Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Presidential Debate

A presidential debate
We watched with breath abate
By just before midnight
We’d found the leading light

We'd confirmed a certain two
Were just as we knew
As for the other bloke
Oh what an utter joke

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Reason Not To Shake Hands

Pretty woman in my rear view; in the spotless, silver Corolla; digging deeply in your nostrils; checking out what you produce. You're the reason I don't look back often enough. When the traffic moved along, it took you ten seconds to note; you were balling up your goo.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Open Barbecue in the City of Accra

In broad daylight, last Friday, on the ceremonial street at animated Nima, Birdie and I saw a group of muscled men singeing a whole cow-carcass with a blow torch and scorching the pavement black.
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Thursday, October 25, 2012


2012! It bewilders me, and I cannot say which vexes me more – the superstitious teachers or the benighted varmint. The ones have zilch to teach because they need a lamp too. The others are a stupendously sorry sight: ignorant, petty, perishing, future-less. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How I Stumbled Upon Blogging

In 2008, Accra was a jaded jamboree. I preferred to float in bed and fantasise about far-flung frolicsome places. I had happened on ‘personal websites’ without knowing their sexy name - blog. Then, my friend, Sandra, introduced me her blog.  I was besotted three times over. A poet in hibernation, I dusted off my skills and became a seeker of ‘second sight’: that hallowed ‘hang’ to see extraordinary sights in everyday scenes. To experience and describe Accra’s rich, deep and colourful layers of sights, sounds, smells and tastes in a unique way. Blogging has given me a novel, vibrant city that’s all my very own.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Toyota, No Doubt!

He fixed it there, just so you're doubly sure it's a Toyota!

The Fluid Traffic Lights in the City of Accra

I've heard it said about prisons, mental-health institutions and toilets. Now I add traffic lights. You can tell how civilised a country is by how its drivers mind the traffic lights (and traffic circles).

Five or six years ago, a friend and I saw a Nigerian businessman do a jaw-drop when visiting Accra for the first time. "They actually obey the lights?" He asked. He said the lights were useless décor back in his country. We had a sneaky suspicion that he was self-deprecating too hard.

That kind Nigerian gentleman; he visited five years too soon. Every morning at the Regimanuel traffic lights on the Spintex Road, I barely hang on to dear life after three 'Hail Marys' and four near misses.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Racing with Cyclists in the City of Accra

My heart turns cartwheels every time I see a cyclist’s thirty-second madness. Pumping pedals to race your car, they’re in the lead for twenty seconds. Then you’re level...edge past... whiz ahead. Ten seconds scrape by; they surrender; admission of no catch-up chance. It’s the human spirit in the race of life.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence is gone. We buy late-night Kelewele at 5pm, and do dawn-jogging at 7am. Twenty of us at a pub are no match for 4 gunmen. Saturday night-crawling is a far-off, silver-screen fantasy. Security is merely a word we teach four-year-olds.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012


Four years from today, you'll leave home on Monday and get to Accra City Centre on Wednesday. If you don't take too long about your business, you may make it back home by Saturday. But we'll still vote for leaders.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Robbery Victim's View of Mob Justice

Days after my rebuke of the Nigerian mob murder, a robber's pistol poked my chest. And a friend's question probed my beliefs: do you still condemn mob justice? I thought about the shiny, black, cold metal and the nine years' worth of data lost. Then, my answer run out boldly: Yes. Mob justice is wrong and the lynching murder.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hideous Humanoids, Barbaric Beings

Four boys are lacerated, eviscerated, excoriated and incinerated by a mob of maybe ten. Thousands, literally, feast on the cruel skill of their local ‘gladiators’. A few officers of the law cower among the rabble in this arena of the gory and the gruesome. They do nothing to stop the baying wolves. If they try to stop the lunacy, their reward would be a flaming pneumatic garland.

In my knowledge of African history, criminals and suspects may have been punished by flogging, burial-while-alive, banishment, capital punishment. BUT it happened after a trial; a trial by the elders or, indeed, a trial by ordeal before the gods and their priests. The punishment was cruel sometimes and the trials not credible in today’s conventional wisdom.


We were cheated into colonialism, yes. We inherited some great legal norms, though, to add to valid virtues of our own. Joy!

So when (and why) did we learn to seize suspects, untried, to bludgeon-n-burn to death? Why are we more barbaric today than 500 years ago?