Tuesday, June 24, 2008

10 minutes of history and legend!

I just got thru watching Azuma Nelson’s fight on tv. I dunno what I expected but I was pleasantly intrigued. The Professor still fights really well doesn’t he? I’m not a boxing fan but for what seemed like the 10 minute duration of the match, I was glued to the set... in my heart I was hoping he would knock the dude out for old time’s sake. That didn’t happen, but I’m sure everyone was impressed with his performance. Still has the skill doesn’t he? Fantastic. I don’t understand why he didn’t win, Seemed to me that he landed quite a few solid punches on the dude… enough to beat him nicely... or maybe I’m just biased?

But looking at it in retrospect I sort of understand why the Australian won. He’s Australian, the bout was in Australia, and turns out he’s quite a jewel to the Australian people – same as the prof is to Ghanaians. For me, that settles it. Maybe if the match was in Las Vegas on somewhat neutral grounds, could’ve been a different story, but it wasn’t. it was an Australian hero, fighting in Australia, in front of Australians… you do the math. At a point I even heard one of the Australian match commentators urging his man on. He forgot his mic was on. So, like I said, do the math. Regardless of who won or lost [we know who really won] it was a beautiful boxing match to behold. Two legends who still possess great skill and talent. The camaraderie between them was awesome and the hugs they gave each other after the match were affectionate and moving. A beautiful thing, it really was, bringing sportsmanship and poise to such a brutal sport.

Any more fights for the prof? he’s still my ultimate champ!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

the Spintex Chronicles

Had a meeting earlier this week in Osu, Normally I give my self an early start when I’m going to use the spintex road, but because it wasnt an “Accra Mall” saturday, and it was just about 1pm, I figured the traffic wouldn’t be as much as it normally is during the morning rush hour or in the late afternoons, i hadn’t used spintex at that time of the day for a while but I knew from previous experience that typically around lunchtime traffic had never been too bad, might have been slow but at least it would move at a steady pace.
So, I allocated a full hour as a head start. The meeting was at 3, I figured, worst case scenario, I’d spend an hour in spintex traffic and then 30 mins thru the 37-osu area. So by leaving at 1:15pm I figured by 2:45 latest I’d be at my destination. Wrong!

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I sure wasn’t prepared for what I experienced that afternoon. The flow was steady after a certain point around the zenith bank area. [we’ll talk about this spot in a minute] after that zenith bank spot, up to the CCTC – JONSON area it was cool and then 200 metres later, movement ground to a complete halt. we were at complete, utter, absolute standstill. There were points where for more than five minutes we’d be in one spot with absolutely no movement. I couldn’t believe it. It was hot, annoying, stagnant traffic. I wanted to turn around, but at that point you dunno which way to go, Nungua is not any better and besides there was traffic from a certain point in the other direction… because of the same zenith bank spot. Lemme explain this spot. It is a rough, extremely uneven patch across the whole road that is filled with deep holes. So everyone is compelled to slow down once they reach that spot. Whether you’re coming from the texpo area, or heading towards the texpo area you’ll be caught by that horrendous spot.

So traffic was building up at that spot and it didn’t make sense to turn around, it didn’t make sense to continue either! Here I was, in a BMW with a 2.0litre engine, and there were snails going faster than I was! 45 minutes later, I had only reached papaye. I wanted to strangle somebody. And then it got worse. It would seem that there are people who consider themselves more important than those of us suffering in traffic. They would come whizzing by in the middle of the road with their hazard lights on. These weren’t dignitaries, ambulances… or even hearses. No, they were ordinary civilians like you and I who had decided that they were far too important to abide by road regulations. About 13 cars sped past us in this manner, driving in the other lane and forcing the cars in the other lane to swerve rudely. I felt like blocking the road and asking them where they were going. To whom it may concern: if you want to arrest some unlawful motorists, the spintex road, in the afternoon, during heavy traffic – best time. An hour later when I reached the eastlegon underground tunnel turning, it became apparent, that the whole of Accra was trying to divert thru the tunnel, hence the standstill, and this standstill was causing effects as far back as Papaye! Why were they trying to divert? Because, they didn’t want to go thru Accra mall traffic. So I went straight, towards the mall, I figured since everyone wanted to use the east legon tunnel, there wouldn’t be as much congestion that way. I would be better off. Wrong!

I went as far as the Action church, and then I was back to standstill traffic. By now it was 2:43….and my fuel was now below the quarter tank mark. I was going crazy. The cause of the traffic now? People were coming out of the mall, that was mildly tolerable. It was the idiots making u-turns at the bus stop who were making matters worse. They were coming from accra to the mall, and instead of going straight and using the entrance towards the motorway, they would come in thru spintex, turn at the bus stop and join our lane so they could use the spintex entrance! What! my language beyond this point is too colourful to continue this narration!

We got rid of africa’s largest roundabout – the tetteh quarshie roundabout, to build an interchange. Why did we do this? Because we hoped among other things, it would ease the traffic congestion on the spintex road. We go thru all that trouble only to stick a mall at the most critical part of it and cause even worse traffic than before? seriously? And for goodness sake, why does everybody have to go to the mall everyday all at once? It doesn’t matter what time you pass by the mall there are always cars driving out of it. Where were we eating/shopping/hanging out before the mall arrived? On Saturday, spintex is a no go area, it’s a “mall traffic day” Let’s not make everyday a mall traffic day! If we had a consistent traffic control system with the police at different points of the road, like they do in the mornings and evenings, it would at least bring some sense of order to the situation. Why cant we do that? Extend the current rush hour traffic watch system to cover afternoons as well, with personnel at different points, directing traffic, and bringing a sense of order to the chaos. The mall can pay for this service! Little things can go a long way to ease the horrid spintex situation, like permanently fixing the spot near zenith bank once and for all, so it doesn’t keep getting worse once it rains… or fixing the other alternative “bush” routes that lead from the spintex area to as far as Labadi!

Oh in case you’re wondering I was 45minutes late for that meeting. So much for an early start.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Black man, and a Woman...

Yesterday i witnessed History being made. An African American, became the presidential candidate of the Democratic party of America. Long story short: there's a black man running for President of the united states of America. Even just typing these words is sending goosebumps up my neck.

i've been following the primaries like i'm sure most people have with a keener interest than normal for two reasons: there was a woman running for nomination, and then there was an African American also running. on both grounds, history was going to be made and barriers were going to be broken... we just didnt know which barrier would be broken. Yesterday, i think both barriers were broken. Senator Hillary Clinton has been formidable. Any qualms about the "strength and ability" of a female Commander in Chief have been squashed. She was like an endurance runner: a definition of determination.

but it was only after Senator Obama had won the nomination that the density of the situation hit me: this was the first time in the history of the American nation that a black man would be running for president: a feat a lot of people had written off as unachievable. and it probably seemed impossible too, given the most recent 100+ year history of the American nation and all the ethnic barriers that have seemed to instantly imply a barricade to certain possibilities and opportunities. And yet here we were, at the dawn of a new era so to speak. "My goodness, this is one of those history defining moments isnt it?" i thought to myself... and that thought sent a mixture of awe, and excitement tingling down my spine. a sentiment Bishop TD Jakes also expresses. It's like opening a portal to a realization of a whole new set of possibilities and an absence of seeming limitations. it was an inspirational moment.

A lot of the political and historical impact has already been talked about. but what strikes me the most is the latent implication of the feats that both Sen Obama and Sen Clinton have achieved for a new generation. A black man and a woman whether they planned it or not, have defined a new reality and hope for a whole new generation - a generation that's built up from the elderly, to young children, male and female, and from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. from people who have grown up in an era where women weren't even allowed to vote, to young people who thought they could never have access to certain opportunities because of their backgrounds. think about young people who are inspired now to take a hold of their destinies and make something of themselves. why? because Hillary did, and Barack did as well.

the two candidates have shown that Nothing Is Impossible. it sounds so simple, doesnt it? and yes maybe we knew it all along but look at all the effort and time and bravery it has taken us to realize this day. i wonder what other doors to a barrier-less future those two candidates could help unlock not just for the American nation, but essentially the whole world, if they worked together? i ache for that day, just as i ached for this one.

A new era, has dawned.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Prof. Soyinka and some football

figured today would go pretty slowly... up until the point where i got to watch the GH Blackstars kick Libyan bum. long story short: 3 goals to nothing. pretty good start for the world cup qualifiers if you ask me, considering the fact that they've got a way of just letting it slip sometimes... and Monsieur Le roi's recent departure. Ahem. no comment... i mean we could comment, about how he denied applying for the South African coaching job, even after the SA officials confirmed it; or how it would've been better for us to kick him out just then instead of giving him the luxury of resigning. "i was fired would've sounded much better than i resigned" in this case. but like i said, no comment.

so 'twas essentially the full complement squad in the hands of a local coach, and a vibrant home crowd. That seemed to do it. the support at the stadium was massive -home ground advantage - and the Ashanti King in attendance. point is, they've got the jump start with their first win, hopefully success wont elude them in getting to to the world cup! that'd be a first right? having a local coach take the GH team to the world cup? question is, will he get the job if he succeeds in getting 'em thru the qualifiers safely? or will the team be bundled up and handed to the next foreign applicant? je ne sais pas. i dont want to care actually... makes my head hurt.

Also had the pleasure of watching an interview with Prof. Wole Soyinka earlier today, that Kwaku sakyi-addo conducted.

The Prof turned out to be even more fascinating than i'd anticipated. key points i got from that humorous yet stimulating interview? he's a brilliant, self made man who considers himself not so much a rebel as a creative mind who stands for what he believes. he hasnt cut his hair since 1955, and his favourite pass-time, apart from being a wine connoisseur, is taking his "gun for a walk". his own words. He also truly cannot be bothered about animal activists. and their views on hunting for food. a sentiment i share, support and admire from my innermost reachings. Great man. Simply cannot wait to meet him. surely that would make for a riveting post, no?