a ride with me and you tell me to alight you someplace, bear in mind that I will drive you to my house, park my car in the garage and leave you in the car with the child protect lock on and go to sleep. Aba!

Escort v.
Definition: accompany (someone or something) somewhere, esp. for protection or security
If any young man, trying to pick a move on me ever uses these words, I will escort him right out of the door of my heart. Can I escort you to the junction? No you may not! In fact you may never escort me anywhere ever again in my life! So you can escort your Old English self back to whichever hole you came out of! Escort this!

Block n.
Definition: Alternative for ice-cubes.
Have you ever been to a bar/restaurant/chop bar and had this question posed to you?: “Do you want some block in your mineral?” I just can't get over it. It tickles me every time I hear it.

Barman(girl) n.
Definition: a bartender, waiter/waitress
If you've never heard anyone say this at a drinking spot, then you've not been in Ghana long enough. I need not say any more.

Mineral n.
Definition: fizzy drink, a soft drink or soda such as Pepsi, Sprite, Coca Cola or a Malt drink.
I don’t want a mineral. I want a soft drink. A soda. A fizzy drink. I don't want diamond, gold, or bauxite. All I want is a soda pop to kill this thirst.

Paste v.
Definition: To brush ones teeth
“Have you pasted this morning?” If you ask me why it is that we come to use such words, I’ll ask you to rub your hands together and see if you make fire. I can appreciate the link between toothpaste and pasting, but must we insist on pasting instead of brushing? I just don’t get it. Do you?

Traffigator n.
Definition: A turn signal. origin: Perhaps the shortened form of a Traffic Indicator
Use: “That foolish taxi driver, didn’t even show their traffigator before he stopped.”

Traffigator is another coined word that we use rather freely and frequently. The interesting thing is that the literate, semi illiterate and completely illiterate all say traffigator. Don’t ask me why or how. It just is. It’s not that we don’t know, it’s just easier to say traffigator than turn signal or traffic indicator. It just is.

Augur v.
Definition: (of an event or circumstance) portend a good or bad outcome.
This doesn’t augur well, that doesn’t augur well. Will anything ever augur well for us? Maybe not. Not ever. Until we stop using words like this, maybe not. Get a thesaurus people. Make my life a lot less insufferable. Please.

Scapegoat n.
Definition: a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, esp. for reasons of expediency.
I’ll tell you a funny story. I first heard this word when I was barely 10yrs old. We had moved to a different region and a new school. Things were very much surreal at that point in my life/age etc. We had been called for assembly and a million and one children were all packed in lines like canned sardines. I was from a school with a total population of no more than 150 students, being in that crowded environment took a lot getting used to. Now this really strict looking teacher stands up in front of the whole school and talks about using some student as a scapegoat so others will learn from it. I tell you, I wasn’t sure what he meant? I felt he meant that the child would be beaten up like a goat that had escaped from its pen. So a few minutes later, a name is mentioned and up comes this feeble looking boy (I can’t remember what he’d done) and in the presence of three other teachers, the headmistress of the school, and the entire student population, this boy was given a severe lashing after which they let him go. I know, I was very traumatized by the event. Two weeks later, I received my own lashes (for the very first time) for getting 3 wrong answers in a math quiz. Trauma trauma trauma! I vowed never to be used as a scapegoat ever in my life.

Sack v.
Definition: To be walked out of a place/room/office
As in, when I went into the man’s office, he sacked me because I refused to shake his hand. This word is totally misused by Ghanaians all the time. You can’t be sacked from someone’s room or office, you can only be driven out. You can be sacked if you are dismissed from your employment, in which case you will be given the sack. The sack, not sack.

Accoutrements n.
Definition: Additional items of dress or equipment, or other items carried or worn by a person or used for a particular activity
Use: "He came with 2 portmanteaus, 1 briefcase and several other accoutrements."
In all honesty, I had no idea this word was English until my second year in the university. I tell you, I had believed all my life until then that it was some Ghanaian slang. The origin of this word is French, from the verb “accoutrer” which means to ‘cloth or equip’.

Portmanteau n.
Definition: a large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts.
This too is a French word from the mid 16th century from the words porter ‘carry’ and manteau ‘mantle’. For this, I don’t really have much to say. The word speaks for itself.

I have no doubt you've enjoyed reading this just as much as I did writing it. To all those who helped me compile this list (you know who you are), I'm totally grateful. If you have suggestions and submissions, I advise that you gather them, polish them and keep them someplace safe for the sake of posterity. Or you can simply forward them to my inbox :)

Counting on your usual cooperation.

n. - noun
v. - verb

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Rock bands can be really awesome, if you’re into that sort of thing, that is. I prefer a slightly watered down version, that’s why I would take alternative rock and soft rock over hard core heavy metal any day. But God in his infinite wisdom created us all very differently and as such every ear has it's musical inclinations. For instance, I can’t imagine a bunch of hard core Biker Boys grooving to a Ghanaian Gospel track by Ohemaa Mercy (no matter how loud she bellows out her notes she won't reach rock band status), or a song by Agya Koo Nimo (what category does his music fall under again?) let alone hiplife. In much the same way, I can’t see my grandmum rocking to sounds of Metallica or Pink Floyd.

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (as always), analyzing and pondering over the various reasons why one thing may fly in this airspace and plummet in another. I narrowed my mental monologue to rock music and reasons why it would never fly in Ghana. Here are a few:

  1. Crowd surfing. Ghanaians don’t quite get the concept of crowd surfing? Imagine being at the National Theatre or the Accra Sports Stadium and having someone like Tic Tac suddenly jump into the crowd of people. There are two possible outcomes; a) The crowd parts way and he lands painfully on the bare ground or b) the crowd sort of catch him and by the time he is halfway through his "fans", he is stripped of any valuable item on him save his boxers. Items stolen will include his bling bling belt, bling bling watch, sneakers, baseball cap, t-shirt etc.

  2. The Gothic Look. You see, to be a veritable rock band, you must have a certain look. For rock bands, the Gothic look is what it is all about. We’re talking fully blown black make-up, black nail polish, black eye-shadow, rings through the nose and out the ear, eye-lid piercings and anywhere possible...the list is endless. In Ghana, this look would be considered demonic and you’ll have the entire nation holding national prayers against you. So obviously, that's a definite no-no.

  3. Expensive Stage Theatrics. Most successful rock bands, usually destroy their guitar or microphone after every performance. It’s all in the act. In Ghana, we can’t even afford to hire the best DJs (spinners) in town, even hiring instruments for the show requires us to dig deep into our very shallow pockets. While we struggle with the air-conditioning and basic lighting at our event locations, bands like Pink Floyd utilize burning gongs and crashing airplanes as part of their stage show. Now, be honest with yourself, which of our theatres do you see that happening?

  4. No chorus. Usually the structure of rock music avoids the popular music structure of choruses after each verse. Now we all know that for the everyday Ghana-man, you’ve got to have a catchy chorus to have a hit song. Otherwise you’re not going anywhere with your music! Your situation is powerless even with large sums of payola. Ask Praye or Wutah, they'll tell you.

  5. Who is going to produce you? For a music genre that would require actual instruments to be played, this might pose a problem for both our musicians and producers. Now, I’m not sure if Apietus, JQ, Bandex or even Mike Okraku Mantey would like to produce a rock band in Ghana? It’s a complete waste of time for all the above mentioned reasons!

  6. Musical Talent. To have a rock band, you need to actually play a musical instrument. Even the lead singer would have to play at least the guitar. Do we have that in Ghana? Huh? Do we? Can Kwaw Kese string two or three musical chords together to produce a melodic tune all by himself? Does he even know an octave from an octopus?

  7. Climate Challenge. The prescribed attire is usually ALL BLACK. Evidently, with all the heat and humidity in Ghana, that will be a challenge that would require a national concerted effort.

  8. Till Death Do You Part. Lastly, rock bands usually stick together forever, but with the very predictable resume of hiplife groups falling apart after one or two hits, keeping a band together for 10-20years would be utterly impossible! Lumba Brothers, Buk Bak and very recently, Wutah are just a few examples.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

world.cup: Woes, Worries and Wins

I'm glad the World Cup is over. Thankfully, I no longer have to wake up to the sounds of a vuvuzela from the neighbours. That was a bit of a nuisance. For that period, we forgot all about our cheap politics and corruption scandals and for those reasons, I miss the World Cup.

Despite the odds we faced, we were the most favoured side to win and just when a few steps away from the top, we were "robbed". We did everything right and had we not given up mentally after the missed penalty shot, we might have gone right through and perhaps kept the trophy on the continent. The Stars outdid themselves and exceeded all expectations and in many ways succeeded in unifying most part of the continent through a simple game of kick ball. That for me is the most intriguing and heartwarming detail of this experience. You had people across the continent and the rest of the world wearing the colours of Ghana. And it wasn't just for show.

Our loss against the Uruguayans brought about an immense support for the Orange Eleven and we couldn't wait for them to thrash our new found arched enemies. We didn't care that just days before the start of the world cup, we had been beaten by the Dutch in a friendly match. We just wanted revenge and that's definitely what we got. Never before has Ghana supported the Netherlands so.

[caption id="attachment_232" align="alignright" width="430" caption="Ghana Colours the Continent"][/caption]

Admittedly it shattered our dreams of making history, they killed us with a cheat, and although we were awarded a penalty and lost that too, we felt that the Uruguayans had not been punished enough. The fact of the matter is that we lost painfully and no matter how many talk shows we develop this topic, no matter how many shouts of rage we conjure, or how many curses we invoke on Suarez, the fact it simple - we lost. There's no use mulling over this any longer than we already have. Let's make the most of the loss and move on.

Although we didn't win, we are enjoying the endearment and sentiments of the entire world. Had we been on the side of the argument, and committed the same foul as the Uruguayans, I doubt if we could still hold our chin high and chests out like we are doing right now. Cheating, in every way or form helps no one. See what happened to the French squad (Les Blues). They cheated their way through to qualify and could not even win a single match! This end surely justified the means. If Uruguay were to have gone ahead and won this competition, they will be known as the team that robbed the better team to win. We need to keep our eyes on the prize and sometimes the prize isn't always that which glitters.

So trophy or not, we did win. We won the hearts of the South Africans and that of the rest of the world. We won the admiration of the world, the respect of our fellow Africans and now, it means a little bit more to have a Ghanaian passport than before. But beyond that, there's a lot more than has to be done. We need to do is to accomplish other important feats globally like qualifying for several disciplines in the Olympic games and bringing home quite a few medals, creating world-changing inventions that defy logic. We must contribute a lot more to the world than just a good name in football. Football is only the starting point. Let's not make it the only objective of the nation. We need a lot more Ghanaians as Nobel Prize winners and other international awards like the Heineken Prize, Wolf Foundation Prize and so on. The events of this tournament point to the fact that if we would die a little, we can live a lot more. If we try a little harder, we most certainly can beat the world and for me, that's more than enough proof of our capability as Ghanaians and as Africans. No more excuses. I am tired of hearing us blame the slave trade for our woes. Had we been smarter or slightly advanced couldn't we have also gone and colonized the British or whomever we chose to? Note this: There's a new world order and we must take advantage of the current that's blowing, because it is moving us in the direction of success.

[caption id="attachment_234" align="alignleft" width="258" caption="Hopefully, the Rebel Ryter will pick up Nobel Medal sometime in the near future...it is very possible you know?"][/caption]

But in all this, let's not be fooled, we will not enjoy silver platter opportunities just because we are Ghanaians or Africans, no not at all. If anything at all, it'll be more difficult for us. The world out there is full of Suarezes and as we continue this journey, they will get all the more ruthless. They are willing to do destroy your dream so they can preserve theirs. So by fair means or foul, these Suarezes will do whatever it takes to get you out of their way and sadly enough sometimes it works. Giving up is exactly what they would like you to do. So rather than allow them to crucify our dreams, we won't give up or let down, we'll keep fighting and remind ourselves than whatever they've got, we've got a lot more going for us.

That aside, there is one more very important lesson I'd like to leave you with. If you've gotten nothing out of this epistle, we must remember always that soccer has had, should have and will have only one goalie.

Friday, June 11, 2010


About two months ago, a very good friend asked that I become the maid of honour at her wedding. After she said those words to me over the phone, there was a pause and subsequently, 5-10 seconds of laughter. It was a shared joke. She and I have been friends for about 7 years now and having met on the soccer field, she knew what she was asking when she asked it. During that momentary pause in time (all of 2 seconds) I became dizzy with an assortment of thoughts; thoughts of make-up, eyebrow tweezing, high-heeled shoes, dress, nails painting, flowers and all the other out-of-character things I would have to endure. After running back and forth the tracks of this mental "ordeal", the "honour" bit in the title entered my consciousness and the dizzying thoughts settled. So I asked, "Do I have to wear a dress?" and with that she knew that I'd already accepted the position and the rest became a part of history that will never be forgotten.

As a child, due to my very nature, I was never used as a flower girl in any wedding, and as I grew older, I preferred a more background role (taking pictures and making sure everyone followed the day's protocol) avoiding the spotlight as much as possible. So this was the perfect opportunity to prove to the world what I was made up of as I took reigns of a prominent part in a wedding ceremony. To be honest with you I was more "afraid" than anything else. Nevertheless, I took hold of the role gladly and yet, gingerly, uncertain of what to expect, yet hopeful.

[caption id="attachment_204" align="aligncenter" width="516" caption="(from left to right) Naa, Marcy, Karen and the Rebel of Honour"][/caption]

As the days rolled closer to the D-day, it still didn't hit me, not even when I tried on the dress. The very first reaction I got was from my younger brother was summed-up into a simple shriek (better seen than said). Turning aside from that, I showed it to the bride who thought I looked dashing so I ignored my brother.

Then on the day of the event, during my make-up session, it hit me. Real hard this time; with every stroke of the make-up brush. I knew then, that there was no use holding back, and so I let go, ridding my self of almost every Rebel Ryter attachment and allowing the Rebel of Honour spirit to take over. Evidently, after my make-up session, I couldn't recognize myself in the mirror, and as a direct result, the rest of the day was extremely surreal. Thankfully, before I could drift too far off into wonderland, I reminded myself of the very essence of the day's event and that made every tweezed hair totally worth it. The wedding ceremony was perfect and I was proud to have been a part of it, and not just any part, a very essential and crucial part, so crucial the wedding couldn't have gone on without me :-P.

[caption id="attachment_206" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="The Rebellious Make-Up"][/caption]

Now to Marcelle and Tai, thanks for the wonderful experience, thanks for bringing out the woman in me (despite the fact that it was only for a few hours). All together, it was a great experience, one that I may not want to repeat too often, but would undoubtedly cherish for now and for always.

To all of you who are thinking "This is it. This is what will change Freddy. Now she'll start making her face up to places and throw in some skirts and dresses into her wardrobe." Well ... I hate to disappoint you, but it WON'T! It will take a lot more than one pretty dress and make-up session to convert me. But I'll be happy to do it once or twice a year, only next time I'll charge for my service, simply because I put some umph into the ceremony.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Waiting for the Jump Off

Today there's going to be some serious talk. I'm tearing out a page in my diary and letting you into it. I hope you enjoy the read.

...you see, I don’t see myself as an introverted person. In fact I am extremely extroverted...when I choose to be. Yet for some reason I think I could use a little getting out there...if you get what I mean.

I usually blame it on the fact that I don’t have many outlets of expression and the few are available ones are corrupted by hiplife artists, wannabes and school dropouts. Ergo, I sit in my bed, fiddle with my MacBook Pro and strike great acquaintances with the applications on it, or I check out new gadgets on Engadget dot com and drool over the outrageous contraptions that fall from outer space unto the laps of geeks responsible for bringing us closer to the future - at least that’s what we are suppose to believe. It’s really not that big of a deal. I prefer the comfort of my company rather than being at the peril of undereducated individuals who might potentially downgrade my intelligence.

I am not the kind of person that would shy away from a crowd or be the one at the end of a bad joke. I quite enjoy intelligent banter that requires the usual interjection that we human beings employ to express their emotions. It is more often than not the exchange of pointless information. As you can see from all the evidence stated, I’m better off being by myself in my room.

Occasionally I like to experiment with the human race and see how far the art of socialising has developed over time. So I let go of my inhibitions and convince myself to engage in an outdoor event with a trusted friend. As a rule, I always enquire of the background of the other members of the party I might be unfamiliar with. The trusted friend often responds with “oh Freddy, you’re just crazy!”. But am I? I just can’t stand having "meaningful-less" conversations with people with bad grammar and/or poor sense of humour. The communication cycle simply travels a straight line downwards (at the mercy of gravity). I prefer dialogue of a more astute manner. It's just who I am. Luckily choosing the right type of friends means your friends choose the right type of friends too. The word "usually" being the operative word here.

Enough about my introverted notions about people and places. For most of my life, I believe that in some alternate reality I could become a stand up comedian. When you catch me in the zone and I’m on the roll cracking everyone up, I’m very good at it, I promise. Other times I feel that I could direct some extremely complicated stage show like a musical concert of maybe even an orchestra. But let’s just keep it simple. The thing is, I know that if I tried, I could. I see and feel myself doing and being that person, only I don’t know how I to get there - the realization of all these aspirations and conceptualisations. Trust me, there are many. There’s one little challenge I have identified - they call it "The Push".  For some reason I've been made to believe that it is someone else’s responsibility to push me into living that dream.

Imagine me sitting at the edge of the cliff waiting to be pushed off so I could fly and show off my beautiful wings. It's just silly when you think about it. See, I’m close to 30 and I’m asking myself how much longer am I going to sit at the edge waiting to be pushed off by some imaginary Good Samaritan. If I’ve managed to get to the edge of the cliff myself, I should be able to push myself off. What does it take? Just a simple slip would be good enough to push me over. I’ve been waiting for so long that I’ve made my home at the cliff and given all the rocks at the mountain edge names!

After much deliberation, I’ve come to a very simple solution. I have decided to become my very own Good Samaritan. I shall be the hand that pushes me off the cliff, the boot that propels me over. I will boldly walk off the edge, jump from my securities and fly into my insecurities (yes, I said that right), give myself up and be at the mercy of the wind’s gravity (assuming there’s any such thing), set these wings out to dry and feel fly, be with the birds and see things from their standpoint viewpoint.

For me, I guess the whole point is to rise up above the limitations and the fears and the worries and the hold-ups and just see that there’s so much more ahead. Sure a lot of water has gone under the bridge of life and age, and a lot more will go under, but instead of dwelling on that, perhaps we should look for the waterfall or the spring from whence the water cometh, instead of following the trail of used up water.

So the next time you see me on the street and I have gusto to my gait and a pep to my step, please know that I’ve flown off the edge and I’m turning every moment of my life into a great moment to enjoy. I’m tired of waiting around for someone to kickstart me, I’m kicking myself in the butt and getting out there, taking the territories, jumping the bungees, shaking down mountains, robbing the banks (did I just say that?), whatever, daring to be greater and bigger than I imagine in my dreams. Hoping that by the time I’m 50, I would have crossed at least 100 items off my bucket list.

Watch out people, here comes the next world wonder!!!

Here’s my advice to anyone waiting for a jolt of lightning to do something with themselves, I’ll tell you this now; You are wasting your time. It’s your life, you are the one responsible for living it and nobody else. Mr. Innocent Bystander cannot determine the amount of energy you require for the jump off; nor can he predict what time of the day you need that bolt to run through your system, so you might as well create your own gust of wind and fly off the edge. I’m just saying...

Sunday, April 4, 2010


So the other day I was talking with my mum (my number 1 inspiration) about Ghana and our so-called celebrities.  We came to the obvious, yet painful conclusion that besides team members of the Black Stars, no one else comes under the celebrity status tag in Ghana.

Think about it, where do Ghanaian celebrities hang out? Where do they go to eat? Where do they shop? Where to the live? Do we have a community that's the preserve of our stars. Say, Trassaco Valley? Wouldn't that be an awesome place for all the hiplife artists? Naa man, even the producers/promoters are all “straiggling”. In Ghana, most artists live in the studios of their producers. Not because they are waiting for a sudden and an unplanned outburst of creativity in the middle of the night, it's simply because they have no where else to be. They only come out during events and shows and try to pretend to be all starry, when we know that they are merely shattered pieces glass that glisten in the sun’s rays. Were we to do the Ghanaian version of MTV Cribs for our stars, excluding our Black Stars, we may not have enough worthy enough homes for 10 episodes.

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="These are some of our "Stars" "]Bradez[/caption]

One might ask, what about our movie stars? Surely they must have it good, seeing as they act endlessly in 10-part movies. They should be able to afford half a million dollar homes and more. Nay, I tell ya, a big NAY! They are probably the worst of them all. Who is Nadia Buari? Who is Jackie Appiah or Van Vicker? I can assure you that it'll take them twelve lifetimes to reach the star status of Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts or Denzel Washington. Make-up artists and stage prompters in Hollywood make better money per movie than our highest ranked stars. So don't you go "kyere-ing" your skin on me and telling me that you are a star. Chances are that I make more money than you, I live in a better house and I most likely eat better.  If I go to Aunty Muni, I can bet my last pesewa that I can see at least 3 stars coming in to buy waakye or even sitting down to eat on the benches like the rest of us. Not because they want to mingle with the common folk, it is because they are just a common a folk like every other common folk!

I’ve seen models, tv and radio presenters there on countless occasions. It’s the truth guys. What’s in a star if you’re wherever the common man is? Like the stars up above, there are only 2 ways to get to them; 1. I must become one of them. 2. I must have enough money to go into space and then perhaps I can be within 100 feet or more from one.

So my advice to them, is that until they can pay for the latest Lambourgini in cash, or live in a million dollar home, they should all get off their high horses and get their heads seriously in the game. Until Ghanaians find the need to create a celebrity inspired shopping arcade, or a celebrity inspired hair salon, where it cost $100 and over for a hair cut/do; until there’s a restaurant so pricey that each meal could pay for your rent; until we get paparazzi who follow our camouflaged stars from place to place, then please forget it.

I’m sure Essien and his buddies don’t feel that buzz that comes along with being a celebrity the moment they step through Kotoka International. Ghana has a way of stripping you off your star status. Tell me, which of our stars would you die to have an autograph of? Which of them would you step out in the rain to catch a glimpse of?

Most of the faces on our TVs sit with us in trotros, drive decade old cars and shop from Gap like the rest of us. If Rihanna were to step in one of Accra’s clubs right now, you’ll see the crowd around her. If MzBel stepped right next door in Togo or Burkina Faso, they’ll only take note of her ‘cos she might not be wearing the traditional outfit of the Burkinabes. Apart from that, she’s as common a person as the dirt in the sand to them. While I'm on that topic, please, and I really mean it, please, let's refrain from referring to Ghanaian songstresses as DIVAs.

Definition of DIVA

n.pl., -vas, or -ve (-vā).

  1. An operatic prima donna.

  2. A very successful singer of nonoperatic music: a jazz diva)

Examples are Anastacia, Whoopi Goldberg, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Sarah Brightman, Mariah Carey, Belinda Carlisle, Cher, Natalie Cole, Deborah Cox, Céline Dion, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Kathy Griffin, Deborah Harry, Billie Holiday, Gloria Estefan, Lena Horne, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Jennifer Lopez, Patti LuPone, Madonna, Liza Minnelli, Kylie Minogue, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Dalida, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams, TAFKA Ally and a few others.

[caption id="attachment_169" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Patti Labelle, a true diva"]Patti Labelle[/caption]

According to the above stated definition, the only Ghanaian songstress I know who comes close to Diva is Bibie Brew. I think people like Patti Labelle, Anita Baker, Barbara Streissand, Aaliyah, would have a fit if you put them in the same category as MzBel and Mimi. I'll leave it there for now.

Off the cuff, name any Ghanaian who can step into almost any country and perform in front of a teeming crowd. And I'm not talking about the Ghanaian community in that country.

If you think you are a star and walk around in Ghana acting all star-like, remember that you're simply a well-known, under paid entertainer. Take this from me, if you walk around with a chip on your shoulder because people see you and recognize you, clip off those wings. The journey to a fully fledged entertainment industry is one of a million miles. And we are barely 5 steps into it. I don't care what anyone says, until our artistes wear $20,000 outfits per performance and not repeat Accra shada at shows in Kumasi or Takoradi I still maintain that there are no stars in Ghana, only entertainers. M'aka m'aka!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ras Winnie

Today, I had a very interesting moment in traffic. It had to do with my hair.

Ever since I started wearing my hair natural, I've had several comments from people: friends and foe alike. For those of you who know me, I have dreads not for any religious reasons or beliefs but simply for the fact that that was the only way I could wear my hair natural without having to wrestle with a hair dryer.

I'm not rastafarian, although my rastafarian friends believe that I possess some "root" characteristics.

Very often I'd have what I term "the nod" from my rastafarian brethren. Some even attempt to speak Patois with me. They only realize halfway that I'm absolutely clueless and then decide to switch to a more comprehensible language. Rastafarians intrigue me. The way they walk, dress, talk. It's the pounded fist greeting (thats the  right hand out streched in salute style only it goes to the heart instead of the side of the head), which I personally think is very hygienic; or the thumping of the chest; perhaps its just that they call their women Empress. Whatever it is, I just think that true Rastas are cool. Just the way they are fascinates me and I don't mind them thinking that I'm worthy of their association/company.

[caption id="attachment_164" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="i-Man"][/caption]

Because I don't wear make up and sometimes prefer to wear native sandals when I'm out, I usually get mistaken for a Rasta Woman. Most people who don't know me well describe me as the Rasta Woman and that's ok by me. Quite a few of my friends call me Ras Winnie anyways. Frankly over the past 7 years of having dreads, my hair has had more attention than myself. When I started, people would look at my hair rather than my face when they were talking to me. It annoyed me, but soon enough, it became a great icebreaker for many a wholesome conversation. And now, I don't mind the attention.

This afternoon's incident was one of such Ras-moments on the streets of Osu. I was driving towards the stadium and as I cracked my knuckles (a very bad habit) on the steering wheel I accidentally honked my horn, attracting the attention of a rastaman who sold electronics along the Kingdom Books Stationery road. They guy quickly looked up and waved at me. Then he walked up to the car and motioned me to roll down the window and gives me a very big smile. Then the smile goes down just as suddenly as the it came up. He had mistaken me for someone else. Just as he was apologizing for the mishap, he looked at my hair and asked if my hair was "a natural dread" as he put it. I said yes, then the smile got wider. Then the traffic signals hit green so I had to move. Lucky for him, the signal turned red just before I could cross. I looked in my rear view mirror and there was Ras-(I forgot his name) running after the car.

He stopped by the car and asked my name. I said "Yaa" and then he beams through the knotted beard and says "Empress Yaa". That just made my day! I laughed and immediately, he switched to Patois mode. In my head, I'm like "dude, I don't get a word of what you saying"; but on my face, I had a smile. I mumbled something in response and just then the lights turned green for go. He pounded his heart with his fist, smiled under the hot Osu sun and waved goodbye to his newly found Empress...or something like that. It's difficult to make up a fairy tale that involves two rastafarians in the middle of the scorching sun in Osu.

That I believe was the highlight of my day. Yours maybe the coconut seller or even the guy who sells rat poison. Whatever the case, we all have things that intrigue us and things that makes us smile. All I want to say is that, let's enjoy those moments as best as we can. That might just be the highlight of their day too.

One love, peace and Jah Bless.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Truth About Taxis II !!!

So I’m back, as promised, with my next post on the Truth About Taxis titled ... guess ... guess again ... The Truth About Taxis II!!!

I know, I know, riveting. I can’t wait to see what I write and how you feel after you read it. Just so you know, this has taken years of observation and decades of research; so please, by all means try this at home, or on the street, whichever you prefer.

Now, almost everyone has sat in a taxi or at least seen a taxi either on the street or parked under a tree somewhere. But before I go on, I would like you all to note that this isn't a lecture and this paper is not examinable. I’m simply to share the wisdom that comes ever so freely to me. As such, take this just as a few pointers to keep in mind when dealing with taxis: whether it is taking one or driving around one.

Point One - Always be ready to bargain. When you stop a taxi, describe your destination as well as you can, as fast as you can. This confuses the driver, if he’s wise, he’ll ask you again and then you would have to take it slowly. Thankfully, most taxi drivers will not be smart enough to know what game you are up to. So chances are, they’ll say they know and then quote a ridiculously high price, which you should drop down by at least ¢3. When they refuse, tell them that it is OK and that you’ll wait for another taxi. Step away from the vehicle and proceed to look towards oncoming traffic for another taxi. If you are lucky, he’ll signal you with his hand, flapping it gently towards himself gently, indicating you to hop in.

CAUTION: don’t look too excited by your victory, remain cool and sit in the car. If he drives away, try the same procedure with the next taxi. There’s a 90% chance of you getting away with this.

Point Two - If you have an accent lose it! Be as "local" as possible. Anything that might give you away as sounding, looking or being foreign has to go! If by any chance you are with an “obroni”/”oyibo”, it is best to keep them out of sight until you have bargained with the taxi driver on the fare he wishes to charge you. The slightest hint of “foreign-ticity” will result in a 100% increase in fare charges.

Point Three - Never hire a taxi that’s parked at a taxi rank. Most station based taxi drivers like to argue a lot and are generally “too-known”. They also charge at least 50% more than the usual fare.

Point Four (very important point) - If you have to go to a traffic prone area in a taxi, before you bargain with the taxi driver for a good fare, be emphatic that at that time of the day there’s no traffic. Proceed to indicate what times of the day and for what reasons traffic builds up in those places. Assure him that there will be no traffic at that time and pray that it is as you say. However, when you do meet a traffic jam, act surprised and start looking at your watch every second. Then tell the driver that you are absolutely shocked that there is so much traffic here. Talk endlessly about how it is impossible to predict traffic situations lately and how the government must construct more roads. You can also divert his attention to a policeman standing close by (assuming there is a policeman close by) and say how sad it is that they extort so much money from poor taxi drivers.

A suitable alternative is to talk about politics and how we need a president who will make the lives of every one better by reducing fuel prices. The purpose of this is to endear pity and to make him know that you are suffering in life just as much as he is even if you. He’ll forgive you and forget all about the traffic jam you’ve put him. In effect, sympathize with him. But be careful of those “experienced and hardened drivers” who know all these tricks. With them you may have to make a phone call to a close friend or relative and talk about the pressures of work over the phone. Darn if you don’t have credit on your phone that day!

Point Five - Never take a Tico if you have to go someplace important. Arriving in a Tico strips you of your status. Ticos are not the best choice if you want to make a good impression on people. For some reason, even the newest Tico taxi looks cheap, and as a result, charge cheaper than other taxis. Research into the Tico phenomenon is still ongoing. One thing I know however is that they are the preferred choice in the mountainous regions.

Point Six - Never stop a taxi that’s driving in the opposite direction from where you want to go. More often than not, the taxi drivers will charge you about 40% more than those going in the direction you are headed. I suppose the surcharge comes from turning the vehicle around.

Point Seven - If you are driving behind an empty taxi, chances are that you’ll be driving at no more than 30kmph. Reason is, they are on the look out for passengers and every pedestrian along the road way will receive a hoot and a honk.

Point Eight - For no apparent reason, a taxi driver will take out a duster and wipe his dashboard. Other times, he might simply buy sachet water from the nearest vendor and use it to wipe his windscreen. Don’t ask the obvious question that comes to your mind.

Point Nine - At night be prepared to be blinded by the highlights of the taxi driver. Several Taxi drivers have not firmly grasped the concept of when and how to use their highlights.

Point Ten - Make a taxi driver friend. It is as handy as a hammer in a toolbox. You’ll know when you get there.

There you have it, Ten (10) Truths about Taxis. This should keep you occupied for a while. Below, I have put together a 5 general tips for the inexperienced driver in town.

  1. Never drive behind or on the side of a cargo truck. You never know when their brakes will fail or the cargo their carrying will decide to tip over.

  2. Before you decide to jump a red light, look left, look right and look before you for any amber clothed individual. There just might be some “baby/zoom lion police” waiting to hop into your car and take your last penny.

  3. Watch out for young ladies in posh cars, their driving skills are generally worse than taxi drivers.

  4. For reasons I can’t explain on this here blog, just don’t drive at Circle or Kaneshie if you’ve been driving for less than 6 months!

  5. Expect to be cut-off by reckless drivers on the road trying to change to the faster lanes. You’ll be lucky to have a wave of the hand or a flash of the hazard light as a way of asking for forgiveness. If you honk your horn at them, you’ll get more than a wave. One of these days, I will dedicate a blog post to the illustrate road-hand-signs they don’t teach you in driving school.

While you guys chew on this, I shall be patiently waiting for the day that we will ride limo-cabs in Ghana and have suited-up chauffeurs for drivers.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Does anyone know how taxis came to be? And why they are called taxis in the first place? Do we know why they chose to identify taxis with those multicoloured patches instead of going for a monotone? Why do we wait until cars are completely run down before we convert them into taxis and why do they have all these “poetic”, often misspelled and misunderstood writings on them? All these we may never know. However, there are a few things that we do know about taxis and I am here to share them with you.

Let’s start with the word “Taxi” itself: what does it mean? I’ve done some research and it turns out that the word taxi is short for taxicab, which in itself is a contraction of “taximeter cabriolet”. (Cabriolet is a type of a horse-drawn carriage). The word, as the brilliant ones amongst you may have figured out already, is originally French. But I won’t bore you anymore with the etymology of the word taxi.

[caption id="attachment_153" align="aligncenter" width="495" caption="New York Taxi"]New York Taxi[/caption]

The use of taxis started way back in Rome, in the 1800s. Then it moved into the US, Canada and it trickled to downtown Ghana, Africa. And that’s where the story gets interesting.

By the way, did you know that the colour yellow is the colour most easily seen from a distance? So says Wikipedia.

Let’s come to Ghana where taxis are coloured in combinations of blue+yellow+black or orange+brown+green and several other intriguing combinations. Besides the colour codes they come in, there is a lot to learn about them.

Take for instance the writings on them. The other day I drove past a parked taxi, which proclaimed in bold lettering; “GOD IS MY SEATBELT”. Frankly, that statement left me dazed for a minute, maybe two. Did it mean that because God was his seatbelt, he wasn’t going to wear any; or was that statement to day that whether or not he wore a seatbelt God would keep him safe from any accidents? What about your passengers? Is God their seatbelt too? There are many ways you can debate on this statement. I could write a whole thesis on this. Trust me. Does anyone know whether these “taxi quotes” are the mantras of the car owners or the philosophies by which taxi drivers live? Imagine being crossed by a taxi with the quote “NO HURRY IN LIFE” written across it. Yeah, I know.

[caption id="attachment_156" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="taxi"]taxi[/caption]

There’s a certain culture with taxi drivers.  They spend almost all their time on the road that they believe they live on the road corridor and as such everyone else must bow in their presence and give them way. You know what I mean: zigzagging across lanes, stopping abruptly to pick up passengers, slowing down at junctions to peering down to sight potential passengers…the list could go on.

I sat in a taxi the other day and the driver went no more than 50kmph the whole time. I promise! So I asked him in Twi, “can’t your car go any faster? He replied, saying that if he went any faster, he would burn more fuel. Like hell you will. With that reply, I couldn’t ask any further questions. I didn’t want his car to jerk itself to a stop in the middle of the journey and be stranded along the side of the road.  So I sat in there quietly like a good girl until I got to my destination 20 minutes late for my appointment.

a typical taxi rank

When it comes to taxi traffic talk (language), taxi drivers have a complete set of unique gestures; there’s one for when you don’t give them the chance to cut in front of you in a logjam; there’s one for when you honk at them to drive faster (this is when they are on the prowl for passengers); there’s another one for when they meet a fellow taxi driver; there are also a few gestures that you would rather not have them make at you. I have no doubt that you get this often. They cross you in traffic unexpectedly and when you honk your horn at them, they simply throw their hand out of the window as though you were a fly they were trying to swat. It is, if nothing at all, the most annoying hand movement in traffic.

I pray, I sincerely do pray that the next time a taxi driver throws out his hand out his window after a display of ignorance of traffic rules, oh I pray, that his hand gets chopped off! I’m serious.

The gesture is slightly different with most private car drivers. They simply wave at you as though that is enough to have prevented a near accident.

I will be back with my next post with some more info on a few things to note when dealing with taxis; either as a driver or passenger in a taxi.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


People see emotions as a renewable resource. Mine isn’t. As such I ration my emotions as much as possible. I need to be able to put a stopper to unusual happiness, unscheduled shocks and inconsequential tear shedding. The older I grow, the more I find the need to be able to master my emotions. And the best way to do so, according to my theory, albeit twisted, is to consider your emotions as non-renewable. Like a depleting forest, or the thinning grass or a receeding hair-line, electricity from ECG, water in our pipeline etc. emotions have to be properly allocated. Like fuel in a taxi driver's tank, sometimes I put my emotions in free gear; the only direction is forward. It means that for a period of time, no matter what emotional obstacle I meet, I’m going to respond with the same expression as I had before that period. Allow me to explain.

[caption id="attachment_146" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="from left to right: Jack of Diamonds, Queen of Spades, Kings of Heart and Ace of Spades"]Cards[/caption]

Picture your emotions as a deck of cards. See the Ace of each suit as the highest attainable emotion you could ever achieve – ecstacy, extreme depression, raging anger, uncontrollable joy. The Kings, are reserved for close friends and family, Queen for people you respect i.e your boss, or superior at work; the Jack for your peers and the remaining ones for a few fake moments when you are required to show some form of emotion that doesn’t come naturally. Now you don’t want to run out of emotions before the end of play. It’ll be like pulling out a Joker when you really need a Queen of emotion at that moment. Jokers are used for any of those awkward moments when you’re not sure whether to weep, laugh, or sing for joy. They are very tricky cards to pull and as such can only be used effectively by the very sophisticated or advanced user. The remaining numbered cards are for things like admiration, confusion, dismay and any of those 3rd grade emotions that don’t require too much energy.

Or you can decide to tag each emotion with a specific suit. Spades for unhappy moments such as anger, frustration, fear, depression, disappointment. Hearts for all happy moments like joy, peace of mind, victory and perhaps love. The suit of Clubs could represent revenge and the Diamond suit could stand for anything to do with money. I will explain this into further details in my book.

I don’t get it when most girls waste tears on needless things like a broken artificial nail; or when guys expend so much energy watching a game of football or soccer. I find it very nonsensical. There are better things to spend your emotions on. So take this as a note of caution: Next time you are tempted to expend your emotions irrationally, remember this post and use it wisely!