Blog Posts

On Being a “Big Man” in Ghana

On Being a Big Man in Ghana

As a “Big Man” in Ghanaian society, the trick is to marry early. Give your wife at least two children sharp. After the firstborn, and certainly by age thirty or so, on a diet of oily, starchy foods and sweet cakes with no exercise, she should have already turned into “Big Mama.” You know, grossly overweight with everything hanging out. You may have already seen the American caricature on screen; huge sagging breasts, big belly, giant thighs and an

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My God Wouldn’t Make a Homosexual

taxi

I was having a discussion with one of my regular taxi drivers the other day. We were on the subject of a depreciating Cedi and other social wrongs in Ghana, when he suddenly pointed to a man walking on the dirt road ahead and says, “Look at that man and the way he walks.” I looked and saw a slightly overweight man walking up a hill, and said, what about him?

“Look at the way he walks,” repeated the

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Chinese Invasion

Chinese invasion Ghana

The Chinese are adept at adapting. See them navigating the markets, streets and tro-tros of Accra in 90-degree heat like true Africans. They’re telling us without uttering a word that they’re here to set down roots at least for a while.

Whole families have come, it seems. Darting through the crowds in small but perfectly ordered ant-like patterns, paying little or no mind to anyone else but the people in their group, and the odd sellers, street vendors, and

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The Silent Treatment

The Silent Treatment

Years ago, I wrote a one-off TV drama on a fast track programme for budding UK writers, headed by Jane Tranter, then at Channel 5. The story of an up-and-coming actor stalked by a crack-smoking South London cabbie was loosely based on real events. Tranter described it as “dark, disturbing and violent.” And I thought that sounds good to me. But she felt it was not something she could develop. In fact, it scared her half to death, she

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State of Emergency

Emergency Care

An old man walked into the 37th Military Hospital in Accra early one morning. He had known all his life that the 37th Military Hospital in Accra was a place for deserving Ghanaians, and so he had travelled there from far, obviously very sick and in need of emergency

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Deliverance (film classic)

Burt Reynolds in Deliverance

Deliverance (1972) is British director John Boorman’s gripping action-adventure about four suburban businessmen on a disastrous weekend’s river-canoeing trip. It ranks as one of my favourite films. I can never tire of seeing it. The horror starts in this clip

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The Shouter Baptists

Shouter Baptist Religion

Vibrant, evocative, expressive; a European Christian religion fuelled by the rhythms and traditions of West Africa, yet totally indigenous to Trinidad; the Shouter Baptist faith has emerged from a history of persecution to occupy a unique place in Caribbean culture.

Once ‘Shouter’ was a dirty word in Trinidad, a term imposed on its followers by a mainstream society that saw their practices – dancing, shaking, falling to the ground, loudly invoking the spirit of the Lord – as unseemly

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Mister Blues: Poland’s Bartek Przytuła

Mister Blues: Bartek Przytuła

Better known in Poland as one half of the duo, Przytuła & Kruk, Bartek Przytuła is worthy of attention in his own right as a blues vocalist, rebellious rascal, undisputed blues fan, and interpreter of all types of music that might make you shiver.

With the accompaniment of a guitar and harmonica, he very quickly gains your attention, and although the blues may be considered a monotonous and even boring genre by some folks, his performances are always original,

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Black woman, white children

Children from Village of the Damned

The young American white couple a few doors away from me are leaving Ghana today. So I’m told. “Too poor,” they say. “One minute, water no lights. Next minute, lights no water.” They’ve had enough. After five years of working to improve education in this country, where their two children were born, they’re packing their bags and hauling their doll-like offsprings back to the good ole US of A; Colorado, I believe.

I’m relaying this story to you,

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What is it with black women and wigs?

wigs

What is it with black women and wigs? All over the internet ads now appear for ‘wigs for black women’ aimed at an African American audience. Even Google has got in on the game. Right across West Africa today, the majority of women wear wigs or weaves as part of daily life. And the same is true of black women in the Caribbean and parts of Europe, making wigs for black women big business for

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Race in America

Race in America is rarely far from any talk about the United States. So news from The Washington Post that Mitt Romney is performing very, very well among white voters came as no surprise. Accordingly, recent polls show him winning this group by more than any GOP presidential candidate since Reagan, the newspaper went on to assert. ‘Why do you think Romney has such a lead among whites?’ they asked. The obvious race baiting question reminded me of the

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