Monday, July 18, 2011

Chale Wote - festival for the hungry?

For weeks my inbox has been bombarded with event invites, information, flyers and promotional blurbs about an upcoming Street Art festival in Accra. In Jamestown, the poorest, most densely populated ghetto in Accra. Not only was it strange to be getting email correspondence about a festival in Jamestown, but foreign embassies were involved and were even asking for volunteers for the day.

One of the website blurbs states:

The festival is free and open to the public with more than 2,000 patrons expected to attend. CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival is a collaborative effort produced with the help of the Ga Mashie Development Agency, the Foundation for Contemporary Artists, JustGhana, Attukwei Art Foundation, Pidgin Music, DUST Magazine, ACT for Change, The WEB, and Ehalakasa Poetry Slum.

My carefully constructed cynicism told me that the event was a disaster in the making or at best, a non-starter, but I agreed to ‘check it out’ with T, for old times’ sake – to celebrate the curiousity that has helped us to know Ghana so well through the years.

This Saturday was the big day. T and I piled into a rickety taxi, left the relative serenity of Osu, and asked to go to the prison (the main Jamestown fort being both the ‘hub’ of the daily activities, AND the oldest prison in Ghana). He obliged. As he honked and dodged along the bumpy roads, we sat, bright and scrubbed and carefully devoid of jewellery or purses, looking out at the increasing squalor, the tightly choked lanes, the throngs of passers-by, jostling between taxis, tro tros, head loads and knee high festering piles of rubbish. We were in the heart of Jamestown.

He dropped us at a random corner, which seemed just as good as any, and we nodded at the cluster of old men gathered on makeshift benches on the other side of the green swamp gutter. We entered a dirt square, bordered by concrete walls, that housed an unorganised mess of people under canopies, selling fufu and a sad array of ‘local crafts’, along with a brass band in matching yellow t-shirts. There were easily 200 children below the age of 10, stomping around the band, in a rainbow of school uniform colours, following the pied piper of Jamestown, a lanky guy, with red rimmed hipster glasses, a hand painted t-shirt and a wacky expression.

Then the pied piper saw us, motioned to his crew and within seconds they attacked. Hundreds of knee high sets of brown hands and faces, all over our arms and legs, shouting, chanting, laughing, pushing. “Obruni!!!!!!!”

“Oh no!” This was NOT on my agenda. I have no clue why he sent them to us, but just as fast as they’d arrived, he motioned for their retreat and they were off, marching in another direction, leaving us self conscious and confused; the imprint of tiny bare toes on our ankles and feet; in a thick cloud of dust.

We tried to find something interesting to keep us there, but alas, after T taught the seller of the ‘ancient African beads’, that most were in fact, less than 6 months old and from China and India, we wandered out of the square.

We stood forlorn on the street corner, a spectacle of white curiousity, while T consulted her list of activities, printed off from the numerous flyers. There were hopeful events listed there, such as spoken word readings, experimental theater, fashion circus, Brazilian fight dancing, bike and rollerskate stunting party, live music etc. Looking around at the complete lack of signs, vibe and such, and instead at the din of a usual Saturday afternoon in Jamestown, kids bathing naked at the roadside, mothers sweating, pouring the dirty water from the buckets of their lives into the open fetid gutters… I remained skeptical.

Just then, T spotted the sign for a project that the North American Women’s group has been donating funds. It was painted roughly by hand, “Jaynii Streetwise” at the edge of the lighthouse (a colonial legacy at the coast and edge of Jamestown’s grasp). We stood for a minute at the top of the huge stone steps that led downward and out of view. Before us was the beach, a sand the colour of toast, and beyond that the vast ocean, whose waves sounded so peaceful and so at odds with the mayhem of the neighborhood behind us. To our right, knotted masses of fishermen’s nets hung on the broken and decaying walls of what was once a colonial building. Now, the half enclosed crumbled walls were occupied by family upon family. The children ducked and dived between their mothers as the women bent over the weekend laundry buckets. We were essentially within a few feet of the private lives of others, as if looking into an ant colony in primary school science class. No one noticed us though, and we descended the stairs.

We were on the beach. A few concrete rooms at various stages of completion were dotted along to the left. Some were painted, most half built. Nothing at all was happening here. One got the impression that the idea of anything one day occurring here had been abandoned. (I had read online that there was a bar here with the same name two years ago, complete with thatched umbrella shaded tables, but nothing of this is left today).

As we rounded the front of the first building we saw some movement. The door opened and a beautiful woman in a white sleeping dress emerged - turns out she is Jay of Jaynii. Behind her, the dark room produced small faces, one by one peering out at the visitors. I noticed a colouring book and fresh bright crayons on the floor by the door and knew the donations had definitely reached here.

Jay seemed not the least bit surprised by our impromptu visit, and while she explained to T what was ‘going on’ with the project, I peered in further. There were new looking caramel coloured leather sofas, two of them, piled with bags and boxes and ladies and children. They just seemed so odd. So out of place in this little salty, stuffy room at the edge of Jamestown, on the beach.

Jay introduced us to her new baby, sleeping peacefully in a small bassinet. Then she took us on a tour. But there was nothing much to see.

“Here is the hostel for the street children” she explained. It was a shell of a building. Nothing in it. No windows. It will be completed by next week. Hmmmmm.

“50 children will stay here. We need to get them out of what they are living in – urgently.” I wondered what she meant by this. Up above us on the the main street, the children lived in small rooms with no windows. They scrambled for food, they barely made it from day to day. What would be different here in this ghostly set of rooms?

“Here are the washrooms and toilets, donated by NAWA. But we haven’t yet finished the toilets.”

“Where is the library?” T asked.

“It is there.” We did not see it.

“Are there books for the library?”

“Yes there are some books.”

We didn’t see those either.

Jay invited us to her upcoming wedding celebrations as well - and though we were flattered, I had to wonder - weddings in Ghana, as elsewhere are expensive affairs. Jay lived in this one tiny room with at least 12 other people - how would she afford such an event. I hoped she was marrying rich...

Back at the top of the steep steps we bumped into an American couple, kitted out with money belts, sunglasses, festival programs in hand. They looked about as silly as us, and they hadn’t found anything more going on than we had.

Eventually we came across a couple more ‘events’ on random side streets – which consisted of western highschool students (who had obviously volunteered), looking flustered and harassed, policing groups of wild local kids, in painting dead car tires, t-shirts and walls. It was chaotic and not very entertaining, but at least the kids seemed to be having fun or some semblance of it.

We found another group of kids and a few artists in a decaying courtyard as well. Some were painting the walls, and three young Jamestown boys with roller skates on were jumping rows of their brave friends on the floor. A smattering of expats wandered between them all, trying to find enough to stick around for. We couldn’t find enough and ended up at Osekan, a beach front bar just out of Jamestown’s reach.

With our feet up, we sipped cokes. I wondered where the French Ambassador was. Did the funders visit their event? Did the do-gooders hope and expect to create a fully organised festival in the midst of a slum where food and water are luxuries?

What is art when you are hungry? What place do we have in pushing concepts onto people. What if they would have appreciated a bag of rice instead of paint on the streets? Tomorrow’s bath water, tipped into the road, will wash it away, and nothing will be left but a sour memory of another failed project in Ghana.


I have removed all photos that I had added to this post, which were not taken at the event, nor did they accurately represent the event. Instead, I tried to borrow some great photos from Ghana blogger Nana Kofi Acquah - who managed to get some great shots. Unfortunately Blogger will not let me upload photos as there seems to be a bug of some sort with this over the past two weeks :( I strongly recommend visiting Nana's site.
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Numinosity said...

Incredible, I sure appreciate your insider's account of this. You tell a good story and illuminate the local societal problems with this small but vivid account. I would have totally been one of those puzzled Americans with festival program in hand.
Thanks, Holli
xoxo Kim

Numinosity said...

Incredible, I sure appreciate your insider's account of this. You tell a good story and illuminate the local societal problems with this small but vivid account. I would have totally been one of those puzzled Americans with festival program in hand.
Thanks, Holli
xoxo Kim

Qué? said...

Hm. Not quite sure what to make of this.

I'm biased of course because I'd like to think of myself as creative and - as part of DUST - I was involved in the conceptualisation of the event.

Personally, I think one of the biggest problems with development has been its emphasis on economics at the expense of art and culture. I think the two need to go hand-in-hand and while I think the West, etc can help with the economics, it's down to us to focus on the cultural aspect of it.

Culture isn't supposed to be this stagnant thing consisted of the past and things of the past. It is supposed to be dynamic and to absorb/reject aspects of the present.

The importance of art and culture speaks to the spirit, proide and imagination of a people, their ability to dream themselves beyond their present day. Without dreams, you simply sit and wallow in the present. Which is what we do. Now. Even when there is money and food in the system.

Ghana is money-obsessed. We rate it above pretty much everything. Because we don't have it. But the danger there is in getting it and not knowing why we were looking for it in the first place. It's about more than filling bellies. There has to be some grand design.

Art and culture are not luxury items. They speak to the soul of the people. Which is important. A people need to feel a pride in themselves to strive to survive. Yes, we have that. But so much of it is misguided... or malnourished.

We are more than the contents of our bellies.

Money pours into Africa all the time. We feed the world. Perhaps if we tipped the balance of our attention away from JUST money and food, we'd develop more of a conscious identity and pride in self that would make us think more carefully about why we feed the world and go hungry ourselves. Or why there IS money in the system but its hogged by a Few with the Many complicit in the system that keeps it that way.

The Festival wasn't perfect. It was a drop of water in a bottle at best. I reckon we need more. Not less. said...

Patronizing and condescending to anything related to Jamestown. Not new.

I'm not sure about this review, as I was there, I know the indigenes well and understand what it all meant to them.

Yes, as you may have observed, the Chale Wote festival is another in a long line of these kind of events Jamestown people see - not street art festivals per se, but activities designed to change their mentalities about stuff like cleanliness, family planning, education etc.

All these you try to articulate in your post, however in my view your observations lack perspective. Why? Even the photo of the Lighthouse you use is outmoded -- it's red and white, not that colour. And as for Jay Nii, he grew up with a lot of opportunities to have a better life. He chose his path, so if he wants to marry big while living in a 1-bedroom apartment....we all choose our destinies. As you can see, I know a lot of these guys first hand.

Sorry, Holli, but your review lacks context. It destroys the credibility of everything else that is good that you have mentioned. Try harder to go the event locations A DAY OR TWO BEFORE, get a feel, and then do your critique.

I appreciate your wanting to ask people to invest time and money in things you feel are more needed. But get this from a born-and-bred Accra man: the people of Jamestown LOVE art.

Did you notice the carvings on walls? The sculptures along roads, in homes, small roundabouts with statues? Or you saw only the smelly gutters you went there to see?

Despite their situation, the Jamestown people are proud and dignified...yes, even in their squalor. They need help, but dont put them down.

As for hunger, there are hungry people living just a mile from the White House and Downing Street so that's moot. There are hungry people living 3 miles from your home, I'm sure.

Ghana needs art, because it's quite non-existent in the form the Chale Wote Festival brought to life. Young Ghanaians are tired of "Jay Z Is Coming to Ghana" and "Rick Ross in the Building". They want variety.

This - and hopefully, others to follow - is it.

Thanks for reviewing. Hope mine will be taken in good faith

Anonymous said...

The assumption is that only catering to people's basic needs can improve their lives. Relegating culture to a luxury item perhaps negates the role of culture in the life of Ghanaians. It's a false dichotomy. I wonder what the residents of James Town would say if asked if they'd like a free festival? If you asked them would they like a million dollars or a picture the choice is unrealistic.
So you got hit by the children's flash mob. So did I but it was all good natured.
It sounds like you didn't hang around long enough to see how things developed.
Yes it was a small start but, considering the difficulties in doing things in Ghana, I'm don't feel as scathing at accra[dot]alt's efforts.
I enjoyed the 'treasure hunt' nature of the event and, as things got going later in the day, I had a lot of fun and was glad to have been part of this event.

Anonymous said...

This is the most useless account of jamestown i have heard in my entire life. one thing you have to learn of which i can see you clearly lack is open mindedness. In ghana, you dont need a lot of money to have a wedding infact our traditional weddings are nicer and full of rich culture than the western one. Also jamestown is not the poorest place in Ghana. Look i have been to the states and seen street beggers fighty for food in a trash can and you talk about jamestown like America is Heaven. I was at the festival and i think it was interesting, nobody is forcing you to stay in ghana if you think it bothers you so much to see black people and children pack your stuff and leave. I didnt know racists will come so close to actually coming to an african country and attending african events...

Anonymous said...

I really like the festival and I think it will have his impact on Jamestown. I am really looking for the second edition there

Nana Yaa said...

Dear Holli, I'm gonna gave to ask you to post pictures that are relevant to your blog entry. Those pictures you posted does not document anything that happened at the Chale Wote Festival. And as for that old picture of the lighthouse, REALLY?

This is very disappointing.

althea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Here's the critical perspective you're lacking:

Faf said...

Maybe mistake was inviting her in the first place.

This even was organised locally for local people by local people.

I lived in Accra almost all my life and I'd never stepped foot in Mantse Agbonaa or walked that Jamestown stretch.

Never been on any of the backstreets or near the lighthouse...

But that day I was. And I appreciated that the kids... or "the horde" as I called them were involved.

I'm not sure what you were thinking when you wrote this, but some part of you must've thought it was a wrong idea...

That part of you should respond to some of the questions being put to you on here (other than the one about you being racist)

I dont know whether the organizers of the first Glastonbury had it right the first time. And they probably had more money at their disposal.

I know for a fact that Mantse put at least 2000GHS of his own money into the project on the day alone...

Next time stay at home and watch DSTV... cos this one wasnt for you. The rest of us, had fun watching local poets speaking in very broken english to deliver their thoughts about their future.

Their mothers would be proud of them

Anonymous said...

Holi, who do u think u are? u come here and write stupid things about us? why dont u stay in ur damn country if u think it is heaven! just go to hell!!!
we are proud of what we have and we dont live to please people like u!

The pale observer said...

Dear all - I can't say I'm entirely shocked by the venemous responses I've seen here, but i am disappointed.

To all the people who commented and do not know me - please know this. I have been living in Ghana for the past 15 years. The first 5 of those were as an unpaid volunteer. I was married to a Ga man, I have children who are half Ghanaian and I lived in a compound, sharing one toilet with 54 people for 5 years. No generator, no DSTV.

So please do not mistake me for someone who knows nothing of Ghana.

I cannot apologise for being disappointed about the failure that marked the Chale Wote event. Why did the French and Spanish embassy as well as NAWA and others send out invites to the expat community if they were not wanted? And why was the turn out so bad? I at least showed up. It was not well organised or thought through. The areas where the childrens' activities were set up did not take their safety into account at all. Taxis flew by, honking at the kids - the roads were not closed offf so as far as I can see, the Jamestown community did not prioritise the event or the safety of their kids.

Anyone who tries to defend the poverty in Jamestown is deluded. Those kids are malnourished and suffering. Why would Jaynii be in existence at all if they didn't believe the kids needed help...

I was not saying that art is not important. I believe in art and I believe writing is an art in a way. I am passionate about it.

What I was trying to convey was a sadness at what I see has not changed in Ghana over the past 15 years. What always looks like the ideas and organised events of others, imposed on people - and they are not embraced by the locals. This festival (or what I saw of it) was another outside influence that will not stick, and that is not because art is not important, but because the reality is that people are hungry and they cannot see value in such things until the basic needs are met.

After all these years, I have no answer as to what Ghana needs. It is not Aid as we can all see that has not worked.

One of you commented about the fact that 'getting things done in Ghana is not easy' - why is that?

Was I the only one who is going to admit that the festival was not entirely successful? That there is indeed extreme poverty and that it was not well organised?

I did not say anything about whether there is poverty in other places in the world - this post was just my observations of an event. In the country I live in.

Sorry to have offended. But I am not a racist. I am not a snob or a clueless foreigner.

Apologies for the dated photos. I did not feel comfortable to be dragging out my camera like a silly tourist and hence did not take any of my own. i respected those around me, trying to live their lives. The trouble with the festival was that in Jamestown, people's private lives are lived in the streets. You could not take photos without snapping those who might not have been inolved, and might not have wanted their photos taken...

So please take the post with the intention I sent it in. No malicious intent. Just my own disappointment.

Faf said...

No one is saying it was the best organised event ever...

It happened. And that is better than it not happening.

Maybe you don't do things by halves and would not embark on any project unless it's perfect.

You talk about the safety of the kids etc, but I havent heard of a single incidence involving any of these kids.

These kids are "streetwise" and the drivers who drive these roads are used to them...

You must've turned up looking forward to something else... some of us saw it for what it was: an attempt to start something new.

I'll be going next year. You can either stay at home or turn up to see how the event might have grown or not.

It's good that some of the stupid, misguided comments above are hurting you... I personally wouldnt go that route, but your post will probably hurt the organizers the same way.

Do you think any of the sponsors will give money/time/resources next year when they read what you've written?

Or is your agenda only to feed the bellies of people? And leave them to take care of their own minds?

Some of your ideas show that even though you've been in Accra for 15 years, you dont fully understand the locals.

Not many people in and around that area would object to having their picture taken. Especially on THAT day.

Nana Yaa said...

Your picture excuse is SO BOGUS.

Think-About-It said...

Holli, I read your blog often and I have enjoyed some of your posts. This last post was just ugly.

I read it and kept thinking to myself "Africans need to remember - A leopard cannot change its spots".

Kitchen Floor Cockroach said...

Do you honestly believe that by shouting from the rooftops about your 'affiliations' with Ghana you can be vindicated for 'Poverty Mongering' on your blog.

If you do, then you still do no realize what it is you have done.

Anonymous said...

Having missed this and having had high expectations when i saw the promotions for it, I was dissapointed to read the blog review.
There were a few things that came to mind whilst reading i had wanted to respond to but knowing now that you have actually lived in Ghana for 15 years, been married to a ghanaian and have half Ga children and everything else, i would just leave it. Over all i guess you are entitled to your opinions and interpretations regardless of it they are pleasant to the ear or not.

Sound like you have some wonderful ideas though so why dont you volunteer some of these to the organisers for next years event.

Gifty said...

I've got a question Holli, how long did you stay at the event?? Were you there long enough to see the art, the fashion show, etc? have u seen the Chale Wote photos posted? seems like u went to a totally different event. very disappointed in you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Holli,
Jamestown is not the poorest, most densely populated ghetto in Accra”. Have you been to Old Fadama or Nima?

Well, you admit that you went there a “carefully constructed” cynic. Now, that explains a lot.

You brag that you “know Ghana so well”. Well, you’ve been here for only fifteen years. I’ve been here 35 years, worked and lived in different regions, speak and write a number of local languages… and I’m still getting to understand the diverse cultures that make this nation tick. From all indications, you know next to nothing about Ghana.

I can go on and on but it won’t be necessary. Others have said it all. The only thought I will leave you with is that, some of the best works of art were written or done in times of extreme human suffering and pain. Just because we starve, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think or dream or hope.

Your kind of writing is the type that’s contributed to the starvation you see in Jamestown. If an ignoramus read what you wrote, they’d think Jamestown is filled with a bunch of thieves waiting to strip them of everything they have, the moment they land there. Have you or anybody you know ever been robbed at Jamestown? Yes, the kids may be hungry… but why will you call them thieves?

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of disappointment running rampant it would seem.

Holli, you are entitled to your opinions ofcourse. However, if you say your aim here was to somehow 'help' matters by calling to attention the plight of poverty in Jamestown then I'm afraid you dropped the ball.

Who has ever heard of punching someone in the face before helping them out of a ditch. Quite honestly the above just would not come across quite so well-meaning at first glance and especially to the majority of your readership who (as you rightly stated) don't know you, myself included. At the very least there is something slightly lacking in your approach, wouldn't you say?

You must have expected some sort of backlash writing such a scathing review, no? (Maybe just not to this extent.)

Ok, I do however think that at some point cooler heads need to make an appearance.

Olive branch extended...

Anonymous said...

Almost everything Holli writes about Ghana is full of garbage. Noone can fail to notice her deep-seated rascist agenda. We say shame on you.

Anonymous said...

You obviously do know nothing about Gh. You WERE married to a Ga man? Now, I wonder what happened with that. Maybe he eventually saw you for the person we are seeing you to be from this post. You write about your experience living in a compound house sharing a toilet with 54 people with no generator and DSTV as though you regret it. I believe you do. Who sent you to Gh anyways and why did you come here? So you could write about your no generator, no DSTV, sharing a toilet with 54 people experience?
If the aim of this post was to make you popular, guess what? It worked. I've never heard of you or read any of your posts but someone called me up and asked me to check up on some back lashing a blogger was getting. So I read up on a post that was written about you and your post and I initially thought everyone was being unfair to you until I came to read your post. Now I think the comments have been way too fair to you.
Did you by any chance attend the same event that other bloggers have written about? It seems yours was an event that happened all up in your head.
You have achieved your aim with this post. Hope you proud of yourself.
You are as racist as they come!

Efua Dentaa said...

Question? Did you see anything positive the whole time you were there? What did you think about the whole idea of the event? Why didn't you write about that too?
That way, you wouldn't have come across as just another Westerner portraying Africa as in a manner that just shows the negative aspects.

Abena Serwaa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abena Serwaa said...

I believe blogging is about sharing one's perspectives so I cannot lambast you for sharing your perspective on the Chale Wote Street Festival. I also feel it is a bit unfair to label you as a racist and bigot especially since I have never you.

However, there are quite a few things that bother me:

1.Even though blogging is about sharing personal perspectives,one has take responsibility for how the perspectives we share are perceived or interpreted. We cannot be too shocked that our words incense others especially since we put them down and choose to publish them on the internet.

2. The fact that you have lived in Ghana for 15 years means that you are perceived by other potential visitors to Ghana/expatriates as an expert on all things Ghanaian. A clear example is the first person to comment on this piece. They appreciated your "insider account on the event" and how you illuminated societal problem with this "vivid account". This automatically means that you have the awesome responsibility of providing an accurate perspective of Ghana. I'm not saying you should write idyllic posts that see no evil but if your post uses dated pictures which were clearly not taken on the day,isn't that misleading and a disservice to Ghana?

3. Could it also be that 15 years in Ghana have given you a particularly negative view of Ghana or events held in Ghana? Personally, I know I would be a terrible person to consult for a perspective on Swaziland precisely because I lived there for 18 years.

I know Jamestown is no bed of roses. I'm not just saying that from driving through, I worked there. Work that involved visiting the homes of over 100 children.

So maybe the 1st Chale Wote Festival did not run as smoothly as hoped by all but I still think its a brilliant concept and a noble effort.

Anonymous said...

I read this blog because it is well written and presents an interesting perspective on one woman's experiences in Ghana. I don't always share the author's point of view, but I do think you all are taking this one opinion more harshly than warranted. You blame her of seeing only what she wants to see, but take a look at yourselves; you seem to be doing the same thing.

The pale observer said...

Thanks to everyone for the various perspectives. This post and the reactions it has caused both here and on other blogs, has taught me that I do carry a responsibility beyond my own moods, and my own jaded tongue-in-cheek observations... I have learned that all who read my blog do not realise where I'm coming from - which is a non-malicious and dedicated-to-Ghana perspective and my assumption that my words will be taken in that light are wrong and misguided on my part. I used photos of Jamestown that WERE NOT from the vent and that was wrong. Apologies extended...

I hope everyone will read some of my other posts and those to follow, before being so quick to make sweeping judgements.

Let's come together instead of creating more barriers. IN PEACE. Holli

nahamuah said...

Holli, I am very well meaning but the tone of condescension, in all your posts, towards the Ghanaian poeple and the people of Accra is sickening and truly appalling.

If you dislike Ghana that much then leave! There are lots of places in the world where you would be much happier.

Most of the Europeans and Americans in Ghana, like yourself, come from fairly low socio-economic backgrounds and then come to Ghana and simply because of the color of your skin you are elevated above most Ghanaians whom you treat with such contempt!

When Ghanaians use the word "Obroni" is it not in a negative sense as most of you tend to take it. It means "stranger"! Nothing more, nothing less!

Reading from your posts, it appears that all Ghanaians are clueless idiots that need white people like yourself to save them.

You can't just attend a simple Arts and Crafts event in Accra without criticizing the organisers and other attendees and making it out to be the biggest disaster this side of Jordan!

Like I said, if you hate it so much just leave and go back to wherever you came from and lord it over your compatriots with your annoying haughty attitude!

"Miss High and Mighty Holli" -- just go back to your own home! Or you can't pass up the opportunity to spend foreign aid money on your "high-falutin" lifestyle while the poor Ghanaian masses that you look down on with such contempt continue to suffer! Hypocrite!

VESTiGE Groupp said...

I disagree with many aspect of Holli's observations, but I can hardly disagree with ALL. I may be upset but I'm not mad. Personally, I wish we Ghanaians would learn to invest fair amount of time in planning and organizing events both at the local and national level. I did not witness the Chale Wate festival, but I have witnessed many events in Ghana that caused me to wonder whether "disorganization" was intentionally planned as part of the events. Maybe we can ride on aspects of Holli's critical and perhaps 'misguided' perspective to begin asking ourselves some hard and uncomfortable questions.

Anonymous said...

Holli, you would be surprised to know that a number of Ghanaians agree with you but not with your tone. After 15 years one would have expected you to know that most if not all African languages are tonal so TONE matters. No doubt that 1-there are mounds of garbage in Accra, 2- there are open gutters with raw sewage that makes one want to puke, 3- that Ghanaians come 1 to 3 hours late for events. Ghanaians should learn to listen to the message and not shoot the messenger. Sorry you had to take so much flack but live and learn. Keep writing.

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