The World Owes Nkrumah an Apology

The world owes you an apology. Not just the myopic internal elements. Not just the Central Intelligence Agency. Not just Kotoka, Busia or the entire UP who felt intimidated by your visionary leadership, freedom for the black man and the support you had from Martin Luther King Junior, W.E.B. DuBois and other freedom fighters.

The African who ignored your advocacy for African Unity causing your overthrow and eventual death. Every time they questioned your knowledge, ability, strength, integrity, victory they did so because of your consciousness, the awareness your creating in the ordinary African.
The Ghanaian who were too afraid to rebel the unconstitutional government when the coup took place must also apologise to you. Those who handed over the atomic energy to the West without blinking an eye, those who helped raise buildings down and even burnt books you had written to guide the African in his quest to scientific socialism were ignorant gloats.

But your mother who made legends out of Nkroful Mudhouse shaping you and your dreams like Michelangelo chiseled David, she was great, fantastic and a goddess. You were and still remain the greatest of all time. The world owes you an apology especially an official apology coming from the Western powers and the Africans who think otherwise of you. But we know it will never come because first they would have to acknowledge the hatred, the vision you had for building a Wakanda-like Africa united against common enemies like poverty, illiteracy, diseases, ignorance, imperialism and neocolonialism.

If it was your black panther suit (smock and kente), no one would be hurt by it because they would be making us rich by buying them from us. Your knowledge, your visions, you wanting to a build the single most powerful wealth controlled by the Blackman, respect for market women, farmers, veterans, African-ness offended and still offend them. Your power when you should be powerless ,your confidence when you should always grovel reminding the good people of Ghana and well-meaning Africans across the globe that we should be thankful for allowing us to be alive at all as if a king tells the jester “thank you” for his throne.

You are the embodiment of #blackgirlmagic, the dream of our ancestors and future generations, the power of all Africans waking up to consciousness, the strength that the colonialism, slavery and neocolonialism cannot break #Nkrumahism makes you more than the Greatest Of All Time. A fearless leader hated by the West and ignored by the Blackman.

I thought we were going “show to the world that after all the Blackman is capable of managing his own affairs” but here we are showing to the world that the Blackman is for sale to the Chinese who would in the near future be presidents and sack us from our residents. “How long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?” Muamah al Gadhafi, Laurent Gbagboh, and a few others tried to wean the African from the sickly breasts of the wicked stepmother West but they were betrayed and lacked the support needed. To reiterate Prof. PLO Lumumba, “Africa is being dished on the dining table of the West.”

Kwame Nkrumah, the world owes you an apology.FB_IMG_1537527852863


History Is Repeating Itself


My Dear Kofi:

I have just heard on the air that your government which came to power barely three years ago has been toppled by the Ghana Army. It is rather significant that most of the evils of which my government and I were accused and which were the main reasons for the overthrow of my administration were apparently the same reasons that motivated the army takeover of your regime.

I am sure that you now realise that those who criticise other people without bothering to assign good reasons for their criticisms eventually end up as victims of their own circumstances.
You will also appreciate the fact that those who sow a wind reap a whirlwind, and after you have finished spoiling other people, you will be surprised to find out that you have spoiled yourself.
Perhaps, you will agree with me in my assertion that during my tenure of office for 15 years, I did my best to improve the economic conditions of my people, although, admittedly, my policies brought unexpected difficulties which were inevitable and for which my people were unprepared.

Nevertheless, there is evidence of some of my achievements in Ghana, which you, of all people, cant pretend to deny the fact that I made Ghana what you found it when the same army overthrew my regime.

It would serve no useful purpose for me to recount some of these achievements, but suffice it to say that Akosombo Dam, Tema Harbour, Tema Oil Refinery, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, VALCO, to mention only a few, are all my handiwork.

But the most important contribution I have made to the personality of the black man was that during my tenure of office as President of the Republic of Ghana, I made the African proud of his heritage.

Today, throughout the African world, many countries have attained political emancipation as a result of the torchlight I lit in Ghana which my own people, including you (Kofi Abrefa Busia), did not appreciate. Thus, my government and I were accused of a host of unprintable evils which sought to discredit me and to pave the way for you to establish yourself as a successful leader on the African political scene.

Since my government was overthrown six years ago, and since you assumed the reins of authority in the latter part of 1969, I have been watching closely events in Ghana and I often felt that the way you were handling the affairs of the country, that is relying so much on colonialists, imperialists, capitalists and neo-colonialists, you will one day end up in the gutter with the same imperialists and capitalists nailing your coffin.

Your handling of the Aliens Compliance Order in which, for the first time in the history of Africa, a neighboring government drives out of its country fellow Africans like cattle and oxen in open trucks, your so-called dialogue with the Apartheid regime in which you seek to create the impression that you are the only black man on earth who is capable of bringing pressure to bear upon the racists in South Africa and other diabolical policies are too numerous to mention here.
You will recall that just before the general elections in 1969, I broadcast on Conarky Radio to my people in Ghana, exhorting them not to vote for any other candidate for the Premiership but you.

I do not know how you took this exhortation, but I could conjecture that you probably assumed that by exhorting the people of Ghana to vote for you, I was placing you above other candidates. If this was your way of thinking, then I am sorry to say you miscalculated and misconstrued the motivation of my exhortation.

I had imagined that you would have realised that the reasons for asking the people of Ghana to vote for you was not so much because I thought you were better than any or all the candidates involved in the electioneering. My reason for exhorting them to vote for you was that I knew that being a political weakling, you would sooner or later expose your shortcomings.
Let me refresh your memory about some of the events which culminated in the overthrow of my legitimate Government on February 24, 1966, and relate them to the events which led to the overthrow of your imperialist and colonialist-orientated government with a view to drawing a logical conclusion as to whether your administration or mine was preferable.

You will recall that while I was away in Hanoi to effect a peaceful solution to the capitalist aggression against the freedom-loving people of North Vietnam, the Ghana Army, led by insignificant and virtually unknown soldiers, in collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), conspired to overthrow my government.

You may also recall that the first thing these irresponsible soldiers did was to ransack my official residence and virtually steal my personal properties as well as cash I had left behind.
To justify their illegitimate and criminal action, the imperialist stooges claimed that my Government was corrupt; that my Ministers had acquired ill-gotten wealth; that my Government had dissipated public funds in establishing prestige projects and a host of other accusations against me without any proof whatsoever.

But any objective political observer would agree that the same evils of which you and your colonialist and neo-colonialist masters accused me reared their ugly heads and assumed more heinous proportions during the days of your government.

Thus, within a span of three years, you and your Ministers became richer and acquired ill-gotten wealth more than could be said of the Ministers in my Government which ruled Ghana for 15 years.

It is regrettable that your government, which you claimed to comprise mainly of intellectuals and honest men, had to be toppled within three years after assuming office. This, indeed, is evidence of your political immaturity.

Now that your Utopia has crumbled under your feet, apparently due to the erratic policies you pursued with the assistance and full support of those who preach universal brotherhood yet supervise the obliteration of thousands of innocent souls throughout the world, may I offer you a few words of consolation?

I would therefore recommend to you, my dear Kofi, that you take a long rest from the exigencies of politics in which you woefully failed after pursuing it for nearly two decades in just the same way as you cancelled your engagements in Monrovia following our confrontation at the funeral of President William V. S. Tubman (of blessed memory).

I have the hope that when I return to Ghana, as I surely will someday in-the-not too distant future to help rebuild the nation from the ruins and chaos you left behind, the dignity of the African Personality which was one of the legacies I left behind and which you handed over to the die-hard racists on a golden platter, will be restored.

I commend you to the care of the Omnipotent God who has sustained me in my moments of isolation and reflection and hope that He will take very good care of you for the rest of your unsuccessful political life.

Perhaps, I might just as well point out to you that it wont serve you any useful purpose to dream of staging a come-back into the arena of politics because I am aware that the colonialists and imperialists will only be too happy to support such an attempt.

The reason for this assertion is that from reports I have been receiving from our compatriots in Ghana, the reaction of the people to the February 24, 1966 coup was less stupendous than their reaction to the January 13 coup which toppled your unpopular and capitalist-backed government which ruled my people under the direction and advice of the imperialists and colonialists.

It might be a good idea if we were to meet face to face as we did in Monrovia last year; then I would have told you: Kofi, I told you that you would be a complete failure on the political scene.

Finally, my dear Kofi, take heart and be of good cheer, for this is part and parcel of human life. But let the word go to all the imperialists, colonialists and neo-colonialists that my Ghana, with her Black Star of Africa, like Ethiopia and with Ethiopia, shall arise above the political horizon.
I wish you Godspeed as you make your well-deserved exit from the political arena in Ghana.
I remain.

Faithfully Yours
(signed) Kwame Nkrumah

The Black Scholar
Vol. 3, No. 9, BLACK BATTLES (May 1972), pp. 23-26
Published by: Paradigm Publishers sankofaonline.coFB_IMG_1537078890262

National Churchian Cathedral

Dear Churchians,

Just like the apostle John wrote numerous epistles or as it were, letters to various groups of people, which have become parts of the Bible for Christians or churchians, I am doing same. I address the modern day “foolish born again Christian.”

The Bible says, “where two or more are gathered in my name, I’m there in their mist.” Also a research done in Ghana suggests that 60% of our population are Christians. What a wow! It is in the light of these that I choose to address you on this day.
In the Bible, when Stephen was being being stoned, he said, “Father, do not hold this against them.”

Again, when Jesus was being beaten and nailed to the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” I have come to understand these statements to mean that everything and anything we do for or to a fellow human being, we do for or to God. Other than that why would Stephen and Jesus ask God to forgive those who knew exactly what they were doing? Why couldn’t they just say, “I forgive u people.”?
As a matter of factly facts, Christianity is not about wearing your bronya dresses, driving in the latest cars, giving fat offerings in huge sums and doing all those well planned acts in the name of miracles. Christianity should inspire hope about a good, kind and a loving God. We take bribes from people, insult and beat up our houseboys and maids, say nasty things about them, disobey traffic rules, steal from others, go to all the mapouka night clubs and we expect God to be in our mist on Sundays? Hell no!! Churches nowadays are empty buildings full of boastful people.

Do the Christians in Ghana… let me address them for exactly what they are – churchians think of themselves or even the poor person at all? I see a lot of people struggling to even feed themselves yet they find hope in churches where they go and donate the little they have to men of God. The Ghanaian is a magician who can still laugh while facing adversity. Maybe we should change our motto on the Coat of Arms from ” Freedom and Justice” to ‘The Land of A Million Magicians.’

Do we need a cathedral when there are churches in every corner of the country? In the equation of success, prayer is not a part of them. Faith in God is not the absence of common sense. Why do churchians want a national cathedral at a time when nothing seems to work in our socioeconomic space?

Let us start seeing God in the people we come across everyday from our homes through the streets, in trotro to school and work places. Anyway, God is good! God is good!! God is good!!!
I remain FK, Fo Korshie for short; a son of Gbeho. Gbeho of “God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.”.

Anointed Teef

Let me begin by quoting the lyrics of ‘B4 u die’ song by FOKN BOIS. Here goes;

The concluding part of the song says, “do something b4 u die”. Before I die, I need some ota-bills to make me richer. I don’t mind if it is the Capital of a Bank or from the offertory bowl

There is this anointed teef in Ghana who once upon a time claimed that, “… You lie to them, they believe it. The born again Christians are the easiest people to deceive. Foolish born again Christians; you have to deceive them. If you don’t deceive them, they will go to somebody else to deceive them so deceive them yourself.”

It takes a special kind of con artist to sell an invisible product to a group of people for 10% of their income and get this product after they die. Being a pastor in Ghana is like being Kweku Ananse carrying the proverbial wisdom pot up the tall tree. But then wind blows too hard into Kweku Ananse’s ‘jalabia’ for the full circumference of his anus to be exposed. In trying to cover his ‘exit point’, he let go of this wisdom pot. The effect is, we all, including those undeserving now have some wisdom. The challenge however, is its application.

‘Touch not my anointed teef and tickle not my con artist’ is the new verse. I have come to the understanding that people are standing with a certain anointed teef over the sikadicious nature of a bailout money of GH₵610M. I’m not against the standing but once they stand with him for long, would he agree to share the money with them in solidarity?

Some anointed teef quoted a biblical verse which goes, “touch not my anointed, and do my prophet no harm.” The same Bible says “Do unto others before they do unto you.” Do not ask me to provide the particular verse. Don’t go looking for it either. I thought Jesus ganged up with his eleven disciples, minus Judas (that guy would have just looted and stolen the goods and money) to beat up all those doing profit business and exchanging money in the temple? This biblical account seeks to suggest that the church has no business doing business. It beats my mind all the time seeing pastors especially those in Africa sell vegetable oil meant for ‘angwamu’, distilled water and sometimes handkerchiefs to their congregants at exorbitant prices. One of my Aunty’s returned from a church program with cane marks all over her body. She joyfully explained that the devil in her had been beaten away.

“Raising Leaders, Shaping Vision, Influencing Society through Christ” had always been my motivation growing up listening to Osɔfo Dr 3rd Born. I am yet to come to terms with the fact that the smaller thieves are not spared yet the bigger thieves are glorified. I remember stealing meat from my mother’s pot of soup, and the slap that landed on my innocent chubby cheeks reset my brain to an angelic level. Several donkey years down the line, I am always reminded by that ‘reset button’ from my mother and the thought of stealing shakes my bowels to the point where I develop a running stomach.

My greetings to the special prosecutor ‘extraordinaire’. That man looks like some khebab seller considering his Nike tribal mark. Wait, my mother has asked me to get charcoal for us to cook banku because the price of LPG has skyrocketed. Until we meet again, you can call me British Fulani, and I’m not an anointed teef.

Communion from the Calabash

Odumankoma the Great; Odumankoma Nyankrupɔn; Ɔbɔadiɛ the Creator who seeks communion from the calabash, I have come to pour libation. It is me the sixth child of the Creator in heaven brought into the virgin wombs of Asaase Yaa, the keeper of fertility, watered with the inner sentiments of love. I am that hot metal hammered by the anvils of time; the gossip carried by the sea waves beyond the horizon – abrɔ nakyi – abrokyi. Ɛfo Kɔshi is my name, the representative of these mortals gathered here to invoke your name and presence.

Me Nana kyii me tena ase kyerɛ me sɛɛ, “mpanyin bɛka mpanyinsɛm na mmofra ato anansesɛm.” (Translation – “my grandfather once told me that older people use adult language in their speeches while children use folktales.”IMG-20180804-WA0015.jpg To wit, cut your coat accordin to your size. Or know yourself and know exactly what suits you). I am only a child asking for your blessings upon us.

Of all the elements on earth, I choose water. It is not because water fills the belly fastest or that it quenches our insatiable thirsts; it is because water is a symbol of hospitality. The rich can afford it; the poor can afford it. Water is not cooked by fire but by spoken word. With this water, I seek for blessings. Odumankoma, let every student here in this school know what they need to know. Give every teacher wisdom and love to do their work.

Onyankrupɔn, the Trist Maker, you give and you take.
Console us when you take from us and let our hands multiply what you give to us.
Bless us with knowledge and bless us with its application.
Whoever is here should be blessed with a lot of money and peace of mind. Let no illness come and let no doctor cure.
We are in front, let evil be behind.
Anyone who brings poison, may his polluted hand enter his mouth.
If anyone says he must see us perish, let his eyes perish in the seeing.
Let whoever come to kill us kill himself
Anyone who thinks evil of us, may his evil thoughts rot in his brain.
Though you give us rain, we offer you water.
And may this water carry our prayers to you.

My Problem with the Degree. My Problem with Graduates/University Students

By Henry Mutebe

Yesterday, a friend called to check on me. It had been long since we talked. He asked if I had sometime so I could roll over and check on him. I was happy to go check on him. After we had finished University, he had started a small restaurant in town. It has grown exponentially over the years. When I arrived at the restaurant, I was very impressed by how many leaps he had made, in what I believe to be a short time for a business like his. We shuffled through the memories and had a hearty laugh.

As hours went by, I noticed that when customers entered and took seats, he was attending to them and doing a lot of the serving. I asked him if he didn’t have enough staff. He told me that one of the girls working at the restaurant was sick while another guy simply didn’t show up or call to let him know…so he was short of labour. I asked if I can help. He joked, ‘Henry you know I can’t afford you. Here I pay 10,000shs to the attendants. How will I manage to pay you?’ I told him am happy to work.

I quickly oriented myself on the etiquette and customer care rules …and most importantly what was available. So we started serving people that came in. In total, I served about 8 clients before something interesting happened.

As we talked and laughed about the crazy things we did in school, two students I taught at University (a gentleman and lady) came by. They did not immediately notice I was the one but their eyes kept preying on me to confirm they were seeing the ‘real person.’

To confirm their disbelief, I asked my friend to let me serve them. So I went over, humbled myself, bent slightly, greeted them and asked to take their orders. They were very surprised and asked me, ‘What are you doing here sir?’ I told them that am there to serve them. They looked at each other and with the face of mixed feelings wondered why I would be working in a restaurant.

The girl asked, ‘Sir, but why are you working here? You can’t serve us. I mean…?’ she nodded her head in disbelief before continuing, ‘…you can’t work in a restaurant?’. I told them I would serve them and am happy to take their orders. You could easily notice that they were very surprised and reserved about placing their orders.

They had mixed feelings about my presence there and the type of work I was doing. After a very interesting exchange, they finally made their order which I delivered promptly. They had their delicious meal as we also continued conversing and reminiscing the years gone by. From time to time, I kept checking on them and asked if they needed anything else. When they were done, my friend punched in the bill, printed the receipt and I delivered it to them.

Their bill was 24,500shs. I placed it on the table and took the plates away. The guy placed two notes (a 20k and 10k shs) on the table and they left. I delivered it to my friend, who was now serving as manager, cashier and sometimes a waiter. He gave me back the change of 5,500shs which I happily slipped into my wallet. By the way …by this time, I had 15,000shs in tips from the other 8 clients I had served. So by adding this 5500shs, I was 20,500shs rich already.

As the couple (my former students) went out, they each looked back in disbelief. I looked at them and raised my hand to say bye. They walked into the street and faded away into the bright light from approaching cars. A couple of other clients came in and I served them. My friend was very pleased and paid my 10000shs and a bonus of 2000shs which he says he offers once a waiter exceeds a certain number of clients. At 11pm, I left the restaurant and went home.

As I sat in the car to head back home, I couldn’t help thinking about my students. Their disbelief was innocent…but it speaks a lot about a general problem we have in our society. These two students represent thousands of others. They me made think, very deeply, about our Ugandan graduates. I do not blame them, its a general problem.

I have had the opportunity to travel and study from elsewhere or in other cultures and I have always been surprised by how people in other countries don’t despise jobs. My good students could not imagine their lecturer serving them in a restaurant. Since they know my work and qualifications, they could not understand how I can be in a restaurant at this time. As if it takes away my degree or other job. It gave me a lot of thoughts about our graduates. The more I have travelled, the more I have learned and unlearned.

In 2012, while at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in England, one of my classmates used to drive a BMW, park it at a restaurant and work as a waiter. He came from a very wealthy family but he still worked. He told me that as soon as he completed high school, he had to take part time jobs to earn some money to pay rent to his father and contribute to household bills. It shocked me quite a lot considering what I have grown up seeing in my part of the world.

As if this was not enough, I also found out that, when students finish high school in these countries, as must, they have to find some work and either rent out, or pay their parents some money for rent if they are to continue staying in their parent’s house. I was shocked by the idea of a son paying rent to his father. It took time to sink in. The more I interacted with more of these people, the more I realised that this is a common culture. They teach a child responsibility from a very early age. Work is not for money per se, it is a service.

The lesson I learnt from them is that working is a value. One has to work and parents teach their children that they have to work and earn. Just because your parents are wealthy doesn’t mean your life is already worked out. You have to contribute to the home bills and somehow find something to do. The work doesn’t have to be white colour…but as a must, you have to find something to put your hands to. You cant seat your bums and just wait for a white collar job.

When I went to Norway, I found the same story. Most university students, unless they simply can’t find time due to course overload, have to have some form of temporary work. Students often work as attendants, waiters in restaurants, cleaners in hotels, shop attendants, drivers, newspaper vendors, et cetera. It is a value to work and few people dont despise jobs.

By the way, they don’t work because their parents can’t give them money. They work because it is a value that has been embedded in them from childhood. Once a student finishes high school, they take on a part time job and save money for use at university or travels. Few parents will buy their child a ticket to come to Africa to tour. You have to work and save for your luxuries.

If you want some money from your parents, you borrow and pay back. Nothing comes free. They teach you to live on your own. Being at University or having a degree is ‘nothing.’ You are not the first or the last. Serving people in a restaurant does not make anyone look less a graduate. Service is service! Work is a value.

As a matter of fact, most of the places near Universities are filled with university students working as part timers. University students are encouraged to take up these part time jobs. The white people we like to imitate are doing what we think is too dirty or casual for a graduate in Africa.

It got me thinking about students in our Universities here in Uganda. I thought about all the restaurants around Wandegeya, Banda –Kyambogo, MUBS, and the attitude of University students and graduates about these type of jobs. I thought about the poor attitude we have towards work. I looked at the chapatti boys and girls we despise who are minting money and doing great things in their lives and for their families. I thought about the people who fear nothing, who go out and just do it while we sit back.

The more I thought about it the more I realised why we are going to take longer to develop. We have a generation of young people who feel they are too educated to do certain jobs. We have a generation of children who have been prepared for a life that doesn’t exist. We have a crop of young people who are whiter than the whites. My time in Europe taught me that we need to get back on the drawing board and re-orient our graduates.

Students in our universities should be oriented to appreciate the value of work. There is no reason why a University should not employ students to clean the Library, kitchen, dining halls, hostels. It is improper that a university canteen should find external staff when it has over 30,000 students who can work in shifts and serve other students.

See, through this kind of work, being able to do ordinary jobs and be seen as a servant makes you true leaders. When students grow up with a sense of entitlement and a higher standard of living, it translates into greed when they get into national politics. They apportion themselves good things, higher privileges and want to float above everyone because work is about money, status and not service. Such humble work makes true leaders.

People who are willing to serve, and not merely earn make better leaders. Such work raises a generation of leaders who don’t do things to be seen or be thought of as higher and more qualified, but leaders who get things done. In some firms in western societies, when they look at a CV, such experience, demonstrates the attitude of a person, their humility, values and philosophy towards work.

We are raising a generation of children whose only image of the west is what they watch on TV. They speak using enhanced accents, know what is the latest, they are ‘cool’ but they have no idea what makes the west what it is. My experience in the west shows me something different. People work and do ordinary jobs and that’s how things get done.

If we are to get good leaders, we must first change the attitude of young people about work. An inflated self-image creates bad leaders who want to further segregate themselves from the ordinary people they consider low and less qualified. We have a big problem in our society and we have to find a way to deal with it.

Students despise these jobs because they believe work is about status and money. Taken further into their lives, it means they may likely want to maintain status and money as their pursuits when they get into leadership positions. If we must correct our leadership and governance problems, we may also need to do something about the attitude of students and graduates about their philosophies and values about work. In there, lies a very big problem.

Do not despise work, go out there and just work. The pope was once a bouncer at a club. Today he is one of the most powerful men in the world. Imagine that you had nothing to fear, what would you do to earn a living? Imagine that you had no degree or that anyone cares, what would you do to earn a living? Imagine, that no one is going to help you find a job, what would do?

I am not saying go do what you dont like…but may be…just may be you may need to develop a new attitude towards work, serve people (in whatever opportunities unfold) and be happy to have served. You can never tell what the future holds, and you may never know who you will meet at your humble place of work. Most interestingly, you may never know the untold story of those who work and serve you in those places where you go as the bosses or the rich.

Even for you that are already employed in ‘high’ places, don’t mind going out and just find a part time job (if you have time) or offer services in the evening or weekend at any place where your services can be of use. Meet people, network and just keep yourself active. Degrees are everywhere…literally every one has them…so just forget about the whole hype about it and be true to yourself. As you look for other opportunities…dont be afraid to branch off a little and keep yourself at something. Don’t despise jobs. Serve. I am now looking for my next gig. I am happy to serve. So you restaurant/hotel people…dont fear to holla at me…If I have time…I will come and serve with a smile.


Only your Mother Saw Me


The Joys of Onyɛ Sɔɔmi
“Onyɛ sɔɔmi” is such an enigmatic phrase. In its truest meaning it’s a vulgar insult directed at someone’s mother but actually it’s so much more than that. I speak three Ghanaian languages and each of them has tried to replicate it but none has achieved the same oomph or range of emotions of the original “Onyɛ sɔɔmi”.
The closest I can come to describing “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” for non-Ghanaians is that it falls somewhere between the N-word and the F-word but it has more flair and emotions than both words.
Having spent two years living in Kaneshie, a predominantly Ga community, I managed to get some understanding of this enigmatic phrase. However, I think no one who isn’t a Ga can fully appreciate the joys of “Onyɛ sɔɔmi”.
I will attempt to catalogue some of the various situations in which “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” can be and has been used.

Onyɛ Sɔɔmi Standing Ovation:
Every afternoon in Kaneshie, men of all ages would gather under trees to play Drought. Sometimes I would visit one of the game venues to enjoy the spectacle. Any time one player was in a position to take three or more of his opponent’s pieces; he would alert the spectators and count aloud as he took the pieces. With each count, the spectators would shout “Sɔɔmi!” After the pieces were taken and all the “Sɔɔmis” said, everyone would clap and start discussing how good the move was.

I also remember one time I was at video center watching an FA Cup match between Arsenal and Aston Villa when Alexis Sanchez scored a really stunning goal. The goal led to a spontaneous eruption of joyous “Sɔɔmis” and each time the goal was shown, the “Sɔɔmi” was longer and more dramatic.
I came to the conclusion that when it was used as a sign of admiration, the “Onyɛ” was dropped and just the “Sɔɔmi” was enough.

Onyɛ Sɔɔmi Salutations:
A stranger in Kaneshie or any Ga community for that matter could be forgiven for thinking “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” was some form of greeting. Every morning’s serenity was shattered by what sounded like happy “Onyɛ sɔɔmis”. Friends shouting them at each other, irritated people shouting them at dawn preachers and random people just shouting them because they could.
Often, but not always, “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” is accompanied by a hand gesture that is sort of like a thumbs up sigh but with the thumb moving up and down. One thing you should know is that you can’t go interfering in friendly “Onyɛ sɔɔmi”. If you are not friends, it is just a very offensive insult.

Onyɛ Sɔɔmi Chain Reaction:
One thing I noticed about “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” is how one shout of it leads to many. Recently, I was in traffic on the N1 when two drivers got into some sort of misunderstanding. They suddenly stopped side by side with no regard for other road users and started exchanging heated “Onyɛ sɔɔmis.” This led to other drivers becoming irritated and they too started shouting “Onyɛ sɔɔmi”. It was an Onyɛ sɔɔmi buffet interjected with load honking and a few other choice swear words in other languages.

Qualified Onyɛ Sɔɔmi:
Sometimes “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” is not enough and I would hear people add other words for impact. I remember hearing Onyɛ sɔɔmi kakalika (cockroach), Onyɛ sɔɔmi 2 by 4 (why 2 by 4 I will never know), Onyɛ sɔɔmi chin gɔm (chewing gum) and a few other inexplicably qualified ones. I have no idea what informs these ones but I came to accept that no one but a Ga can really appreciate the intricacies of “Onyɛ sɔɔmi”

Insulting Onyɛ Sɔɔmi:
When used as an insult, the “sɔɔmi” is often dropped and just the “Onyɛ” is used. I never really got to fully understand the insult part. I remember a woman in the house I lived who constantly insulted her son by saying “Onyɛ sɔɔmi”. It didn’t really make sense to me since she was the Onyɛ in this case but as I said, only a true Ga can really appreciate the joys of Onyɛ sɔɔmi.

Onyɛ Sɔɔmi Chronicles:
I first clear funny “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” incident occurred when I was in class 5. Of course before then I myself had used it a few times but none of those were memorable.
I was in class 5 and I along with some kids were attending our first French class. We were learning to conjugate the verb “etre”. The teacher called each of us to read what he had written and needless to say, we struggled.
One guy was called to read “nous sommes”. The poor guy, who already had problems reading in English, had no idea what to say. The teacher encouragingly helped by pronouncing the first word, “nous”. The guy then confidently said “nous sɔɔmi”. This led to the class bursting into laughter which in turn made the teacher very angry.
When I was in senior high school, my government teacher used it once on a very fine girl who responded to his question, “who can tell me why I love Bob Morley?” To which the girl in a rasta mood said, “ganja.” There was mixed reaction in the class when the almighty “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” came out of this man’slips.

In conclusion, you should know that “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” is not for everyone. Before you can trade friendly “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” with anyone, you should have previously established a relationship with the person. Anything apart from that and you can expect a very angry reaction.
Go ahead and enjoy your “Onyɛ sɔɔmi” but be circumspect and do it in moderation.

ps: Onyɛ Sɔɔmi is pronounced “Own yeah Sore-me” the more “ɔ”, the longer you stretch the Sore
Originally authored by Delali Amegaxi.20180717_12012920180717_120232