Friday, April 15, 2011

The Youth of Ghana- Living in Self Denial and Oblivion

Nothing hurts more than seeing some of the most educated youth of this country living in so much denial and oblivion of almost everything happening here. I've become somewhat of a pariah on Twitter. Why? Because I cannot stand mediocrity, stupidity and incompetence, even for a fraction of a microsecond.

This reaction by some of my compatriots to this story on CNN reveals the level of denial the youth- those who have the platform and can drive the conversation to address issues- are living in. The theme of the CNN article IS NOT wrong. I personally see hordes of young boys, some as young as 12, waiting at internet cafes deep into the night to "transact business" with their partners.

The scourge of internet fraud IS happening, at an alarming rate among the youth of this country. 8 out of every 10 people sitting in cafes are likely engaging in 419 scams, locally named Sakawa. Anybody who has lived in a place like Taifa in Accra knows what I am talking about. What those authors in that post were doing was actually shooting the messenger. Of course it'd naive to think the western media will write anything positive about Africa. But the point I am driving home is this; why focus on what you think is wrong with the message instead of the facts of it.

The fact is that the youth of Ghana are increasingly getting themselves into internet fraud activities. Denying that fact is nonsense. Rather than rant about how CNN does not paint Africa in a good light, let's discuss WHY the youth are engaging in it, what pushes them, how is this going to affect the economy of Ghana in coming years. It's these kind of intellectual discussions I'd expect to see from a group of highly educated  people, not the triviality of how CNN or the western media exaggerate the negatives of Africa.

Virtually all the responses to the CNN article were very unfortunate to say the least. Everything in that CNN article has been taken literally. When the article claims the majority of Ghanaians sell sachet water, my understanding is that the majority of Ghanaians are engaged in very low income producing activities that ends them in the poverty trap. As to why people would translate that literally as meaning every Ghanaian sells sachet water beats me!

Now I saw people writing about how they bought their cars with their own monies, and how there are 5 star hotels and that many Ghanaians buy their cars with their incomes and not loans and loads of other myopic "facts", it's just saddening. I wonder if the guy who wrote that has worked in a financial institution before to see the number of people who take bank loans to buy cars. If he has worked in a firm that gives concessionary loans to staff to buy cars. In any case, the fact that some people buy cars with their own incomes does not in any way translate into anything other than that.

The fact remains that the vast majority of Ghanaians to date, cannot make ends meet. I come from Northern Ghana and anytime I go there, my heart grieves so much. Perhaps those who supposedly responded to that CNN article should pay a visit to the North. Don't sit in Accra and measure the wealth of the nation by what you see around you. The broader country is still wallowing in abject, knee grinding poverty. Denying that fact won't make it go away.

The CNN article was not a holy writ, it nonetheless painted a picture of a scourge that is engulfing this nation. Do not just write about your displeasure with the article. We all know CNN won't write good stuff about us. Let's use that piece as a springboard to rather start meaningful, intellectual discussions into the myriad of problems facing this country; electricity, water, shelter, transportation, security etc. 


In as much as I'd like to see Africa portrayed in a positive light in the global media, I still have not seen any sustained and sensible effort in addressing the very issues that we so much would like the western media to not even touch on! Is that hypocrisy? Stupidity? Or irony? Your guess is as good as mine!

4 comments:

  1. Hey Sinaisix.

    My response to your comment is really long.

    So I dedicated a whole blog post to it:

    http://kobigraham.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/why-getting-ghana-wrong-is-a-problem/

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  3. @Sinaisix, I was going to say a lot, but I think I am adequately satisfied by the responses in the article linked above...you rant like a preacher whose creed is his own opinions; You present all these so called facts (albeit they sound like sensational bullcrap!) like you are some well researched fellow (heck where from the 8 out of 10 b#llsh@t?), and then you use your biases as the defined framework for analyzing just how bad things are in Ghana, and how we who are talking are in denial..,well it's your opinion, and you tried hard to sell it, but man these are rotten tomatoes not worth a pesewa! That is my very biased opinion. For a more sensible reasoning (mine is a rant, because I just can't believe how you could write this!) read the above-linked article...and if possible lets go discuss there!
    Man, this article make I shy sef

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  4. "It is easier to catch bees with sugar than with vinegar"

    I think that best sums my reaction after reading your post. Many, many merits in your enumerated points, undisputedly. But it all just mostly came off as self-righteous and antagonistic ranting.

    Right now my mind is saying engage...but my teeth are bared, I have an irrational sheer urge to find the softest spread of tissue to sink into and elicit immediate pain.

    You must see how hurling such provocative insults at the very audience you hope to reach can be distracting as best and counter-productive at worst.

    Write as emotively as you like but please show less disdain for your readership. Surely you would not swallow such commentary easily yourself were it addressed to you.

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You probably disagree with me on this post, but please do so in a civilized and matured manner. Thanks

Sociable