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!

    Nuse Concert Gallery

    As promised here are the images of the Nuse Concert with Worlasi and friends last Saturday at Alliance Francais. Keep it One Hondred!

    Worlasi and Manifest
    Worlasi and Manifest
    Worlamy in the building!
    Worlamy in the building!
    Worlasi and Wanlov
    Worlasi and Wanlov
    Worlasi reacting to fans
    Worlasi reacting to fans
    Cina Soul
    Cina Soul
    Poetra Asantewa
    Poetra Asantewa
    Torgbe Worlasi
    Torgbe Worlasi
    Six Strings
    Six Strings
    Worlasi and Six Strings
    Worlasi and Six Strings
    Worlasi and Safoa band
    Worlasi and Safoa Band
    Worlasi the belt man
    Worlasi the belt man
    Safoa Band getting ready
    Safoa Band getting ready

    Worlasi-The Future

    I first stumbled upon Worlasi’s unique sound earlier this year upon a video shoot at Francis Kokroko’s studio in Osu. Mawuli AKA Daniel Quist was bumping to tracks of Worlasi’s album “Nusē: The Strength Within” and raving about the artist. 
    At the time I had no idea of who he was. Track after track during conversations I found it difficult to point out error in his art and embarrassing that I did not know about this great artist. 
    It was official…….I was hooked.
    As an artist there is only one phrase I can use to describe his music: beautiful envy. I envy his artistic prowess and yet inspired by it.
    His style is unorthodox and cool. A complex yet simple medley of pidgin English and Ewe over beats he produced that evolves the Hiphop I know into something else. 
    I had to get more Worlasi in my ears. Luckily for me Soundcloud houses a number of his tracks. From earlier works to his albums, it’s all there. I soaked into each track until I stumbled on “One Life”. 
    As a Ghanaian, beautiful doesn’t begin to describe “One Life”. The instrumentals produced by Worlasi creates nostalgia and gets you bumping before his lyrics hit your ears. 
    Comprehension of my enthusiasm is difficult if Ewe doesn’t roll off your tongue as smoothly as Michael Jackson dance moves. The video for the song however is kind to provide subtitles to break the beautiful mystery of Ewe down for you. 
    The more I soak in Worlasi’s music the more I am encouraged that Ghana’s music has a future. We are a nation blessed with amazing artists that Ghanaians for lack of exposure struggle to understand. Thus music is more about empty lyrics and dancing. That’s great but doesn’t challenge the status quo. 
    Great art is a medley of entertainment and admiration merged with commentary on a social or political issue. Manifest is an artist that understands this concept and continues to lean on it. Worlasi as an artist and producer is taking that concept to the next level.
    His recently released track, “Nukata” is the artists take on male obsession with women that lead them to empty their morals and cash. I call it the Pidgin and Ewe version of Gasmilla’s “Telemo”. The video is equally interesting portraying a man vommitting out dollars and later cedis and later coins just to satisfy his passion’s (embodied as a female) desire.
    If you have not heard about Worlasi, search for him and listen to the future of our music. He is going places and I will be proud to see him raise Ghana’s flag higher. 
    (Don’t for a second however think my enthusiasm for his art is because he featured on Manifests track “100 percent“.)