Monday, March 7, 2011

Ghana's 54th birthday weekend - #6thMarch

Ghana's 54th birthday happened this past weekend. As expected, it didn't have as much fanfare as four years ago. President Atta Mills gave a speech. The nation's teachers threatened to remove any single spines of any celebrations. Ghanaians all over the world found an excuse to party. Folks wore Ghanaian colours when they normally wouldn't. Others learnt how to recite the Ghanaian pledge and sing the national anthem again. Many things happened. How did I spend/celebrate/reflect upon the 54th anniversary of Ghana's independence's weekend? Let's find out.

I woke up late on 6th March, Sunday, to watch my team, Manchester United, versus Liverpool. I was over 30 minutes late and I was greeted with the punishment of a two goal deficit. Ah, if I had woken up early! Like all of Red Devil nation, we all believed MANUtd will make a comeback but it was not meant to be. So I congratulated Liverpool on their win and because the heavens were impressed with my honesty/humility/objectivity, they blessed me with a Top Tweet on Twitter. No lie. Read about the whole story here. Later on, I watched the Miami Heat lose yet another big game to the Chicago Bulls courtesy of our Sudanese friend, Luol Deng. Later in the day, the Lakers arrived at the Alamodome and this time the Spurs watched them play basketball as the latter's 22 game home winning streak was snapped.

A friend texted me asking about Ghanaian churches in Oakland. I had just been to the Lighthouse Chapel International local branch the weekend before and I should have really gone to a Ghanaian church this Independence day. Hadn't thought about it :-( I told these sisters about LCI and the Church of Pentecost in Oakland and how they differed and left them to make a choice. A friend of a friend happened to be stranded at Stanford bcos her move wouldn't start. I tried to get her some help but Sunday morning just wasn't a good time. She ended up getting a tow truck to bail her out.

A friend, Koby Maxwell, was in town premiering a movie he produced called 'Paparazzi - Eye in the Dark'. I interviewed him about it here and publicized it here. I was extremely excited to finally see the movie in San Jose Sunday night. The movie features "Ghanaian actor and fine boy" Van Vicker who was going to make the movie a lot of money and make sure many young 'insert adjective of your pleasing here' African women came to the premieres. I arrived there to see a near-empty screening room, a sullen look on Koby Maxwell's face and Van Vicker marked absent. I convinced Koby Maxwell to wait till 8pm and show the movie bcos I wasn't going to come all the way to San Jose and watch half of a movie I really wanted to watch and was willing/going to pay $20 for.

I realised that there were a lot of Africans next door so I decided to go scope what was going on. Citizen journalism, I tell you. There were many Africans - young and old - dressed in African attires - having a jolly good time, eating, chatting, dancing, taking pictures. It was a party and no one was charging money. Ah, free food, I shouted in my mind. Before I joined the food line, I tried to see if I knew anyone at this event I was not invited to. I couldn't find a single soul I knew. Finally, I saw my friend Dzifa who told me this event was a Sierra Leonian outdooring party. And then I thought, I hardly know any Sierra Leonians in the Bay Area. I know three; Dzifa's wife, one girl I met who I sold a ticket to at the Awilo Longomba concert and my buddy Gordon. Only Dzifa's wife was here tonight. I said to myself, I must make some Sierra Leonian friends tonight. The only person Dzifa introduced me to was one of the ladies serving the food. Good start. I fixed myself a plate of rice, bofrots, chicken and beef stew, plantains, etc. Of course, I wanted to make Sa Leone friends but like they say back home, "Chop time, no friend".

Sierra Leonians aren't very different from West Africans. I could easily have mistaken them for Nigerians. I know enough Ghanaians not to make that mistake. At the party, the DJ played 'Yori Yori', 'Rakia', 'Yesterday betteh pass tiday' and 'Juliana'. "Bottom power, shege, bottom power, shege". "The walkings wey etake come". No, I didn't ask her name or call any of the girls. I wanted Dzifa to introduce me. But, shiee wow! Bottom power paa nie! I spoke to one lady briefly when they were playing Rakia, and told her "that song is from my country". Moments later, she has hitting the dance floor, without me, and singing along to Rakia. A Sierra Leonian woman! She knew the words to the song! Erm, I was going to ask her if she learnt how to sing along through Museke.com but I didn't get the chance. I didn't really see her the rest of the night.

8 knocked and when I was assured I had eaten enough, I proceeded to the movie premiere. A couple more people had arrived and the movie was rolled. I was impressed with the film. When you see a lot of African movies shot in the US, they don't ooze the quality, are low-budget and worse than those made back home. Not this one - Paparazzi: Eye in the Dark. The sound and production quality was on point! I loved the soundtrack too and the story. I will write a full post about my impressions of the movie, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Go catch the premiere soon if it's coming to your city.

After the movie, I happened to get into a discussion with a Sierra Leonian who happened to have purchased a ticket for the premiere but didn't watch the movie. He started talking about Africans don't support each other, how he goes to Ghanaian and Nigerian events, but Ghanaians and Nigerians don't come to Sierra Leonian events. I told him he missed a great movie. And there were Sierra Leonians in the movie too, in fact the producers did a remarkable job in ensuring it has an all-African cast. He told me, he doesn't watch African movies because he can't learn anything from them but he'll rather watch Johnny Depp. Erm, I am getting a beating right now wondering what is to learn by watching movies with Johnny Depp. The last Deep, ahem sorry Depp, movie I watched had one female character, Angelina Jolie. Learn something from that lol. I couldn't believe this guy and started smiling and laughing about what he was saying which drove him away.

Hmm, and then I was like, but I haven't made any new Sierra Leonian friends. So I followed "my brother" to the restroom, continued our conversation and ended up taking his number and his fiancee's number too. I wanted to be in touch so he could tell about all the Sierra Leonian events in the Bay Area. No, I didn't do this because of 'bottom power' :-). I like to know what's happening with my African peoples. The name's Mighty African. I spoke to a couple more Sierra Leonian ladies, including one who had added me on Facebook and I recognized. Most of the ladies were busily lining up to pay money to take pictures with Van Vicker. Yea, the crowd that came to take the pictures outnumbered the crowd interested in seeing the movie. No comment. I congratulated Koby Maxwell and his co-producer, Clarice Kulah. I told Van Vicker, "this is the best movie you've been in". And then I returned home.

And then I woke up to Monday and said #VIM!
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