Tue, May

elizabeth ohene

  • Courtesy of the Upper West Regional Girls’ Education Officer at the Ghana Education Service (GES), we all now know that not a single girl has ever completed the Sawoubea Junior High School in the Wa East District in the past 25 years.

    A bit late in the day, I accept, but I am increasingly having to ask over and over again, if there is a generally accepted understanding of what constitutes Ghanaian culture, what is Ghanaian and what is un-Ghanaian?

  • This myth has persisted that the Black Stars of old sacrificed and loved Ghana more than the rest of us and played for no recompense. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I don’t know why the sports journalists are reluctant to state this.

    There are two subjects guaranteed to make headlines: children attending classes in unsuitable structures, and old players of Black Stars who have fallen on hard times.

  • Then one of the young men asked me the question which sounded more like an accusation: “But you are not really black, are you?”

    It is 1991 and I am in Bloemfontein, capital of the Free State province of South Africa.

  • We do not like science very much in this country. We prefer to ascribe spiritual and miraculous explanations to all things that happen in our lives. Accidents, deaths, ill health, passing and failing exams, finding a partner, wealth, poverty, good fortune - none of them have scientific explanations.

  • There is some level of authoritarian and dictatorship in the level of governance they have. We have taken our democracy as absolute and we are doing anything we like. That is the difference between Ghana and Rwanda.”

    Last year, lots of Ghanaians appear to have visited Kigali, the Rwanda capital. I assume this is so because of the number of times I got photos of the streets of Kigali from Ghanaian visitors.

  • And I wonder about someone having eight children.

    I return to a subject that seems not to interest many people in this country.

  • There are those who specialise in organising events; they plan the décor, they hire out the crockery, they have huge warehouses full of tables, chairs, fancy plates and cutlery and glasses and table linen; they employ carpenters, decorators.

    One thing does lead to another.

  • Now I know that a word can be stretched while in use to mean things it was never meant to convey but it seems to me now the use of the word ultimatum has gone way beyond proper usage in our country.

    There is a word that now features so frequently in the public discourse of our country that I have had to go and make sure the word means what I thought it did.
    Every day in the newspaper and on the radio, someone or some group is giving the government an ultimatum.

  • On the theme: “Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights,” UNICEF and other UN agencies have been committed to the cause of girls and women; and have over the years supported communities to appreciate the role of women in all strata of society.

    In Ghana, 19 per cent of girls marry before their 18th birthday, one in three girls aged 15 to 19, that is 39 per cent in Ghana, has experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives and 22 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19 years do not go to school, or work or engage in social activities during menstruation.

  • It will be a happy day when they accept that criticising them doesn’t mean you are against them. Strange how they dish it out, but can’t take it.

    Last year, I wrote a column about Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and think tanks. I am revisiting the subject and I crave your indulgence if there is a lot of repetition.

  • I suppose the first difficulty is, can those in the diasporas mark or celebrate something here without the full participation of those of us here?

    I stopped worrying long ago about whether you can celebrate the anniversary of an unpleasant event or not. I no longer even agonise about whether I mark or celebrate an anniversary. Everything becomes a celebration in the end.

  • I went to the site last Saturday to see things for myself. First lesson when I got there, virtual is not the same as the real thing. The original six-week target had already been changed to 12 weeks, but ....

    If ever there was an ambitious project in this country, it must be the 100-bed Infectious Disease Centre being built at the Ga East Municipal Hospital.

  • Is there anything Ghanaian about the time I get up or go to bed? Could I not just be a morning person or a night owl and still be Ghanaian?

    The human race, I understand, is made up of morning people and night people. There are those who are at their best and most productive in the early morning hours and then there are the night owls, who really only come into their own during the night.

  • In other words, I can’t expect someone else to come and praise my city, if I don’t do it myself. Maybe there is a hidden beauty that I have been unable to see, but the truth about our city is that it doesn’t work.

    I thought it was brave of him to have appeared at his vetting in Parliament stating that he wanted to make Accra work. If you live in Accra, or have any reason to come to our capital, you would wish our minister well, you would pray that he did succeed in making Accra work indeed.

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