On Muslims in “Christian” Schools

Sometimes I think people know deep down inside that they aren’t living lives God would be proud of, and this is why they become warriors of intolerance and discrimination against people of other religions. Perhaps they hope God will look at the very very strong way they “defend” Him and count the number of “I am a Christian” statuses they put on facebook… and this is how they will make paradise…

I’m reading such horrid comments about this Muslims in Christian schools issue, and the hypocrisy and intolerance is rather startling. I’m reading some of these comments from women who have been complaining about suffering discrimination just because they are women. Women who posted things like “I am so angry and disgusted!!!” in response to the Indian rapist who said a woman should stay at home in the evening if she didn’t want to be raped. I’m reading them from Africans who complain about racism and discrimination everyday – people who think the the colour of a persons skin should not mean they do not have equal access and opportunities in the world. People who rose together and condemned the whites-only club that opened in Accra.

Why is it that they say oppressed people make the best oppressors?

Then I read some more from people who went to so-called first class schools who posted things like –

“Oh Muslims were allowed to pray in MY school, so this means that Muslims everywhere in Ghana are allowed to pray so what are those ones complaining about? It can’t be true, they just lack discipline”

Oh then the ones that said

 “We (Christians) built the good schools, why don’t they build their own schools?! We didn’t force them to go to “our” schools.”

Actually, the colonizing “missionaries” built those good schools, and mostly because they came to our continent from the coasts and captured southern areas first. Of course those schools are better endowed – the colony/nation’s resources were concentrated there – still are – but that’s not the point of this post. And the first graduates in these first good schools were also the first to get the good positions in governments and thus were able continue the trends of privilege. And let us not forget that taxpayers money goes into running these schools – not just Christian money.

Then I read the most stupid ones –

“this is how Boko haram starts oh. First hijab, next they want to convert us all by force”

No, extremist groups like Boko Haram rather thrive in situations where Muslims (or other religious groups) are oppressed, disrespected and discriminated against! This is just the sort of excuse they need to recruit disillusioned, disenfranchised, demoralised, unfairly treated youth and to justify their evil excesses…

And Ghanaian Christians really need to come to terms with the fact that they have a “Christian privilege” in Ghana. Christians are the powerful majority here. Go to most events and people automatically pray a Christian prayer at the beginning, for example. Be responsible with this power. Do not be like other powerful majorities that have oppressed people like you with their power.

I don’t have a prescription for solving this issue, but whatever the solution is, it must come from a place of tolerance , mutual understanding, respect, compromise and love. We have too many problems in this country to add religious conflicts, please.

Let’s concentrate on dumsor and the economy.

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Remembering my Primary School teachers… :-)

I just felt a burning desire to list all the class teachers I had in primary school. These women and one man played an important part in shaping me. If I have time when I’m back in Ghana, I would like to track them and visit. Especially my class 6 teacher. How about you? Do you remember yours?

Class 1 – Mz Asare, I think her first name is Christina. I remember how thrilled she was about my progress in class. You see, I had been jumped from KG 2 to class one because I already knew all the lessons for KG2. My mother, when she was on maternity leave after having my little brother was so bored that she spent her days teaching me things she had no business teaching me. One thing that really stands out in my memory was the afternoon i got into trouble because I said sorkorpimpim. It was a very naughty word and I don’t really remember who taught me or what it meant exactly (had to do with sex), but I said it out loud in class and horrified Mrs. Asare. It’s probably why she wanted to jump me to class 2 after a term, but my mother wouldn’t let her – she thought the other kids would pick on me.

Class 2 – Mz Darko. Elizabeth (I think) was a force of nature. Even now I remember her as an extremely confident woman. She also had the most beautiful shiny dark skin and curly hair – I learned later on that they were called jerry curls. Two moments stand out from my encounters with her; first, she cured me of my “cry-babyism” when she sharply reprimanded me about always crying to get my way. I was so worried about disappointing her as I was equal parts awed and terrified of her that I stopped! Second, she didn’t come to school one day because she was ill, so a substitute teacher took over the class that day and set us to writing get well soon letters. In mine, I wrote that I would bring her Lucozade. Lucozade was a sort of energy drink that my father swore by and I really did think it was the thing to drink when you were ill. I still do! Anyway, the next day I actually did bring her the Lucozade, making her so happy. She actually had tears in her eyes.

Class 3 – Mz Cecilia Boateng. I have one very sad memory from class with Miss Boateng. She didn’t do anything wrong – she was a kind, gentle soul. I think even then she had rather sad eyes. My sad memory was walking into class early after break time one afternoon and finding her sitting with tears in her eyes. She didn’t even notice me, and I didn’t understand why till I overhead some gossip from other teachers about four years later. Gossip that is not my place to share. It is sad that that moment has overshadowed any other memories I have of her.

Class 4 – Mz Millicent Obeng. She was a member of the Deeper Life Church. I remember this because she told me after I asked her why she wore no earrings and wore her hair the way she did. It was in her class that I decided to be a scientist. It was in her class too that I discovered my competitive spirit.

Class 5 – Mz Adanse. Another powerful personality – from her commanding voice to her “presence”. She had a way of walking into class and “filling” the room. It had nothing to do with her size, it was just the sort of aura she had. I liked her and used to visit her at her house which wasn’t far from mine. She also used to make meatpies and rock buns to sell in school and I used to help her carry the little bucket she put the pies in. She was also very good at caning. She used to strike fear in my little heart when she picked up her cane and thrashed some poor soul. I don’t remember getting caned by her, possibly because I was extra good so as to avoid a beating!

Class 6 – Mr Samuel Otoo. He really was my favourite. He used to chat with me at break time when I was going through my antisocial stage, and he took me seriously. In his class I decided to be an astronaut, an crime lab technician, a credit analyst and a professor in no particular order. He was always very interested and I lived for the days when my mother said it was okay to let him walk me home – he also lived near the school. After secondary school, I went by his house and found out that he moved. I don’t know where he lives now, but I would love to meet him again.

GHANA REALLY WANTS TO RISE

Somewhere last week, during @BloggingGhana Twitter Debate, a question came up. “Can Ghana Do Without The USA?” or something like that. I answered with a “Certainly”, and earned the following response “I do not know you, but I can wager you are either 1. A fresh university graduate 2. Not a frequent traveler.” I chuckled and retweeted, and asked why she would think that. I’m still waiting for an answer, so let me do some wagering too. And oh, before I forget to mention, this blog post is inspired by a comment from a friend about the incident, apparently, that comment, hmm… it was a great punchline… Hmmm

Now back to my wagering. I do not know her, but I can wager she read my bio and saw “freshly minted architect”. I guess she doesn’t know that to be an architect in Ghana, you would have to have a second degree at least. So yes, I’m a fresh architect, with a Master of Architecture degree. My thesis was all about an African Architectural Renaissance, and I’ve done the research, but I won’t dwell on that. I also won’t dwell on the fact that I’ve been working for three years now and mostly catering for myself with my own money. (Don’t let this young face fool you oh, lol) I can wager she assumed that I was a green girl with wobbly knees and an unrealistic outlook on life. Point number two made me laugh more, the one about not being a frequent traveler, because I can wager I know exactly where she’s coming from. I know because I’ve been there, and many people are still there, but I’ll come to that later. I can wager that she doesn’t consider someone who has traveled extensively within her own country as well traveled, so I won’t dwell on that.

As for my aburokyire experience, my memories of Malaysia are almost all gone. All I remember is this delicious banana dessert I had. I can wager she didn’t know I had a daddy-sponsored stint in Chicago & New York & Ann Arbor ( and I went to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water) but I won’t dwell on that. Now that I’m done wagering, I’ll move to the things I want to dwell on.

GHANA REALLY WANTS TO RISE

No offence to my aburokyire trained sistren and brethren, but I have this dream of seeing Ghana being moved forward by people that had all their training here. I hate it when people talk like the educational system here is so terrible, like nothing good can come out of it. I’m something good, I’ve come out of it, and I have several friends like me!
When Osaagyefo started the program of taking people out of Ghana to study in the USA and the UK, the intention was that they go and learn and bring the knowledge home… bring the knowledge home to lift Ghana up to similar levels, not come home and work their butts off (arguably) so as to be able to afford school fees in the US & Europe for their kids. I don’t hate the West, but damn it I want Ghana to improve! I’m fighting very hard, fighting against the urge to run off and go do my doctorate somewhere in aburokyire….(another post, maybe) I hate the mental slavery that exists in our minds, the mental slavery that makes us ‘respect’ people who have just landed and treat them differently. I hate the mental slavery that makes people struggle to make money, struggle for a visa, go to aburokyire and take pictures at some mall bi , upload these pictures on Facebook and then come home and ‘flex’. Can the ‘borga’ word just fade away already?! I hate the mental slavery that makes people think nothing good can be found here, that my country cannot move forward, that as for Ghana dier…. I want to feel proud to be Ghanaian every single day, not just when the Black Stars are playing. I don’t want everyone in Ghana to be rich, well-educated and happy. I don’t even think that’s possible. I just want some equity, I just want people to have a chance, a choice…

When I say I believe that Ghana can do without the USA, I’m not saying we should. I’m saying we can. We can survive without aid, we can stay here and get a good education, we can move our country forward. We can if we want to. And if you think we can’t, then please, for goodness sake, move out of the country quickly. If you’re not here, don’t come back, because Ghana really wants to rise.