Monday, August 16, 2010

Do You Have Any Ghanaian In You?

Question: What Do You Know About Ghana?

I’m a Ghanaian..! I'm a proud African..!!
Do you have any Ghanaian in you? Would you like some?

Not long ago, I was at a Ghanaian function when I overheard a conversation between two young ladies. The older of the two was advising the other, who was about to visit Ghana for the first time. Ever the inquisitive mind, I moved closer to hear what the older friend had to say. I cannot recount all the details of her advisement, but never in my life have I heard the terms “voodoo” “and “armed robbers” so many times in one conversation.

As the younger listener imbibed her friend’s negative comments about our motherland, the anxiety in her face became palpable. Unable to bear it any longer, I decided to interject with a much-needed, albeit cliché-infested statement.

That episode got me thinking. Have we all bought into this distorted image of our country? I mean, is that all we know about Ghana? I wish I could say that the dialogue I witnessed is a departure from the norm, but the reality is that it is not. Among second generation Ghanaian-Canadians, there is a disconcerting lack of knowledge about Ghana.

The sentiments expressed by the older interlocutor are not an aberration from the general view that many of our youth have of our homeland. This perception is nothing short of caricature that is propagated by the mainstream western media and, regrettably, in Ghanaian movies.

The truth, however, is that we cannot blame members of the younger generation for subscribing to this view of Ghana. That a significant number of our youth subscribe to this caricature tells me that the older generation is not doing a good enough job of teaching them about our country and its vast array of cultures.

Many of the youth have not even had the privilege of visiting Ghana, much less live there for an extensive period like most of us older folks have. Those of us who have had that privilege can attest to the beauty and diversity of Ghanaian cultures. We have to do a better job of educating our children, younger siblings, nieces, and nephews about our homeland. If we do not do so, the mainstream media will continue to do it for us.

As a people, we need to make it of higher priority to educate our youth about our cultures, languages, and values. In our own capacities, we can do a lot to conduce to a generation that is knowledgeable of its roots.

Here is a simple proposal to actuate this idea: Next time you chance upon young Ghanaians in a conversation of similar nature, approach it as a teachable moment – a chance for you to impart knowledge about our beloved country. That seemingly small gesture can go a long way in eradicating the negative perception that many of our youth have of Ghana, our motherland.

Credit; Kwaku Wirekoh-Boateng
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ghana Bloggers Hosted Ethan Zuckerman

I do enjoy meeting people I follow via social media and it’s always nice to meet-up in real time, hold discussions on various topics and share ideas. 

In short, I would say: I like people, I like meeting them and I also do enjoying holding sessions of brain-storming, developing ideas and working on projects with them. 
Isn’t that nice? Shouldn’t I just go ahead and continue?
Mac-Jordan, Ethan & David Amanor in front of Smoothies Pub
In my previous post; Ethan Zuckerman Visits Ghana, I wrote inviting technology savvy, social media folks living in Ghana, especially Accra who wanted to spend their Sunday afternoon sharing ideas and contributing to a discussion instead of the normal spending time with the family, visiting the beach and so on...

Ethan happened to be at the venue (Smoothies Pub, Osu) for the meet-up earlier than we proposed, but whiles waiting for at the venue, BBC Correspondent in Accra; David Amanor came by for an interview with him and had wanted to interview a couple of the bloggers on; "How Ghanaians are using internet their daily lives. The Good & the Bad". The incident leading to Ethan been very early happened to due to a technical error beyond my control and I guess, Google Calendar have a hand in this. Will elaborate on that part later.
There was no agenda for this particular meeting. It was more of an open-forum were questions came from members and attendees on social issues, citizen journalism, internet infrastructure in west Africa, intellectual property law and politics which Ethan was surprised to realized, most Ghanaian bloggers don't write about it for reasons known to themselves. **security**

In sharing a view about the Nigerian movie industry from his latest blog-post; "Either you make films or make excuses" - ICT and the Nigerian film industry, Ethan made us aware, how Nigeria’s film industry been the third largest in the world in financial terms, with revenues in the neighborhood of $200-300m a year and still have privacy issue.

He also asked about online piracy and Ghallywood films and whether we were using BitTorrent to download these movies. Everyone laughed at this question because, nobody downloads Ghanaian movies online. You can grab a copy from the nearest CD/DVD vendor across the street.
The fact is;
the level of net connectivity in Ghana is generally higher than in Nigeria, the cost of downloading a video from BitTorrent, vastly exceeds what it would cost to walk onto the street and buy a film from a local vendor. To the extent that YouTube is a threat to Nigerian and Ghanaian film, it’s a threat to expatriate audiences, not domestic ones.
At the event, I noticed a couple of gadgets which is very typical for such meet-ups; one iPad, four Blackberry's, one iPhone & a couple Nokia's.  Alexander Sulzberger; CEO of Ecoband Networks - a small IPS Company in Accra provided us with FREE internet from his MTN FastLink Router. He also came along with his iPad giving the chance to Ghana Blogging members especially GamelMag to see it physically after hearing about it for a while since it's release.

A section of Ghana Bloggers at the meet-up
In attendance were; Ethanz Zuckerman, Alexander Sulzberger, Worlali Senyo, Kwabena Akuamoah-Boateng, Fiona Leonard, Charles A.A, Ameyaw Debrah, Gameli Adzaho, Edward Tagoe, Graham Knight, Golda AddoNii Aryetey Aryeh, Emmanuel Dogbevi & Nina Chachu; Author of Accra Books & Things. Dr. Amos Anyimadu and Rodney Quarcoo were also present but had to leave early to attend to other errands.

In the end, everyone was glad about the meet-up and requested for more of such meetings in the future. Well, I'm tasked to do that.

Know of any interesting person coming to Ghana for a few days and want to meet locals for these types of meetings, just let me know and I shall get the right folks around.

Photos from the meet-up are on my Flickr Page. Happy blogging.....!

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