Tuesday, June 10, 2014

There are many customers in Kumasi's culture

There were some submissions from that +Barcamp Kumasi breakout session on September 28, 2013 that lend itself to a culture conversation. Kumasi, as many will tell you, is the cultural capital of Ghana. Before you come argue tribes with me, Twi is the most widely spoken language in Ghana. Go to a place in Ghana which has a non-Akan tribe settled there and the residents are more likely to speak Twi than English. But back to the cultural conversation as I got side tracked for a minute. I'd recount some of the submissions from that #bcksi (Barcamp Kumasi) session in this blog post.

One participant, +Kwabena agyare yeboah suggested we create a Wordpress website on Akan mythology. This is important in documenting the history of Kumasi. Kumasi may be losing its 'Garden city' moniker but its spirit and culture remains authentic. It's the cultural capital of Ghana. As it develops, this authenticity must be maintained to give Kumasi an edge and keep it in the spotlight. We learnt about Accratupia - (I forget the correct name) - a project presenting futuristic images of what areas in Accra could look like. KNUST has a department of planning, it must get to work. Working with KMA would very welcome.

One popular word for people who are from Kumasi in Ghana is Siano. When I first went to Presec, that's a name I was called by. Is it the short form of 'Kwasia no'? Felt like it. That means the stupid person. It was a derogatory term. From the #bcksi session, many said that Sianos are perceived in a backward way. Ignorant Ghanaians who can't speak English. That's why some English words take on meanings of their own in Kumasi - shared by +Life in Kumasi. The story goes that 'Kumasi people' in Legon ate at Bush Canteen. The next question at every +Barcamp Ghana session is - "What are we doing about it?" We should empower ourselves so we don't get offended if people call us Sianos.

Is that why Kumasianos don't patronize shows and concerts? That might have been the story a while ago but not today. Kumasi residents throng Uncle Ebo White's plays just like those in Accra do. My buddy Isaac who works for a Kumasi based financial company goes to almost every one of them. Movie premieres continue to be successful and Ghanaian musicians are selling out shows in Oseikrom as well. Kumawood isn't lending itself to the movie going experience but while some may see a problem, others will see an opportunity. You can see many people gathering around television sets to watch the latest movies starring Liwin. Entrepreneurs have to adapt, be smart, find the customer and moetize. Invalidate the assumptions, persevere after experiments yield expected results or pivot around the clear opportunity. Yeap, learnt a lot from +Lean Accra, Lean Kumasi is also coming :-)
If +Barcamp Ghana didn't come to Kumasi, what would be organizing us? We discussed the issue of many +Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology students not being from Kumasi. I've always been concerned at how Tech is dominated by people not from Accra and how most activity in Kumasi is driven by Tech students. We talked about having a platform, forum or meeting space which would connect people who can do and those who want to have things done. This platform is coming soon, +Barcamp Kumasi will share deets on it real soon.
We need to enhance the current lifestyle in Kumasi, +kojo akoto boateng said. Many revellers go out to Bantama High street and sitting at spots is extremely popular in Oseikrom. We know Kumasi folks also love omotuo and fufu. We can leverage the current culture and what is popular in Kumasi and created enhanced services and businesses. As we give ourselves excuses of why things won't work, culture shouldn't be one. We might see our traditions as backward, but the palace is the most democratic place. Kumasi as it is can serve a lot of people's aspirations and dreams. Leadership is the basic problem. Hence, we must do. We must lead. 
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