Politics, Religion and Sexuality have been the three subjects I always try to stay away from. People have diverse opinions built from strong socialization on these subjects and I have come to respect what everyone’s stance is. It is not easy for people to change their views on these subjects.
It is quite interesting all three subjects have found their way into mainstream Ghanaian media, and on social media, and everyone is out with what they think; support, hate and half-backed knowledge [solely backed by culture, ignorance and religion] depending on the people you follow.
Most people who use religion as their basis for any human right argument lack the knowledge to reason and the ability to arrive at any logical conclusion for themselves and humanity, and therefore fall back on a set of documented historical occurrences to pretend to solve issues. “The bible said” “My religion” [just shut up!]
Last Sunday, in church, during a sermon, I leaned close to my friend and whispered to him how the Bible and entire Christianity is built on stoic patriarchy. It was left to be discussed later, because I had to let the sermon marinate. I promised to remind myself to make time to read the Bible more to confirm or deny what I thought of it.
Over the weeks, before the President of Ghana’s impeccable response on homosexuality in Ghana which was lined with his knowledge on Human rights and his empathy on how it felt to be a part of the minority in every society, the news was full of gender based violence and rape.
Flipping through the local newspapers, tuning the radio and changing local television channels, all we see are cases of abuse and rape, to the extent of the gods declaring a rapist innocent [the gods must be cray]. And for a country that is hyper religious and has churches on almost every street, we waited for the Christian Council to come through and make a statement with their influence. We waited in futile for them to remind rapists and abusers of a place designed for eternal damnation. We waited for them to come through the mainstream media to tell us all the things God hates and the Bible detests, but here we are. Through it all, they were busily holding services and praying to help their congregation obtain visas to countries where the very thing they swear God detests is legal – homosexuality. It is evident the only time the Christian Council is really passionate about anything is when it is about harvest for the church and homosexuality and maybe, imprudent politics. Anything but these are left to God. All they represent are entitled statements made from a group of people who think their beliefs should be everyone else’s lifestyle. While they try to shove their opinion on a multi-religious country, it will be right they sit their executives down and make them understand that, their beliefs do not reflect the beliefs of the country.
There were a lot of headlines in the main media on the subject and, most of them that caught my attention where from a certain lawyer who made his intention clear [which is laudable]. I’ll share two of his quotes from the news.
“DON’T ELEVATE A DISORDER TO A RIGHT”
The above statement was in the news from this Lawyer. Whose skin will be a threat to his life if not for change. This is a typical example of how far people will go to cut their nose to spite their face. He is so burning with hatred, he couldn’t catch a breath to choose his words. Gays as well as albinos are a part of the minority in our society and the word disorder perfectly describes the latter [borrowing his word]. Being a part of a group of people who still aren’t entirely safe and are discriminated in certain communities right here in Ghana, your influence should be used for inclusion, not a breeding ground for hatred. This issue is one of a human right but some chose to play it the cultural way, which I am sure this learned man went for. Maybe he’s right. Maybe we should revisit the very core of Ghanaian culture and what it thinks about albinism if we so want to make this subject a cultural thing. Whatever it is, what is important for you is absolute ownership of your culture.
“IF YOU SAY HAVING ANAL SEX IS A HUMAN RIGHT, THEN I CAN SLEEP WITH MY MOTHER AND THAT’S ALSO HUMAN RIGHT”
That is another statement from this Lawyer, and as it stands, we really do not know who is stopping this man from sleeping with his mother. This seems to be more of his personal family problem than a human right interest. Every statement from him just strips a layer of hatred if not misinformed prejudice and the deeper we go, we realize such a person will set his house on fire to keep himself warm. He reduced being gay to just a sexual act and tried equating it to indecency. It is troubling there are still people like him who do not think homosexuals just as heterosexuals have the psychological, emotional and romantic desire. I find it hilarious when people equate the right of gay men to pedophilia or rape.
You’d probably disagree that this is a human right issue and that’s fine. Being blinded by hatred with no explanations won’t let you see through the darkness. The issue with Human Right Advocacy is that, you’re either for it or you are downright not. You cannot advocate rights for a certain group of people and support the infringement against another.
Let’s not pretend this isn’t an issue. I don’t want to make my advocacy about my personal preferences because either way, the truth can’t be changed. Everyone has a voice, and even cheaper, a platform now and this what I choose to do with mine. Your silence does not mean you stand in between. You have actively chosen to remain on the side of the oppressors and you will be on the wrong side of history. Your silence won’t save you, oppressors has a huge appetite and they will come for you once they win this, and move on to the next minority. Let’s not hold on, hold our tongues as we wait for the liberation of a group of people!
Ghana has been at the confluence of cultures, and homosexuality isn’t one of those.
Is anyone listening? ‘Well, Ghana we dey!
This year has seen the rise of many things, and social media/fashion blogging, has been one of the most predominant. One can even call this the new age of Fashion Blogging. Usually, alternative names such as ‘Beauty Influencing’, ‘Celebrity Styling’ etc. are used as replacements.
Honestly, I think this new wave of fashion blogging has broadened the reach of the Ghanaian fashion industry. Though it is even more vibrant in other countries, this new hip culture has spread through our homeland like wildfire. It is an indication of how far we’ve come as a people in terms of style and the way we pick clothes. What excites me most is how these bloggers patronize the indigenous brands. It’s such a beautiful thing that meets the eye when these bloggers flaunt they’re ‘Made In Ghana’ outfits and even better when credit is given to designers.
Aside promoting our very own, it serves as a very lucrative means of earning an income. These bloggers earn a few points when they advertise for brands. Onlookers may deem this as an easy way of making cash, but it’s quite the opposite. Per my research and observation, to be regarded as a successful fashion blogger in the first place, you need to have a large following on the popular social media platforms. We all know how tough that can be especially when you’re not showing skin and/or getting followers through devious means. Aside this, a blogger should have hands-on marketing skills and proficiency in social media marketing. Nothing comes easy.
Fashion blogging is going to take Ghana places, and we’re here for it.
Written By: Nadia Vanderpuye
Instagram : @nadiavee
WARNING: This piece isn’t supposed to come out embellished with flowery language and obedience to the grammar rule of writing. I will battle with both first and third person pronoun throughout. I am guilty.
You might be quick to differ with the title but I speak for the passionate creatives who are being exploited and the only thing that keeps them going is their passion. I write for the young writers, poets, rappers, painters, fashion designers and bloggers who are often hit with the “I WILL GIVE YOU EXPOSURE” crap.
“I don’t write for money. I write because it’s my passion. It’s what makes me red ”
How stupid could I have been less than two years ago? It was until I couldn’t pay my fees with passion in my final year at the University that I realized I have been doing this passion thing all wrong.
But that was my principle; writing because it was my passion and made me happy. Happy wasn’t enough when you could be happier or even happiest.
“Grow up and you’ll get your freedom”, they said. It’s a trick. You only grow up so they get freedom from you. Freedom from not having to care much about you. Freedom from knowing you’re old to take good care of yourself. And not so much freedom from choosing between money and passion.
In the past months that I’ve been away from this blog, I’ve been writing. Writing for money. And this has led to a personal battle with myself. Limitations have been placed on my creativity. And the love of money clouds my writing.
Writing because it’s your passion is when you have to be in the mood to write. When you have to be inspired by situations and happenings around you. When you drive past a tree and you bask in the beauty of how freely the birds fly from branch to branch. When you see that beautiful girl across the street and suddenly you have four paragraphs in mind. When you meet with friends over the weekend and they leave with stories you could write for years. That was when you write because you are in the mood and feel like writing.
And there is the part where you have to write because you have to write. When you have no options of choosing between when to or how to but the only thing for sure is you have to write because you have been paid to write. It builds a sense of betrayal and clouds your judgement on what’s creative and what’s not because you have to meet the deadline. And the faster you finish, the more jobs you get. That is when you start writing for money. You are not a hundred percent in control of the outcome.
And your creativity is mocked. You submit the work to a client and he becomes an armchair editor and tells you what to take out or add just to meet his demand. Creative or not, you don’t have the final decision.
When you get to this stage, you miss the days you had to break all the rules in writing just to explore how fun being free with words work. I still do my best to pitch my work to clients, to make them understand I still have some sort of ownership and authority to the work even though I have been paid. Once a work is going out with my name on, it should be great.
Writing for money hasn’t made me less of a creative. I just miss the days I had to write because I was in the mood or had to be inspired but now I write because I have to write and my biggest inspiration is money.
I read what I write and I’m not happy but when a client can’t hide their happiness over a work, I remember I was paid for the work and the money makes me happy too. It’s simple, my happiness doesn’t necessarily depend on the work now. It depends on my client’s happiness and money.
It will take time to make money from whatever you are doing but you will only be bought at the price you sell yourself. Don’t let passion drive you to accepting the “EXPOSURE” tune. Whatever your creative work is, it won’t go stale with time. And while you make money from your passion, don’t compromise on your creativity.
I’ll post here soon. I don’t know when but sooner than the Bible’s soon in respect to Jesus’ second coming. Until then, I will be busy…busily writing for money.
I was told of a funeral which happened recently somewhere in Accra. Hell broke loose when it was time to read the biography of the deceased. According to his biography supposedly orchestrated by his wife, he had only one child. His family, on the other hand, insisted he had adopted two more children; making three of them in all.
When you don’t tell the world who you are and what you ever had, others will do so.
When you die, others will tell your story (and may obviously not tell it well) so when alive, you need to tell your own story. When you’re no more, others will speak for you, hence, as long as you’ve breath, you ought to speak for yourself!
In our part of the world, it’s seemingly rare to have our autobiographies on the shelves of libraries or bookshops. We have been brought up to be selfish, thus, hardly think about making our experiences available for posterity. Little wonder a chunk of our history is either lost or contaminated because it was oral.
We live our lives without having posterity in mind. We live and die without exposing our children to our failures and achievements. They, thus, start their lives fighting the same battles we fought instead of fighting their own battles. They start life all over again instead of continuing from where the earlier generation left off. That’s how important autobiographies are!
A well-documented autobiography (or biography) is like a will. It becomes a sacred legacy for every generation. It becomes an invaluable asset to many. Tell you what, the autobiographies of great business men in history (like Virgin’s Richard Branson) have become a must-read for many who aspire to be like them because such books hand over to their readers within minutes decades of experience.
If writing is one of the easiest ways to transfer knowledge, then reading is one of the easiest ways to receive it, too. Your autobiography is like a will that guides every other person and hands over assets of wisdom to them so they can be someone greater than you ever were.
Like a mirror, an autobiography makes you come in contact with the image of the writer. It gives you the rare opportunity to take a stroll down their private life.
When you don’t script your life down into a piece of collection, that life’s legacy just goes waste in the grave. If people with similar aspirations can never benefit from your failures and successes, your experiences would have been of no essence, in the first place. If others would need to fail the same way you did, your failure was of no benefit to society.
Our failures, especially, should be of benefit to society. Get that autobiography of yours written!
Aside an autobiography raking in fortunes for the writer, it is the only avenue they can take readers on an excursion in their mind. The reader is able to travel along with the writer inasmuch as they learn a skill or two from his/her experience.
I have come across many clients who pitch one excuse or the other as to why they haven’t written their autobiography yet and I am not the least surprised this part of our world always seems to be behind others. An excuse why you can’t hand over your experience to posterity is a pretty bad excuse!
Our nation keeps running in circles because there’s no smooth transfer of experience from the old generation to the new. We are always starting life all over again when others are continuing from where their previous generation left off in others parts of the world. Of a truth, we can’t ever catch up with them.
Decades of experience are buried every weekend. Countless packages of lessons are kept six feet away from humanity every Saturday. The success of this nation, trust me, is only an autobiography away.
At all cost, get to tell your life’s story to the world before others do. Africa, for instance, is almost always painted a dark continent by the Western world because they tell us our own stories. When you leave your story to be told by others, they’d mistaken your blackness for darkness. Get your autobiography!
Tell the world of your failures and how you surmounted them. Tell of your successes, too. An autobiography is an asset. Own one. To your mansions and automobiles, add your autobiography!
Experience can never be bought. However, we can give posterity an opportunity to learn from our weaknesses and strengths by handing over to them a record of our lives. We can create a legacy that would outlive us— and it begins with our autobiography. We can be mentors to generations to come even long after we are gone. That’s the magic of an autobiography.
Your experience in this life will be a priceless property for others who are yet to come. Don’t let it go waste. You need an autobiography… and this is why!
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of an Accra-based writing company, Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), which provides all writing services.
It’s that memorable time of the year again― graduation of university students. The joy on the faces of graduates is so conspicuous. In fact, we were all told there was more rest after school only to realize there was even more work. No matter how much academic life stressed you, the issues of life will even stress you more!
Well, let me share with you these few lessons I wish I had known back in the day. It may still be useful to someone out here.
ON CAMPUS RELATIONSHIPS
Dating on campus was really a thing people would do anything for. Some didn’t even care if their grades somersaulted just to be a pair.
However, I wish I knew that the batteries of most Chinese phones lasted longer than most of these campus romances. The reality of national service hardship sets in and you’re forgotten. Call it selective amnesia! Haha.
I used to observe some young women busily “wifing” when their supposed spouses were busily studying or doing something profitable to add value to their lives. We walk down the aisle. We don’t run down it!
If I were a lady, I wish I would have paid more attention to my books than playing the role of a “premature wife” to another student who has no idea of what dowry even is! Time spent in washing his clothes could have been used in learning a skill or two. Someone needs to be reminded a girlfriend was not a wife!
VOLUNTEERISM OVER SERIES
I wish I had spent my vacation doing more voluntary work than just staying home idle watching soaps and series. I wish I had spent more time gaining experience rendering a service, even if I wouldn’t be paid, than doling out all my time following trends and arguments on social media.
I had not the slightest idea that volunteerism was another name given to skill development! If you want to earn another skill and upgrade those you already have for free, be ready to give yours too freely.
BRIGHT SKILL NOT BRIGHT SKIN
A skilled skin is an investment. A bright skin yet so unskilled is what a package of liability looks like. As a woman, I would have invested more into my skills than my skin. If your skin is all you have to offer, all you may get may be just “one-night” offers. A bright skin doesn’t necessarily mean a bright future.
NO HEADLINE READING
I wish I had read more books and not just their titles or covers. I wish I had read more newspapers and not just their headlines. The best travel experience is to read.
As a young man, I wish I had developed my mind power… not just manpower. I wish I had invested more into my mind than into my muscles. I wish someone had hinted me than mind power always ruled over manpower!
If I could drive into my past, I would have made a conscious effort to write and update my CV/resume even better. CV writing is not rocket science but to many graduates that’s just what it is! A graduate who can’t write a CV? Did you graduate from a university in Pluto!?
I wish I found my passion and pursued it with all my heart. Passion is about following your heart… not stomach. I wish I had not given excuses as to why I could not chase some dreams. Life is never going to get any less busier; the earlier… the better.
I wish I knew that my roommates then were going to be the “big shots” of today. I should not have quarreled with them over gari. We shouldn’t have been at loggerheads because of kenkey, for instance. I could have treated them better! Indeed, if we knew the future of others better, we would have treated their present with more respect.
And… I wish I knew that not everything that was taught in the lecture hall was meant to be applied in real life. I should have paid as much attention to passing school exams to passing life’s exams.
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), a writing company based in Accra. His upcoming play is TRIBELESS. Get interactive with him on his Facebook page, Kobina Ansah.
Social enterprises continue to grow in Ghana every year. Their impact is mostly felt based on the influence they have on the sustainable growth they achieve yearly in their respective industries. Entrepreneurship in Ghana has fueled employment opportunities and there is no doubt about that.
It has encouraged the youth to become creative and innovative not only as a means of tackling youth employment but also as a solution to meeting the pressing needs of society, providing sustainable solutions to business problems whiles also strengthening the oak of GDP growth, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and highlighting the gross benefits of the use of technology in business.
Every day, new business challenges evolve due to the changing structures in the world of work and its accompanying effects on global businesses.
However, in encouraging the growth of entrepreneurship in Ghana through social enterprise development and business strategy skills, the Twenty Plus Ghana Group of companies (a social enterprise collection of brands focused on the growth of social entrepreneurship in Ghana) is organizing its’s second edition of the Young Achievers Summit on Saturday 17thJune, 2017 at the British Council, Accra Ghana. Time for the event is 2PM to 8PM and the rate is FREE (#HMYoungAchieversSummit2017).
The Young Achievers Summit presents an opportunity for young entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, industry leaders, focus groups, students, policy makers, business developers and media to come together under one roof presenting ideas to promote advanced sustainable growth of Ghanaian enterprises while also recognizing the work of outstanding young entrepreneurs through the awards session.
There will also be a workshop session dubbed “Barclays Ready to Work Clinic” which is facilitated by the British Council with support from the Barclays Bank.
The workshop’s intent is to equip participants with the needed soft skills necessary in excelling in their chosen industries.
Keynote speaker for this year’s event is: Paul Payne (Skills Hub and Innovative Centre Manager at the British Council)
Headline Speakers include: Derrick S. Vormawor (Serial entrepreneur and Business Coach); Ekow Mensah (CEO, TANOE & EMI); George Mensah Britton (CEO, GB Interactive Ltd, artiste manager for Keche); Kwame A.A Opoku (Lead Curator, Idea Factory Africa); Emmanuel Leslie Addae (Curator, TEDx Accra); Mauvie Hayford (Radio &TV Host); Caroline Sampson (Radio & TV Host); Trudy Arnold (CEO, Studio 7 Beauty Lounge & Co-Founder for WE Festival Africa); Ama Pratt (CEO, MAP Concepts Gh & Commercial Head Panafrican Television)
Panelists: Boamah Prince Kuleape (CEO, Kuleape Group of Companies, Celebrity Stylist and Designer); Bright Opanin Boakye – Danquah (Producer, INNOVADDB Ghana); Adomako Mensah Felix (Celebrity Blogger), Micheak Owusu – Smith (DJ/Artist and fashion icon) and Akua Konadu Kusi (CEO, Study Abroad West Africa).
This year’s HM Young Achievers Summit is Sponsored by Hero Movement, AM & PM Restaurant , Busy Jump, Hubtel, BF Cab services, The Travel Hub, Top Bright Consultancy, Pan African TV, NMJ Ghana and refreshed by Malta Guinness.