Monday, August 9, 2010

Merlin Would Have Whupped Komfo Anokye

In a raffia skirt, black body ‘pasteled’ with white chalk, hoary horsetail whisk gripped in one hand, white chicken-egg cradled gently in the other, he twists and turns, hops and leaps, chanting, mocking, menacing, panting, until beads of sweat cut rivulets into his body paint. After a very, very long time, Komfo Anokye is ready to cast a spell.

In a minute, Merlin would have whipped out his willow wand and turned Komfo Anokye into a porcupine (kotoko) with a single abracadabra. So would Harry Potter. So would Baba Yaga. So would Yaztromo. So would Gandalf (whether White or Grey).

I could say more, but I think the point is made. Are we where we are because of some cultural defects?


  1. Lol! NY will kill me oo... Where did this come from?

    On a serious note however, I don't think the unbridgeable gap is as a result of cultural defects. The problem is that many Ghanaians and perhaps, other Africans, are not proactive and lack the ability to be creative/to expose their creative genius to the rest of us. Its like we are all waiting for the White Man to introduce the innovations for our use.

    And sadly, we don't support those who make Made in Ghana goods. Cultural imperialism has made it almost impossible for Africans to sell their products in their own continent.

    Hope I haven't deviated but I just had to say this...

  2. then there would be a war of which would win? same thing in different clothes...

  3. And who says that Komfo will turn into a porcupine? Check YOUR mindset...

  4. I guess that says that Ghanaians have more sense of drama. Drama takes time!

  5. Kwame Mensa-Bonsu09 August, 2010

    Cultural defects? That's a whole PhD thesis, NY. But then, every culture has its defects.

  6. Enyonam:
    You haven't deviated at all. You're spot. Just keep the comments coming.

    Nana Fredua-Agyeman:
    Same thing in different clothing, Sir? :-)

    Sorry Ma'am, I meant to say Merlin will turn the African wizard into a hedgehog (not a porcupine). Lol.

    Yes, drama does take more time. It's just effectiveness and efficiency do the opposite.

    Kwame Mensa-Bonsu:
    Yes, a whole PhD thesis. Yes, every culture has its defects (it's full of humans). But it is still true that in a clash of cultures, the superior culture prevails. Or?

  7. Thankfully, Merlin had a staff and not a wand. It was Harry Potter who had a willow wand with a phoenix tail at its core.

    I agree though, our people depend too much on theatrics. Doesn't it show more power if your spell acts in seconds? That said, Komfo Anokye had so many talismans and wards, I doubt that Harry's spell would hit him. Most likely it would reflect off his body and hit its creator instead lol.

    (I respect and love Gandalf and Merlin too much to see them turned into hedgehogs. Harry, you're up!)

    I don't think it's the superior culture that prevails. Simply what people perceive to be the superior culture, and also the one that seems to have better military power and wealth. I think our people were happy before we were conquered. We had our own schools in Northern Ghana for instance (eg. Mole Yile) Granted, it was the muslim society that created that university and only the muslim populace could attend, but we had our own system of reading and writing. They learned from the Arab and African systems of education, then grew their wings.

    I refuse to think any culture is superior over another. I just think some are lucky to tap into others' greed, insecurity and stupidity.

    (I've rambled on too long. Gotta run out to breakfast and then fieldwork. More later, maybe in a post)

  8. Daixy - every magician knows it is all about the showmanship - instant magic just isn't that impressive unless you have built up expectation!

    Regarding your point about taping into another cultures greed, etc. I think this is the main problem. People see the apparent wealth of my country - the UK - and cannot see the trade off that was made to achieve it. Let me mention a few:
    - destruction of the family
    - death of God
    - challenge to authority
    - disregard of moral strictures
    - disrespect for tradition.

    Throwing away all these things was positive as it enabled our kind of progress to be made. Ghana has to look beyond the greed and decide if they also want to make the same kind of progress. As they say, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs!

  9. I think Myne meant for you to check your minset because you assumed that Komfo Anokye could be turned into a porcupine so easily. Like Daixy said he probably has the luxury of prancing around cos he knows that his magic will protect him from any such attempts....

  10. @ Daixy:
    Is not more military power and wealth superiority? Ouch about Merlin and his staff, but I think you get the idea :p

    @ Graham:
    First, I think you confuse the magic of Messrs Houdini and Copperfield with the real thing practised by Messrs Merlin, Potter and Madam Yaga (if it is real).

    Secondly, I have not quite thought of what you consider to be the sacrifice of Britain (and much of the First World). I am thinking about it now.

    @ Anon:
    I perfectly understood Myne. I was keeping up my facade to show I was using a silly means to introduce a serious topic for discussion, as indeed the comments on culture and development have indicated above. :)

  11. Kwame Mensa-Bonsu10 August, 2010

    NY..Graham is so right. I can see the kids (as kids...note!!) actually rising up in a revolution soon. There is not an iota of discipline in most of them. That's is why I say there are defects in every culture. The English/British an example...was superior and helped them to conquer the world with a very small population. But as with all civilisations, it started to decay at the height of its glory. Now I feel it is in inexorable decline and the defects have come to the fore.Unfortunately the people don't see it and so are not doing anything about the decline. If Ghanaians can pull of the trick of developing without the cost of having a decaying..or decayed...culture, we'll be better for it. I always say: take the best of the whiteman and leave the rest to effect we should be very selective.

  12. I am tempted to agree with Graham on the drama aspect, why do we always see the bad in slow and the good in fast? In many situations, drama aka slow aka patience and stamina is good!

    To me a "serious" fetish priest beats Harry P every day!

  13. Kwame M-B:
    And exactly what would the kids (as kids, noted) be rising up to gain? Seriously?

    A serious fetish wins the bout huh? Tigari, huh? On another note, I am willing to separate slow development (with promise) from no development at all ;-)

  14. Kwame Mensa-Bonsu14 August, 2010

    Nothing really, which is a pity since they think they know everything, including their rights!


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