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Showing posts from October, 2008

Champion Chaas for Charity

I came up with this title in 2000 when I was submitting a bunch of 'chaas' for the Odadee Magazine. For those not familar with the word, chaa, 'to chaa' means to use puns in a sentence or use a bunch of words that rhyme together but don't make much sense. I remember how we used to belittle chaas in Presec. People who 'chaaed' were seen as unserious, jokers, etc. The funny thing was most of the people who 'chaaed' ended up becoming some of the most respected people in Presec, as prefects, SRC council members, club executives, editorial board members, etc. Of course, you had to control the amount of 'chaaing' you did.

After I arrived in the US after Presec and spent some time here, I quickly realised how much 'chaaing' was going on in America. It was viewed in a good light too, it was heavily used in marketing campaigns. I felt good about all the 'chaarister' nicknames I got when I was in Presec. Before I realised, I was conver…

My thoughts on Obama, Obamamania and the 'hottest' son of an African

Champs, thanks for the encouragement. Y'all make me want to write more. I hadn't planned on writing tonight but I got inspired again. Shebi shebi, I am on fire. I am hot right now. Nah, there's no 'eye candy' or mishap in this story. I just attended an event at Stanford: An evening with (Skip) Henry Louis Gates, Jr, who was interviewed by Claude Steele. I remember Skip from an event I attended at Harvard when I was still at MIT, where he led a panel discussion celebrating Wole Soyinka's 70th birthday. I met both Skip and Uncle Wole that night, and that experience requires another blog. This conversation was very interesting; but this is what I remember - education, racial 'stuff', paradigm shifts in how black people are perceived and Barack Obama. They couldn't resist talking about Barack Hussein Obama, would you? I already spoke about him here but this is a follow-up. I am engulfed in Obamamania and I can't wait to see him win this election. Ho…

Eye candy, free candy, and candy I don't have

So for the last 10 minutes, I've been debating about whether I really want to write this particular blog. I even had a juicy title but for some reason, I am wondering if I should really put out this information. Well, you know what they say. Someone may use this information against you. Admissions committees and company recruiters are looking at our Facebook profiles, you have to be extra careful. But as a friend said the other day about me, "(Me) has no shame". Do whatever you like, live your life. So I am going to post this blog, I can do it. It is inspired by a real-life experience from yesterday concerning 'candy'.

I left the library for my entrepreneurship seminar, just in time to catch the speaker's closing moments, mark my attendance and grab some of the free food. This class is supposed to serve free food for a class mixer at the end every time. For whatever reason, they didn't do it this time. I was really disappointed. I was going to help cook fo…

Is Pan-Africanism affecting my Ghanaianness?

It's been two weeks since my last post. I didn't see this silence coming when I started blogging. But what you should know is, I got stories, lots of stories. Last Thursday, I attended a meeting regarding a new NGO set-up to raise funds for students in one district in Kenya. One of the founders has been my Swahili tutor for two quarters. To show that I belonged, I started speaking the little Swahili I knew to whoever would listen. "Why are you studying Kiswahili?" This is the question other people at the meeting asked me. I responded "Marafiki zangu 'plenty' wanatoka Afrika Mashariki" which means 'a lot of my friends are from East Africa'. My Swahili tutor went on to say 'This guy is a Pan-Africanist'. That is a cool thing to hear given my love for Kwame Nkrumah, but is it really a cool description? How are Pan-Africanists seen today? People blamed Nkrumah for concentrating too much on other African countries and he eventually began…

Are you dreaming? (poem)

I am on a poetry posting spree. I wrote this poem when I was in Presec in 2000. As a matter of fact, I performed it during the Mr. Presec competition in which I was 3rd. The poetry recital was excellent but I terribly flunked the traditional highlife dancing segment, which I believe cost me the grand prize. I believe, I am adept at dancing to highlife music now, if you don't believe me, catch me at your next Ghanaian party. Up till now, I haven't received my Woodin shirt(s) prizes for grabbing bronze. They must have lied to me. But I still have the poem that confirmed to me that I had a career in spoken word and poetry performance. I still remember some of my Presec mates teasing me with "Ato, are you dreaming, are you dreaming" after the contest. Well, the poem, here it goes.


Building castles in the air
Cement your imaginations
Build your rocky emotions
Yet, don't throw your hands in the air
Out of tranquility, an outburst
To build a city in days the worst
Make known y…

Dilemma (poem)

In the summer of 2004, I found myself in Ghana. I was participating in an MIT student initiative called MIT-Africa Internet Technology Initiative (MIT-AITI). During my time in Ghana, the GhanaConscious me was disappointed with the attitude of Ghanaians to their own country and the general lack of patriotism. As you can imagine, that quickly changed when Ghana went to the World Cup in 2006. 'It' is in us, just in case you were wondering. Well, like I said, this was 2004. I was in a dilemma so I wrote a poem called Dilemma.

They bother to watch but do not see
They bother to listen but do not hear
They bother to think but do not act
I am encouraged and frustrated
I am hopeful and doubtful
They do not win today
If the better pays more than the good
I will turn right to the right

Comfort is not a secure fort
I have driven this route before
But I just saw this junction
I am enthused and confused
I am curious but furious
They will not sway me today
If my mind agrees with my hand and heart
I will kee…