Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sebitically Speaking’

 

In the school that Osagyefo built, up the Menya Mewu Hill, we had an electrician who was quite difficult to get to undertake maintenance work, especially to replace burnt out fluorescent tubes. One of the popular stories was that he was afraid of heights. This story was most prominent when there was the need to replace the fluorescent light on the wall of the Junior Block that faced the Administration Block. That fluorescent light suffered downtime mostly because it provided illumination to the most popular ‘tapping site’ on campus, tapping well defined by one of the old girls of Ghanacoll, Nana Shirely, in an interview with Abeiku Santana (a product of Menya Mewu, himself) on Okay FM, as “an intimate communication process”. Tapping usually happened between the end of supper and the start of evening preps and said intimate communication was best done in dum.

 

However, it was soon discovered that one of the quickest ways to get the electrician to respond to maintenance requests was to call him ‘Electrical Engineer’. Just say ‘Oh Engineer, we need so and so to be fixed or replaced’ and he treated the request with dispatch.

 

Wofa Kapokyikyi brought this story to mind this week when I went to his house to discuss the latest Sikaman festival of deputies and how Odekuro had just returned to the Ahenfie with a quiver of ministerial arrows. Wofa told me that even Odekuro Kantinka was said to have stated that a messenger in the house of a sitting Odekuro was better than a sub-chief in the house of a former Odekuro whose sun has set, no one wanted to be called a messenger. A minister sounded much better.

 

I bring you greetings from Wofa Kapokyikyi, from a Sikaman which is cruising into the future at a speed of 110km/hour, which my friend Kofi Yankey says is the required speed for anyone who wishes to be in a comfortable lead.

 

So it came to pass that when the deputies in Odekuro’s quiver were counted, they, together with the senior arrows, amounted to five score and ten. Odekuro Odieasem Nana Tutubrofo Dankwawura, the first Odekuro under the fourth Empire of the State with a compound name, had blessed us with a compound full of sub-chiefs and deputies. Wofa says the main lesson learnt is this: don’t install an Odekuro with a double-barrelled name. Like Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu.

 

As Wofa Kapokyikyi discussed this matter behind Auntie Esi’s chop bar, Teacher Johnson joined us on his way home from school. As usual, his mind was in that acrobatic mode where numbers and figures did akoni aba like the flies behind the Zongo meat market. Teacher Johnson submited that Odekuro Tutubrofo had multiplied his percentage in the elections by two, added the number of his attempts at the annexing the throne, and rounded it down to the nearest whole number to arrive at the number of ministers and deputies in his quiver. Typical of Teacher Johnson, he just said this with the attitude of someone who wanted to offload the output of his mental excursions. As he left Wofa and me to continue our deliberations, he muttered that Odekuro had kept his best promise from Sikaman as to the intent of his reign going forward: one district, one minister.

 

Wofa was emphatic: the traditional council of chiefs and sub-chief is just too large. He wondered if there was any law barring the Odekuro from appointing two or more deputy Krontihene as well?

 

Wofa added: “My nephew, let me remind you that one of Odekuro’s main plans is to create new subdivisions in Sikaman. So assuming y is the number of subdivisions to be created, we can expect an additional number of sub-chiefs and deputies, mathematically expressed as 2y”.

 

Ei, Wofa, I remarked. He just smiled and told me that one cannot walk daily with the billy goat without acquiring some nunu scent; and that surely his association with Teacher Johnson has taught him to also appreciate equations, mathematically speaking.

 

Wofa also asked me if I had ever seen a lean elephant, even one that has been chased into the bush and returned after eight market days. I had no answer.

 

The next day after the sighting of the quiver full of deputies, Amakye the town crier was heard in the village square with a message from Odekuro. The message was to the point: the village was so dirty, the streets so cracked, the farms so weedy and the barns so empty that Odekuro needed many hands to rebuild as quickly as possible. Amakye didn’t say anything about how these workers were to be fed, seeing that the barns were so empty.

 

As I listened, I was reminded of another story, this time told me by Obaapanyin Potisaa.

 

A boy fell into a well with weak walls. The men of the village gathered around and debated now to rescue him. Kofi Antobam gave the best suggestion: “The walls are so weak but the rescue is so urgent that we need ten men to descend into the well to rescue the little boy”.

 

But who is to understand the ways of the royals who get to occupy the Ahenfie? It has been said that electoral campaigns are done in poetry and governance conducted with prose. How true. I am not disappointed at the predictability of these royals. Tells me my healthy suspicion of political talk and gymnastics is still relevant.

 

I can only speak from the point of view of the farmer that I am. If I have my farm and I am able to harvest my cocoa with twenty ‘by-day’ (pronounced baa-day) workers for a period of time, my peers would wonder at me if I suddenly increased the number to thirty but argue that you should judge me by how much I produce for the period. Without necessary having planted more trees over the previous year. My friend Mike Tyson (not the boxer) would scream overheads, and labour efficiency. Input is important per benchmark or trends over the years.

 

But Odekuro says the cocoa trees need more hands as they have grown taller and the farms have become more weedy than in the previous years. So we can only give him the benefit of the doubt. He says he wants Sikaman to become kra bɛ hwɛ so we should allow him some painters and designers as well. But we cannot ignore this, that one of the problems we have is the power of our parties over Ahenfie policy and resourcing, and its way of deriving political payment after election of the Odekuro. This garguantuan size of the traditional council cannot be said not to have been influenced by this consideration.

 

The debate continues in Sikaman, under the trees where dami is played, in Liberty Club where Wofa’s favourite is swallowed (and not drank), in the market place where the value of the cowries is still doing see-saw, and on the benches as the citizens sip Auntie Memuna’s kooko in the mornings. Some have said the end justifies the means whilst others say the means should have consideration of the size and state of the purse which is said to be the reason why we need to move fast, to restore to vitality. As the elders say, we use money to get money. Or do we, in this case?

 

One bright spot in this saga, however. How quickly Odekuro himself hit the village square with his explanation behind his quiver of deputies. Eish, brofo paa!

 

My friend Maame Ekua Boakye said it best: “Brofo, brofo saaaa na ya forgeti numbers no!”

 

Till I come your way again with another sebitical, I remain:

 

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Read Full Post »

I bring you greetings from Wofa Kapokyikyi who, finding me in a low mood over the past weekend, downloaded one of his choice proverbs. Me nya wo aye, eye musoo, he told me, meaning that it may be wahala trying to become like someone else. He told me that in life we all have our races to run, and different roles to play. And for the first time ever, Wofa Kapokyikyi gave me a non-Sikaman quote, using the words of Alexandre Dumas, that “there is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state to another, another more.” I was surprised and I told him, that I didn’t know he read many books. He smiled and told me small boys are young.

I thank you, Wofa.

I spent the weekend of 5 and 6 March 2011 dabbling in two of my delights: spending time with the youth in Cape Coast and ministering with Joyful Way Incorporated in Takoradi, now christened Oil City or OilKrom.

I was privileged to be invited by Nana Ama Ghansah and her Nhyira Foundation to speak at the Gathering of Visioneers Conference in Cape Coast, bringing together pupils and students from Junior High and Senior High Schools in and around Cape Coast.

It was not all talk, though. We had some good music. On the bill was Michael Oware Sakyi, aka OJ. I had heard a couple of his soings but had neither seen nor heard him live. Two of his popular songs are Obi Nya W’aye and Koso Na Koso, which he released in 2003. I was impressed with him.

Before singing his last song for the afternoon, OJ shared with us his story, where he had come from, how far God had brought him, how his experiences and desires combined to make him who he had become, and provoked our thoughts that God had made each one of us unique. Then he sang Obi Nya W’aye, loosely translated from Akan as ‘someone wishes he/she was like you’. He asked us to sit quietly and listen to the lyrics. It was good advice.

The story is told of a man, let’s call him Kwame Nkrabia, who was so frustrated with life, his lack of success,and the non-achievement of his dreams that he decided to end it all. He was broke, in debt, with no hope of recovery. After begging for a few months, he felt he didn’t even have the strength to go on begging. One day, he left town, to hang himself.

Finding a forest area, Nkrabia selected a tree whose branches were strong enough to ensure the rope held. To delay any chances of his body being found, he decided to remove his clothes, leaving only his underpants. As he tied the noose, he detected some human activity in the undergrowth. With amazement, he saw a man kneeling by his discarded, tattered clothes, carefully folding them, whilst muttering a prayer for a good find. Nkrabea aborted his suicide mission.

Someone gave a testimony of expressing gratitude and appreciating that his lack of shoes was not that bleak, considering some had no feet. In secondary school, any time I was broke with no food in the chop box, I could thank God that I was able to eat in the dining hall, fresh food, not like the sopi boys who came from the nearby villages to help in the pantry so they could go home with the leftover food, what we discarded – actually not much so the sopi boys had to sweep the tables to take the crumbs and spills from our plates, literally.

It is good to compare yourself to your peers, to calibrate, so as to encourage yourself to do more. But we should always remember that our paths in life are different. Even twins don’t have the same characteristics, a friend reminded me at work this week. Even Siamese twins disagree on what to do from time to time.

As my friend Dr Bisi Onoviran said, “you shouldn’t compare yourself to others – they are more screwed up than you think.”

There is always someone who will admire something in you, wishing to be you. Who you are today is someone’s dream.

But that is not to say you have to remain at this point. You can only become better from today, as you keep on. But the journey forward is enhanced with a positive appreciation of the path you have trodden, lessons learnt and gratitude of the present. It is only then that you can practise what Eugene V Debs called ‘intelligent discontent’ which he stated “is the mainspring of civilization”. That discontent which says “I am grateful for what I am, but I can be more”.

What is eating you up? Could it have been worse? Reflect and take action to improve, to go ahead, to be better.

Till I come your way again with another sebitical, I remain:

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Read Full Post »

Dear Wofa Kapokyikyi:

I bring you warm buharattan greetings from Amalaman where we are on auto-pilot, if you were to believe what the papa deceive pikin people are saying. Well, to be fair, they are not the only ones saying that. The Rock of Aso neighbours are also saying same. Oga Kpatakpata has been visiting herbalists in the land beyond the cornfields and has gone beyond his originally advertised return date. There are many stories making the rounds, Wofa. Some say the herbs that are needed to be put in the pot to be cooked for him to inhale, he sitting on a stool with the hot steaming herb-infused, pot in front of him and layers of blankets covering him, those herbs, they say the herbs are a bit scarce now due to climate change and how much the snow has fallen this year. Some people also say that the herbalists are as slow as a wounded snail so their journey to the land of herbs is taking a bit long. Others also say the Oga is just tayaaed, and need rest, insisting that it is only the infirmed tortoise who feels the cold and blames it on the weather. In the meantime, Wofa, we wait as the country drives itself. So they say. Ei, these yesi-yesi people.

I have been watching events in Sikaman from afar and wanted to share a few thoughts with you, Wofa. On 5th February 2014, I wrote on my Facebook wall:

“Forget AFAG. Forget CJA. Forget footsoldiers. This is a year of citizen demos. Small small ones. They will start with roads and unfulfilled promises and upgrade. I can hear the sounds of a toad which is getting to the limit of intake of water.”

Later that year, on the 1st of July, a motley collection of mostly professionals, who are usually classified as the “middle class”, stepped off their social media accounts, went beyond their online rants and demonstrated with their feet, waking to the Flagstaff House to occupy.

That was the beginning of hitherto unconcerned Ghanaians, who had learnt to create their private solutions to public problems, wearing their voices and coming in from the cold. That simmer swelled and gained momentum and found expression in the massive defeat of the ruling party in the 2016 elections.

Legend has it that the tipping point of the struggle for Ghana’s independence started after the return to the then-Gold Coast of Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, Private Odartey Lamptey and their comrades who, as members of the Gold Coast Regiment, went to Burma to fight in World War II. The story goes that having fought alongside other nationalities and having calibrated their skills against same, they were imbued with the awareness of the fact that they were equally capable and wondered why they couldn’t be in charge of their own destinies. Well, the trigger point was the non-payment of their due pension and provision of promised jobs, but that awareness from the mountain top experience, where they viewed across the terrain and found their voices, counted and culminated in the 28 February Christiansborg Crossroad shooting.

A people who gather momentum from the freedom of finding their voices hardly go quiet again. From 2014, many a Ghanaian started on a journey of shedding her cloak of silence and picked up an armour of citizenship that had a breast-plate to repel insults.

Insults! The tool used by the Sikaman politician and his cohorts to frighten ordinary citizens from commenting on issues. Usually when loses the capacity to argue intellectually (or perhaps lacked the capability in the first place), the person descends to the level of using insults. I remember a story of one musician being asked how many times he smoked weed, Wofa.

“Once in a blue moon,” he responded.

The interviewer probed further, asking “How often does the blue moon appear?”

“Everyday,” the musician answered, not missing a beat.

The use of insults happened every blue moon day, and sadly continues. So with time, citizens resorted to playing safe and wearing clocks of silence that had been sewn under the culture of silence, when the former Odekuro, whose lineage transcends the cornfields, reigned.

But Sikamanians shed those cloaks! They found their voices and these voices, having found the harmony of singing a war song that could drive a party out of power, will not go silent as the new Ahenfie inhabitants settle in and attempt to maintain the status quo. These voices will not go back into the cold.

None of the parties in Sikaman have enough card-bearing numbers or staunch supporters to win elections on their own. None of them. From previous election trends, it is clear that the most the parties can pull on the strength of these dedicated numbers is about 45% of the total vote cast. To cross the 50%, parties need the swing voters, the so-called neutrals (which is really a misnomer, in my view, as no one who votes is a neutral!). The problem with these swinging safari folks is that they are too-known! They speak their minds with their thumbs, which have attributes of the pendulum.

I dare say, Wofa Kapokyikyi, that if one drew two circles representing these swinging safaris and those who wore their voices from 2014, the two circles will overlap very nicely and the intersection would contain a good number. A very good number. Voices that have come out of the cold.

Already Odekuro Odieasem Nana Tutubrofo Dankwawura and his sub-chiefs are feeling the new Sikamanian. The momentum built by the Sikamanian from the near-occupation of the Ahenfie meant that even though the new Odekuro and his men and women hit the cornfields running, the pace of Sikaman was faster, and is also fueled by impatience.

The issues that sent the former Odekuro out of the Ahenfie will not be changed overnight, but the environment that nurtured the issues and gave them life must change. Odekuro better note that. And he must note also that a key component of the past few years has been that culture of talking plenty that doesn’t cook yam. There is much work to be done, and it is the time for business un-usual. Sikamanians have had enough feeding of propaganda to last them decades so we want a different menu.

Long may the voices find expression in keeping Odekuro and his men alert, Wofa. May these voices not lose the audacity to question. Every Sikamanian has the right of exercising the “effrontery” to ask questions. The day we lose our appetite to question is the day we die as a country.

Till I come your way with another sebitical missive from Amalaman, I remain, as always:

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase


End Notes

AFAG: Alliance for Accountable Governance

CJA: Committee for Joint Action

Tayaaed: Adulterated form of the word ‘tired’, pidgin

Amalaman: Nigeria

Sikaman: Ghana

Sikamanian: Ghanaian

Read Full Post »

In the days of yore when we were we and we roamed the highlands and lowfields of the university of spiritual training, which later was given a coating of the name from Nkroful, there lived an obroni-trained herbalist in the big herbal centre near the road that ran from the abode of Odekuro right into the bosom of Otumfuo. 

Teacher Croffectus told us many market days ago on the hills of Menya Mewu, which existed side-by-side with the valley of the swinging monkeys, that everyone needed to be aware of two aspects of self for life’s journeys and to also made decisions on careers: aptitude and attitude; what one’s gumption quotient was and what his behaviours and idiosyncrasies inclined him towards.
What Teacher Croffectus failed to add was one’s debiatitude: how one looks like.
This herbalist in the herbal centre near the road looks like a fitter mechanic. Our view in the land of spiritual training was that an obroni-herbalist is supposed to look dadabee kakra, and not to have features that made you look up at the ceiling instead of admiring the handiwork of Odumakoma Nana Nyankonpon. One of the reasons why perhaps Kapokyikyiwofaase didn’t even consider the suggestion of Premang Ntow’s son, that Premang Ntow’s grandson became a herbalist. The debiatitide.
The legend was that during the period when even Nii Saddam reduced the length of his drumming sessions and gave time to the lesser business of reading his books, when men and women alike chewed the midnight kola and burnt the evening osɔnɔ, when Sir RED roamed the rooms muttering “minfitɛ gbɛmen average” (I am destroying the cumulative average of students) and admonishing students to draw any line even if they couldn’t make head or duna of the isometric drawing questions….during that period of exams, many are those who thronged the herbal centre for some relief from pain and stress, from the toils of preparation for exams and from the stress of not making enough time for one inte or the other, and the repercussions thereof. 
The story continues that this fitter-herbalist used to prescribe herbs just as you stated your ailments and many who exited his consulting room found out, when they compared tales from not different tails, that they were given the same herbs, even for different complaints. They soon concluded that the herbalist listened only with his hands.
So, one day, Nii Saddam, also called Kule, decided to get to the root of the matter. When he was ushered into the consulting room, he just sat and didn’t utter a word. But Fitter-Herbie had started scribbling away and prescribing herbs!
“But you don’t even know what is wrong with me!” Kule indicated.
“Ah, but don’t you all have the same illnesses and symptoms during this time?” Fitter-Herbie retorted.
I bring you warm greetings from my Wofa Kapokyikyi who told me that whilst it is true what our elders say, that even though heads may look alike, the thoughts in them differ, sometimes when you see how one particularly-shape head is modeled upon a neck, one can sense that the thoughts in that head have been experienced before in the past, and soon enough, the pouring out of those thoughts confirms the suspicion.
Like the stance of the Fitter-Herbie, many times when one considers the happenings in Sikaman, one gets the feeling of Ghana vu. Many times, the trajectory that issues take, like the path of a quadratic graph that rises and falls, that ‘pours water’, a line that accelerates to a crescendo and falls, like the crest and trough of a wave, seems too familiar. In Sikaman, many times when the matters hit, one just gets the sense that we have been here just the day, the week, the month or the year before, and one could almost predict the path ahead of the issue. 
The steadfast problems of our land never ceases, their recycling never come to an end. They are renewed every morning, great is our faithfulness in traversing roads just travelled. 
How are our new politicians different from the old? How different do we address our issues? Are our national scripts rehashed just for new actors?
Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo wrote a novel entitled ‘We Need New Names’. Yes, in Sikaman, we need new scripts. We need new ways of doing things. We need new stories. We need new politics. We need to change the narrative. We need new mentalities of citizens. We need different heads and fresh thoughts from these heads, mixing in a national cauldron where each thought acts as an ingredient to produce a national meal of positive progress that delivers tangible development.
We can’t continue to be that predictable. We can’t continue to peregrinate as if we have no destination as a nation. We must get off the road just travelled and find new paths.
We need new names. No more Ghana vu.
Till I come your way next time with another sebitical, I remain:
Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Read Full Post »

Kojo Mɛtɛɛ was a notorious thief in my holy village. It was rumoured that when he entered a room, he could smell exactly where money and valuables had been hidden and go straight for the kill. Or rather, straight for the steal. Those were the days when bank vaults resided in the inner entrails of mattresses, the ones made with straw. When there was fire, mattresses burnt with expensive swag.

One day, my big brother Joe Base, in a bid to protect his savings from Kojo and The Gang, hid his money in such an obscure place that he forgot where he had hidden it! After hours of trying to find it, he gave up and called Kojo, who stepped into the room, closed his eyes, sniffed the air a bit and laughed.

“Bra Joe Base paa, it is under the carpet,” he pointed.

Kojo loved stealing the coconuts from the backyard of the local rich man, Opanyin Nemi. He would scale over Opanyin’s high wall and climb the coconut trees, plucking the coconuts so they fell outside the compound for his gang members to collect. He did so with his eyes looking out for Opanyin, whose single-barrelled gun, also called ti aborɔferɛ (pluck down pawpaw), was feared.

One afternoon, as Kojo was up a coconut tree, he saw perceived movement in Opanyin’s house. His friends whistled to warn him but as he craned his neck to investigate, he lost his grip and started falling…

Tum!

Silence…

One of his pals whispered over the wall, they were afraid Kojo was either badly hurt or was dead.

“Kojo Mɛtɛɛ, w’awu anaa?” (Kojo, are you dead?)

The response came in, slowly…

“Mi nwu yɛ o, na pua na mɛ pua.” (I am not dead, but I have been shortened!)

I bring you greetings from Wofa Kapokyikyi, who has been following the issues in The Gambia over the past weeks from his stool at the Liberty Fan Club.

Ei, Wofa said it o. He predicted that Papa Jammeh, like Gbagbo, baa gbo last show. Papa Jammeh, like the proverbial fly which didn’t listen to advice, has followed the corpse into the grave.

After losing the elections and conceding and dis-conceding, Papa J wanted to copy the senior Papa J but he didn’t follow The Handbook well. You negotiate indemnity clauses and transitional provisions before the elections and not after. It was Haillemariam Lemar who said that Jammeh was so sure of winning the Gambian elections that he didn’t even attempt to rig it! That surely must explain why Papa J missed the sequence.

Then, he proceeded to dig his feet in. The regional Council of Chiefs said no but only Papa J said yes. Even when his akyeame and sub-chiefs said a new dawn had come, Papa J still said the sun was shining brightly on his coast.

One of the key weaknesses of dictators is that they do not realise it when the applause is either gone or it has become faked. They refuse to get it when they lose favour. In leadership as in life, you need to know when to move before you are pushed.
I always get amused and surprised when African leaders don’t want to step down honorably after service. My reason is that we have so few ex-Presidents for the many opportunities that exist for such experience in the international community.

That was my position with Gbagbo.

With Papa Jammeh, I am not that clear. Perhaps he analysed that bit, apart from his fear of not resting in peace, and came to the conclusion that he is not employable after stepping off the stage as Head of State.

After advising the fly for so long, the regional Council of Chiefs decided to show the corpse to the fly, to let the fly know its potential sleeping partner. The corpse was escorted by soldiers from the land which had carved out a bit of its belly for The Gambia and which almost enveloped the small nation. Other nations, including Sikaman who had ancestral spirits crying for retribution, also provided troops. Amalaman provided iron birds, who could spit fire. These troops started marching “left, right, left, right”, singing “O-zami-namina-mina-mina”, in that deep voice of the senior Papa J and came knocking on the doors of The Gambia. It was a sight to behold, numbers stretching from the East to the West.

According to the BBC, “The Gambia’s entire armed forces are made up of only about 2,500 troops.”

Let me sikamanise that for you. The entire Gambian Army will not fill 100 VIP Yutong buses. Our National Theatre and the Conference Centre are all we need to sit the entire army personnel in the Gambia.

The story is told of a new Inspector-General of the Ahenfie police who was informed about some of his men extorting palm wine and cowries from citizens as they returned from their farms. He disguised himself one day and went out to investigate. One of the policemen gave him such a tough time and took all his palm wine at a checkpoint. When he removed his disguise and the policeman recognised him, the junior kotiman saluted clumsily and blurted, “I sack myself, sah!”

When the Chief of Papa J’s Army saw the multitude of soldiers from accompanying the corpse, he weighed his options and stated that the palaver at hand had nothing to do with soldier matter. “I won’t commit my men to any stupid fight”, he said, and proceeded to take selfies.

Wise man. The toad should not sweat on behalf of the lizard which chews pepper.

Most armies that spend their time terrorising their own citizens spend less time actually preparing to fight real soldiers. I hope the Gambian Army still knows how to fight.
You should consider the size of your head before you challenge Etikelenkele to a Head War. When Etikelenkele was a child, he was restrained by his parents from watching birds fly above his head. That act disturbed the equilibrium of his body. His head was that gargantuan.

Wofa Kapokyikyi told me that it was an African proverb that eventually make Jammeh to jɛ jɛmɛ.

“It is a Mozambican proverb”, he said. “If you want to swallow a mango seed, you first of all calculate the diameter of your anus.”

So, I am told that in the heat of the developments, Papa J asked for Teacher Johnson who brought a pair of dividers and took the dimensions of the posterior orifice of the J. It was less than pi.

Papa J just gave up.

One of Papa J’s main demands for his days outside The Gambia will be the provision of a good washman. Spare a thought for those white gowns. If that request is not met or if the new washman cannot wash with Omo so it shows, Papa J may have to change to khaki gowns. Afterall, our elders say that sankofa is not fatal.

One clear bright news is that the Home-based African Herbalists Association (HAHA) just gained a high-profile permanent member.

Papa Jammeh eventually was uprooted like a seedling. Initially I wanted him to be uprooted like a yam but he got lucky. This was a seedling approach.

See he has been transplanted! W’apua! He has been shortened!

I see the Jammeh cloud has a silver lining paa. His silly move makes it much much easier for him to be made to account for his atrocities in the past. What he feared, that he would be tried when he handed over, that must have led to this stance, will come on him. On a better platter.

In the end, at the final exit point from The Gambia, Jammeh should be given a ride in a wheelbarrow across the border.

Till I come your way next time with another sebitical, perhaps atop a wheelbarrow, I remain:

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Read Full Post »

It was my senior Moshie Dayan who famously declared when someone tripped him in a fierce fight for a loaf of bread during scattey at the dining hall that “the gbedement of the nueɛ is not the end of his life”. The English have a different translation for this, that the downfall of a man does not signify the end of his life. Indeed, this holds true for any venture in which success eludes at any instance. The critical thing is what one does with, and after, such a blip, and whether or not one keeps going. It was Winston Churchill who said that “success is the ability to move from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm”. I call that vim.

Sikaman just entered a new era. There has just been a change in the Ahenfie. The people, subjects no more but citizens, as christened by the new Odekuro, decided to give Odekuro Okasafo Yohani Mahani Nikaboka rest. Behold, we have a new Odekuro!

Odekuro Odieasem Nana Tutubrofo Dankwawura, Wofa Kapokyikyi welcomes you. Wofa says that w’aba a, ti na si.

This was Wofa Kappkyikyi’s prayer for you as he poured libation at Liberty Fan Club yesterday: “May your reign be peaceful and prosperous. May your reign bring us fruits so big that we will check the size of our posterior orifice before we attempt any swallowing. May the ancestors be with you and grant you wisdom.”

I could only nod and say wiɛ!

As the change of Odekuro took place, so did the change of Yaanomship. As my friend Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng succinctly captured it, there exists in Sikaman an ancient club called the Yaanomites. They are an old and proud fraternity, fiercely dedicated to the Odekuroship.

Their role and passion is to serve the Odekuro, and they do it best when blindfolded. You wonder how they know who to target when they cover their eyes? Simple. They first group all people into two camps: pro-Yaanom and anti-Yaanom. When a message is received, they first check out the messenger: is he for us or against us? When the citizens, not subjects, are in camps, it is easy to volley verbal cannons into the enemy camp. “Are you on the Lord’s side?”

The Yaanomites have been mentioned in many of the discussions under trees, especially those that take place when we gather to play dami. It has been said that the Yaanomites were staunch adherents to the Baba-Jamalian principle, also known as Goat-to-Cow, and that their stuffing of their ears with mmɛfi (the dry fibre from palm nut fruits after the extraction of palm oil and soup, used in the past to deodorise the water pot or cooler), making them hard of hearing, contributed to the gbedement of the old Odekuro.

But that is in the past now. The good thing about the Yaanomites is that their ranks are refreshed with the entrance of a new Odekuro. The old Yaanomites then move to a place of purgatory, where one is cleansed of yaanomidity, awaiting whether to become anti-Yaanom or to be yaaneutral.

So, change has happened and so has the change in Yaanomship. Hail the new Yaanom. Again, Wofa says mo aba a, mo ntina si.

The new Yaanomites didn’t have to wait long to get to work. Odekuro’s first speech after his enstoolment provided the first shooting practice. It was a good speech, and clearly no one needed elevation to appreciate that fact.

Odekuro Tutubrofo kasa yɛ! The speech was full of both vim and akeshaa, with the right doses of arish-rish. No kontomire. And we hailed and clapped and said “Wiɛ! Tutu bra!”

After the reggae, we play the blues. And it was in the playing of the blues that citizens, not subjects, of Sikaman found that some of the reggae of Odekuro’s brofo should have been sang with the voice of Bush the Texan who himself had sang the same song done years ago by Woodrow the Wailer. Not our own Ankry the Wailer, who we will discuss one day soon. Such wailing skills cannot be allowed to wallow or wane.

Come and see plenty posts and opinions on plagiarism and copyrights and thems thems. Soon, the Yaanomites had to take charge and then we began to see one key evidence of the classic Yaanomated strike: a text being shared on all platforms. The best way to identify such Y-texts is the inscription at the end: “Forwarded as received”. It usually tells you the sender doesn’t understand the text, hasn’t critically analysed it or doesn’t really believe it.

And soon enough, there followed the next stage of yaanomstition: they are against us; they want to pour sand into our gari, they didn’t see this in the past.

Change has come. Tables have turned. And the change of Yaanomship is completed.

But there is hope yet. The principles of Yaanomidity are not cast in stone. The Yaanomites don’t need to operate blindfolded. Citizens, not subjects, don’t need to be placed in camps. And the old ranking members of the Y-Club don’t have to be seen as rabble-rousers.

We have one Sikaman to build. Yaanomites have to quickly hone the skills of separating the palm oil and soup from the mmɛfi, of separating message from messenger and harnessing the collective wisdom of all Sikamanians. It is said that even a faulty wall clock is right twice in a day.

And, oh, when Yaanomites find themselves in a slippery hole, Wofa says they should please stop digging.

Change has come. And so some of your old friends will start calling and chatting with you again. Some will start sharing your posts. Some will start hailing you and saying how great your thoughts are.

Don’t worry that your posts and viewpoints haven’t changed much and wonder why your views suddenly make sense.

Change goes various ways.

Till I come your way again with another sebitical, I remain:

Sebitically yours,

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Read Full Post »

​**My friend Billy Hanyabui asked me to share this for the New Year. Enjoy this excerpt from Sebitically Speaking. Happy New Year!**

I have had a long debate with my friends on what exactly should be the right expression in Twi used to wish one another a happy new year. Literally, in Sikaman, we exchange greetings to express our appreciation for seeing another year, in experiencing the full cycle of another year. So in Twi, we say that afe akɔ asani abɛto yɛn, meaning ‘the year has gone (round) and met us again’ (in good health). Therefore, afe ɛkyia yɛn nhyia pa. So is the right expression Afe-nhyia-pa or Afe-hyia-pa?

Whichever one it is, Happy New Year. May another afe (year) go and come and meet us again, in good health, for us all and our loved ones.
The beginning of the year is always a special one for my family and I. Our dad Bombay focused more on celebrating the first of January than Christmas and would strive to have us in our hometown, Wasa Akropong, for annual reunions. 

Incidentally, it was on his way back from the town centre after buying biscuits for a children’s party he was organising in Wasa Akropong that he was knocked down by a hit-and-run driver whose overtaking went wrong. He was declared dead on arrival at the district hospital in Akropong on 31 December, 2005. So at the end of each year and the beginning of the next, we remember Bombay and the influence he had on us, his children. I am sure he is sitting with his brother, Wofa Kapokyikyi, reading this right now. Bombay, nnipa nsɛ hwee . Da yie . We remember you.

In my book Through the Gates of Thought, I reflected on the unit of time; and how it appears that time itself was getting shorter, leading to the question which became the subject of one discussion: Are the days and years getting shorter? I mused over the fact that time “comes to pass” whether we are stressed, relaxed or doing nothing, whether we are overworked or underworked. 
I recall one Monday in August 2005 during my postgraduate studies in Nottingham, UK, when I was contemplating the sheer amount of work I needed to do before the end of that week. I had three major assignments to submit and I had absolutely no idea where and how to start almost all of them! I felt really stressed. Our course Director and lecturer for our Desalination class, Professor Nidal Hilal, asked me in a casual conversation as we waited in the corridor before the start of class, how things were going, and I remarked to him that there was just too much to do before the end of week. His response was deep – that we always underestimate the capacity of the human body to withstand stress and the capability of the human brain. He assured me that I will certainly survive that week, and I did! I am here, to tell my story! Of course, that week passed. 
The lesson from Professor Hilal has always challenged me to look at how I can fully utilise my days. The late motivational speaker, Myles Munroe, famously asked his listeners to ensure that they go to the grave empty, emptied of all the potentials they can possibly explore on earth. Our days can always take an extra bit of initiative and activity and, as we start this new year 2015, I wish to challenge you on some kpa-kpa-kpa-solutions (resolutions to help your ‘hustle’) this year. Kpa-kpa-kpa comes from an interview of a guy who indicated that it represented the hustle to make ends meet on a daily basis in Sikaman. 

My writer friend, Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng explains that kpa-kpa-kpa “strictly excluded stealing and included legitimate means of ‘hustling’ by piecing this and that together to keep body and soul together”. 
The analysis and reflection of how time passes was the subject of a telephone conversation in the last quarter of 2014, with my good friend, Dr. Moses Ademola, who practises in Ireland. We chatted about general life issues and got to the topic of building houses for our families. I argued that building a house can be a long-term project that needs steady progress once you start, even in a small way, indicating that averagely, it takes about ten years for people to build their own homes. Moses countered that a period of ten years was too long and one should save enough to build quickly in about two years. My counter argument was that in most West African countries, the value of one’s savings are usually wiped out by inflation and so it is almost difficult to save enough to build because the increase in the prices of building materials would render the amount saved inadequate when one is finally ready, so the best way is to start building, phasing the stages out. I ‘killed’ the argument when I reminded Moses that it had been eight years since we both completed our studies at Nottingham University. He was amazed that this was close to the ten years he said was too long!
In 2011, I encountered one of my lowest points, triggered by too much thinking and self-assessment. One of the main points of disappointment with myself was that contrary to the advice of my first boss, Auntie Aba, I still hadn’t started on the project of stopping the payment of rent. What I argued about with Moses was my action plan. A long-term plan based on small steps and actions will always get results. In Unilever, we were taught to have a bias for action and to appreciate the wisdom in the mantra that small actions everyday make a great difference. My personal mantra has been as follows: ‘Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast’. This year, get started on building a house. 
There are a lot of other ideas you have and have been waiting for the right time to start for years. Remember that the first time someone ever did something, s/he did it as an amateur. Start. Brown leaves fall, green leaves fall too. Don’t over-analyse to paralysis. Move. Do it! 
My boys told me in late 2014 that they would be attending Universities in the UK and US. I took a mental note quickly and this year, I want to start a long-term plan for investment for their University fees. Fortunately, I have about a decade to do that. This year, plan for your children a decade or two from now.
In 2012, I realised that working away from my family, I would have some spare time especially in the evenings and could finally make time to study for a professional course in Supply Chain as I have wished to for years. I set myself a target of three years to complete it and made a budget to fund the course over thirty-six months. That led me to an online course with Liverpool University, comprising eight modules plus a dissertation. As I write now, I just started the seventh module and I have nine more monthly payments to do. As explained earlier, the time passed even though I filled the cup that represented my day with gravel, sand and water!
A lot of people are taking courses online and adding to their knowledge. A number of full-time workers are taking evening courses and doing part-time studies. Don’t sit and complain and say no one is appreciating you at work when your worth is not appreciating because you are learning nothing new. Start a course. Time still goes by whether you are too busy or not.
This year, make time to sit with at least two of your mentors and pick their wisdom to guide you. If you don’t have any mentors, get at least two and engage with them. As you do this, get them or other close friends to give you feedback on how you did last year and what you need to do better.
This year, if you promise to return a call, keep your promise especially if you are a businessman or woman. And keep your promises to your friends. A promise kept is the first indication of respect.
This year, plan a trip to one of the regions in Ghana with your family. I suggest the Volta region or the Northern region. You will enjoy it and the children will learn. You will learn too.
Take the children to your hometown. Don’t break the link with your roots.
This year, try and speak your local language with your children. They may not learn enough to speak it fluently but they will learn it well enough to understand it. That would be a good start.

Success in life is not just about the destination, but the journey itself. Make time to smell the roses, make friends, create memories, and enjoy the moments.
A very Happy New Year to you!
Till I come your way with another sebitical, I remain:
Sebitically yours, 

Kapokyikyiwofaase

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »