You Are Invited

“You Are Invited”
A half baked trick question that requires the recipient to respond in the negative but never provides guidelines on the procedure.
It’s Ghanaian in nature and sometimes very irritating. Author Alba K Sunprim addresses this very issue in her book “The Imported Ghanaian” but unlike Alba however, I am not imported.
I have never understood why you invite someone to eat with you when you don’t mean it. (If you use this term and are generous with your food I apologize. This post is for the hypocrites that do)
I recall an incident in my younger years at a friends house. They had some friends over about my age and as was the tradition in the home, my friends mother made pancakes (my kryptonite). 
I had gobbled my share and was hoping for an opportunity to “chop” some more. (chop is the pidgin word for eat) 
As my mind  reminisced on the last bite, an invitation was made to me. 
“You are invited”, said the young lad who had just received two pancakes straight from the frying pan.
My hopes had transformed into prayers and the Almighty Lord has answered. My lips widened for a smile and uttered a sly thank you. Which saw me proceed to take a seat by my new friend in the kitchen and help him devour his pancake. 
I helped my self to one piece which hit the spot just right.
My new friend was in complete silence and disbelief at my actions but couldn’t utter a word of resistance. Scolding by my friends mother followed but the damage was already done. In my defense, I was invited. My friends mom just shook her head and gave the boy another pancake.
As he received the dish he looked at me and this time offered no invitation. I let out a smile and thought to myself, “That lesson tasted good!”
As you keep it One HONDRED! should you always invite people when eating?

It's a Boy!

“So is it a boy or a girl?”, I asked my wife. “A girl”, she said. “The doctor can’t see a penis down there and he has tried saaaaa, so I believe we have a girl”.
(saaaa: a word in Twi which describes how long something has occurred usually emphasized by the number of “a” used)
I had always wanted a girl as my first child before a boy. (Look at me acting like I was in control of that decision) I had my reasons, which I will explain later as this isn’t the purpose of my post. 
I was pleased with the results after numerous scans pointed in my favor. I was however hesitant in accepting the gender verdict as I heard of surprises from other parents.
Thus baby shopping was always in neutral  colours. Except for the Manchester United onesie I bought earlier in the year. (What a proud purchase)

Manchester United Onesie
Manchester United Onesie
 
Unfortunately when the baby was delivered I wasn’t around. It was in the early hours of the morning and I was asked by the hospital staff to go home and rest assured. It was my mother-in-law who called to deliver the news. 
It’s a Boy! 
😳
(that emoji was my face when I heard the news)
I was surprised but not disappointed. Laughed my head off at God’s way of playing pranks with me and started thinking of what to call my new born son.
Fast forward into the future, I get surprised at people’s reactions when they are told of the baby’s gender.
“Chale you force oooo!”
“You have done well!”
I may sound unappreciative but I found those comments at times disappointing. Especially when I mention that I was looking forward to a girl and receive an opposite reaction.
In 2016 I thought Ghana’s views on children will have changed but it seems the old ways are still present. 
A girl and a boy are different and each bring something different to a family. However it is God who provides these blessings and knows what is best for us. 
Hondred Percent and son yawning
Hondred Percent and son yawning

As much as I was looking forward to having a daughter, I am ecstatic about my son. Never did I know the feeling of pride and happiness he will bring into my life. I just don’t like the idea that boys are still perceived as major achievement and girls as a minor one. Maybe it’s just because it’s my first child.
I liken this to a football match. You always prefer your team to score first and win as opposed to being scored first and then winning from behind.
I just worry about the social and cultural pressure placed on women who had daughters first and how they must feel. I mean, that could have easily been us. Makes me wonder the reaction to the gender some would have given if my child was a girl.
Maybe I am viewing this all wrong. I however feel these perceptions should change. So as you keep it One HONDRED! What’s your take on this?

Ehalakasa Festival 2016 Review

The early morning rains on Saturday, 29th October, 2016 was definitely a sign of good things to come at Apam. Though I got stuck in the mud on the way to the Ehalakasa Festival 2016, I arrived in time for the festivities.
This was definitely an improvement from last year. The sound was better and there was a band – Genius Hive Band. As an artist who has visited numerous shows and considering the line up in store, my expectations of a quality show was short sighted.
The festival was EXCELLENT! Definitely ONE HONDRED! Threw me off guard completely. 
The festival started with an open mic session which saw up coming artists perform before the main event. Poetry, dance and rap graced the stage as the Two Idiots, Dr.So and Gen.Ntatea ushered them as MC’s.

Students from GHANATA at Ehalakasa Festival 2016,Apam
Students from GHANATA at Ehalakasa Festival 2016,Apam
Students from GHANATA were part of the open mic session and coloured the event with their art. Their confidence, stage craft and words pave a promising future for the art scene in Ghana.
“Black alone doesn’t make a difference but black and white make a gray”
Yvonne from Ghanata
This line stuck to me throughout the festival. It’s similar to the saying “no man is an island” but puts more emphasis on racial unity as the way to get things done. Great minds are definitely blossoming on our shores and this goes to show the importance of Ehalakasa’s involvement in schools. Their workshops have definitely molded artists for the future.
The event was graced with the presence of Ghana music legend Ebo Taylor, who opened the main show with a short speech encouraging artists to continue in their craft.
Donad (SA) & Hondred Percent (GH) Ehalakasa Festival 2016,Apam
Donad (SA) & Hondred Percent (GH) Ehalakasa Festival 2016,Apam

The festival was definitely an African one. We had Philo from Ivory Coast, Faithful from Cameroon and Donald from South Africa. Each artist had vibe that interacted with the audience and created a memorable performance. Donald’s “Hook em Up” Performance got the audience performing with him and our French brothers from Ivory Coast and Faithful tried their hands at Fanti and got us waving our hands and bumping to French.
Kacey Moore’s performance was a medley of genres. Hiphop and High Life mainly but I am sure the was some Reggae or Dancehall in there. The energy, the highs and lows in his tone accompanied by the band definitely made my body move. The host of Kona Live with Kacey Moore delivered and set the stage for the main act for the festival, Worlasi.
What follows Worlasi is hard to explain. His style is unique and laid back. Effortless and smooth. I could go on and on but let me stop and say that this guy has a way with his music and audience. He broke down on an intimate level why the songs he performed were written in a manner that you don’t get when you listen to his ŋusẽ mixtape. 
My favorites of his performance was “Possible” and “Nukata”. What I loved about “Possible” was that it was an inspiration to the art community to keep pushing. He encouraged all by reminding us of how he had dreams (like we all do) of meeting influential artists like Da Hammer, Sarkodie and Manifest. He elaborated that he had met all these people and they all came to him and not the other way round. He concluded by saying that if your work is good people will come looking for you.
Worlasi concluded the event in style and reminded us that not only is anything possible but that you can have fun doing it.
The Two Idiots were excellent hosts and need to be given more events to showcase their with and humour. Without them the event wouldn’t have come off the way it did. 
The sad thing about the festival was that it was not well patronized. That is what needs to be worked on next year. 
The Haduwa Cultural Institute in Apam, Central Region is a beautiful beach location booming with opportunity. I challenge you all to make it a point to come out next year with a change of clothes so you can have a taste of the beach as well.
Ehalakasa did a great job in pulling this together. I know a lot more can be done but together anything is possible so let’s make it count. 
In conclusion,I want to leave you with the punchline of the event. I don’t believe I have the exact phrase but it was by the poet Akambo who continues to amaze me each time I see him perform. The punchline is in response to a girl obsessed with technology (and a bit irritating to)
It goes something like this:

“Since you are so obsessed with technology, the next time you are on your period use an iPad”

Keep it One HONDRED!

Mobile Money – The Future

I had the privilege of attending a presentation by Ebenezer Twum Asante, the CEO of MTN some weeks back on mobile money. Here are some of the highlights of the presentation that I want to bring to your attention:

  • 35% of airtime is bought through physical means. 65% through digital means.
  • MTN currently piloting near field technology .
  • Debit card/credit card will probably be needless in the future. 
  • Money may be retained in the space as opposed to cashing in and cashing out.
  • Mobile money alone is responsible for over 10% of deposits in the banking system.
  • Current research shows that the central bank should raise the limit allowed.
  • Transaction size growing including amount transacted.
  • Security is as safe as the banks.
  • Scams still major concern but mainly because of literacy level
  • Mobile money is better placed to handle money laundering since they are able to deal with it in real time. Alerts are sent once a transaction occurs that triggers suspicious activity. Central banks and security agencies are contacted in realtime. 

Makes me wonder why we are still using cheques.

(I just want to highlight that though this article is about mobile money, it’s not referring entirely to MTN. It involves the other networks as well. It’s just that MTN is privileged to have mobile money associated with its name.)
I started using mobile money actively in 2016. I had been registered but never saw the need to use it till I needed to pay someone and found it more convenient to use digital means.
Since then I have found it to be an excellent medium of moving money in Ghana and find it irritating that my bank hasn’t yet integrated it into their systems.
As a millennial, these developments are exciting because it breaks down the red tape associated with money transfer.
Ghana due to scams on credit cards and other fraudulent activities, have been sidelined and thus payment platforms such as PayPal are not easily accessible. This restricts e-commerce to a privileged few.
Mobile money is just the beginning of e-commerce in Ghana. Technology such as Slyde Pay and Express Pay facilitate everyday transactions at the touch of a button or screen expanding payment opportunities. 
Ghana is gradually moving towards a future where our smart phones become more than just communication devices. They will become our wallets, ticket or boarding pass holders and identity documents.
I foresee payroll being run on mobile money platforms soon. It may even be used as a means to provide credit since your service provider has an idea of your cellular history and a bit more. 
In this digital age where the future is uncertain, I urge businesses to begin adopting mobile money and e-commerce. That’s the future. With the way technology is moving I strongly believe that our laptops will shrink to become our cell phones. The power we hold now in our phones keeps growing. Hard drive space, processing power, camera specifications and more keep evolving each day. 
So let’s position ourselves for the future. I look forward to my church adopting mobile money for offerings 😬.
(I will definitely be blogging about mobile money in church. That will be such a hot topic)
Keep it One HONDRED!

My New Hope In Politics-Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

When it comes to local TV, I am not so interested in tuning in. It has nothing to do with patriotism but more to do with quality content.
If I catch any, it’s because I stumble upon it by chance. Technology enables me to view the quality I desire from other sources. Yet I must say, that I am surprised that on more than one occasion, I have been caught paying attention to GH One’s “The Lounge” hosted by Kwaku Sakyi-Addo.
Last night, I did more than pay attention. From the moment I tuned in I was glued to the discussion till the end.
The guest on the show was Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, runner for the parliamentary candidature of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Ofoase-Ayirebi constituency.
(I was expecting Kojo to be drinking Kalyppo but I guess they were not sponsoring the show so water had to do.)
Kojo is not someone I would make out in crowd. When he took over from Komla Dumor on Joy FM, I was not in the country and upon my return he was off air as the host. Nevertheless, the confidence and eloquence displayed during the discussion, was one that won me over.
This is a politician, that in my view has a plan and the country’s best interests at heart.
What I admired about him was his determination. What he is doing in his constituency is no easy task. Going down to villages, speaking with the people regardless of the audience, is an arduous task.
It was clear that his goal was to bring about positive change regardless of the political party that instigated it. I don’t know many politicians will willingly follow suit and be willing to argue progressively to do what is best for Ghana.
His comment on the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) ruling of the Mahama gift saga, which was that he had infringed on his own gift policy, was bold and understanding of the political environment.
“Call a spade a spade”, he said. He further added that due to the fact that it was an election year, it was understandable why CHRAJ took this stance but that he expected more from the body.
Kojo during the interview went ahead to state that he was prepared to give up 25% of his salary should he become MP, as seed money to set up an Education Trust Fund to better the educational situation in the area. The area is currently faced with infrastructure and human resource challenges that make provision of education problematic.
He also told Kwaku, that he hopes to use part of the MP’s Common Fund to employ a doctor for the district and provide a mobile clinic to enable healthcare to be provided to those in even hard to reach areas. This is all while a plan to set up a district hospital is in the works.
As an artist with a mission on encouraging all to aspire for greatness, I identify with Kojo’s dreams and ideals. The interview gave me hope in Ghana’s political future. He is striving to provide his people the best and holds himself responsible and committed to the task. I wish him the best and look forward to seeing how he performs this year.
If I am keeping it “One Hondred”, I am not sure who I am voting for but if I was in Mr.Nkrumah’s constituency I would have voted for him in support of his vision and to encourage aspiring politicians regardless of party to walk in his footsteps.
More grease to your elbows Mr. Nkrumah. Keep it One Hondred!

Pokemon Go Ignorance

Yesterday Niantic’s PokemonGo became available on app stores of both Android and IOS for a number of African countries.
Avid players of the game like myself in Africa were happy to be acknowledged but like everyone else in the world, was hoping for an update to make the game more interesting.
My happiness was short lived when I came across certain comments on PokemonGoNews’s Twitter feed showing gross ignorance, painting a very clear picture that discrimination is not going away any time soon.
Here are the comments I found:

The third tweet is more ignorance than anything. So I can ignore it.
No! I can’t.
How do you call yourself Jesus on Twitter and say dumb stuff.  It’s 2016 for crying out loud, there is a smartphone everywhere! 
The first two tweets are just the worst. People’s thoughts on Africa are just stupid. It’s inexcusable to think that Africa doesn’t have cellular technology.
Even if you think otherwise, why would Niantic bother? Their data on their servers suggest that the game activity in Ghana is active enough to warrant to open it up on our app stores.
It’s amazing that the smartphones that the above tweets originated from couldn’t be used to double check their thoughts on a search engine before posting.
My initial reaction to the tweets was anger and then dissapointment, that with all this awesomeness that technology provides us, we are still far behind.
The tweets were unwarranted but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they don’t know that Africa has smartphones and not everyone is hustling for food.
You know what, I can’t.
I can’t wrap my head around it.
In the great words of Ghanaian comedian Lil Win, “I don’t think far”.
Even if we are hustling for food, some of us are using a smartphone to get that food and as we munch on our jollof (or whatever it is we have for lunch) we may catch a Dragonite or Pikachu in the process.