Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Udder of cow; thinly sliced and then cultured with vinegar, oil, salt, and ground-pepper-and-groundnuts. Charcoal-grilled in the open air from about dusk beside the road. Served sizzling in cutlets wrapped up in paper.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kube Cake

Coconut shavings desiccated and roasted in golden sunrays; devilishly varnished in creamy caramel; ‘butterly’ balled up before it cools and crystallises. Textured, golden globes of pleasure.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Deep-fried-till-golden, diced, ginger-glorified plantain, sweetening the Accra night air. Pecked while still hot and almost aglow. Relish with roasted groundnuts if you wish. Love it, but don’t be a calorie counter.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Airport Shell

It squats on the auxiliary artery which leads from the Airport roundabout to the Gifford Road (to Burma Camp). It used to be closed at 1 a.m. until armed robbers registered their unwanted approval. Now all the lights go out at 11 p.m. It serves fuel; flaunts a ‘corner store’; holds a handy garage; seduces with the Cockpit Grill, and exposes a car park to stand at if you wish ‘Airport’, ‘East Legon’ and ‘Spintex Road’ to see you on their way home at night.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Corner Store

Every neighbourhood has one. Maybe had, before the ultra exclusive ones came along. Not always crouching at a street corner, corner stores are a really neat convenience; the slightly-steeper-than-market prices are worth it because they save you the long drive to town. But if you want more than something between chalk and cheese, then head to Shoprite (Tetteh Quashie), Max Mart (37) or, maybe, Koala (Osu). And good luck with the stifling steel snake.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Parasites, Pesewas & Porridge

“I will give you 50p.” That’s what the attendants announce to you at a well-known fast food chain in the City of Accra. What they really mean is that they will be keeping your change, because they do not have any. Imagine this – they will make GHC 150 if they do this to 300 ‘victims’ a day! The receipts they give out around 9 p.m. show that they take close to 400 orders daily. Some supplementary income! And when you come out to the car park, some security guard accosts you and asks for “some coins for Koko* for Old Man.”

*Koko - cornmeal porridge

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hand Culture – Eating Sticky Food

At Tante Marie (specialists in West African Cuisine), an interracial couple rendezvous with its Ghanaian friends. The Missus looks of Germanic stock; the Mister is a dusted-with-coal Rastafarian. They’re both clothed all in white. It’s a celebration! Among them huddles a little granddad in a giant’s ancient suit and a failing backbone that makes his head hang below his bony shoulders, as his dirty, white beard almost brushes the tabletop. He’s stuffing Banku and Tilapia into his pinched mouth with a fork. But, to really clean the flesh off the fish bones, he finds that he has to use his good old hands.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Traditional African Soap

For many, ‘European’ Soap smells nice, but leaves them with spotted, speckled skin. They’ll still not fall back on Alata Samina, Black Honey Soap or some similar ‘African’ Soap because they do not smell like heaven, although they leave your face as smooth as heaven’s highway. Lately, though, the soap-makers have caught on to sweetening their cleansers with Pear and Aloe, Lemon and Citronella. And now ‘modern’ people can avoid the pineapple face and still leave the shower with some natural, seductive fragrance.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kwame Nkrumah – He Laughed!

A black Atlas shouldering the Black Man’s Burden, many of his pictures revealed a pensive phiz with resident shadows and a receding hairline. But, one picture in black and white has crossed my ken somewhere - Kwame Nkrumah laughing in percolating paroxysms. I cannot explain this rationally, but it makes my soul proud! Its infectious, carefree silliness weighed against his serious developmental mind just about fascinates me more than any other shot of any other man!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kwame Nkrumah - Hard Target

Jan 2, 1964. Kwame Nkrumah walks the grounds of Flagstaff House with personal guards and ‘trusted’ cops aplenty. An assassin (who sent him?) squeezes off a bullet and misses. Salifu Dagarti throws the Prez down, and probably saves his life. For reward, the next bullet drills cleanly through Salifu’s loyal skull. Onlookers remain bystanders as the assassin chases after the President into a kitchen. Prez is screaming, but no help arrives. Kwame Nkrumah personally wrestles and overpowers a gun-toting assassin. On this day, he’s 54 years and 125 days old! But he escapes with only a facial bite!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kwame Nkrumah – Give Us Chocolate

Cult creation was Kwame Nkrumah’s forte. By an almost unbelievable account, his Young Pioneers* would be amassed into a ‘Dogma’ room with tall walls, a door and upper windows. The thumb-suckers would be encouraged, by their adult minders, to pray to God for chocolate. “God, give us chocolate!” “God, give us chocolate!” Tens of times would they ask, but chocolate would not come down the Manna way. Then, the over-credulous nkwadaa would be ‘hocus-pocused’ to ask Kwame Nkrumah for chocolate. “Nkrumah, our father, give us chocolate.” Just asked once, and down rained confectionery like confetti from the high windows!

*Young Pioneers – A club of young followers of Kwame Nkrumah indoctrinated to be his eyes and ears in every home.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kwame Nkrumah – Kwame Ukrumah

Francis Kwame Nwia Kofie Nkrumah’s African consciousness aroused itself from his student days at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania. In time, he attracted the observance of the FBI. They must have feared that his electric charisma would fire up the Civil Rights Movement. Thankfully, they did not try (or maybe failed) to set him up for a jail term. That’s how these stories usually end.

The real story, this time, is that with all its sophisticated ways, the FBI did not get even his name right. They kept a file on Kwame “Ukrumah”. Shame! Returning to the the issue of sinister setups: many years later, the FBI’s sister (and rival) agency would trail him into his own country, and help depose him in a coup d’etat!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kwame Nkrumah – Man and Myth

It is said that every newborn baby squeals. In napping Nkroful, the nascent Nkrumah, Francis Nkrumah, would not whine. His father had to fetch his muzzle-loader (also known as “Atiabofre”) to shoot a bolt. And, so, it took a booming gunshot to jolt little Kwame Nkrumah to whimper a bit. Right there, on September 21, 1909, they knew he was very special!

Kwame Nkrumah Series

This week, 'Ghana Blogging' decided to blog on the eminent statesman. AR will post snippets on his life, and try not to get way too serious. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

He Didn't Buy Meat

A lad who never strayed too far from his comfortable life or over-doting parents tagged along when his streetwise schoolmates bussed off to a sports fiesta at Koforidua. His mates ‘diverted’ to a ‘chopbar’ to eat. Rich Boy was fascinated by the Waakye, but had never bought food in a place like this. He did not know how to buy it, what to say, or how much to buy. He glanced around for a clue, and settled on a workman eating the vaunted darkish rice and beans. He sauntered over and shyly asked the man how much he’d bought. The man scowled; he snarled; he gnarled, and left in a huff, calling the hungry hobbledehoy all manner of names that an adult shouldn’t call a child. The battered boy crawled to the food vendor and asked innocently, “what did I do wrong?” As he spoke, he pulled out a promising wallet, which lit up the food mama’s eyes. Said she, “Don’t mind that man. He couldn’t buy meat!”

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


This is my four-hundredth blog post. Since AR started, I have had crossovers into many themes, and, for about a week now, AR has identified itself as a Ghana, urban-culture blog. I admit that I do not even know all urban culture means, but I will learn every day, and I will keep my writer’s eye keen for the telling details everywhere. Thank you all for the blog miles between us. Here’s to more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Otto Pfister

A German, septuagenarian football gaffer who tugged his tracksuit trousers beneath his behind. It had been Hip-Hop culture for a while, but Ghanaian youth named the craze for Otto Pfister. I had forgotten all about this, until the Hiplife star, Asem (and Caroline) brought it up in “Pigaro”. Now any male youth who comes to see the popular-culture fluorescence, must equip in low-slung trousers or shorts, scroll through the Otto Pfister phase, and sweep the streets with their trousers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

How Ghana Beat Sudan and Lost

I think the average Ghanaian solemnly swears that they are honest and benevolent; religious even. You all eyed the unified support on TV, as Ghana walked over Sudan to qualify for South Africa 2010. Many good citizens bled GHC 20 for a VIP ticket, but couldn’t get a place to sit. Many more vermin did not pay at all, but sat on other people’s GHC-20 perches. So, we stood throughout the game. I bet the usurpers would have ‘surrendered seat’ if the claimant were a foreigner (so they could lather the legend of Ghanaian hospitality!) Fools!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Kumasi Zoo

I would like to end “Kumasi” by talking fondly about its captive wild animals, but there’s no story in that. There are a few free-shitting Ostriches, slumbering Lions and Hyenas, pitiable Hawks and Vultures, etc. No Kumasianos (did you think I’d miss bringing it up?) flock to the zoo near Kejetia. The real story was this sign at the entrance:

LOL!!!!! So even in the “Close Season” the law refuses to protect the poor Akrantie, also known as Cane Rat or Grass Cutter. Bye bye, Majestic Kumasi! Next time, we might go to see the Asantehene.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kiravi, Kilavi and Kay Vee

The cars are ranged with order in a spacious parking lot. In the chilly night air, three men flank the pinched entrance. We’re admitted for GHC 7 apiece. The anteroom yawns into three more rooms. The room on the right hides behind a closed door. Directly ahead is a vacant bar. On the right is the door to the club. Inside, the DJ’s box, the bar and black settees besiege the static dance floor. Pillars oddly screen the sitting area. The music is Dancehall (called Ragga) and Hiplife. I think they love “Simple”. The DJ drops crowd favourites over and over again. The collective fragrance is not sweet. Masculine BO chokes the air. Coarse tones are whispered everywhere in non-English. The bar stands mostly unemployed. Crashing glass sounds keep the time every few minutes. What there is a lot of, is sloppy, inter-dance snogging. It’s clustered thick as seeds. It’s time overdue to go at 1.30 a.m.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Colourful Bantama Evenings

In the heart of Kumasi lies Ghana’s bistro capital. Bantama hosts a daily night carnival. After dusk, shops close, shop fronts clear, and seats and tables are set. Bars and pubs open. Drink and meat freely flow. Men and women pour into the streets in brightly coloured clothes.

We espied a guy in a custard-coloured suit and hat, and another all in scarlet. Many a young man streaks a medium, white towel out of his back pocket, almost scything the street. Many a woman spikes school-rules, short, natural hair. They leave their inflated bosoms fairly out to treat, and swim from sidewalk to sidewalk in miniskirts or hugging jeans. The more mature males don hats from far-flung cultures.

We were touring for the famous British Pub. Legend has all the city capos haunting it at night. We cruised through many connecting streets. We did not find the pub. I asked a kebab boy. For “British Pub” he heard “Spar”. Between horror and suppressed snicker, I did not resist the urge to ask if he had Cane-Rat kebab.

A cabbie stopped to help. He acquired a fatuous frown, and said he did not know the “Parrrrrrr”. We sullenly settled for the “Soul Bar”. It did not have half the soul its name promised. It is a hatchery for fat, blood-sucking mozzies, and a flower/sewer garden.

Bantama is a street. Bantama is a scene. Bantama is a curious crowd. Bantama is musical. Bantama is the heartbeat of Kumasi at night. The name “Bantama” suffers from the ugliness of English spelling. I gather it should properly be spelt something like Baantoma.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Four Tastes of Kumasi

The McKeown Restaurant is tucked in one of the buildings on the vast Pentecostal complex at Asokwa. It dishes up some ‘wicked’ soups with the king of meats – Akrantie, also known as Cane Rat, also known as Grass Cutter, also known as Cutting Grass. It affects to have no beer to issue, but it displays and offers airlinesque wine.

Vienna City lies at Ahodwo, on the boulevard that also threads past Kiravi Night Club (look out for its own post). It serves ‘continental’ food in a nicotine ambience. Its many Lebanese patrons are permitted to break the dress code, by flapping among the pool tables and hookers in their flip-flops. And how do you explain having to pay to enter the club, and then having to pay to buy food and drinks? We were told it had a legendary pizza.

Cadillac, we did not have too much time to explore. As we came down from the cars, the live band elected to play ancient Sunday music...on a Saturday night! So we fled the ‘crime’ scene.

Abusua serves more ‘wicked’ Ghanaian recipes with more Cane Rat. It appears that Cutting-Grass-rearing has caught on in Kumasi, so all the bush meat has lost it bushy, smoky sense with a metal pellet or two lodged in the meat when the tasty rodent was shot. Abusua had run out of beer on a Saturday morning! But the food was goooooooooooooood, including the Gari Fortor and chevon, and even the tad-too-dry Tilapia.