Friday, 26 October 2018

TALKING DRUM: Can Ghana contain Hurricane Grace?

Grace Hammoah Asare

She is beautiful, intelligent, hardworking, probing and has an undying passion in literally reciting the good old poem: ‘Good better best. May I never rest, until my good is better and my better, best.’

Poised for success and perfection, if you see her in the newsroom at her desk taking an unwavering stare at her phone with her earphones tucked into her ears, she is oftentimes learning pronunciation of words. What’s more, she spends time listening and watching both local and international news anchors.

She strives to polish her voice to be as outstanding as that of Radio Ghana’s Mercy Sowah and to master the unflinching confidence and interviewing skills of Aljazeera’s Jane Dutton.  

“I always see my viewers/listeners as an intelligent group of people who deserve the best from me,” she would tell me.

Grace Hammoah Asare is the name and the new face on Ghana’s leading television network, TV3. She anchors News@10 on weekends and News in Brief on weekdays. As her self-acclaimed manager, I monitor her as though she is my daughter.

“When you see my message or call, relax. Remember, I have promised you not to be a sycophant but only your watchdog,” I tell Grace.

From messages of compliments people send her via WhatsApp and other social media platforms, it is clearly obvious that I am not the only person happy seeing Grace Hammoah Asare climb higher the career ladder.

If she happens to anchor Midday Live on TV on Sundays, her church― led by the pastor― would urge they close early. Why? Right in the church, they would mount a television set and watch their own read the news. Is this not beautiful?

On Sundays when News@10 has to be rescheduled way beyond 10:30pm due to the ongoing Ghana’s Most Beautiful, Grace still has loyal viewers staying tuned to TV3 to watch her read the news. This is the level of support Grace’s church and many Ghanaians are giving to the promising news anchor.

Grace at VOA's media workshop

Who could have thought that that young girl who did her secondary education at Wesley Grammar School will someday be the one reading to the nation the news we yearn for? Such is life!

Grace has been a close friend since our days at Ghana Institute of Journalism. She was my senior, I must say. When she joined Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom’s then First Digital TV (now GN TV) as a national service person, she had it at the back of her mind not to despise such a platform. She was determined to make a mark there. Truly, her hard work got her employment there. She worked for some months before joining Media General [owners of TV3, 3FM, Onua FM, Connect FM, Akoma FM and 3news].

For her two year stay so far with Media General, Grace Asare’s unique style of presentation is doubling her admirers. So, what is this style about?

“Solomon, aside my busy schedule, I do make time to read. Larry King in his book ‘How to Talk to Anyone, Anywhere’ got me my winning formula. ‘To be a good speaker, you must be a good listener. Good follow-up questions are the mark of a good conversationalist,” Grace says. “Dale Carnegie will tell you that to be interesting, be interested.”

Though this might seem that simple, it’s never simple to many interviewers. To be able to elicit good follow-up questions is a full topic for another discussion. This is the craft the young woman is mastering.

A friend of mine, Augustina Yeboah, once asked me: “How old is Grace? I mean TV3’s anchor. She appears young but mature enough in what she does. I’ve watched her squeeze all the needed answers from her interviewees.”

Indeed, Grace Hammoah Asare is steadily rising. But, she is not rising to the top on a silver platter. She is a ‘rebel’ who, at times, fights her comfort to push forward her dreams. On one Friday, she came to work at dawn. When she closed, she was instructed to sit in for the News@10 anchor, Stephen Anti. This meant she had to stay at work till after 10:30pm.

While she read the news that day, a friend phoned me. I was at home.

“Are you watching your girl?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Why is she blinking her eyes too much tonight?” he asked again.

I had not taken notice of that. When Grace paused the news for a commercial break, I called her to ask why.

“Charley, you can’t believe I’m feeling sleepy,” she said.

“Ajala! [comic exclamation]. Please, 30 minutes will elapse soon and you’ll be done. Finish hard. I’m waiting to say to you that ‘you did it’.”

Here was a young lady rebelling against nature. Many young folks, of our generation, would have picked their bags and left the office when told to do extra hours.

If you ever heard her name or voice on 3FM [92.7], you were not mistaken. Grace Asare combines radio with television. She partly does the 6am news on radio as well reads the Business News on Newshour [6pm news] on 3FM.    

Grace reads on 3FM [92.7]
Grace is workaholic who makes sure the job is done and dusted before she says ‘goodbye’. When she’s off work, however, she relaxes.

She keeps telling me she aspires to be an international brand. In the near future, when Grace Hammoah Asare becomes a household name as TV3’s Alfred Ocansey and a few others, do not envy. She worked hard for it.

The only question I keep asking myself ahead of such a day in her life is, “Can Ghana really contain a ‘Hurricane Grace’ considering the momentum she is gathering?”

The writer is broadcast journalist with Media General [3FM/TV3]. Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of his organisation.

Twitter: @Aniwaba

Saturday, 29 September 2018

TALKING DRUM: When the media blamed Menzgold!

They came back from their hunting expedition, yet again, with apparently horrifying tales of near torture.

"They seized my phone," said one.

"Some threw blows at me which I had to retreat," narrated another.

It was a narrative told by journalists who had gone to the various branches of the embattled gold dealership company, Menzgold, to report on affairs and proceedings after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Ghana instructed the company to immediately shut down for violation of the law.

This daily ritual of journalists nosing around for news was not taken lightly by some customers and staff of Menzgold, we were told, hence, 'pouncing' on the journalists who went to the headquarters and other branches of the company.

This wave of attacks on journalists, in any jurisdiction, across the globe, must be condemned and abhorred. Journalism is not a crime! The public and persons who come under the radar of journalists must understand that getting to get information, on a subject, does not warrant beatings and assaults.

As I write this piece, Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Hussein has been detained by Egypt’s government for over 636 days. His crime? Mahmoud is accused of "disseminating false news and receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to defame the state's reputation."

On Monday, September 3, 2018, a Myanmar court gave a seven-year sentence to Reuter’s reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo for breaching a law on state secrets. This was when they reported of the massacre of Rohingya men. These kind of attacks on the media and journalists are certainly not the best of news anyone would want to listen to or read. Each one of us must resist this calculated attempt at muzzling of journalists.

Whereas fighting for journalists and the media is commendable, I personally feel like strings of hair being pulled from my nostrils whenever I have to argue in favour of the Ghanaian journalist and his/her media. At times, we deserve the public’s uproar at us.

Until I joined the media as a journalist, I thought hypocrites were only found in the church. But hey, right in the Ghanaian media is an avalanche of pretentious acts on the side of both employers and employees.

If Menzgold is haunted by the Securities and Exchange Commission for flouting our laws, I sincerely think majority of our media houses do not have the moral right to send its journalists to report on such. These are media houses that some, I can say without the fear of contradiction, pay reporters below minimum wage. These are media houses that even do not pay some of its workers [capitalizing on such journalists’ quest for job to abuse them]. Again, these are media houses that suppress free flow of information when it affects them.

If my memory serves me right, last year, news went rife that a section of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) was on fire. I later learnt it was its stores specifically. When I got to the entrance of GBC to report on the development, together with other journalists from other media houses, there was a directive indicating we will not be allowed to report on the fire.

This made some journalists suspect arson. GBC, for example, reflects in most media houses I know in this country called Ghana. Writing on his Facebook wall, on September 14, 2018, renowned journalist with Ghana Television [GTV] Abdul Hayi Moomen said: “The problems at TV Africa, are not limited to TV Africa alone. The only difference is that they have sold their sickness to the world. Our elders say, “he who sells his sickness, will find a cure.” There are a lot sicker media houses. But they have chosen to live on several doses of tramadol.”

TV Africa had laid off some of its workers and a leaked letter of termination of employees’ contract went viral on social media. We have had some media houses laying of some of its staff and failed to capture that in their treatment of the issue of the recent massive job losses in the country. These media houses, I monitored, mentioned every single company in the country that had laid off workers, backing their stories with infographics. If you are a journalist working on such a story and you include your own media house, which had equally laid off workers, you are assured of the reaction that follows.

Where would you place this in the context of press freedom? What about in the context of right to information?

So, if Menzgold’s staff and customers ‘attacked’ journalists, it is not news. The media that ought to be professional in the free flow of information becomes mute over such when the ball is in their court.

The sad part of the narrative is that journalists that go all length to get justice for others being abused are themselves silent when they are equally being abused.

Abdul Hayi Moomen in his media lamentation adds that: “The instinct for survival chases many unpaid, underpaid, underemployed and unemployed journalists to create a new salary scheme called ‘soli’ [monies event organisers pay journalists for covering their programmes].”

One day, my Facebook Messenger buzzed. It was a message from one of my lecturers at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

"Why does it appear you are against press freedom?" asked my lecturer.
I took time to explain to him my position on an issue that related with journalists and press freedom. He was satisfied with my explanations. The truth hurts but it is about time we told ourselves the hard truth. Most media houses are gleefully abusing their journalists directly or indirectly while these same journalists pose to the outside world that everything is so fine with them.

Let’s stop the hypocrisy of treading the line of saints yet in our cupboards are skeletons of pungent odor. As Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba would say, “I am not a Jewish prophet and not claim to be one but I can say that this attitude of ours will lead us nowhere.”

Mark Anim Yirenkyi, a Seventh-day Adventist gospel musician, in one of his songs, Ԑyɛ Adom Bi, admonishes that: “It is better for a man to die than to live without conscience.”

Let our employers live with the conscience that they cannot continue to make money at the expense of people who break their backs to make their businesses succeed. And let our journalists be bold to speak truth to power for merely condemning an outside attack on us to endure an excruciating one within our workplaces beats imagination.

The writer, Solomon Mensah, is a broadcast journalist with Media General (TV3/3FM). Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of his organisation.
Twitter: @aniwaba

Monday, 9 July 2018

TALKING DRUM: Anas, Kennedy Agyapong & the ‘Abobo Yaa’ dancers!

Anas Aremeyaw Anas (L) & Kennedy Agyapong (R)

When the Assin Central Member of Parliament (MP) admonished Ghanaians to be watchful of investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, so he does not get access to our bedrooms, the response from the public was as predictable as the havoc caused by the annual ritual of floods in Accra. An overwhelming uproar it was!

Personally, I asked, “How?”

Kennedy Ohene Agyapong had complained of the journalist’s method of investigating his suspects― that which many have termed as an entrapment. I must say that I do not see that as a problem. If Anas comes to you with money without it being forced on you, why do you take it if you are not corrupt?

Then, a day or two after receiving the barrage of criticisms from the public, the ‘no-nonsense’ MP wades in another attack on Anas. This time, he claimed he had a basketful of evidence which suggests that Anas Aremeyaw Anas is himself more corrupt than anybody else.

“Really? Could this be true?” a friend asked me in a WhatsApp chat. Indeed, we were both very shocked. The public, again, barked at Mr. Agyapong for deliberately thwarting the meticulous effort of the journalist.

I have not conducted any survey but I can say without fear that to almost 90% of Ghanaians, Kennedy Agyapong ‘talks too much’. So… his latest rant on Anas, to them, was only a usual blab.

However, after following numerous interviews granted by the Member of Parliament and upon a deeper thought, I have come to the conclusion that we cannot sweep under the carpet the serious allegations against Anas.

Before showing his Who Watches The Watchman video on Wednesday June 27, 2018, Mr. Agyapong had accused Anas of setting free some of the corrupt officials he caught with his cameras at the Tema Habour and took money from a doctor who illegally conducted abortions at Korle Bu, never publishing such a story.

That was not all. Anas is said to have connived with a state attorney to ‘kill’ a case in court and employed the services of land guards to terrorize innocent citizens. These and many other allegations were levelled against him. Are these not heart-throbbing allegations that we must allow the Member of Parliament to present us with evidence?
This has been my position since the heated banter ensued between the MP and the celebrated journalist. However, the maverick politician has not been given a fair hearing by majority of Ghanaians. On social media, they keep rubbishing his claims at face value.

If we gladly watched Anas’ Number 12 which allegedly uncovers massive corruption at the Ghana Football Administration, why can we not similarly allow Kennedy Agyapong to bring us his evidence without ridiculing him?

On Sunday, July 1, 2018, when I got to Kaneshie in the Greater Accra region en route work, about 15 young men ecstatically were dancing.  Some clad in ladies’ apparel with others in jerseys, they danced heartily while they followed a moving tricycle [known in local parlance as ‘Abobo Yaa’]. It was loaded with speakers in its bucket and it hummed all the Azonto songs you could think of.

The ‘Abobo Yaa’ dancers, I realised, had one aim; to closely trail the invisible footprints of their tricycle. So, they quickly overtook any ‘trotro’ [public transport] that came in between them and the tricycle. These dancers can only be likened to majority of Ghanaians who have decided to closely follow and listen to one side of the argument. That is a good course but giving the other person a listening ear, too, shows maturity. One must not take sides because it concerns their friend, relative or acquaintance.

Not long ago, Member of Parliament for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak, dragged Kennedy Agyapong to the House’s Privileges Committee for allegedly hurling insults at the legislative body. Subsequently, the Assin Central Member of Parliament appeared before the Privileges Committee of Parliament on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, to respond to questions.

Just as Muntaka took the case to the Privileges Committee, there were concerns that Parliament may shield/protect their own. That, nothing will come out of the Privileges Committee’s probe. This perception goes beyond Parliament. Same can be said of the Ghana Police Service and other public institutions whenever they have to investigate their own.

And the media has always been the platform for trumpeting such a perception. So, how has the media been treating Anas before and after Kennedy Agyapong showed his Who Watches The Watchman?

My close monitoring of the media reveals a seeming unfair treatment of the Anas-Ken banter. In a UTV interview with Mr. Agyapong on June 29, 2018, the host [whose name I do not know] in playing the devil’s advocate messed up in her questioning. One of such was her fierce defense that one employing the services of land guards is commendable. She saw nothing wrong with the phenomenon of land guards. This was after the MP accused Anas of allegedly terrorising innocent citizens with his land guards.

Could the presenter not have asked for evidence from the MP to substantiate his point rather than trying to be on one side?

In a series of editorial cartooning on the Anas-Ken banter, renowned cartoonist Tilapia, I think, has also not been fair to Mr. Agyapong. From ‘Antidote to Agyapong’s verbal diarhoea’ dated June 11, 2018; ‘Who Watches the Honourable,’ June 27, 2018; to ‘Who Watches the Watchman … Part 2,’ June 27, 2018, all these cartoons favored Anas.

Tilapia’s ‘Who Watches the Watchman… Part 2’ had Kennedy Agyapong pointing to a television set. The television shows the face of Kumawood actor, Agya Koo. Let’s assume without admitting that Mr. Agyapong’s first premiere lacked substance, how certain are we to insinuate that his second premiere will be but comedy as Agya Koo is made to represent such? Are we not prejudging when we have not seen all the supposed evidence from Mr. Agyapong?

On the night the MP premiered his video, TV3 at the same time showed an interview sports journalist Michael Oti Adjei had with Anas. I could not watch that interview. However, a 26 minutes 3 seconds long video of the said interview I watched on YouTube afterwards had Oti Adjei not asking Anas about the allegations against him.
I stand to be corrected if the presenter asked Anas such questions which the 26 minutes long video did not capture.

“Now, the Who Watches The Watchman have you seen it yourself … the video?” asked Starr FM’s Francis Aban when Anas appeared on his morning show. It was a day after Mr. Agyapong’s premiere. I must say Aban’s interview with Anas was somewhat interesting, however, like that of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host, on the same day, Anas gave clues for follow up questions which the two presenters failed to ask.

Anas Aremeyaw Anas is one journalist I so much admire and revere. From my days at the teachers’ training college till now a journalist, he has been one journalist I so much respect for his exploits. I think, however, that that should not cloud my sense of judgment and reasoning.

We are incessantly told that no one is above the laws of the land and for this, it is only fair that we do not obstruct Mr. Agyapong in bringing us his supposed evidence. The game is fair hearing. If, indeed, the revered anti-corruption campaigner is himself guilty of the very act of people he names, shames and jails as claimed by the MP, then the law must have its way.

“A teacher must be firm and fair,” was a chorus on the lips of many of our teachers at the then Berekum Teacher Training College. Truly, there comes a time that we all must be fair and firm and find the truth. At the end of the day, it is either Mr. Agyapong annihilates Anas or himself.

The writer is a broadcast journalist with Media General’s 3FM/TV3. Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of his organisation.
Twitter: @Aniwaba

Thursday, 26 April 2018

NGO donates towards 'Ghana Amputee Football League' slated for May 5

(R-L) Daniel Nii Mensah, Mavis Hyde & some footballers

Founder and Director of charity organisation Disability Equipment Sent Oversees (DESO), Mrs Mavis Hyde has donated 330 pieces of elbowed crutches to the Ghana Amputee Football League Board, in Tema, on Wednesday.

The donation was a generous support towards the preparations for the upcoming first ever Amputee Football League in Africa.

President of the Ghana Amputee Football League Board and chairman of Dan-Devan Group, Daniel Nii Mensah receiving the items commended DESO for the gesture and promised to put it to a good use.

Mr. Daniel Nii Mensah receives the items
"These equipment would be put to a good use as we earnestly prepare for the maiden Ghana Amputee Football League. We hope to see this project becoming so great that the world would travel far and near to come and watch our players play," he said.

Meanwhile, all eight teams are ready to battle for the trophy starting May 5, 2018 at the Wembley Park at Kotobabi in the Greater Accra region.

Below is the list of the teams.

Eefsa Amputee Football Club

Amugisco Amputee Football Club

Gye Nyame Amputee Football Club

Ayawaso Amputee Football Club

Global Amputee Football Club

Our Hope Africa Foundation Amputee Football Club

Asantaman Amputee Football Club

Maclamp Amputee Football Club


Sunday, 15 April 2018

TALKING DRUM: Of Moesha Boduong & the lazy boss chicks!

Moesha Boduong

When I got to the reception hall, I saw not less than five beautiful ladies walk in and out in less than three minutes. Then, another lady– a bit slim, dark complexioned who wore an African print that matched her beautiful natural hair-do– also came in. She briefly spoke to the receptionist and went back into one of the offices. The latter really caught my attention.

“Hey man, I’m in your building for the interview,” I sent a message to a school mate back at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. That friend was Johnnie Hughes, host of TV3’s morning show New Day and Community Connect on 3FM.

I had had a call to attend an interview for the position of a broadcast journalist at Media General’s 3FM. When Johnnie Hughes came to see me at the radio station’s reception hall, I vividly described to him the young lady I had seen.

“She is Petra [Aba Asamoah],” said Johnnie.

“She is beautiful,” I replied.

Johnnie’s response that followed my remarks about Petra got me on my toes.
“Hɛɛ! Wobɛyɛ steady w’ate; [to wit ‘behave’]. She will be your boss should you successfully pass the interview,” he said.

Lo and behold, there sat Petra when my name was mentioned and I entered the room for the interview! She was with one gentleman and another woman. She had a pen in her left hand and kept putting down notes as I answered their questions.

My admiration for her grew as I later became her employee. She was my Head of Station [3FM] until she was recently appointed as the Head of Commercials and Marketing for Media General. This was a young lady making money through her academic pursuit.

The Petra example is one of hundreds of other ladies/women making it in life through hard work. So, when I watched actress Moesha Boduong’s interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour, I shook my head in disgust.

In that CNN interview, the actress proudly says, “You cannot make enough money in Ghana as a woman to take care of yourself.”

So, how does Moesha intend to survive in Ghana as a woman when women here do not make enough money? Well, she has a strategy. A strategy she proudly explains to Christine Amanpour. Moesha trades sex for cash!

Moesha certainly has no time to think outside the box to brainstorm on what will decently put food on her table. I am sure her comments would not have generated the huge public backlash had she spoken for herself.  To generalize it to let it seem every Ghanaian woman trades sex for money is way unfortunate.

Before the cock crows to signify the birth of a new day, one sees head potters (Kayaye), mainly women, walk the streets of Accra and other parts of the country with heavy loads. At the end of the day, whatever money they have been able to gather is theirs. They live happily knowing that no condition/situation in life is permanent. Indeed, the charcoal seller’s son will also wear a white shirt one day.

He who thinks like Moesha, however, would certainly not be content with any amount he or she earns in any economy in this world. This is a lady who wants to drive the latest flashy car in town, sleep in a house that even the Bill Gates and Dangotes would dare not spend money on.

To put it succinctly, Ghana’s economy has and will not be that flourishing for people wake up with their bank accounts fattened. The narrative of Ghana’s economy from the days of musicians like Nana Kwame Ampadu to our current crop of artistes has always been same― life is hard. Lord Kenya sang is best in his “Sika Card.”

People have attained their level of success in this same economy through deliberate planning and hard work. Writing in his book The Seven Principles of Success & Wealth Creation, Michael Agyekum Addo recounts how he started his KAMA Pharmaceuticals.

“When I became a pharmacist, I was employed by someone who paid me a monthly salary of GHC0.60 (60Gp) in 1979. When I planned to start my own business in 1985, I decided to save GHC0.20 (20Gp) every month. By the tenth month, I had saved GHC2 and with that seed money, I started to manufacture my own medicines to sell,” he writes.

Today, Mr. Michael Agyekum Addo has a formidable tree of businesses bearing him varieties of fruits. If such a person is living lavishly, one can understand him. He has worked for it. A lot of Ghanaians, men and women alike, have similarly succeeded through this kind of diligence.

I am tempted to believe that Moesha Boduong and the other so-called “boss chicks” who have become preys sucking the ‘blood’ of other women’s husbands are just being plain lazy. Sadly, she is not even creative in her apparent sex trade.

Well, the Yoruba people of Nigeria admonish so well in a proverb which says the wealth which enslaves the owner is not wealth. Moesha says she can hardly say no to her sponsor whenever he comes in demanding for sex. Do you, then, call whatever he gives you wealth?

I think it will be in Moesha’s interest to get out there and work for that “enough money” she so craves for. It is highly possible to earn a decent living in this same economy!

The writer is a broadcast journalist with Media General (3FM/TV3). Views expressed here solely remain his and do not, in anyway, reflect the editorial policy of his organisation.
Twitter: @Aniwaba

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

TALKING DRUM: When Lawrence Tetteh sung ‘Obiara Nnyɛ Obiara’

Dr. Lawrence Tetteh & Ebony Reigns

One thing was apparently clear among many of her fans and the general public that thronged the forecourt of the State House― they wanted to verify if, indeed, their one time celebrity was really dead and gone for good.

Of a truth, Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng who was famed and known in showbiz as Ebony Reigns was gone. The bespectacled corpse of the dancehall diva, draped in a white flowing gown with a touch of her Maame Hwɛ video looks of a scarf, laid still in a transparent glass enclosure.

Ebony Reigns in her Maame Hwɛ looks
Family members, friends, sympathizers and music lovers filed past the late songstress drowned in tears. The once vibrant young talent could not utter a word. That is how cruel death is when it lays its icy hands on one!

The tributes and speeches that poured in at the funeral were all very touchy. However, I must admit it was the sermon of Dr. Lawrence Tetteh, founder of World Miracle Outreach, which got me reflecting on what life really has for us as humans and how we must constantly remind ourselves that there is a God.

The preacher had said that his sermon was not directed at or for Ebony. He repeatedly reminded the thousands of mourners gathered at the forecourt of the State House and the million others who watched proceedings on television that one must seek God first above all things.

Indeed, Dr. Lawrence Tetteh had made use of many anecdotes and songs to buttress his point. His singing of Barima Sidney’s Obiara Nnyɛ Obiara, to wit, no individual is a cut above his fellow human, got me immersed in sober reflection.

The musician performs
“Ebony whose voice sounded better than that of birds is dead and gone? Former President John Evans Atta Mills who had an oversight of the whole nation was also gone for good? What about acclaimed mathematical physicist Professor Francis Kofi Ampenyi Allotey; a whole library gone!” I reflected.

Undoubtedly, many were also buried the very day Ebony was laid to rest. The world, perhaps, did not hear of their death and burial because they did not have the fame, influence and money like others. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, they all ended up shoved into the belly of mother earth. Indeed, Dr. Lawrence Tetteh was right; Obiara Nnyɛ Obiara!

We are all cut at par, no matter how gifted others may be. We are all equal in the sight of the Lord no matter how rich some are than others.

Back in my days in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo region, I heard of musicians I never thought could meet… not to mention becoming a close friend. Then, in my first year at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, a lecturer gave us an assignment. My group was tasked to have a chat with a musician asking him/her about the assertion that musicians abuse drugs to perform well on stage.

We got in touch with Barima Sidney, arranged a day to meet him for an interview and that day came to pass. I have since 2012 been a very close friend of his. Years into our friendship, I realized he just did not sing Obiara Nnyɛ Obiara. He meant every bit of it.
No matter who you are, Barima Sidney finds room in his heart to accommodate you like a brother or sister. Today, before he releases a song he would send it to me to pass judgment on it. “Solo, listen to this single [song] to see if we are good to go,” he would send me a message.

Barima Sidney
I can say same about many other public figures’ good inter-personal relationship including FlowKing Stone. The question, therefore, is, why do other people at times feel bossy and better than others?

Ebony I never met or saw in person. However, one could tell from afar she was such a lively young girl; a musician sadly demonized by self-canonized saints who even passed judgment on her, right after her February 9, 2018 tragedy that she will go to hell. He who will go to heaven or hell is not in the hands of men… but God.

We are all not above criticism, hence, those who reprimanded her by drawing her attention to tone down on her apparel for her show business were not far from right. But for a fellow human being to proclaim outright hell on another, ‘I can’t think far!’ At least, students of the Bible know that a man condemned by the world was saved by Jesus Christ on the cross.

Dr. Lawrence Tetteh at Ebony’s funeral cautioned the world that watched and listened to him that his sermon was not for the girl who could no longer hear humans speak. It was directed at us; you and me. That, we must strive and find space in our hearts and serve the living God and as well as respect one another while we have breath.

Ebony was laid to rest at the Osu Cemetery in Accra. This cemetery has an inscription that reminds that the living shall one day return.

Sleep well, Nana Hemaa; the girl I dearly cherished from afar. May the Rock of Ages give us endurance to hold on to our faith and be humble.

The writer is a broadcast journalist with Media General (3FM/TV3). Views expressed here are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect his organisation’s editorial policy.

Twitter: @Aniwaba