The Tales Of Akwadaa Nyame Pt. 1

When I was six, I dreamt of being a banker. I remember darting in between desks during “look and say” recitals to fish for my mathematics assignments to double check the answers I had provided.  I knew they were correct, but, I thought maybe, just maybe they had changed because I hadn’t looked at it in 15 minutes.

I had a thing for numbers, or so I thought.  I just loved the abstract principle of adding one to one and getting two. Just like that! It was magic, which could be made out of thin air.

I remember one experience. I was particularly proud of myself when Stanley (my best friend who was a few years older than I was,an Ewe who I considered a genius because he was very good in arithmetics and science and taught me all I knew in football) asked me what 4 plus 3 was and I answered instantly that it was 7. I don’t know why I was so excited. Maybe it was because I didn’t have to count my fingers before giving the answer.

I remember my mom being very happy about it. My dream of becoming a banker that is. She wouldn’t stop telling her friends at social functions. “There goes my little bank manager” she would say whilst going on and on about how I was my teacher’s favourite and the envy of my class.

I remember during Career Day at school (days when you were asked to dress in the fashion of your future profession) she dressed me up in a suit and flying tie and gave me my dad’s old briefcase so I can show the class how bright my future is.  That was the very first day I held a calculator. And I knew we would be inseparable.  The sleekness of that scientific calculator. The way the face lit up when you pressed “on”. The cold hard buttons and the sound they made when you pushed them and the blinking of the answers that proved that you had solved an equation right. I christened my calculator Jude and I slept with it every single night,right next to my stack of Lego’s.

However,by age eight, my love for maths had dwindled. This was because it had become more complex and the teacher who taught it tended to award pupils who could answer a question within 39 seconds making those of us who were slow in producing the answer feel morbidly stupid . He would ask the class to clap for those who got the answer correctly and sneer at those who didn’t, calling them a bunch of dunderheads. This took quite a toll on me, being my former teacher’s pet and all. there were nights I would wake up with the memories of maths tests I couldn’t finish jumping out of the question paper and chasing me around the classroom. This only exacerbated my hatred for maths and the concomitant hatred for my teacher.

I was a regular receiver of canes during “mentals” which was quite mental given the pain and humiliation I had to go through. I felt like the ordinary school bully: brawny and without brains. I recall going home after school one afternoon with torn shorts as a result of flogging. My mother could tell there was something wrong, but she was too busy with dad’s infidelity issues to really take this up. She didn’t even notice when I left my Jude in the waste basket for the Zoomlion men the next day.

 

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For Those Who Lived

 

01-melancholy

I am going to die.

I can feel it.

Everytime I am dealt a blow it leaves a new dent in my shield.

Once it was shiny, emblazoned with numerous rubies and gold, reminiscent of the golden memories that kept my mind fortified. Now it’s just rusty.

I feel it very often now: the cold shivers at night, the spasm of pain, the hot bitter tears of despair.

The echoes of a self-destructive soul.

It really doesn’t help, for the grim reaper stands in the corner, taking me hostage and has my lifeline on the phone, giving cues as to when to yell and when to hush.

Its deadly taunt is a trip.

Unlike that of drugs and pills. It’s a lowly place, if you are mostly on alcohol. I don’t see it ceasing. I don’t see the beach. I don’t feel the breeze. I only feel an imaginary gun next to my temple. Begging me to get a real one so I can squeeze it. For the fart released at the end of the noose will be too embarrassing for my soul to handle. Not an honourable exit. Hot leads are better. Spilt brains are my best choice. The last artistic impression. At least now everyone can see what I am thinking. Maybe that route is the best.

Yes. I agree.

I think so too. It’s bright outside but the darkness beckons. Sometimes I try to heed it. I move towards it, ensnared by the allure. But almost everytime the light outside shines to disrupt this elegant dance with death.

Oh what a night.

Mama may cry. Pops won’t shed a tear. Atleast not in front of everyone. Same thing i would do. He may need a hug though. And a beer. Mom may need a new daughter. To pester about marriage.

I may need peace.

And for me it lies at the end of the noose.

GO FUND ME, SO I CAN LIVE WITH MY HAIR.

I love reading. Plain and simple. I really don’t get it when people tell me they do not enjoy reading or fall asleep as Uncle Phil* does whenever he grabs a book. Phoebe actually told me that once. She thinks people who read are lazy, all because growing up she had to do all the chores in the house while her younger siblings just sat in the living room sofa reading ladybird books. 

But you see, reading is therapeutic to me. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane aside writing music. And I’ve come to believe that if you read you must also love writing. You write whatever, be it poetry, music etc, etc. So most days I spend my time reading and writing. Reading allows me to get lost in time, play with ideas and live in a fantasy world where I am not disturbed by the raucous screeching of my landlords 5-month old grandson. 

Writing music also allows me the space to create magic and satisfy my van-i-ty. When I’m not writing music I write on this blog. But its more like typing than writing actually. But yeah, I write to rant and express myself as I no longer rant in my music. I rant to Uncle Phil and Niggaret and sometimes Kojo who have become my therapists (unbeknownst to them), but don’t tell them that because they may start charging me. I may rant about anything, from my landord being a dick, friends crossing me or the sheer stupidity of some Ghanaians. And now my favourite ranting audience are you guys. Because hey, misery loves company 😜.

For some weeks now I’ve realised that I keep ranting about one thing in particular and that one thing is chorused by people who may be like-minded as myself or otherwise. It has found its way into most of our conversations and has even been given more airtime than my favourite topics: bitches, bitches and more bitches.  What has been creeping up in our conversations is; just how Ghanaians have become an insufferable lot. Can I live?

I live in a community in Koforidua called Adweso SSNIT, you know a community Dr. Kwame Nkrumah built in those days for the civil servants who worked in the State Owned Insurance Company. And even though I have just 5 friends in this community everybody KNOWS me. No I dont talk to them, I don’t even exchange greetings, I merely stroll by listening to music whilst getting ready to run for the next 40 minutes. But somehow (someway, too many Jay-Z references today), I’ve become very (un)popular amongst these people. They consider me eccentric (and in such a small comunity that is not good) and whenever they ask Uncle Phil (today you are getting honourable mentions paa oh) where I am from originally and he replies; “Accra” they nod to express understanding as if they’ve finally solved the mystery of my eccentric ways.

All this doesn’t bother me as much as I would like it to. However, I’m a little appalled by the kind of ideas that people have going on in their minds all because someone is a little different from them. 

I’ve been nursing a ‘fro for about 18 weeks now and I’m still impatient because I’m shooting for a particular look and I feel like it’s taking forever. 

My glo up will look something like that

If you know me well, you know I am very impatient. So this is becoming more or less an ordeal because I hate waiting. Most people don’t take a look at me anymore (absent-mindedly that is). You would think that would make me happy (because I’m vain, tsk tsk), BUT OH NO! 

Now they do a double take! And I believe for the following reasons:

1. I may be extremely handsome, or

2.I may be extremely ugly

(I don’t care for any other reasons that can fit in that list. Use your logic elsewhere this is my blog.)

I’ve come to understand that when it’s in relation to me, people in my community are slowly leaning towards the second point. 

Like I said, it doesn’t bother me as much as it should, because I love myself (think Kendrick lamar’s “i” refrain) but what annoys me and mostly gets me combative is that people want you to ascribe to their own pre-conceived notions of beauty.

LIKE WHHHHHHHHHYYYYYY?!!!!!

I’m pretty sure if Emmanuela the Nigerian Comedy prodigy was feeling how I am feeling right now she would scream:

“THIS IS MY REAL FACE OH TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT!” 

and proceed to re-perform the antics that shot her to fame. 
See my guy, I get it, first impression counts and that unfortunately is in tandem with appearance but what I don’t understand is how Africans have allowed Europeans to hijack what constitutes aesthetics even in their culture. I mean you just have to look on the streets to see bleached skin and flip through the tube to see light-skinned women in music videos. How else then are we going to love our black skin and natural hair?

It’s quite frustrating having to wrestle with projected self-loathing on a daily basis. You can’t even get a job here if you have an afro let alone dreadlocks! I know a friend who had to cut his locks before his father-in-law allowed him to have his daughter’s hand in marriage. 

Sheesh! Speak of brainwashing!

Yesterday an acquantaince called Junior informed me that he doesn’t get combative when people he knows talk about his hair or beard being bushy, he only changes the subject because it’s unnecessary stress from ignorant people. He also explained how he’s found that he gets a better reception from people whenever they see him with his “bushy fro” as long as he’s seen driving one of his numerous SUV’s.

“Chale, if I dey drive wey I comot for my car inside nobody dey fit biz me why I make my hair grow laidat oh. I dey fit shock! But if I dey walk de3 everybody ein matter dey my business inside.”

It goes to show that the Ghanaian society only allows you to live the way you want or wear whatever hairstyle you want as long as you have money. In other words, how dare you live your life anyhow you want and exude happiness when the rest of us are just as broke as you and very unhappy?!

Dear Readers, this is a post imploring you to dig into your life savings in order to fund my dream of purchasing a car, renting a plush apartment and wearing designer clothes so people can accept my God-given tress. I shall leave my account details in the comments section, in hopes of getting notified of deposits.

But on a more serious note, wear your natural hair the way you want, love yourself, love your hair and don’t seek approval or validation from anyone. You were made this way for a reason. Embrace it and in the everlasting words of the Champagne Papi AKA Drake: OWN IT.

*Uncle Phil is a younger-brother-from-another-mother who also lives in our community, not in any way related to the late star of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air show. 

Grooming Gone Wrong 

Dear 205* Barber, 

I come to you with a complaint heavily laden with contempt and disdain for your awful skills at man grooming. You have caused me psychological trauma and if not for the way my Vodafone mobile money account is set up and the kind of judicial terrain we co-exist in, I would have sued your ass. 

You see, I came to your place of business two days ago when you were attending to a customer and when I popped my head through the door I inquired of your boss and you told me absent-mindedly that he didn’t come to work. I pressed you to know if he would be coming at all and you responded rather reluctantly that he wouldn’t. That was the first time I saw you. And I believe that was the first time you saw me. You see, I have a relationship with your boss whom I completely trust with my hair because he has proven to be Edward Scissorhands in the flesh (without all the quirkiness of course) every single time I’ve had an appointment with him. He is called Thompo for one reason only: he gives killer haircuts. 

You see, we come to the shop to seek a gateway to vanity and he gives it to us wholeheatedly. He’s the only barber that I have met in my entire adult life whom I can show a picture of a hairstyle to and can produce the same design on my beautiful face. 

Now, let’s get back to you. Today was the second time I saw you. You were sitting with another colleague of yours outside the shop and I asked if Thompo was in, again. You replied in the negative and so I decided to give you a go at my hair, something I rarely do because I consider it cheating and I am a very faithful and loyal guy (brilliant ads *wink wink*).

You see, I’ve been rooting (all puns intended) for a date with a very beautiful young lady for some time now and I was looking forward to wowing her with my beautiful looks and we both know that getting a haircut for men is the equivalent of make-up for women. 

And so I was poised, sitting patiently on your chair ready to feel your magical fingers at work instructing your clippers to do the unimaginable. I normally get my haircut, reading stuff on my phone and this afternoon was no different. I had been enjoying Malaka Grant’s blog* since 7am this morning. Everytime I finished with a wonderful piece I clicked on to find more interesting ones. I really love that woman! But I digress. 

You see, even though it is my habit to read whilst getting a haircut I didn’t want to make your work cumbersome so I opted to put my phone in my pocket so that you could have me all to yourself. And just what did I get in return? A fucking horrible cut!

I am vexed! And you know the reasons why. But for readers who weren’t paying attention let me state them again. Not only do I have a date with a beautiful girl, I also have a fucking application letter to submit to a potential employer tomorrow and so I wanted to look my Sunday best. But oh no, you had to ruin my moment!

What annoys me is, when I sat down I informed you that I just wanted you to “shape” my beard and not to touch the hair on my head. I thought that was clear enough, at least you listened to the tail end of that instruction. However, in “shaping” my beard you cut off the fringe of hair that connects my moustache to my beard without asking me! (Do you know what connections are?! See, Awo, my bestfriend’s work colleague loves connecting dots. She loves things that connect. And so she loves my beard. She gushes over my beard. She runs her finger through them like how men run their fingers through women’s hair when making passionate love. Do you get what I’m trying to paint here?!)

And to my horror, you proceeded to shave off my moustache in such a way that it looked like I asked a kindergaten kid to draw a squigly line atop my upper lip! What nonsense! 

Do you have no respect for the hairlines that connect the holy beard to the prophet moustache?! And when I asked you why you shaved off my moustache in such a fashion, you replied “I thought that’s how you cut it”. Oh so you aren’t an ill-skilled barber after all but a mind reader as well. Bravo!

I didn’t want to say anything to you to breakdown your self esteem and so I decided to let it be, and rather, never patronise your services and report you to your boss for gaining such a horrible experience from you.

Now a look at my moustache and I believe surely, there’s no way I won’t become a laughing stock. My moustache reminds me of a scene in Mortdecai  when the protagonist was exiled to the guest room by his wife because she thought his moustache was a monstrosity. Oh and you know what else happened? She forbade him sex! 

It’s starting to look like I won’t be getting any this weekend. 

Back in the days before the advent of the clippers, barbers used blade and comb. If they didn’t know how to shave they would start learning by trying their skills on themselves or on kids. I mean kids can stand to go around looking all beat up because they don’t have any reputation to protect unlike adults and even if they did, they had a lot of years to recover from a tarnished reputation and not a grown ass man with hair on his nuts! 

I was looking forward to meeting a fine lady this weekend, however I’m thinking otherwise. As for the job appointment, I have to show up because -chale- man must survive. 

I shall rest my thoughts here and implore that next time you touch someone’s hair you must do so with tact and wisdom.

Yours Disapprovingly, 

A Distressed Customer.

P.S. you better report yourself to your boss before I do. Because I surely will destroy your chances of keeping your job at his end if you don’t because I am a valuable customer. And Thompo wherever you are, come back before this guy sacks all your customers.

****************************

*205 is the name of the junction on Adweso Street, Koforidua where the barbering salon is located. 

*  www.mindofmalaka.com

Awkward Open Letter of Commiseration to President John Mahama

Mind of Malaka

I can’t believe I’m about to write this…but what they hey. Carpe dat diem.

 

My Dearest Excellency JDM| President of the Fourth Republic| Father of a disputed number of children| Dead Goat | “You Mean As a Human Being?” Asker| Charmer of panties off Real Housewives of Atlanta.

I greet you.

I know I haven’t hollered at you in a while, but when NDC foot soldiers threaten your family, it kinda makes you sit back and reevaluate all the things you once believe about Ghanaian decency and integrity…and intelligence, quite frankly. But whatevs. I’ve got some stuff I have to say – some stuff you koraaa, you know in your own heart yourself.

Before we get into any heavy lifting, I want to offer you my condolences for the loss of your mother. I know that the bond between mother and son is one of the strongest known to…

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Grave Matters: The denouement

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Mood swings. Like pendulums. Like see-saws. Like the waist of a well endowed woman. Gyrating. Vibrating. It’s never exciting and so I hate it. But if I play it cool, to the untrained eye, I’m good.

The watering hole and the froths of the palm does not alleviate the burden.  A burden sometimes too heavy to carry, too heavy to bear. Stinging my body like the cold air when my chest is left heavily bare.

Sometimes sanctity comes from the divine aid of friends. Friends who are willing to dole out a text or two to keep his mind peering off the edge of the cliff. This helps to retreat his steps.

Lava is his lover. Molten magma course through his veins and erupt without warning, scaring off inhabitants of nearby villages who could not see the turmoil inside the faceless expression of a dormant human being. 

A minute he’s hot. A second he’s cold. Trapped in the hourglass, his thoughts get old. These thoughts get told. And these thoughts gets the scolds. Mainly from people who don’t know better.  Who don’t know how to deal with the imbalance in the brain’s chemistry. Producing toxic waste, getting poisonous and feeding on itself.  An invisible purchase of death with a receipt issued by a lack of breath. 

But these mood swings may end one day.  A day when all hope is gone. When all hope is lost. When the confines of his four-walled room with two different colours of paint no longer has the tenacity to contain his repressed expressions. When the pendulum ceases to be his friend. Ceases to ride to the rhythm of his beat and dances to its own music. When it seems to whisper “swing on best friend” from it’s position on the wall. Whispering “swing on…swing on. I like the way you whirl around defying gravity. Moving to the rhythm of my mechanical friend on the ceiling.”

Swing on….

Cupid’s Loss

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P-ut all the shenanigans aside,  the mind tricks,  the games, the parrying of questions and I still stood stagnant.  Ready to bear the full cost of attempting to fall again.

H-ow could I ignore that beautiful smile and explosive laughter? The talks of alien invasion and Zombie Apocalypse strategies the second time we spoke? How special the number 24 is to you and your household, and Joyce’s warm hospitality?

O-ld ways changed soon as I met you.  The 2015 that existed in my mind was wiped away, and you occasionally asked me about 2012. But I told you to keep it out of our memory.  Cos we were building something new. Anew. Who could stop us? Society can’t, definitely not the difference in age. But maybe I thought wrong. I was too consumed with a fire that burns bright in my heart.

E-rgo, I pounced. Denounced any cautions,  instead embraced emotions that could make us or break us. Doubts made me distant. 4 times I strayed to save myself, because setting myself up for heartbreak was not going to be my portion. Like one of your devotional messages quoted. Not again. Not this time. I am too smart. I must adapt.  Spilling secrets that I kept for ages. That was supposed to bind us. But you had had enough of Cupid’s potion and you wanted to inhale a breath of fresh air. Who else takes a date to see a movie about the benefits of spinstership?

B-ut.  We Arians aren’t built to wait.  We carry on. Swayed by the next adventure, in the form of booty or titties. The things we are attracted to. The things that give us life.  We fondle till we tire. We thrust till we are relieved and fall face first, spent and relishing the nectar of the pink abyss.

E-ven for that feeling I was determined to wait. Determined to compromise.  Tread through regions in my heart that were not conquered.  Like a cartographer exploring uncharted territories.  But your fear was greater than our flame.  No matter how much your character leapt of the pages of the book, you sought voraciously to close the chapter.  I couldn’t fight that.  I was a pacifist.  And so I let it burn…  Even when your colleagues tried subtly to make me rekindle the fire you doused the coal with water.. And here I stand quenched off all passion.. A passion only you can ignite.

The Chronicles of Akata Gentle the hot man