DIMINISHING RETURNS OF S.E.X…OR NOT…

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Dear Young Newly Wedded couple,

So you finally sealed the deal …bought into the promise of happily ever after and pledged till death do you part! Now you have your whole life ahead of you! But most importantly, as you look forward to share that first moment of intimacy as a married couple, it may dawn on you that that “three letter word” ceases to be taboo anymore. However, you would admit, that as you succumb to your sexual desires and lingering passion – your premiere performance as a newly wedded couple is missing that extra thrill of adrenaline and rush of excitement that was always present during your unwedded days. Permit me to speculate – those days when you were constrained to stifled moans and groans as you explored each other’s anatomy in a sketchy rented motel room! Or perhaps you were the wise and diligent poster children for abstinence…and so this long awaited moment could potentially be a hit or miss for your raging hormones… (most probably a miss, seeing that this is all new territory for you). Well, fast forward to moment in time – in the honey moon suite (this time around in the best hotel money can buy), you now have the license to fornicate…or I guess we cannot call it that anymore…license to procreate….more like it! Congratulations are indeed in order!

Now, make sure you get your full dose of vitamin S during those honey mooning plus years because fast forward to full time jobs, kids, bills…and life as you know it…you may be singing different tunes when S.E.X is the subject at hand.

I always say that unfortunately we sometimes give marriage too much credit for what seems to be the normal trajectory of life. For instance, like a broken record, how many times have I heard some husbands lament that since they ‘put a ring on it’; they witnessed ‘the change‘ in their spouses? Or wives hoping against hope that marriage would curb some behavior of their partners that they very well cannot seem to live with! Well that change you speak of kind Sir, its called maturity…or in simple terms… growing up! And Miss Lady…what you get…is what you got! So please let’s leave marriage out of this!

Unfortunately marriage is getting a bad rap between the sheets as well. But again, here’s my two cents….the confusion lies in the couple’s gradual but inevitable diverging opinions (as life happens) of the role of sex in a marriage. Indulge me now…so let’s assume the ‘honey moon night’ as a level yard stick for measuring sexual appetite for a couple. The excitement, youthful enthusiasm, desire, passion, anxiety… all wrapped into one tumultuous ball of emotions definitely influences the couple’s take on sex in marriage. During this time, being hooked on ‘endorphins’ and baiting a throbbing under-carriage is definitely recipe for a resounding score when considering the importance of sex in a marriage and opting for a daily dose of vitamin S actually does not seem that far-fetched at all; provided your youthful strength can sustain you.

Okay let’s throw in “life happening”, the constant ups and downs of adulthood and most importantly…the big ‘R’ word…yeah I said it…RESPONSIBILITIES! At this point, what I like to call, ‘the Diminishing Returns of sex’ is inevitable. Basically we start redefining the importance of sex in the marriage and unfortunately the need to hump and holler every night becomes less of an option. However I stand corrected…I am narrating this from a woman’s point of view. If my discussions with my male counterparts is anything to go by, and my own conclusion that men think of sex all the time…not sometimes, or almost sometimes…but all the time…then the diminishing returns theory may apply more with the fairer sex!

It’s no wonder some husbands are demanding more sex…whiles some wives can’t seem to keep up with the punches.  But really who can blame wives of today…they are trying to live up to the mythical Superwoman title! Today’s woman wants it all…with no compromises. She runs a great show with an “S” on her chest; however who is she fooling – with so many things going on…something is sure to fall through the cracks!

So this is not my way of providing excuses for wives when it comes to lighten it up in the bedroom….okay who am I kidding…maybe it is.. but excuse is not a fair word to use in this case. I am simply giving wives “a pass” for not wanting to fool around after a long hard day…”a pass” to fake a headache or slip into instant sleep when their partners give them that suggestive nudge or tap on the shoulder in bed…”a pass” to kick sexy to the curb and embrace comfort in bed because tonight of all nights… is just not the night!!!!

During the day, she has done it all…packing school lunches, securing homework, housekeeping, commanding boardrooms, finalizing budgets, entertaining guests, feeding the hungry, disciplining the naughty… the perfect ending undeniably is the engulfing comfort of ones bed without the added naggings of unfinished business. Saving the best for last has never sounded more untrue…At this moment, nothing sounds better than sleep therapy and a meaningful cuddle with ones bedding as opposed to hot, heavy mind blowing sex! Or she could be persuaded….

Now this disagreement can be easily settled by communication and planning – there goes spontaneity out of the window, one may think…and rightly so because unfortunately with the pressing responsibilities, being spontaneous all the time could be a tall order!

But don’t mind me, you have years to figure things out…or not…

Happy Honey Mooning!!!!

AJ

(Now this is a fun advice piece on sex…lets not take it too seriously…life is too short!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Young Clueless Unmarried Female…

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Dear Young Clueless Unmarred Female,

Consider this your reality check….your marriage tutorial 101. What I am about to share, I’m sure is not covered in your weekly counseling sessions nor is it the highlight of your mother’s daily words of wisdom on how to become an excellent wife! It’s quite simple though, if you choose to live your single life as a social butterfly and enjoy one too many soirees – then carry on and depart from the notion that in your marriage, your husband will help you nurture your pastime! The beginning of your lives together could possibly mark the end of your joint social calendar!

The social calendar of a young married Ghanaian couple is an endangered item in marriages nowadays! Like a vanishing act, it gradually disintegrates as life happens. When dating, your social calendars are interlocked and well-coordinated- you naturally cannot get enough of each other – and neither can the world! However this phenomenon begins to dwindle once the idea of marriage becomes an option!

After the last bottle of champagne has been emptied, the last rose petal swept and the last drunk guest has been directed his merry way home …reality sets in … you are either looking forward to your happy ever after or after the euphoria and drunkenness wears off, the feeling of anxiety and uncertainty prompts the flashing bright red warning signs in your head…”WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST DO?”

Many cringe-worthy marriage tales from the crypt begin with horror stories involving in-laws from hell or dark family secrets that warrant a few Hail Mary’s and a lifetime chronic drinking habit!  But ladies and gentlemen (allow me to be a bit dramatic)… there lies a more sinister nemesis to marriage, an unassuming agent of doom that unfortunately has penetrated the delicate fabric of marriage in our current society!

Could it be the proverbial ball and chain that gets most couples (especially the guys) all ruffled up and scared straight? Maybe the idea of forever is what prompts today’s Ghanaian couples to practically repel each other, especially when it comes to syncing social calendars!   Okay so let’s put everything into perspective…boy meets girl…they become boyfriend and girlfriend, they literally cannot get enough of each other – they practically have synchronized social calendars – it’s a ‘get two for one’ special!  However, they get the “bright idea” to get married and just like that, the special runs out fast… never to be tried again (unless under the duress of a counselor…maybe!). Now “Boy” has the “pressing need” to hang out with his friends – ALL THE TIME!  This is the onset of the term, “BOYS-BOYS”! Ladies and gentlemen ….your marriage NEMESIS revealed!

The term “Boys-boys’ was introduced to me like any other awkward term: like a fleeting careless thought…not much to write home about until it becomes a staple in your marriage and now it’s a term you hear so constantly, you feel its imprinted on your brain and it warrants a blood curdling scream each time you hear it!  In actual fact, the term is not as menacing as what it represents!

Of course if you are; or plan to be that kind of wife who enjoys being stuck at home all the time with the kids, in rollers and stained oversized clothes, this term would sound like music to your ears because we all know you don’t want to deal with the extra whines and demands of your “FIRST child” (your darling hubby) so you thankful rush him out of the door to play with his boys-boys. POWER TO YOU!  Now if you are the type of wife after my own heart, who does enjoy getting dolled up every now and then, and walking into places on the hand of her man…then trust me, you are going to LOATHE the term boys-boys because what it simply means is that you are not invited to the party or better yet the lifetime position you thought you won fair and square as his ‘plus one’ has been revoked! Now don’t fret, the position still exists….it’s just that you are no longer worthy of it. Now guess who gets shotgun in your two for one wagon…yup…Boys-boys!

The “Mr and Mrs”. invitations will be hard to come by. Basically your position at the grown up table has been commandeered and you have been bamboozled over to the kiddies table! I mean it’s not a bad table to sit at; but discussing power puff girls and who your favorite teenage mutant turtle is cannot be progressively rewarding! Face it girl, at this point your couple social calendar becomes a practical joke!

BOYS-BOYS, as the term implies, is just all about guys being guys and just hanging out…doing what guys do! There is no need to panic or get your pastor involved in this…don’t worry your darling husband is not playing for the other team (now that’s a whole different topic for another day).  You can however bet your last pesewa that in most cases, girls will be hanging out too at these boys –boys hang out spots; but what you are forgetting here is that you traded your “girl” ticket for the “wifey” ticket – remember that day when you were all smiles and you thought you owned the world, standing tall in your beautifully made white gown! Yup, that day was the last day of being a girl to your husband or any of his boys boys!  So yes, girls are invited to these boys-boys event, unfortunately, you are not!

Does that mean you are also allowed to form your own “girls girls” faction and act like you are single again? Well technically you can – but girlfriend you have baggage and responsibilities (remember your off-springs) and so it’s not really the same situation. The most you could settle for is a “Mummy and me” package and keep scheduling those play dates with the other mommies and their mini mes.

Now in no way shape or form am I advocating for couples to be in each-others space 24/7. That would be exhausting and nerve wrecking. “Boys-boys” do serve a very important purpose every now and then; however like every other thing, too much of it is detrimental. On the flipside if “boys boys” also spent more quality time with their wives…here’s a thought…maybe we could have a “couple thing’ to look forward to! But dare I suggest that married Ghanaian men bring their wives along to clubs or parties crawling with young single desperate girls…somewhere out there I have just suggested a cardinal sin!

There seems to be some unwritten rule, that I obviously missed, that prohibits married couples from hanging out together. Once married, the woman is supposed to turn in her lifetime pass as a socialite, however not to worry she still has her fulltime pass to kiddie parties, family events, definitely school festivities and ….of course church!

Who would have thought that hanging out with my husband would cause such a spectacle so much to warrant useless comments like, “Why are you always with your husband or why don’t you let him go out by himself”. Well…duh…I married the guy, didn’t I and this is what marriage looks like – you should try it sometimes! Of course we have our separate likes and hobbies that we enjoy individually, but we both have the interest in going out as well.  I made the conscious effort to marry my best friend – who I can enjoy his company – not just any boyfriend who turned into the father of my children! Any Tom, Dick or Harry could fill that role!

Or maybe I am interpreting this all wrong…could this be the best way for couples to actually cope with a life of till death do us part? Like I said, I am not suggesting that married couples should spend every waking minute together…tied to the hip…. Married couples are supposed to enjoy their individualities, personal space and hobbies but also commit to sharing quality time together as well. For a lasting marriage it is helpful to see your spouse as a best friend you can actually hang out with to some extent.

So to you my young vibrant and enthusiastic girl waiting for your shot at this thing called marriage, by all means prepare to take a bite into that Apple but let’s cultivate realistic expectations. If you are the social butterfly and are all for keeping up appearances, there might be a very good chance you will be left to fend for yourself after the glitter and glam has settled but don’t take my word for it.

 

 

 

99 Problems…And Counting

Permit me to draw from the famous philosophy of the inspirational Martin Luther King Jnr, – I too had a dream…a dream of prosperity, a dream of ambition and a dream of revolutionary advancement. A dream in which my homeland Ghana, is the epitome of economic development and a beaconing light to a new emerging Africa. I eagerly watched as the transformation from dream to reality was unfolding. I even set aside my selfish ambitions and return home in order to add my might to the mounting glory. However, this was shorted lived, as greed, corruption and utter mismanagement continues to threaten the transition of wishful thinking into factual being.

The irony of textbook democracy- when the decision of the masses inadvertently derails the agenda for social progress and betterment; and embodies a deadly cancer that remains detrimental to the development of society and ultimately the well-being of the citizenry. A poetic justice; birthed by ignorance and misguided trust. Nevertheless, one would like to believe that hope is not completely lost – it is realized with the education of the masses and their ability to identify their misinformed folly of the past and to make the necessary strides to reset the course for change. There is, however, much cause for alarm if telltale signs point to the possibility of history repeating itself. The latter is not so far-fetched, when citizens put their faith in politicians and elected government official who gain confidence by spinning tall tales and promising the world, only to turn a blind eye to the worries and plights of the citizens who elected them in the first place.  However the question remains: is this just blatant disregard for the woes of the people or signs of an incompetent lot who have bitten more than they can chew… or a permutation of both?

My choice of heading….99 Problems – a famous song title by the talented superstar and rapper Jay-Z, best emphasizes  my frustrations with what is wrong with modern day Ghana. Surely Jay-Z had his own share of problems when he birthed lyrics to this title however I will bet my last pesewa that our current problems as citizens is definitely worth a song or two.. Ghana was once seen as the rising star of West Africa as she cultivated a future of opportunities and growth. However modern day Ghana is a ghost of its potential and stand as a dimming star amongst the international community. As a result of complacency, corruption, selfishness, mismanagement of resources by our elected officials, our future remains bleak!

Our current headaches as a country are testament to the lack of foresight of past and present governments alike.  Unfortunately, or fortunately – depending on your outlook of things – we live in a reactive society.  Proactivity is a concept lost on our religious beliefs that we need to cast our worries on the mercy of God to deliver us out of times of stress and discomfort. Not to say I don’t subscribe to the power of prayer and faith, however I like my faith and prayer accompanied with action. As the coined cliché goes, ‘God helps those who help themselves”. Planning, forecasting and determined action, coupled with faith is the more responsible and practical thing to do! We find ourselves in an ailing economy, with a continuing depreciating currency, ineffective policies and sub-par infrastructure due to the lack of earnest planning and targeted action. Our social amenities are deteriorating because in most cases we are still reliant on solutions and options provided decades ago, not taking into account that the demands of those times were just a mere fraction of the demands of today. One would deduce that our ballooned population would be indication enough to devise more innovative and forward thinking solutions to our demands and issues. But wait, our educational system is still trending in the pre-historic times, supporting our outmoded ways of thinking and in most cases we prefer to subscribe to copy and paste models. rather than copy and modify. I am no economist, but simple common sense necessitates the need to revamp policies and processes to mirror the current situation; however the key in doing this is doing it on a pre-emptive basis – before things get out of hand!  Instead we find ourselves running helter skelter and fumbling with short term solution and fixes that do not amount to anything but just compound our existing issues.

Our current power crisis is a textbook example of our lack of planning and targeted action, our complacency, our lack of foresight and proactivity to changing situations. It is mind blowing to know that over fifty percent of power generation in this country is still dependent on hydro-electrical power – a solution provided by our forefathers.  The irony lies in the fact that the population then was a mere fraction of today’s population. It is quite absurd to think that with all Ghana’s highly educated lot with their many accolades and countless degrees, we have not been able to devise sustainable alternative ways to generate power! Are we lacking in the revolutionary, change seeking, and innovative individuals or is our extent to idea generation limited by our greed for money and our inability to see past our own selfish advancement? If an idea does not fall in line with our personal wealth generation- despite the possibility of it jump starting growth and development on a national scale – sadly it seizes to be a viable option.

Now let me play devil’s advocate -; in the absence of economic indicators, let’s assume the signs were elusive and our top economists were clueless to the fact that Ghana was heading towards an energy crisis – surely the persisting power problem plaguing our neighbor Nigeria is something to be abated by. Best practices, information sharing and idea generation – aren’t these some of the fundamental reasons ECOWAS, AU and other international alliances were created? Or maybe I was misinformed – they are just platforms for African leaders to show off their personal wealth and make small talk on what is trending in their pop culture! It would be unfair on my part to assume that the incumbent government had no ‘intel’ that the power crisis would get worse, especially if it was a resounding headline in their manifesto to come into power and solve the power crisis. Dare I ask the question…” So what happened?”  I will give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that the eminent power crisis was not just a line item in their manifesto script in order to win votes, but a well-planned matrix with all the bells and whistles and a succession plan to boot. So what happened? Unfortunately, that is as far as my guessing would go, although I can only speculate that misappropriation of resources, lack of foresight, planning, subject matter experts and follow through action is what got us to this point of despair! Here’s a theory; their succession plans revolved around the promise of bountiful rains from the heavens above to sustain our hydro-electric power as the ultimate option to fall on. Unfortunately, even God cannot be bamboozled by the folly and indiscipline of man. Call it procrastination or complete negligence; fast forward to present day Ghana, in the 21st. Century, electricity is being rationed like UNICEF care-packs in a refugee camp!  A basic necessity seizes to be so basic, as local businesses are pruning staff or better yet shutting down completely and the quality of living for the average Ghanaian is gradually meandering to unbearable!

Addressing the woes of the citizenry has become burdensome or so the current government has portrayed as our complaints are only welcomed by further price hikes, inflation and insensitive, outright rude insinuations and comments by government officials who are quick to downplay how dire the situation really is. Instead they label us as delusional and ungrateful for the current mess we find ourselves in.

“A mess” is actually putting it mildly. Unfortunately, power is only one of the many failing sectors – the cancer is deep rooted and the result is wide spread. Permit me to take you down memory lane to look at some past government and how they etched their legacy into the history books. Past governments are known for their strong hold in at least one sector . For example the Nkrumah government propagated the importance of nationalism, self sufficiency and the promotion of social advancement as a country. The Rawlings administration adhered to a heightened level of security and strengthening of grass-root mobilization. The dawn of capitalism and investment promotion was birthed during the Kuffor regime. The influx of international investors and opportunities kept the economy afloat. However, the current administration seems to be lost in translation as it is difficult to pinpoint what industry they have mastered. A health check of the sectors in current day Ghana would reveal a failing grade in most, if not all. Education is an ailing institution in this country as students are deprived of the basic needs for school going children and the current curriculum is outdated and below par. Security is a joke lost on our boys in blue as they seem to have forgotten their pledge to serve and protect.  Instead they endanger the lives of motorists as they partake in stunt driving towards on-coming traffic and are a symbol of bribery and disorder. Unemployment is at an unprecedented high as young graduates cannot find sustainable employment and the power crisis is contributing to more layoffs as businesses are shutting down. Our hospitals and health systems are skeletons of what they need to be, whiles our young doctors are being slighted of their monthly due – but interestingly enough the ministers responsible for these institutions are being compensated ten times over. The quality of living in Ghana is in the pits. The citizens are paying for the failure and incompetence of government – amidst tax increases, sky rocketing inflation, the crippled Cedi and poor fiscal planning.

Now we cannot create such a mess and not draw from lessons learnt. Redemption lies in our ability to review the past and make important forward looking decisions. At this point it is pertinent that we envision a course for change. The truest form of Democracy is evident in the power of the people and making their voices heard. If the voice of the people is not heeded then we seize to be a democratic society. Currently we practice a hybrid rule of law where we may claim to be democratic but our actions are still in line with the practices of a traditional chieftaincy rule; where the people are humbled into silence and cannot demand their rights and keep those in power accountable for their actions. Not only is this problematic in theory but also very dangerous and detrimental in practice. As a people we need to commandeer our democratic rights and refuse governments that do not propel the interest of the country but rather hide behind a bunch of lies and smoke screens in order to promote personal agendas. The onerous lies on us the citizenry to demand what is ours; however we are far from this reality without the adequate amount of education on how democracy is supposed to work. That in itself seems like a big pill to swallow however, let us not be intimidated by the immensity of the task because there are ways around it. Everyone has to do their share – grass root informal education begins with educating those in your immediate environs who may not understand the issues. Propagate the word in plain language to the lay man on the street, to the illiterate family member, to the struggling workers who may not understand the power their vote has in a democratic society. We need to sit up and demand more for our mother Ghana because she deserves it. I would like to believe I am doing the little I can to communicate to the masses the best way I know how. Like a new conquest on the dating scene, let us put our prospective suitors (that is the running parties) to work. Carry your vote with pride and let them know that your vote cannot be bought by a measly pack of lunch on voting day or by a few Cedis that would probably not last you for even a tenth of the their tenure in office. Respect yourself as a voter and don’t sell your vote to the highest bidder but to the one with the vision to take the country to the next level in our development!. The current government has failed the Ghanaian people and the situation is dire but hope is not completely lost if we ground our decisions towards the greater good of our motherland!

Now a word of caution to incumbent and aspirant governments for 2016 – let us put our best foot forward but not with empty manifestos and flamboyant speeches. Back those aspirations with actual detailed blueprints and planning enforced with innovative solutions and expected results. The Ghanaian people will not be led blindly again so I implore you to start working now. Don’t come with half -baked plans that have not been well thought out. We want all the bells and whistles…the whole nine yards – short, medium and long term planning on how we will continue as a nation. We want foresight and forward thinking, practical applications – let us leave the theory and useless debates at home! Talk is cheap but action is divine.  Ghanaians will no longer tolerate incompetence and complacency amidst outmoded practices and stereotypical thinking. We want out of the box thinking infused with strategic goal setting. We have a tall list of demands, as such I will suggest you get to work NOW! Our motherland is sick and we are in the market for a medical team efficiently staffed with subject matter experts, innovative yet sustainable solutions to our 101 issues, and practices that will steer us to rehabilitation. We are looking for a government that is not afraid to cut out the cancers and that can hit the ground running. The history clock is ticking and Mother Ghana is way behind schedule! Lets all do our parts as citizens of this great country or else see it crumble into pieces.

LIGHTS, CAMERA…PERSPECTIVE?

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In most societies, there are a number of institutions, organizations, sects whatever you may call them, which strongly influence the way of life of the citizens. Some more directly then others, nevertheless we cannot deny the level of influence. Therefore it is prudent to demand a superior level of behavior from these groups if the end goal is to secure responsible and level headed citizens.
The West was very strategic in packaging and delivering Hollywood; Tinseltown they fondly nicknamed it, to the masses as a guaranteed conduit through which subtle messages could be conveyed to eager audiences. Nowadays subtle has long been abandoned and more blatant messaging is being used ever since the power of movies was stumbled upon! This is how Tinseltown won the West!
Story-telling-photoIn Africa, storytelling and its influence was well known and formed an integral part of our cultural fabric from the days of our ancestors long gone to current day. The art of storytelling remained a thread of culture that was sustained and made prominent in the daily lives of the people. So one would have thought, we would have found ‘our’ Hollywood long ago and developed it into the powerhouse it ought to be today! How far we have passed the baton on from the era of sitting around the fireside to sitting glued in front of a TV set is a matter of debate, however a debate for another time. What keeps me up at night is the content being fed to the eager audience!
Without quoting any scientific study, I would assume it is true to some extent that there is a direct correlation between the exposure of positive images and a person’s outlook on life. If a person is exposed to disaster, destruction, negativity over a long period in time, it is assumed that that person inadvertently would develop a negative view of the world. So consequently, we can easily conclude that Hollywood, Ballywood, Nollywood or whatever ‘wood’ we have out there are very strong influences on the societies patronizing them. If we are all on the same page up to this point – then this is a good sign because there lays the basis of my argument going forward.
Each year Hollywood makes it a business to release block busters guaranteed to appeal to the emotions of its viewership and interestingly enough every year Hollywood awards directors and producers who pulled at the heart strings of the audience the most with their intriguing, uplifting storylines. This only encourages more uplifting productions and storylines, which in turn increases the positive images projected from tinseltown. The average viewer craves these positive images, inspiring stories of perseverance and will, enduring love stories just to escape the harsh realities of the world. There is also the hope that if someone could overcome hardship, so can the other person. For some of us, it is through movies that we can experience positive human interaction. So to some extent, Hollywood deserves kudos and a slap on its back for the somewhat positive influence on its viewership.
Now to my question at hand; irrespective of presentation, technological advancement, theatrical development, which we all know there is more to be desired, why are most of the storylines , scripts and themes of Ghanaian and Nigerian movies (these are the ones I am exposed to) so negatively based? I can actually count the number of Ghanaian or Nigerian movies that do not have some element of witch craft, evil spirits, demons, ghosts and bad fortune! This then begs the question; are our societies based on these ‘negative’ images and if so are these the lasting images we want to project on screen as well? What happened to the story of perseverance, the story of hope or the stories of the great Africans who have made revolutionary moves warranting autobiographical movie depiction? I guess we will leave those story plots to Hollywood and keep to our Agya Koo and Adadzewaa his witch of a mother!
Not to age myself, but growing up it was the same story – a Ghanaian movie was not ‘a Ghanaian move without the occasional trip to the Maalam or witch-doctor or the mischief ways of a ghost tormenting a poor relative. It was a breath of fresh air when I watched the first ever real Ghanaian comedy-love story, ‘Six Lovers of Melody”. If my memory serves me well, that was the first Ghanaian movie I had watched that was free of the witchcraft and tales from the underworld! It was a carefree comedy that got you laughing from beginning to end. An attempt at something different paid off – at least I think it did because of the great reviews that movie got at the time.
TVWhen I moved back to Ghana after a decade away, I was so proud to see that our local TV content involved airing of local movies and programming – well that feeling of pride was short lived when I actually watched a hand full of local movies and realized the plots had not changed! So that meant my love affair with Hollywood had to continue in order to stay sane and not be scared out of my wits of the possibility that an old grandmother in the village had sold my soul to a water god of some sort! The good news is that nowadays our TV content has broadened – the eve of Tele Nova has the masses glued to their TV sets. The bad news is that it highlights our misplaced interests to consume foreign and not reform local. As a cherry on the cake, we even have local story tellers translating these intriguing plots for the local viewers who struggle to understand the English-subtitled Tele Nova. Why are people so hooked – because the storylines are that inviting and I know for one thing they are lacking of our underworld friends! So why can’t we have a Ghanaian ‘Mari Cruz’ or ‘What life took from me” script???? These are stories that highlight positive images and plots of perseverance and will. Forget Hollywood blockbusters, these productions should be within arm’s reach. Shoot, if our creative geniuses cannot come up with storylines like that, then let’s do what we do best – copy! Give the local people a positive story line of strife and endurance but with our own actors and our own towns and street names.
Positive images goes a very long way in forming the lives of the people so why are we glorifying witchcraft and evil spirits in our films when we can uphold more meaningful cultural practices and virtues. The film industry has a duty as an influencing media to portray positivity to its viewership. The world is evolving and maturing but we are still living in our villages even though we made the migration from the villages. The Ghana film industry needs to sit up and realize the importance its existence has on the socialization of its people.
We can be counted in international film festivals! Until we move away from the village plot Ghallywood or Nollywood will just be another failed title for crushed hopes and dreams and will never play at the ‘big kids’ table!!!

HOLLYWOOD

A Touch of Passion…Goes a Very Long Way!

sales-questions-you-must-answerHave you ever asked yourself why you are in your current profession or role? More importantly, do you consider you current role a stepping stone towards your desired career goal or is it just another J.O.B to while away time and support you financially? I don’t mean to sound like an overdone or opinionated career themed advertisement trying to woo young college graduates; but these are very relevant questions that every professional in the workforce needs to ask themselves every now and then.
Identifying ones career goal can be a daunting task for some of us, and by no means am I trying to pressure anyone to reach that ‘aha’ moment pre-maturely – it’s no race…trust me! However as a professional: seasoned or novice, I am sure you have realized one thing – what you definitely DON’T want to do, and in most cases you do need to do whatever it is before you realized you don’t want to do it in the long run – catch 22!
So back to the questions at hand – when you ask yourself why you are in a particular career path, I’m guessing a plethora of reasons come to mind – for the money, to make your parents happy, pop culture – everybody’s doing it, more money, for status and respect -keeping up appearances, competing with a friend…and the list goes on! Personally, all these hundred and one reasons mean nothing if somewhere on that list, the word “passion” is not highlighted, bolded and underlined! Being passionate about what one does is a sure path to professional security and personal success. In the light of passion, all professional hazards become insignificant and tolerable. A worker with passion as his/her tool of choice is sure to crack that code to lasting satisfaction.

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Unfortunately, this lasting satisfaction eludes quite a hand full of us because we are in professions for the ‘wrong’ reasons. Nevertheless, the lucky ones realize this along the way and are smart enough to make a detour to “passionville” whiles the unlucky ones continue on through the crooked path of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment. The latter is either led astray by their stubborn nature or refusal of change or some genuine circumstances beyond their control. Needless to say, the end result is always the most telling – here lies a bitter individual who squandered his/her life away on an unfulfilling job! Harsh words but true!
My millions would have not been so elusive had I received one cedi each time I asked the question why someone was in a profession and they alluded to the fact that their parents had a lot to do with it! Or better yet, I would be even richer if the reason had a monetary tag! In a society where a child’s voice is seldom heard over the bellowing opinions of the adult, it is commonplace for a particular profession to be hammered into a child’s head. However, reiterating my first point above – some need to try something in order to find out that they don’t like it! And so hope is not completely lost for the children who are force fed their professions – nevertheless, the caveat here is that the hopefuls are only identified by their adamant and adventurous ways. Those who do not challenge status quo and reach out for change are limited by their fear of the uncertain. Of course there are those parents who know their wards well enough to causally suggest a profession and like BINGO…it’s a match!
know yourselfHowever, the issue here is not how well our parents or guardians know or don’t know us, but more importantly how well we know ourselves. SCENARIO: You are in a dead end job: getting up every morning is depressing because of this job, you are definitely not getting the hang of it, your co-workers are a constant reminder of what you don’t want to become, yet you stay in this job for ten plus years! The first five year was plenty time to plan an escape route but your constant eye rolls at your colleagues and wishing your boss dead ( a bit extreme but you get the point) were not cues enough to have you beef up your resume and look for greener pastures. Comfort and complacency are killers of passion and professional satisfaction – and I hate to say it but these have found a home in our workforce. Now you wonder why our thinking is narrow!

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No matter what line of business or field of expertise you claim to be aligned with, make sure you approach it with passion and all the added perks will definitely follow!
On the streets of Accra, traffic hawking is big business – I have my own reservation on that in regards to road safety but that is a different topic for another day – as simple as it may seem to some of us, these hawkers can be differentiated by their level of passion! I once came across one of these hawkers and the truth be told, the title ‘hawker’ was really an insult to him per my perception – he embodied the definition of an astute salesman and despite the fact that he did not have a shop in which to sell his goods, he considered the streets of Accra his business address. Now I am sure you are wondering what made this salesman stand out – ‘you ask a good question”! Our passionate salesman sold dressy men’s shoes like half the other hawkers currently on the streets; however what made him stand out was his appearance! The street hawker attire we are most accustomed to is the basic, unassuming t-shirt and trousers or shorts – heavily stained and ripped in some cases, however our passionate salesman flipped the script completely – he was well dressed in a trousers and waist coat (vest) combo, coupled with a crisp white buttoned up shirt and well-polished dressy men’s shoes and sunglasses to boot!!! Of course I had to steal a few long glances his way and rubber necking was inevitable since I was in moving traffic. But there stood a passionate salesman and despite the smothering Accra heat, he knew what he was about – in order to sell his merchandise, he had to look the part despite his circumstances. Now as I marveled at what I had just seen, I actually wished I had enough capital to open a decent store for this chap to help sell his products. I haven’t seen him recently so I am only hoping someone did not only share my thoughts but actually had the means to put him in a store. In my books that is passion!

art vs scienceNow if my example above seems a little far-fetched for you because you seem so removed from the local hustle and bustle, then consider the science student who has been pressured to do just that – the sciences in school – because his/her parents can justify paying all that school fees for medicine or law or economics but not for fashion, music or carpentry and of course the former makes for great bragging rights – “My son is a doctor, or my daughter is a lawyer etc. But deep down this aspiring doctor or lawyer or banker has a wonderful talent for dress making or acting – no foul called if they do continue on in the academics to be what Daddy or Mummy planned but sooner or later the innate talent, that passion will come a-knocking and a wise man once said:

“Success is inevitable when we heed opportunity’s knock”…

okay so I said that but I believe there is some wise saying to this end! My point here is that we need to know what we are truly passionate about and try and cultivate it! The above scenario is not some story I came up with but it is the true story of many content and successful people out there, who listened out for their passion and made that brave leap of faith.

For some of us we are still finding ourselves professionally and trust me, there is no shame in that, as long as we are taking the pains to really find and understand what makes us tick. Let’s not be swayed by economic gains especially as a sole long-term goal because this breeds contempt and misplaced effort. However let’s take stride towards developing our passion and see if economic gains, self-satisfaction and accomplishment and their likes does not become part and parcel of our career story!

career path

‘Transforming Dialogue into Initiatives’…

There is a revolution brewing…a new frontier…a new dogma… just in time for the changing upholstery of our African environment. We have discovered that power lies in numbers and we are taking strides to harness this power to redefine our future. Do you have what it takes to influence change; to grab the bull by the ‘you know where’ and make history happen? Then come be part of the foot soldiers of change: Become a member of The Ghana Global Professional Network (GhanaProNet).

‘The Ghana Global Professional Network (GhanaProNet) is a non-profit entity that aims to provide avenues and opportunities for social dialogue and network amongst Ghanaian professionals and friends of Ghana across the globe’ 

It is the brainchild of a group of intellectual Ghanaian professionals who identified the unique opportunity to convene the intellect, the influence, the desire and the ability of the young Ghanaian professionals in the diaspora by providing a platform/ forum of exchange to help leverage strengths, mindsets and personalities. GhanaProNet stands as a solution to the face to face vacuum that other social media platforms such as facebook, twitter, whatsup etc, have created. GhanaProNet is an extension of social interaction, however one that banks upon a face to face component.

GhanaProNet seeks to build and sustain a network of both professional Ghanaians and friends of Ghana, globally, collectively, to elevate our personal, social, and professional lives in numerous ways…. CEO GhanaProNet – Stephen Abebreseh

The vision of the organization is evident in its slogan, ‘Transforming Dialogue into Initiative’ and through its seven committees, members are allowed to hone in their skills and talents to support the goals and vision of GhanaProNet.

On October 14, 2012, join members of the GhanaProNet at their inaugural luncheon and find out how this organization is propelling change one professional at a time

For more information about GhanaProNet, its committees, members and events:

Visit us at GhanaProNet

Like us on Facebook 

Follow us at Twitter

Link with us at Linkedin  

As the old African saying goes, ” A single stick from a broom can easily be broken, however a broom as a whole can never be broken”. There is strength in numbers, join the Ghana Global Professional Network today and lets transform our future!

Jumping the Broom…

Last Monday, I had the pleasure of attending a press dinner and movie screening in Atlanta, GA for the movie Jumping the Broom, and our guests of honor….wait for it…wait for it… the lovely Meagan Goode and eye candy Pooch Hall! Both among the star studded cast of this delightful comedy drama. This event was among the extensive promotional activities and events scheduled around the country as a precursor to the movie’s nationwide premiere in the cinema on May 6, 2011.

Apart from the movies’ award- winning cast including Angela Bassett, Loretta Divine, Paula Patton and Meagan Goode, coupled with promising upcoming talents like Pooch Hall (the Game), Romeo Miller (Lil Romeo), Laz Alonso and the comic geniuses of Mike Epps and DeRay Davis, there is a lot to marvel about. Its all black production team told the age old story of marital bliss or the lack there of in this tale of uptown meets downtown.- the merging of two African-American families – however the similarities end right there! As the families figure out how to cope with socioeconomic difference and diverse backgrounds; a whirlwind of family secrets, strained relationships and a tangled web of deceit threaten a happy matrimonial ending for the couple – the two who matter the most.

Press Dinner with Pooh Hall and Meagan Goode, stars of upcoming movie

Director Salim Akil brings to life the joys of when boy meets girl and the confusion of family dynamics. Throw in a school boy crush, a possible kruger situation, a festive medley of eye candy (shirtless men flexing muscles in a football challenge), an unlikely love connection, sibling rivalry, a dark family secret and a case of mama’s boy syndrome all set in a matrimonial paradise and you are guaranteed a must-see movie of the summer!

Be sure to check out Jumping the Broom on May 6, 2011, a TriStar Pictures production!