Why Bother with the Local Languages?

  • In the past weeks I have had a lot of discussions on local languages in Ghana. Many times in my youth, I have felt non Ghanaian due to my inability to speak a local dialect fluently.
  • I am not proud of my inability to speak a local language fluently. It however doesn’t justify making others like me feel bad.

    I love the Ghanaian languages. I am however unimpressed by its relevance in the modern world. I see very little advancements in the languages regarding literature or accessibility to help on the internet.

    There is a move to get Ghanaians to speak local languages. I however do not see how being the best Twi or Ga student ranks up with other subjects. What are the career possibilities? Is it something that is desirable?

    Forgive me if my questions or stance offends you. I am just trying to get better answers than “learn it because it’s good for you”.

    The only reason why I wanted to learn both Twi and Ga was to communicate with friends and share in the humor. I was not particularly interested in reading or writing the language and I have never had a reason since leaving Primary School to do so.

    There is a reason why English, French and even Spanish are desirable. I believe our languages are equivalent yet are behind in terms of importance.

    Maybe our population is small. It still doesn’t justify why we are not making room for the language to be useful beyond the marketplace or local scene.

    In the discussions I have been having it dawned on me that there are not even word games for the local languages. Crossword puzzles and scrabble for instance made me want to brush up on vocabulary. Are there crosswords in our local languages? Is there a local languages version of scrabble? If there is, would it help in teaching the language?

    I believe it will. Something has to be done.

    It’s sad that I am making this argument in English and not in a local language but that’s what we are familiar with. If even there was an autocorrect in our local languages to aid us in writing on our phones on applications like WhatsApp it would help.

    I can’t do much but write a poem on the matter. Hopefully this conversation and others will spark a movement that will see the future being better for Ghanaian local languages.

    I’m A Great Scrabble Player

    I am a great scrabble player

    My two word and three word vocabulary is off the charts

    I am a force to be reckoned with and busy myself with keeping abreast with language so as to see hidden words within my tiles

    I am proud of my skill and talent; and like the scrabble board, I look for double and triple letter word opportunities to showcase my abilities

    I am a great scrabble player

    But no one will play with me

    They laugh at my skill and talent

    I play words they don’t understand

    They say I am too local for the game

    A game of words wit and strategy

    Their tiles don’t have some of my letters

    I can’t form some words

    I am handicapped and frustrated

    How am I a great scrabble player if I can’t play in my own language?

    Keep it One Hondred!

    One Love

    One of the reasons why poetry is so powerful is because it’s multi dimensional. People often limit it to books or performance but there is more to poetry than just words.

    I have begun to explore the different dimensions of poetry with social media and art.

    Yesterday being Ghana’s Independence Day, I decided to try sharing my poetry differently. So playing with graphic design applications I posted my poem “One Love” on my Instagram feed.

    27 individual posts made up the poem. Majority of the posts have an individual message but play a role in the big picture which can only truly be embraced by viewing my profile page.

    The poem though short touches on Ghana and her desire to unite its people under the banner of love. The piece touches on how the concept of love is interpreted to mean different things and asks questions as to whether we are truly seeking love as a nation and people.

    Over the month of March and more, (depending on how long it will take) I plan on using my blog to break down the poem and discuss the elements within. I will touch on why I used certain images and why I used certain lines to further expand the details in the poem and show people how powerful poetry is.

    A screenshot of one of the 27 posts of the poem “One Love” on Instagram

    I urge you to search me up on Instagram @hondredpercent to view the poem and share your thoughts. This is quite the experiment I am embarking on so I am unsure as to what will result from this and what both audience and I will learn from this process. I however look forward to it.

    Keep it ONE HONDRED!

    Here is the poem:

    One Love

    Ghana raised Wanlov but we don’t have one love

    Our independence made us free to allow one love

    We fell in love with democracy and not one love

    Corruption came along with that and that’s one love

    to the one bud that got the power

    To him that’s one love

    Selfishness is his curse and that breeds love

    But not the kind we need to make it as he does

    In Ghana the real question is how do we love?

    Cos we love to talk a lot and that breeds doves

    of hope and conflict. The parties know it. Yes we love

    a back and forth but that’s our fault cos we lack enough

    as it is already to stay as we are

    I am tired of this already but that’s not enough

    Cos maybe its only me and that’s not one love

    Maybe you are tired too and maybe that’s two love or true love but time will tell if we are really all for one love

    My breakup with Social Media

    Hondred: Thanks for meeting me on short notice. I have been trying to have this conversation with you for a while but it’s been difficult getting the words out of my mouth.
    SM: Y didn’t u just link up on Whatsapp or DM me on twitter or something?
    Hondred: I could have but I prefer doing this face to face as opposed to sending messages and stuff.
    SM: K so wassup?
    Hondred: There is no easy way to say this but here goes. I don’t think this relationship thing is working. There is too much going on. Every minute something is happening and let’s face it you hog and demand attention.
    SM: Gimme a min. Sori I didn’t get dat I was responding 2 ma gal on Twitter. Say that again.
    Hondred: (Shaking my head) your attitude just confirms it. I don’t see you adding any value to my life right now. At first I thought I did but lately I realize that I am too connected to you. So I know things I shouldn’t know and I feel obliged to respond and act a certain way online with you. I don’t believe the impact I want to make is what we have right now so I think we should break up.
    SM: WOW! I definitely didn’t see that comin. But can’t we work things out?
    Hondred: I don’t know. When I think about everything and add your bad grammar and spelling to the mix. It makes things even more complicated. I mean don’t get me wrong I see the importance of having you with me, it’s just that right now I need some space. Maybe when my head is clear and I am less stressed I will find a way of making this relationship work.
    So the conversation above never happened but in a fantasy world somewhere, this could have been the way I broke up with social media.
    I don’t know about you but sometimes the notifications, information and updates feels overwhelming and stressful that one needs to take a break from social media.
    For a couple of weeks now that’s what I have done and honestly it has given me clarity and insight on the toxicity that social media can cause in ones life.
    Constantly being on your phone and being out of touch with reality has its negatives. Without the right perspective and balance one can end up prioritizing their phone and social media than family or personal life. Peoples lives on social media rarely mirror their reality. The selfies at the malls proclaiming life is good do not reflect what is in the fridge or what one is having for supper that night.
    There was a time where every morning I woke up I would check my phone for updates on how many likes I had received or how many people have read my blog post. Is this what I live for? I feel sad even thinking about it.
    As a Christian it affected me because I was not spending time in the Word as I wanted to due to me prioritizing activities on social media and leaving no time for God.
    As an independent artist it’s crazy because you have to develop content to put up to keep fans and potential fans informed and interested in your brand. Without a team to help you it becomes extremely difficult especially when you are juggling a 9 to 5 as well.
    Welcome to my world. At a point I was blogging about something each day. It was quite the challenge and I rather enjoyed those times but being realistic it took up a lot of time and often I felt like I was forcing and rushing the content than actually talking about stuff in a manner that will bring about impact.
    I guess it boils down to the question of “why bother?”
    I mean I could choose to be an observer and not contribute on social media. However, I take the gift that God has blessed me with as an artist and realize that part of being the light and salt of the earth is to share information that helps, encourages or brings about positive change.
    Keeping quiet for me is quite selfish for there is a lot I experience daily that I believe the world can benefit from. This specific blog post is an example and I am doing this to connect with others who I know go through emotions similar to those which I have shared in this post.
    I just have to plan my social media life better in a way that doesn’t bring about stress. I should do it for the love and not for the likes. For the impact and not the stats. Remember, just because the stats do not reflect your desires doesn’t mean your work has not impacted someone.
    People have walked up to me and reminded about some things I had done in the past on social media which I never thought gathered any attention. You will be surprised the kind of offline action that social media has. It’s just difficult to report on but it does happen.
    So if you are like me and broke up with social media or are considering breaking with her/him. Try reflecting instead on how you can make the relationship more meaningful and less toxic.
    Keep it One HONDRED!

    There is a Trump in all of us

    I don’t know about you but sometimes when the world blames a person or a people for something bad, I kind of feel that my country people will behave differently. I figured that even if the general public disappoints, those in my circles will surely bail me out.
    Boy was I wrong!
    Last Saturday whilst surfing twitter for juicy content to contribute towards, I stumbled upon a tweet about a Lebanese supervisor in the Ghanaian restaurant Marwarko, dipping the head of a female staff in a bowl of blended peppers.
    I was horrified and quickly looked into the details of the tweet to verify the authenticity of the story. The tweet was true and quickly spiraled into a trending topic with the hashtag #BoycottMarwako.
    I was unhappy about the whole incident but more disappointed with the direction being taken on social media by some Ghanaians. It was here that I realized the Trump qualities of banning or getting rid of specific people resided not only in America but in Ghana as well.
    I hate feeling that my colour, race or nationality brands me as a certain kind of person, usually with a negative context to others of a different background. So when my country men behave the same, I get disappointed because I thought they should know better. 
    After all that we went through to gain our independence and the discrimination we sometimes face when we go abroad, I expect us to be more understanding in an effort to spark a change in this stereotype nonsense of which I believe Trump brought to prominence, that the world is all of a sudden gung-ho about.
    I got rid of that Trump gene a long time ago and I guess people are still holding on to theirs.
    This is social media anyway so I guess people are just being expressive but this unfortunate incident has seen the rise of a petition that wants the culprit not only prosecuted, but deported with the restaurant also closed down. (What a Trump move)
    In my personal opinion the closing down of the establishment is uncalled for especially when there is no evidence suggesting the business is also involved in such abuse.
    All of a sudden, this poor action on the part of one man has managed to support the stereotype that Lebanese business owners abuse their staff and thus should have their business closed down. 
    Though there may be some truth to this stereotype, the incident is not about Lebanese bosses and their Ghanaian staff. It is about a superiors poor conduct with a staff member which as a Twitter user put is something that is akin to not only Lebanese superiors and their subordinates but everyone in the world.
    In fact many Ghanaians have heard stories of Ghanaian women from all walks of life treating house helps or maids in similar or worse conditions. In these cases, the matter was either forgotten and never resulted in a petition. That however does not justify their actions but rather puts them in the same boat as this Lebanese culprit. 
    So clearly there is some kind of double standard here. Do we only get enraged when such abuse ensues between people of different race or nationality? What does that say about our integrity as humans? If you ask me it just makes us Ghanaians sound just like Donald Trump and it’s sad to see that many people all over the world are towing that line.
    I was all for the petition but I can’t agree with the terms put up. Why must a business be brought down because of the poor actions of one man who clearly went against the companies policies as reflected in the statement by the restaurant towards the incident. 
    Let’s keep it One HONDRED! Let’s ensure this lady gets justice. Let’s not in the process sound as if we are opposed to foreigners. We all know how Ghanaians can’t get enough of them. Let the morality and ethics yardstick however be the same for them. No preferential treatment whatsoever. We are all one people.
    You can check out the contents of the petition here 

    Rude Customers – My Shoprite Experience 

    Courtesy in Ghana seems to be a word reserved for MC’s or hosts of eventsto declare to audiences “who did what” with regards to sponsorship of the show. 
    For those stuck on just that definition, there is more to the word than that; and  I want to draw attention specifically to the part about manners.
    So last Sunday I passed by Shoprite after Church to pick up a couple of things needed at home. 
    At the end of my shopping I proceeded to the till area. I ended up in a queue with two customers. One just packing their stuff and the other having their goods processed.
    Standing behind the area where you drop your goods for the sales attendant to process, I waited patiently for the attendant to finish scanning the goods of the customer in front of me before unpacking my stuff out of the shopping basket.
    It was finally my turn, so I dropped on the till a Coke and Tampico and BAM! There I see some items pushing against my Coke and Tampico like boys behind girls “receiving current” at a party ( another term for grinding )
    I pause for a second and think to my self
    “how rude can this person be?”
    I continue unpacking thinking it’s an error in judgement of the person doing this but to my surprise more stuff kept piling behind my items. 
    I was pissed but kept my composure.
    “What’s wrong with you?”

    I kept asking this question in my head and wished I could sprinkle courtesy on the culprit, who is a woman along with a guy who seems to be her partner.  I mean for peace sake give me some room to feel comfortable. Even in Kaneshie or Agbogbloshie markets people don’t breathe down your neck this badly.
    I shake my head internally and place my basket at the side and proceed to pay. The attendant finally swipes the last item and asks whether this woman’s items are part of mine.
    Yes, the proximity of our items were so close that EVEN the attendant at the till thought the woman and I were together.
    This is not the first time such has happened to me and it makes me wonder whether this is something that has to be taught or whether such courtesy or shopping etiquette qualifies as common sense.
    Why can’t people give each other the space required to complete a transaction. I mean allow the person to finish dealing with the attendant and then you can come up and handle your business.
    I don’t want to assume that Ghanaians behave this way but some actions by some Ghanaians have pushed the idea far enough that it’s become a constant debate in my head.
    So help me out here. As you keep it One Hondred this week, can you tell me why people invade spaces at tills or counters in malls, banks or shopping centers?
    Have a blessed week!

    You Can Now Buy Hanes Products in Ghana

    I don’t know about you but when it comes to underwear I want something that is of good quality that lasts. I want a brand that I feel comfortable wearing knowing that the price is just right.
    Unfortunately to get such into your drawers at home you either have to get someone traveling to get you some or be stuck gambling with brands you find here in Ghana that are questionable.
    That all has changed for Ghanaians as Hanes, the American apparel line.of products are now available in Ghana. 
    Hanes has been in business since 1901 and owns a number of brands including Champion, Playtex, Bali and Maidenform to name a few. They deal in male and female underwear as well as casual wear with regards to t-shirts and golf shirts (or lacoste as Ghanaians love to call it).
    So where can you shop for Hanes in Ghana ?

    Brand Essentials Store Front
    Brand Essentials Store Front
    Brand Essentials is a reseller of the Hanes  brand. The company recently opened its doors to the public last Friday, January 6th 2017. 
    Brand Essentials is located in Dzorwulu at the ground floor of Placito Plaza where Placito is located. The building is after Urban Taste on the Olusegun Obasasnjo highway when coming from 37 and opposite the Produce Buying Company (PBC) bus stop.
    Brand Essentials Google map location
    Brand Essentials Google map location

    Sip & Shop
    This Friday, 13th January 2017, Brand Essentials invites you to its first Sip & Shop event. Come with friends to experience the store and purchase your essential apparel with a drink amidst friends and colleagues. 
    Brand Essentials store
    Brand Essentials store
    The event kicks off at 17:00. I guarantee that you will satisfy your curiosity.and Staff and management will also be available to answer any questions and entertain possible wholesale business.
    Brand Essentials ladies section
    Brand Essentials ladies section
    So don’t say I didn’t tell you. Pass by this Friday and have a Brand Essentials experience. 
    Remember, keep it One HONDRED!


    The first weekend of the year for Ghanaians was enthusiastically hyperbolic from a political standpoint. The new President’s inauguration speech sparked a bonfire of comments as a result of plagiarized quotes from former American Presidents speeches.
    I am just impressed that many Ghanaians know the other word for “copy”.
    Saturday 7th January 2017 was a bright day of hope for all who had supported the New Patrotic Party (NPP) towards victory in the recent presidential elections. Nana Akufo-Addo was inaugurated as President of Ghana amidst Ghanaians and guests from far and wide. 
    Unknown to many Ghanaians, the eve of the Presidential inauguration saw the creation of the National Plagiarism Council (NPC) as well. 
    (Imagine an evil laugh here)
    The NPC, eager to get to work and showcase their relevance in society, took it upon themselves to scrutinize the Presidents inauguration speech.
    The inauguration was a photographers dream. The venue was dazzled with decor and fashion that at a point, I was confused as to whether it was an inauguration ceremony or fashion week. 
    In the same vein the NPC also did not play with their plagiarism game and were adamant in making a statement to rival the social media tidal waves of fashion and even Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings snub of MP Oko Vanderpuye.
    From a technical view point, parts of the speech were plagiarized. We are however talking about two sentences that were not major points. 
    Are we over exaggerating an error of two sentences? 
    Yes, Oui, Yebo, and any other way of saying yes.
    Are you kidding me? We make it sound as if the President stole gold when all he stole was a cookie from his own mother’s kitchen. 
    Those blowing this error out of proportion should get off their high horses. I am however not surprised with this reaction as Police and security personnel in Ghana sometimes over exaggerate minor offences and react as if they are dealing with repeat criminals. From the look of the comments on social media, I guess that behavior cuts across to other professions as well.
    I would however like to thank all who pointed out the error and also point out that though unacceptable; it’s not a big deal and will do little to dent the hope the nation has in the current administration.
    I just hope this attitude towards scrutiny will be applied to all things in Ghana. By this I am referring to corruption, professionalism in public offices and moral issues.
    Lets all remember that we make mistakes. Lets learn from them and try not to judge others. You never know but with roles reversed, we may do even worse than those we are judging. 
    Lets keep it One HONDRED and remember to work together as Ghanaians to make Ghana a better place for all.

    You Gotta See The Ghanaian Mortal Kombat Trailer

    So there is this Mortal Kombat trailer on line that is driving me crazy. It’s not perfect but for some weird reason (that I can’t explain) I love it.
    I have honestly never been a fan of Ghanaian movies. I hardly find them amusing or creative especially those from Kumawood. 
    (Kumawood is the local term for movies either made from Kumasi or in the local dialect Akan) 
    These movies are made often with improv actors with only an idea of what the movie is about. Famous Kumawood actors have made a name for themselves due to their improv comedy and skills on set.
    I usually don’t like these movies because they are a bit silly and lack any sense of purpose or originality. You could be watching the movie and before you know it it’s over with the credits rolling and telling you to watch out for part two.
    (And if there is a part two, there is definitely a three and four)
    The plot, purpose or title of the movie usually takes its cue from what is happening in Ghana and the world. 
    Lately special effects have been featured in such movies turning them into a South Park sort of movie with you wondering where a dragon or spider man came from.
    This Mortal Kombat trailer however, is unlike others I have seen. It is clear that the director is passionate about the franchise and keen on showcasing the elements that made people like the game.
    Things I Didn’t Like 
    My main issue is with the costumes. On the whole they are great just that I would have changed a couple of things. 
    Liu Kang for instance is a black guy with a weave. 
    (Raised eyebrows….what’s that about?)
    He could have just been a dreadlocked fellow. 
    I also didn’t see any subtitles when Akan was spoken. It’s little things like that made the trailer loose points.
    Things I Loved
    I loved the story line. Even though it’s a trailer, the story within whets your appetite to view the full movie. The action is also fantastic. 
    (I am not exaggerating) 
    The sound effects and the classic fighting and special moves of Mortal Kombat characters made me fall in love. Drones were even used to get beautiful shots of fight sequences. The moves did not look fake and definitely made me proud as a Ghanaian. 
    The cast is truly talented and this trailer has made me interested in where Ghana’s stunt industry is going. 
    Unfortunately the Ghanaian Mortal Kombat movie is not out. The idea was to just make a trailer to fulfill a life long dream and showcase the ability of the director popularly known as Committee.
    Check out the trailer by clicking the link below:
    Ghana Mortal Kombat Trailer
    You can read up more about Committee and the project by checking out this article.
    What do you think about Ghana’s Kumawood films?
    Keep your comments One Hondred!

    EC Announcement Delay Worries Me

    So Ghana went for change and in the process almost changed the colours of our flag to white, blue and red. Celebrations have been on going since the President John Mahama conceded. Some celebrations however have gone overboard and caused unnecessary pain.
    This morning I want to share my concerns about the Electoral Commision’s (EC) delay in announcing the election results.
    I had the opportunity of listening to an audio post on whatsapp that detailed how the NPP was sure it had won the elections. I won’t go into the details but it involved hacking of which I believe because on 7th December 2016, around 22:00 I could not access the EC website. I tried hour after hour and still could not access it.
    On Friday I put up a post expressing my views on our behaviour towards the delay of the EC in announcing the results. My view was to let the EC do it’s job. I was not privy to any information suggesting inefficiency. As far as I was concerned the EC had the best means to go about managing the election and announcing the results.
    This news about the NPP having the results before the EC however worries me and brings up a lot of questions. Why did it take the EC so long in announcing the results? How efficient is the EC in doing its job? Is this going to be addressed? 
    I don’t have facts for these issues being raised but the conversations I have been part of suggests that the NPP was vigilant in ensuring that their votes were protected and that the right thing was done. This is the right attitude to adopt but the EC should surpass the vigilance of the NPP as the refree in the electoral process. It sounds as if that was not the case.
    I am not comfortable. As a Ghanaian voting for the first time I believe an institution like the EC has more than enough time to prepare for an election and ensure that the security and validation of votes are coallated in the most efficient manner. For a political party to be more efficient raises some serious eye brows. I don’t have the facts but I am interested in finding out more about this issue. 
    All Ghanaians should be interested in finding out about the delay. Media houses should delve into these why’s. The integrity of our country and institutions are at stake.
    If CHANGE is really here then let’s change the attitude of silence and ask a simple question. Why was there a delay?
    As we keep it One Hondred leading to Christmas, what’s your take on the EC’s delay to announce?

    Patient Politics Paaa

    Are Ghanaians patient people?
    Looking at our behaviour and reactions in the physical and on social media it is clear that Charlotte Osei is taking Ghanaians through a patience course.
    What I don’t get is why everyone is all over excited. It’s very clear the peace songs didn’t do jack.
    Everyone is looking forward to getting this election over and done with. Let’s assume nothing. It’s only one presidential seat for one person. The Electoral Commission (EC) is responsible for giving the results so let them just do that.
    Has it taken long?
    Sure it has but we will get a result. This situation is a case of hungry children (Ghanaians) complaining to their mother (Charlotte Osei) about how long it’s taking her to prepare lunch. The only difference is that in this our waiting situation, the children can’t go into the kitchen to help their mother. 
    I strongly believe the reason for this tension is because people feel that the lunch is being cooked rather than prepared. 
    For NPP I can understand why they will feel this way. Looking at what happened in 2012 their frustration is warranted. However, there are better ways of addressing these issues.
    The safety of Ghanaians and the nation is paramount. Let’s allow the EC to do their job. Unless you have proof of rigging don’t insinuate or broadcast false claims. It does not help us all. 
    Let’s keep it One Hondred! in respect to our mother Ghana.