On Hope City, and Hopelessness in General

When I saw the news article about the Hope City Project from RLG, I was excited, and a little annoyed by the fact that I, Kuukuwa, did not know which Ghanaian architects were involved in the project. So, I got out my phone and started sending out text messages and emails to the usual suspects.

Imagine my surprise when one by one, all the usual suspects dropped out of the suspects list! It wasn’t Ralph Sutherland, David Adjaye and no, nobody thought Joe Addo had anything to do with it either. S.M. Quartey’s office was a no, Mobius Group hadn’t touched it either. Perhaps, (I thought) one of the younger ‘shark’ firms had snapped up the juicy deal, but again, this was another no no… Confusion started “has-comng” in my mind because I knew the Department of Architecture, KNUST wasn’t approached (We worked on the STX project, you see). Who was this mystery architect who would be at least 800 million cedis richer in the next 5 years?

So I searched for the news report, the one about President Mahama launching the project. I read it, and as usual, the name of the architect/ firm was at the tail end of the story. OBR. OBR? “What is this OBR? and why don’t I know about them? Is it a new firm, do I know any of the partners?”, I asked myself as I typed ‘OBR Architects, Hope City’ into the Google search bar.
Open Building Research (OBR) is a proudly Italian Architecture firm, designing the Hope City, an ICT Park in Accra for RLG Communication Ghana Limited, a proudly Ghanaian firm.

I discussed the issue with friends, and after 30 minutes or so of bashing Roland Agambire and RLG in general.. swearing never to use an RLG phone or an Uhubu or Ukuro or Umuku or whatever tab, I sat down a wrote a very sarcastic list of

Reasons why RLG, is proudly yours, dear Ghana
RLG is proudly Ghanaian, because we pride ourselves on our exquisite taste. We only want the best, which every idiot in Ghana knows comes from the West.

1. No Ghanaian architect can be trusted with the design of Hope City, because you see, things made in Ghana are simply not good enough.

2. No Ghanaian musician is worth a million dollars. No, we would rather pay a violent man who beat up his girlfriend to come and thrust his pelvis in our children’s faces and teach them to smoke things.

3. We will do all this with the help of your government, who will do all this with the help of the West, which is the best.

4. Your government will help us build the tallest building in Africa, even though your government doesn’t really know what to do about your electricity and water problems.

RLG, Proudly Yours, (well, most of the time)

18 thoughts on “On Hope City, and Hopelessness in General

  1. Crisp. Just when I was beginning to think we had a truly ingenious indigenous IT somebody doing something we can call ours. This past week messed it up for RLG. Like the politicians, it’s always been about believing in Ghana without believing in Ghanaians.

  2. but of course!
    why should I buy an rLG phone which has a lifespan of 6months when I can splurge on an S3 or better still an iPhone and have real value for money!!

  3. Yes! RLG in line with other multi-billion companies will not patronise the Ghanaian architects and consultants. At least they will have a piece meal for us somewhere in the contract called ‘Local Content’ which already suggests minority role. How pathetic! RLG….May be you’re right Kuukuwa. We should stick to our Dells, HPs, Toshiba’s, Galaxy Tabs, etc. Shame RLG! How can you preach virtue and practise vise? Couldn’t you have at worst organised an international competition and invite Ghanaian firms to compete?

  4. well said dear…
    “no Ghanian firm is worthy of that deal and none of our musicians are good enough for even a fraction of the 1 million dollar” but RLG IS PROUDLY OURS….God help us…. amen…

  5. I love this Kuuks.
    It’s a shame though that a “proudly Ghanaian IT company that seeks to sell its products to a Ghanaian market does not believe the Ghanaian deserves to be in charge of a so-called Hope City Project nor a related musical concert. The “proudly Ghanaian” rlg would rather make an Italian 800 million “Ghanaian cedis” richer and pay $1000000 for a woman-beater, wee-smoker and a deviant to come and corrupt the Ghanaian child and youth.
    I wonder what kind of “hope” Mr Roland Agambire is offering what President John Dramani Mahama calls “today’s future”.
    Roland should bow his head in shame.

  6. very apt…………have my own reservations though as I think there’s no office setup currently in Ghana that can handle a project of that magnitude………..I didn’t get any of the text messages u sent…….lol

    • Elliot, we could easily have 5 or more firms coming together to work on it. It’s been done before. Also RLG could have fostered local+foreign partnerships.

  7. Interesting

    I agree with the general points although I seriously dislike the name dropping. I will pardon Kuukuwa 4 that – youthful indescretions maybe?

    I like the 100 day rule – wait a 100 days see whether this issue is still in the news and start the clock again!

  8. interesting article. i agree with most of your points but come to think of it, how many architecture firms have the capacity to deal with a project like this. when i say capacity i don’t mean just design know-how, i mean the human resource base. look at the (OBR) team for example, http://www.openbuildingresearch.com/index.php/practice/team That looks like a team that can handle a project like that. i am one of the strong believers in the Ghanaian ability. i believe we have lots of brilliant Ghanaians who can do anything. but the world has moved way past the era of one brilliant man does it all, to a host of brilliant minds collaborating and doing things better. this unfortunately, i think is our major problem. we cant seem to work together.

      • well! i’m probably ignorant because i hardly know of any such projects. Yes, Ghanaian firms might be able to collaborate on huge projects of this nature, but can these firms compete against firms like OBR who’s practice is based on collaborations between up to 20 in-house architects on a daily basis? i don’t know about you, but most investors would choose a firm based on such parameters as track record and human resource capacity to handle projects of such nature. Choosing a Ghanaian firm which has to now forge collaborations to handle a project would be considered a huge financial risk to most corporate bodies and my bet is most would play it safe and choose an already established firm which has the experience. if such a firm existed in Ghana, why not?

      • For any ( or most) other companies, fine… With RLG, the principles and precedents are all messed up. I don’t know if you remember their ad campaigns when they were trying to break into the Ghanaian market…
        They wanted us to give them a chance, because they too could ‘do some’ and support them because they’re so very Ghanaian.
        They don’t HAVE to use Ghanaian architects, but it’s rather surprising that they didn’t. Smacks of insincerity & hypocrisy to my young mind.

  9. I’ve been putting of my true feelings about rlg products for sometime, but they seem to just be begging for it.

    if they have no confidence in Ghanaian architects, I’m going to stop pretending their products are even usable

Leave a Reply to elijahattaaidoo Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s