Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Take On Bodybuidling in Ghana

Bodybuilding is fast growing in Ghana. All through history, you'll find that many cultures were practicing some form of weight training. Weight training was considered an athletic activity and was a way to improve one's strength and gain power. This particular celebration of the human body can even be seen in ancient art and statues from the Roman and Greek Periods.

I asked a friend who usually works-out a lot the other day about what really influenced him into working-out. This was his answer; “Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of his inspirations for getting involved in bodybuilding and wanting to build muscle. This is largely due to the influence his movies had on him especially the likes of predator which he would class as his all time favorite.”

These days, it is very common to find young guys working out to either develop their muscles, [get arms] be in good shape for their counterparts and occasionally for just showing off. I have tried working out but trust me; it’s not been easy at all. For me, I can only do 10 push ups. More than that, I would find myself in the nearest L’hopital… It demands a great of deal time, energy, dedication, commitment and above all respect for one’s body.

Men's arms have been known to be symbols of virility. It is a well-known fact that every time a woman encounters members of the opposite sex, she always manages to give a longer than usual glance at the arms. Those that are not covered with sleeves can certainly catch her attention and can be subjected to her feminine discriminating tastes. For one who has large and muscled arms, the mere sight of it will already bring out sighs of approval from many Ghanaian women I know. The sight of strong arms can make a woman swoon or fantasize about being literally swept off her feet. [don’t tell me, I’m kiddin’ here].

A couple years back, many bodybuilding fans in Ghana thought the interest of the body-building had gone down due to the absent of any competitive competitions for the bodybuilders to compete in. The sport went off the sporting scene in Ghana for about 3 years, after the 2000 Mr. Ghana Bodybuilding Championship. My lady friends, have you asked yourself what young men [macho men] of today go through to be able to build that body you so much fantasize about all the time? Do you know how those six-packs about? Wait for my answer…

Looking at the picture up there, you might have come across this bench and metal somewhere in your neighborhood whiles growing up. Every young man who’ve by some means of wanting to develop his muscles and look good, is sure to have gone under those metals, done the push-ups and all. It’s been an easy task though.

What baffles me most of the time is; after spending so much time under those benches, doing the push ups and finally developing some form of muscles; they end up drinking alcohol which does the body no good than harm. [I’m not saying alcohol is bad to the body but to the bodybuilder, it wouldn’t do him/her any good]…

Funny enough, most bodybuilders I know in Ghana are nite-club bouncers. I don’t know if it’s a full or part time job for them but most I’ve come across happen to be bouncers in majority of nite-clubs in Accra. From Aphrodisiac Nite Club through to Rhapsody’s to Tantra Nite Club, you’ll see these macho men bouncing people at the clubs because they possess the body to do such works. Are they really meant for that?

There’s good news in the air though…. This year’s national bodybuilding competition dubbed “Man Ghana” will be held on October 24t, 2009 at the National Theatre in Accra. Selection of contestants comes off on October 4t, 2009. If you have a bodybuilder friend, inform him/her to participate…!!! Meet Michael Bossman Kwame, a bodybuilder from Accra and what he has to say....

Have you tried building your body? Where you able to achieve your dream? How many push ups can you do? Do you care sharing your experience? I want to read more from you…!!! Share your comments and views...!!!

Ghana’s Cashless Society and E-zwich

A Cashless society is a society in which all bills and debits are paid by electronic money media, for example, bank and credit cards, direct debits, smart cards and online payments.

Ever since the first general-purpose charge card debuted in the early 1950s, pundits have been predicting the "cashless society". Over fifty years later, we may finally be getting close to that vision. Paying for goods with notes and coins could be consigned to history within five years, according to the business development officer at Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) Limited.

A cashless society in Ghana is gradually being introduced. Amongst products on the market include MTN Mobile Money Transfer,Text & Pay, Cashless mobile phone top-up service, credit cards and newest of all, the E-zwich smart card. The Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) Limited, issuers of the E-zwich smart card have announced, they are looking at increasing its E-zwich subscriber base to one million by the end of 2009.

Most of the banks partner with telecommunication service providers to offer mobile phone money transfer services to their customers; eTranzact is a leading name when it comes to assorted money transfer products; Cal Bank's ATM mobile phone TOP-UP service is premiering on the market; Ecobank’s and Zenith Bank’s credit cards are the ones on the Ghanaian market for now…

The E-zwich smart card which was introduced in April 2008 and has been operational till now seeks to reduce the risk at which card theft was on the increase a while ago. Most post offices are currently hooked onto the national platform whiles payment of school fees in second and third cycle institutions can now be done using the E-zwich card.

Cardholders only require authenticating a transaction with their fingerprint. This eliminates the problem of identifying theft associated with card transactions authenticated through the use of PINs. A person does not need to be a customer of a bank or have an account with a bank to have the E-zwich smart card.

I was able to get my E-zwich card from the Stanbic Bank branch in Ho when I was there for a project in the mid-July of 2009. Even though I haven’t been using it, I’m glad I acquired one. I have a couple of questions though…!!!

What happened to the “Sika-Card” introduced by SG-SSB Bank? Is the E-zwich here to stay for good? Can we bank our hopes on this new technology from the GhIPSS? What happens when the telecommunication service provider fails to provide service to these financial institutions?

If you have answers and comments to this post, please feel free and express your mind here….

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quotes By Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

A couple of Quotes by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (27 April 1972 - 21 September 1909), who was an influential 20th century advocate of Pan-Africanism, and the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to 1966…

Below are a couple of quotes I came across in remembrance of him during Ghana’s celebration of the Founders’ Day.

“Revolutions are brought about by men, by men who think as men of action and act as men of thought.”

“We face neither East nor West; we face forward”

“It is far better to be free to govern or misgovern yourself than to be governed by anybody else”

“The best way of learning to be an independent sovereign state is to be an independent sovereign state.”

“It is far easier for the proverbial camel to pass through the needle's eye, hump and all, than for an erstwhile colonial administration to give sound and honest counsel of a political nature to its liberated territory.”

“Freedom is not something that one people can bestow on another as a gift. Thy claim it as their own and none can keep it from them.”

“We prefer self-government with danger to servitude in tranquility.”

Africa is a paradox which illustrates and highlights neo-colonialism. Her earth is rich, yet the products that come from above and below the soil continue to enrich, not Africans predominantly, but groups and individuals who operate to Africa’s impoverishment.”

“Its concern was based on the fact that such disputes continued to retard development and progress, resulting in increased poverty among the people.”

"...I have often said, the party and the nation are one and the same, namely: the Convention People's Party is Ghana and is Ghana the Convention People's Party."

"Countrymen, the task ahead is great indeed, and heavy is the responsibility; and yet it is a noble and glorious challenge - a challenge which calls for the courage to dream, the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to do, the courage to envision, the courage to fight, the courage to work, the courage to achieve - to achieve the highest excellencies and the fullest greatness of man. Dare we ask for more in life? "

"What other countries have taken three hundred years or more to achieve, a once dependent territory must try to accomplish in a generation if it is to survive. Unless it is, as it were jet propelled it will lag behind and thus risk everything for which it has fought."

"We have the blessing of the wealth of our vast resources, the power of our talents and the potentialities of our people. Let us grasp now the opportunities before us and meet the challenge to our survival."

"It is said that, of course that we have no capital, no industrial skill, no communications, no internal markets, and that we cannot even agree among ourselves how best to utilize our resources for our own social needs”

"The masses of the people of Africa are crying for unity…"

"In the era of neocolonialism, under-development is still attributed not to exploitation but to inferiority, and racial undertones remain closely interwoven with the class struggle."

"Common Continental Planning for the Industrial and Agricultural Development of Africa is a vital necessity."

"It is only the ending of capitalism, colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism and the attainment of world communism that can provide the conditions under which the RACE question can finally be abolished and eliminated."

If you have more quotes by this great man mostly referred to by many as the "Greatest Ghanaian/African" or "Adolf Hitler of Ghana" for many reasons, feel free and share it here:

Long Live Kwame Nkrumah...! Long Live Ghana...!! Long Live Africa...!!!

The Man Kwame Nkrumah: My Perspective

“Freedom is not something that one people [person] can bestow on another as a gift. They claim it as their own and none can keep it from them.”

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was not just the first President of Ghana but a very extraordinary man whose life and works contributed significantly to changing the world. He grew from a little village boy in Nkroful in the Western Region of Ghana to a world leader fully devoted to the struggle to free all black people from all forms of racism/struggle. He was also against everything which kept people irrespective of their color in conditions of slavery. He opposed oppression and exploitation in all its forms.

Many historians including Basil Davidson and F. K. Buah credit Nkrumah with the leadership of the struggle which led to granting independence to many African countries under various forms of colonialism. Indeed Nkrumah is placed in the same category as Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, Vladimir I. Lenin, Toussaint O’Liverture and Mahatma Gandhi whose ideas and actions helped to make the world a better place.

Amongst the many things which make Nkrumah stand out as an extraordinary personality was his realization that Africans everywhere ought to unite in common effort to assert their dignity and use their resources for meeting their needs and realizing their aspirations. His ideas for the unity of all Africans has come to be known as Pan-Africanism and they have their roots in his experiences as a colonial subject, his sojourn in the United States of America and the racist experience he suffered there and his association with Pan-Africanism thinkers of the time including W. E. B. Dubious, Marcus Garvey and George Padmore.

After completing his elementary school education, Nkrumah went to Achimota School from where he graduated as a teacher. He was still burning with ambition to excel academically and in 1935; he left for the United States of America where he enrolled at the Lincoln University, first obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree and later doing a master’s course at the Philadelphia University.

Given the fact that Nkrumah came from a poor background, he had to work to pay for his education. He worked as a waiter and sometimes as a dish washer. He did anything which would put a few dollars in his pocket and help him fend for himself in a land which was obviously strange to a village boy from Nkroful.

Nkrumah experienced racism at first hand. He saw that Africans were all victims of racism no matter where they came from. In searching for to questions about racism Nkrumah joined black students’ organizations and became acquainted with the ideas of such activists as Marcus Garvey. He read widely and was transformed into an activist.

When Nkrumah moved to London in 1945, he joined other Africans and persons of African decent in implementing the ideas he had formed. They worked in the West African students Union and the West African National Secretarial for the sole purpose of accelerating the independence process in West Africa as part of the general struggle of emancipating the African wherever he may be.

It is significant that on the eve of Ghana’s independence on 6th march 1957, he declared loudly that “the independence of Ghana is meaningless until it is linked to the total liberation of the African continent” The organization of the All African People’s Conference in Accra only one year after the declaration of independence attest to the Pan-African Agenda of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. This conference brought together the newly independent states in Africa and the national liberation movement to strategize on how to speed up the decolonization process. It was also the beginnings of what became known as the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

For Nkrumah the situation in which Africa remains the richest continent on the globe whiles its people are counted amongst the poorest is untenable. He saw Pan-Africanism defined loosely as the ideology and activism of Africans everywhere united in the battle against their under development as a redeeming force. Pan Africanism was not just an intellectual exercise, for Nkrumah it was the ideology for the liberation of the African from the clutches of oppression and exploitation.

Credit: Kwesi Pratt

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

KELELE - African Bloggers Conference '09

What is Kelele?

Kelele is an annual African bloggers’ conference held in different African cities each year and run by an organizing committee in that city. Kelele will be held for the first time in October 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya and hopefully would move from there.

Why Kelele?
Kelele is the Kiswahili word for noise.

We are organizing a gathering of African bloggers in the tradition of historical African societies where everyone has a voice. With too many voices marginalized or simply ignored in African society today for a variety of reasons, we believe that the internet in general and grassroots media tools such as blogs/SMS in particular represent the most powerful way in which to give Africans back their voice.

We are gathering to make a powerful, positive, inspirational noise that will be heard across the continent and beyond. KELELE!

The specific theme of Kelele ’09 Nairobi is “Beat Your Drum” – which connects the traditional African method of getting your message across vast distances – “the talking drums” – to the 21st century and the tools we use today, blogs and the Internet.

We anticipate that this conference will continue to be called Kelele wherever it is held. For example Kelele Nairobi ’09, Kelele Accra ’10, Kelele Cairo ’11 and so on.

When will Kelele ’09 Nairobi take place?
October/November 2009. We have tentatively booked the 29th October – 1st November 2009.

Sister events
The African Bloggers Awards, which aims to recognize the top blogger from each African country, will be held for the first time in Nairobi during Kelele. The winner from each country will be invited and sponsored to attend Kelele ’09 Nairobi.

There are a variety of ways that you can become involved as a sponsor for Kelele – your contribution doesn’t only need to be financial in nature. If you’d like to find out more about the sponsorship opportunities, please email daudi@kelele.org

For more information please contact
General – main@kelele.org
Daudi Were – daudi@kelele.org
Erik Hersman – erik@zungu.com
Ndesanjo Macha – ndesanjo@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Heart Nasir Jones....!!!

I have been a great and a loyal fan of Nas. I can boastfully boast of almost all collections of him. Born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones but known by all as “Nasir Jones”, “Nastradamus”, "God's Son"...

The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, he was born and raised in the Queensbridge housing projects in New York City. Although he dropped out of middle school, he managed to attain a high degree of literacy which is prominent in his lyrics.

One of my favorite videos of this great son of the motherland is “
Quick To Back Down by Brave Hearts featuring Nas & Lil’ Jon”.

Monday 13th September, 2009 marked another milestone in the life of this great artist. He became 36years old. Happy Birthday Nasir Jones. May you live to achieve all that, you've ever dreamed of.

To say you’ve inspired me would be an understatement. To say you’re imperative to hip hop wouldn’t be doing your talent justice. To say you’re a lyrical genius just might not be enough.

Information reaching my email indicates Nas and Damian “Jr Gong” are coming out with an album entitled “Distance Relatives”. I’m keeping my fingers crossed; can’t wait for it either.

Lyrics from the Video; “Quick to back Down”….

First of all this is Nas I'm a Braveheart veteran
and y'all already know who I'm better than
Y’all know the beef in the hood it'll never end
Never hit the club unless I get's my berretta in
The letter N, short for Nasir

Faulty ATM's In Accra: ReadyCash or Cash Not Ready

Do you know, banks can rip you off without you knowing? If you are reading this and are a customer of a Ghanaian bank, it is likely your bank is exploiting you in more ways than one which you aren't aware of. This illicit practice has survived for a long time because we have a weak consumer watch-dog group in Ghana and the Bank of Ghana appears ineffective looking after the interests of the public through regulation.

Some time ago, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) gave directives to banks to abolish or reduce what it described as unwarranted bank charges and fees. But all this appears to have fallen on deaf ears. As a result, undue exploitation of customers, unfair and uncompetitive practices by the commercial banks in the country have conjoined to discourage many Ghanaians from patronizing the services of the banks.

The last time fire gutted the Kumasi Central Market, cash exceeding millions of cedis got destroyed. Similar incidents have taken place previously at the Makola Market in Accra and other markets countrywide. This is because the services of banks in the country lack human face so traders have no recourse but to keep millions of cedis under market tables.

The irrational minimum initial deposits, punitive deductions for maintaining balances below thresholds, punitive charges for cheque withdrawals, salary processing, use of ATMs, extremely low interests on savings are just a few of the various complaints from the banking public. And BoG’s inability to enforce its own rules and regulation makes most Ghanaians to have little faith in the banks. The bank tariff regime in the country is not only unacceptable but is illegal.

In Ghana when one uses the ATM to withdraw cash from his/her account, one is charged between GHC2.00 and GH0.50p depending on the bank. When you request an interim bank statement, you are charged. What happens, when you try using a bank’s ATM and its faulty? Does the bank pay you back?

This morning, I was a bit late for work therefore I decided to be fast by stopping a taxi. I jumped into the taxi not even bargaining how much, the driver was charging me for the trip from my home to the office. Upon reaching my co-located office premises at the Gulf House near the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout, I decided to pay the driver by cashing some few Ghana cedis from the Ghana Commercial Bank’s ATM located around.

To my utmost dismay, the ATM was faulty/out of use and couldn’t help me pay this mean-looking cab driver who’s just about ripping me off. Here I am shocked, startled and confused; not knowing what to do again. The amount of money in my pocket wouldn’t be enough to settle the cab driver. Come see my embarrassed face?

Luckily, I saw a colleague also hurrying to use the elevator, approached him to help me out so I could sort him out later during lunch when the banking hall is in session. Thanks Walid for saving me…!!! Don't ask if I paid back, I did after I went to the banking hall later in the afternoon.

My question again; “What happens, when you try using a bank’s ATM and its faulty? Does the bank pay you back?

This afternoon, I went to the banking hall and was again met by a large crowd of people in the hall. The queue was just unbearable. I reported about my inability to use the ATM this morning and how embarrassed I felt. All the lady was able to tell me was; "sorry". I asked, when it would be fixed, she told me blatantly; "I have no idea, Mister". Worst case of customer service again..

Bank of Ghana would do the public good if pressure is put on the banks for them among other things to eliminate the minimum initial deposit requirement [heard some banks now open cashless accounts, though], abolish the fees for account closure, account maintenance, and reduce the Commissions on Turn Over by charging flat rates rather than percentage of volume of transaction, among others.

Foreign banks in the country are the major culprits in the excessive exploitation of customers. Services which these banks render in Europe, America and the rest of the Western World free attract charges Africa - and we are the poorer people. Why is it that in England Barclays Bank do not charge customers for using ATM’s to withdraw cash but when it comes to Ghana they charge us. Are we trying to say that Bank of Ghana is not aware of this broad day light exploitation?

I wonder, why people [including myself] keep saving/doing business with these banks. For your information; I closed my account and my might be trying Zenith Bank out.

Have you had a bad experience with any Bank in Ghana? Have you tried accessing an ATM of any bank and it was faulty? How long did you spend in receiving money from your bank? Would you recommend your bank to me? What makes your bank different from others? Your thoughts, comments are always welcome...!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Week [6th – 12th Sept] in Review [Accra]

Finally, this week has come to a successful end. It’s actually has been, without doubt, a very eventful week in the history of Ghana [my happy-homeland.] Indeed, it couldn’t have ended on a more eventful note. Honestly, in this high-speed dot com age when man has varying interests in the incredible and sometimes paralyzing abundance of options, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell what makes sense and what doesn’t.

The Review [Accra]

The week started on a rather shocking-but-exciting note when the CEO of Exopa Modeling Agency [a leading modeling company in Ghana] was “grabbed”, “nabbed” or maybe, “arrested” at our almighty Kotoka International Airport (KIA) with cocaine stuffed into some tubers of yam. I have a question and it’s going the media guys who broad-casted this breaking news. [What type of yam was it? Was it a puna, afasie, dabrekor, pundjo or avadze?]

These yams were purportedly destined for someone in “abrokyire: abroad”. Apparently, there is no yam in the country of destination, huh? The said tubers, sadly did not weigh the normal kilos/grams, as their insides were scooped and re-designed for other purposes; to contain other things.

Hell broke loose as the content of the tubers turned out to be a whitish powdery substance suspected to be “benzoylmethylecgonine aka Cocaine”. And as expected, that became the most important piece of news item for most part of the day and the days thereafter. All over Facebook, Twitter and all other social network, it was a banner headline.

What I find rather ridiculous about this whole yam odyssey has nothing to do with the fact that Ibrahim Sima is a huge public figure and maybe a role model for somebody or let me put it well, for the model girls at his company... Far from it. Indeed, I don’t think he is one. Well, at least, neither for me nor my kid sisters. I just don’t think that the guy looks smarter than he really is. In other words “tagbor faa n3 papa (in ewe): w’aa bon papa, ni tri e’wu paa (in twi)”.

I bet he has to get his head re-examined; in the unlikely event that the heavens smile on him and his lame excuse (of not knowing the content of the yams), saves him from rotting at the newly renovated Nsawam Prisons also knows as University of Nsawam. Was it Usher-Ray or 50 Cents? Which of them said, “get rich or die tryin?” I am sure, it’s 50 Cent…!!

As things stand, this guy may just ‘die tryin’. Ibrahim Sima should have taken a few fundamental tutorials from this hip-hop boys since he’s already a fashion mogul in Ghana. Someone who was able to invite Boris Kodjoe for his Ghana Fashion Weekend, He should have known that the cops are very familiar with this archaic and childish prank.

Now, if that guy really wants to make money and walk with the big guys, he should be considering at least a 40 footer container full of the stuff and not some 4 or 5 tubers of yam. It’s a shame. He has only succeeded in dragging the cherished business of the purportedly T-gor’s and the KB’s, in a piggy mud. Those guys won’t be excited at all. As a matter of fact, I am not going to side with IB at all, didn't know; He's such a coward...

Is Boris Kodjoe coming to Ghana in December for the * L* Fashion Nite?? Now that IB has been arrested, what's next for his modeling ladies? What would happen to his customized Range Rover with number plate EXOPA 7Y??? Heard, its been impounded at Narcotics Control Board [NACOB] as investigations continue.

Part 2 of Review coming soon... Going out for a lunch. Need to grab a bite. Been writing this in between my web-conference this morning.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

09.09.09 - 09:09:09am; It's An Ordeal...

Yesterday marked a significant date in my life. I believe everyone was very much aware of the date: 09.09.09. It's a date, I consider "Unique". Unique in the sense that, it won't happen again and there's no possible way its ever recurring. Like the previous ones; 12.34.56, 07.08.09, 060606, 070707 and 080808; they are all unique.

My facebook status read: Mac-Jordan is counting down to 09:09:09 - 09:09:09. Where you gonna be..?? What would you be doing..?? Share your thoughts...!!! I got the following comments from my friends and you would be surprised to know, where I was and what actually went on at that time.

Sam Kessie: "grrr... i'm gonna be working.. So hopefully it means more projects from here on out ;)" Tornam Tbone Anku: "Its not too strange but its unique." Adjoa Johnson: "am gonna be in Africa where no one is interested in bombing us out.. lol !!!!!!!!" Kajsa Hallberg Adu: "I was on facebook :-)"
Now to my ordeal:
As it is the norm in Ghana and most major cities in Africa, if you don't have a car to use for your personal and other work-related issues, you gotta be on the troskie always or when need be, taxies . Even though, they [tro-tro mates'] waste too much time looking for passengers and more, you'll finally get to your destination if only there's enough fuel in it. The driver's mates are always interesting and trust me, they've been no single day without a drama in any tro-tro I've boarded.

While sitting in this tro-tro heading to the Kwame Nkrumah [check my post on this great man later] circle. A drama started again. The bus conductor popularly known as "mate" took a GHC5.00 from a passenger and was to return a "change" of GHC4.45, he didn't want to do it. Only heaven knows, why he would do a thing like that.

Did someone say; it might be due to forgetfulness...??? "I beg, don't bring in that at all", was the cold remark I got for trying to save the day.

Apparently, the driver's mate have intentionally refused to balance the passenger thinking, he's got a free GHC5.00 for his already bright Vodafone Red-Day. Before he could say jack; my co-passenger friend [let's call him Efo Atsu, because he's got this Ewe accent in his spoken twi] shouted from the backseat; "Bro mate - My change; I gave you five cedis".

The mate sensing danger also replied in some harsh but tricky manner, "are you sure, you gave me five cedis?" Efo Atsu nearly gave him a dirty slap if he was close to him but that didn't happen so let's box on.

On reaching the Akuafo Interchange porpularly known as "37", Efo Atsu requested to alight there. Still no change from the driver's mate, he asked angrily; "hey bro mate - where's my change". The mate still insisted, Efo Atsu didn't give him five cedis but rather, one cedi. I had to save the situation by clarifying and cooling it down.
By this time, angry workers who were already late, started shouting; "Papa driver, we are late for work ooo", "Let's go before the traffic starts again" and a couple more comments..

The driver's mate finally gave in and returned Efo Atsu's balance of GHC4.45. As my time approached 09:09am; I started to look at significant things happening. At exactly 09:09:09; a police officer stopped the already late, traffic-pruned tro-tro. Everyone in the tro-tro shouted, haaaabaaa.. !!!

Seeing us coming from a distance, he raised his hands whiles holding onto a clip-board and shouted; "pack, pack, pack".. Everyone in the car including a Fire Service Officer, just chuckled. A young lady from the front-row exclaimed; "[ma nu one-cedi, na yen kor: give him one-cedi and let's get going]"

The driver got down, placed the one-cedi in what looked like his insurance booklet and walked towards the Officer who at this time was behind the tro-tro. In no time, the driver was back at his cock-pit, started the rickety tro-tro's engine and off we went.

So basically, my 09.09.09 - 09:09:09am didn't go as it should have but trust me, I am very happy sharing this with you. The part I didn't and don't like is; the bribe part. We shouldn't encourage this in our society at all. When would the Ghana Police Officers stationed on our roads to do just what they've been asked to do than taking bribe from tro-tro drivers even if their documents are in good standing...??

This tro-tro driver's documents were in good order but because he wasn't prepared to be delayed, he gave the bribe.. Ooooo Ghana.. Where are we going? Are we really moving forward??

For your information; I was born on the 9th of April; mine reads 0904.. !!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Glo-1 Lands Finally In Nigeria. Ghana Getting Ready

Walking around the capital of Ghana, Accra; you'll see workmen digging trenches and laying the cables which have been laid in the United Kingdom through Portugal and has now reached Ghana.

Globacom, the sixth company licensed to provide mobile telephony in Ghana has began digging the ground in Ghana to lay underground cables for its broadband service. The landing is expected to mark the beginning of cheap bandwidth which in itself would translate into many possibilities in the Information and Communications sector of the Ghanaian economy.

The project jointly executed by Globacom and its partners, Alcatel Lucent may give Ghana lead in telecommunication, eCommerce and egovernance among other practices that transform economies. The 9800km cable is coming from Bude in UK and connects Ghana to the rest of West Africa and the UK. It has landing points in Morocco, Senegal Ghana and Nigeria in Africa; whiles in Europe it got points in Cornwall, England and Lisbon, Portugal.

It is deploying 16 branching units to connect countries in West Africa.
It is the first single telecommunication company in the world to own its submarine cable. The high capacity Glo 1 optic fibre cable will bring direct connectivity between West Africa, the UK and the rest of the world. The 9,800 km long cable will provide huge capacity on its 2-fibre pair system. The Glo 1 cable will also provide excess bandwidth to all the cities connected to the cable.This will translate into much faster and more robust connectivity for voice, data and video. The cable will connect 14 West African countries through the branching units to the rest of the world. It will boost economic activities in the region, create job opportunities and serve companies in Europe and Africa.

Facts of the submarine cable landing are;
1. Glo 1 provides connectivity from Lagos to Bude in United Kingdom through fibre optic cable laid undersea.
2. The cable which is of the 32 STM 64 type has virtual infinite capacity and therefore offers sufficient capacity for traffic for the Globacom’s mobile, fixed, and internet telecommunication services.

I am just too tired of making phone calls and not been able to reach another subscriber on the same network, meanwhile his/her phone [subscriber unit] is on. There's been cases where, relationships has gone sour and some even gone bad due to poor services from the present GSM operators.

Globacom - Rule Your World....!!!

Black Stars Qualify for World Cup 2010.

Last Sunday at the Ohene Gyan Sports Stadium in Accra, Ghana Black Stars became the first African nation to make it to the World Cup finals as they defeated the Desert Hawks of Sudan 2-0 in the Group D qualifiers. With Benin having held Mali to a 1-1 draw in Cotonou, the capital of Benin; Ghana needed a win to qualify for the 2010 showpiece in South Africa.

A first half strike by Sulley Muntari who plays his career football with Inter Milan FC in Italy set the Black Stars up as Michael Essien who also does same with my English Premier League team, Chelsea Football Club in London, England followed up with a fierce shot in the second period to help the four-time African champions book their tickets to travel for South Africa next year.

Victory at the Ohene Djan Stadium also booked a place for Ghana in next year’s Nations Cup as the FIFA World Cup qualifiers serve to determine the field for the continental championship with the top three finishers in each group qualifying for Angola.

The win confirmed Ghana's qualification even with two matches left to play in the African qualifying series as the Black Stars have kept a clean sheet after four games.

The Black Stars were given a scare when a back pass to goalkeeper Richard Kingson slipped under his boots but he was quick to clear it off his line. But after 14 minutes, The Black Stars were in the driving seat as Muntari run onto a pass from capito-de-Marshall; Stephen “Tornado” Appiah to score in the 14th minute past Sudan goalkeeper Hafez Ahmed.

Ghana’s defence build around John Mensah and Eric Addo pulled John Paintsil and Harrison Afful together as they were hardly threatened to end the half 1-0 for the Black Stars. Both sides returned to pitch for the second half with Ghana mounting the attack as Samuel Inkoom, playing on the right side of attack kept on pushing forward.

The Black Stars picked up two bookings, going to Muntari and Appiah. Six minutes into the start of the second half and Michael Essien doubled Ghana's lead when he unleashed a 20 yard strike from outside the box to make it 2-0. But Sudan sprung into life as they threatened Ghana just two minutes after the Black Stars' goal.

Stephen Appiah [still without a professional team and have been out of play for almost a year] was the first Ghanaian substitute as the captain was given a rousing applause as he made way for Laryea Kingston after 75 minutes having successfully captained the Black Stars qualify again for the World Cup finals.

As proceedings neared the final minutes, the fans packed into the Stadium started the Mexican wave with yet success recorded. Milovan Rajevac, the Serbian coach made a second change sending on Asamoah Gyan for Matthew Amoah with Haminu Draman replacing Sulley Muntari.

With qualification now in the bag the Black Stars can begin plotting their assault on second successive World Cup finals.

Line up: Richard Kingston, John Paintsil, Harrison Afful, Eric Addo, John Mensah, Anthony Annan, Samuel Inkoom, Michael Essien, Matthew Amoah/Asamoah Gyan, Stephen Appiah/Laryea Kingston and Sulley Muntari/Haminu Draman.

Substitutes: William Amamoo, Opoku Agyemang, Isaac Vorsah, Laryea Kingston, Asamoah Gyan, Haminu Draman and Derek Boateng.

I am hoping a tour operator gets a good and an attractive package for us to be able to go cheer/support the Black Stars in South Africa 2010.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bitter-Sweet Feeling For Russian/Ukrainian Lingua

Have you ever thought of learning another language apart from your native homelands lingua? Have you ever traveled out of your homeland/country to study and have to learn a new language? Have you also thought of becoming proficient in a language you learned alongside English? If you have, clap for yourself but if you haven't; take the necessary steps working on either of the questions I asked up there.

Don't you feel like asking me, "How many languages can you speak after all the ranting?" Well, you just did. I speak and write a couple of languages very well. Numbre Uno on the list; English followed by Russian [Ruskie]. I can boldly do conversational French, Kiswahili [this was because I had a Kenyan girlfriend whiles in college] and My local Ghanaian languages are Twi, Ewe, Ga and a little Fante.

While most of my high school mates after graduation where thinking of continuing their education in Ghana, the United Kingdom, Canada or the US; I choose to do something different from everyone. After writing the various standardized exams that needs to be written and still not getting a full-tuition scholarship; I decided to forget entirely about the English speaking countries and head towards Eastern Europe… Now, don’t be surprised to read this.

You might be asking yourself; “Is this guy really serious?” “Has he gotten out of his senses?” “Does he know where he’s heading to?” “What in the heck would a black young man be doing in Eastern Europe where racism is the other of the day?”

I have had my ups and downs whiles schooling in that part of the world. The part where the dark-skinned man is not regarded as a human being. I have a question for you; “Is racism towards dark skin people an outcome of colonization, or a question of class?”

I have always wanted to write about my journey from Accra through Milan- Italy, Moscow –Russia and finally settling in Kharkov & Kiev – Ukraine. Would you believe, I got detained in Malpensa Airport in Milan for 10days because I missed my flight to Moscow and they wouldn't let me go stay in a hotel until my next flight? Yes, that's what you get for been a dark-skinned man, at times.

Aside all the hullabaloos in Milan and Moscow [would share much of this side later], I have deep for Russians [as in the people…] Have you ever encountered a Russian at this part of the world recently? How many of them do you know live in Accra?

Do you know where I can find a Russian restaurant apart in Ghana? Do you know any organization apart from their consulate in Accra? I want to meet-up with them and better my Russian language skills. I think I am loosing in on it. Don't get to practice so; I am beginning to forget most of it. Somebody come to my rescue…

There is something that Russians and Ukrainians can be counted on to do which I think; it's a part of their cultural. Сказать как есть: Say it like it is. Many foreigners especially Africans are shocked by the harsh remarks made by Russians. My psychology teacher in school would at times say things like, "Tы выглядите ужасными сегодня":”You look horrible today.” And my favorite of all incidents was when I was shopping for a new sweater in the Winter of 2005 , and I pointed to the one I wanted to try on at the магазин: shop, and the shop attendant said, “Нет, Вы являетесь слишком долговязыми для этого: No, you’re too lanky for that.” That’s the Russian/Ukrainian version of customer service–no beating around the bush. I took no offense and even had a good laugh, and thanked her for not wasting my time.

I learned to kind of love that harsh manner of talking and expressing (more often imposing) ones ideas; which is never accepted at this part of the world though. The great thing about Russians is that they don’t talk harshly about one another behind each other’s backs. They have some interesting beliefs and they feel it is their responsibility to bring you into the light. Russians are shy to “trash talk” but every once in a while you find an article in one of their newspapers [Правда (Pravda): The Truth].

There’s a famous little poem that describes what this blog post should be all about:

“Умом Россию не понять, Аршином общим не измерить: У ней особенная стать - В Россию можно только верить.”: Which means, in short, "if you want to get to the real Russia, you’ve got to put aside your informative books and start learning about her with your heart".

In a place as vast as Russia, my experience there was so miniscule. But if you spend even just 1 day in Russia and you do it with an open heart, the real Russia comes pouring in but you have to be very careful while doing this though...

Been an African students in Russia means, you live your life in absolutely carefulness. It is more a daily exercise in fear management. I have been attacked, beaten on the streets whiles the Militia's looked on without coming to my aid. I learned to follow the old advice of both Russian and African authorities -- never venture alone into the street.

Find a more information on Russian language Alphabet here.

Photo above is me [on the right] and school-mates from Cote d'Ivoire heading to school during winter. Got my sweater after all.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Big Brother Africa IV. Codename: The-Revolution.

The much awaited Big Brother Africa Reality TV Show started is finally on the silver screens after days... weeks… months… of serious hype. There are a few twists to this year’s new series though. This season’s show is dubbed; Big Brother Africa – The Revolution.

BBA’s residence is located in Highlands North, Johannes-burg and is aptly named Revolution House. The property is decked out with 40 cameras and 100 microphones so that you can see and hear everything over the 91 days the housemates are inside…

The popular reality show will have no more ‘shower hour’ to titillate viewers but will now present a unisex bedroom. Sitting on the couch, I couldn't believe all that been said about the "shower hour", well I gotta take it like that. Big Brother Africa – Revolution is on DStv channel 198.

Bedtime will never be same again as all 14 contestants vie for a peaceful night of scheming on how to get their hands on the US$200.000.00 prize!

More information on the new BBA Revolution.

• The prize money for this year’s Big Brother Africa has been doubled – it is now US$200 000, a ‘winner takes all’ fortune.

• The new season has almost twice as much sight and sound capability as seasons 1, 2 or 3: there will be 40 ‘all-seeing, all-knowing’ cameras, and 100 microphones.

• The old rules banning conspiracy in the house have been lifted and contestants will be free to forge alliances, discuss strategy openly and play the game in an entirely different way.

• This year, audiences will be asked to vote for the housemates they want to see remain in the series rather than the housemates they want to see leave the house.

• This year there will be 14 housemates, compared to the 12 of the past; this year will include housemates from Mozambique and Ethiopia. The other 12 countries are: Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

• The show will run for 91 days.

The 14 Housemates are as follows; [not in any specific other]

Namibia: Edward [33yrs old Public Relations Officer. He’s Single and in a “complicated relationship”.]

Botswana: Kaone [26 yrs old Principal Youth Officer. He’s Single – and he's okay about it”.]

Uganda: Hannington [23yrs old Student with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology.]

Nigeria: Kevin [24yrs old Entertainer with a BA in English Language. A Man Utd fan who resides in Jos, Nigeria]

South Africa: Quinn [21- year- old Quinn is a single1st year Media Diploma student from Johannesburg.]

Kenya: Teddy [18yrs old. Has a BA in International Relations from the United States International University in Nairobi. A Voice-over artist and broadcaster]

Zimbabwe: Itai [32yrs old currently studying towards his Master’s Degree in Peace and Governance. A keen public speaker]

Mozambique: Leonel [23yrs old. A single ICT Administrator. Leonel is proud to be the first Mozambican to appear on the Big Brother Africa show.]

Ghana: Wayoe [34 yrs old Web Developer, father of 2 girls (4 &2) and the first Rasta Law Student and first Rasta Hall of Residence [Unity Hall] President from KNUST]

Kenya: Jeremy [22yrs old Web developer. He’s currently studying towards a BSc Degree in Telecommunication and Information Technology plus Accounts.]

Uganda: Phil [25yrs old Marketing Consultant. BSc in Industrial Chemistry and is single.]

Ethiopia: Yacob [28yrs old Assistant Manager. A Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. He stands at 6'4" and is the tallest housemate.]

“I’m not sure what it is about the show but it’s almost addictive. I hate to confess it but, I remember days when I stayed up watching people [housemates] in the house sleep.” I also think there will probably even be more drama in this edition too because the stakes are higher. Not to mention that there are more countries.”

After Kwaku-T got evicted, I kind of loss interest but this time around, I am going to stay updated till the 91days is finally over. I don’t have a favorite housemate now but I am rooting for Wayoe [my country-man], Kevin [my naija buddy] & Phil [the chemistry man]