Thursday, May 05, 2011

How My Non-Political Tailor Made me Smile about Ghana

In our highly-politicised culture, I often forget to remind myself about the beauty of my country--we tend to let foreigners remind us instead--till I take a walk. Walking has always been cathartic--and this afternoon was no exception.

Deciding to walk to the tailor who fixes some of my clothes, I was surprised at what I would meet: him working his usual assiduous self in front of GTV (Ghana's national broadcaster), which was showing the incumbent President Professor John Evan Atta-Mills having bought his nomination forms to contest the general elections in 2012.

My tailor was aghast at what was going on -- that the wife of the founder of Ghana's ruling National Democratic Congress should decide to contest the incumbent President in next year's polls, and at a time when the incumbent President was clearly "doing well."

My tailor is 30years old, and describes himself as "a small boy", but who still knows that "the President is doing well." He confessed to me that though he comes from a region that is a quintessential and visceral supporter of the NDC party, his mother campaigned for the opposition (right-leaning) National Patriotic Party. He also confessed to liking Ghana's incumbent Vice-President John Mahama -- despite the fact that he is not the traditional NDC-supporter that everyone would expect him to be.

He added--much to my bemusement--that he may not vote for the current president, but he sees that he has been doing well, so what the wife of the founder is doing is "very wrong" and "disgraceful".

Apart from shattering any preconceptions that people from the Volta Region of Ghana wholely and fully support the NDC (something I never believed to be fully the case anyway), I was happy to hear this outrage from Wanda the tailor, who only went to reinforce the impression that Ghana may be over-politicised in much of what we do, but we certainly have discerning minds a lot of the time, too...

God bless Ghana. God bless Nkrumah! God bless Africa...
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