We were up early this morning to appear on Skyy Power FM in Takoradi ahead of today’s show from Ghana. As the unerringly accurate weather forecast says every evening, ‘tomorrow will be sunny and hazy’ and so it was when we set off just before 7. More importantly, for the first time this week I have a little time to write to you properly.
WILL THE AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS CHANGE GHANA?
It’s not as ridiculous a question as it might sound. I know this is football not politics, but ask Germans what affect the 2006 World Cup had and they’ll tell you it fundamentally changed how the world saw Germany and how they felt about themselves. Here in Ghana the debate is not about the merits of holding this event (it’s almost universally welcomed) but about the impact it will have on how Ghanaians work and how they world views their work. It’s about proving what they can do.
Do Africans need to change their attitude to work for their countries to develop? And will this tournament kick start the process in Ghana?
Ghana has a Minister for Information and National Reorientation and her job is affect a cultural change that will be see Ghanaians develop better punctuality, more efficient business practices, better application at work and a culture of maintenance (this last point with specific reference to the four brand new stadiums here). Other African governments have similar ambitions.
We met the head of a secondary school here who said Africans needs to ‘revolutionise their minds’ if their countries are too develop. He called ‘African time’ (in other words being late) as a ‘cancer’ which is holding the continent back.
(If you want an example, when we arrived at Dynamite FM in Tarkwa on Monday and heard the presenter telling everyone World Have Your Say started at 5pm. ‘You’ve got the time wrong,’ we told him. ‘Don’t worry,’ he replied. ‘If I say 5 then all being well people will start arriving by 6.’)
Some think the Africa Cup of Nations will help the Minister’s work immensely.
INKENSON SAYS GHANAIANS NEED TO CHANGE…
Inkenson is a WHYS listener here in Takoradi. He’s written a post on the blog about how he believes an ‘attitudinal change’ towards work is coming. Have a read and post a reply to him.
…OTHERS THINK WORK MUST COME SECOND TO FOOTBALL.
I love this article. While some like Inkenson think attitudes to work are changing because of this tournament, it seems it’s not a universal view. One worker argues that the day after a game should be work free: ‘We also worked as hard as the players by giving them the support so we deserve a holiday too”. As one boss said of his workers after the Black Stars (Ghana’s team) won, ‘we can force the horse to the river side but cannot force it to drink the water”. I’m sure WHYS Editor Mark feels that about us sometimes.
If you’re in Africa, do attitudes need to change?
If you’re outside of Africa, do you care how Africans do business?
WHERE WILL WE BE TODAY?
Skyy is the main media player in town and today’s show is from a fantastic auditorium at the back of Skyy House. It’s normally used for TV shows and rows of blue seats bank steeply in front of a small stage (which has a lectern I have no intention of using). The props for a game show called ‘Magic Numbers’ are all at the back of the stage. If the heat gets to me, I may start introducing you with ‘and in red box number 3 we have Lubna in Baghdad’.
PHOTOS OF WHYS IN GHANA
We’ve had some success of getting snaps onto Flickr. If you’d like to see where we’ve been and the people we’ve met and worked with, scroll down the front page of the blog a little to the Flickr link on the right.
TONY BLAIR ARRESTED
It’s on the front-page of the Daily Graphic this morning.
We met a businessman yesterday who had four phones. I was impressed (and baffled) and asked him why. He said there are four main service providers and each are a client of his. So, as you can tell the network from your number, he always calls the companies using their phone network. Cunning.
AMERICA’S CANDIDATES REACH THE SHARP END
Giuliani and Edwards are gone and others are faltering. By the end of the next week we may know who’ll be fighting it out for the American Presidency. ‘Tuesday’ doesn’t’ do justice to the importance of February 5th (over 20 states are voting in primaries and caucuses) so the US media dubbed it Super Tuesday. We’re taking it one step further and having a Super Wednesday as well. We’ll be hearing your reaction to the results all day long on the blog, and almost certainly talking about it on air.
Goat, rice and pepper soup to those of you who got this far. Speak to you later and I’ll back in the WHYS studio on Monday.