Posted on June 24, 2012


A FOLLOW-UP TO KUMASI GOOGLE MAP MADNESS-where one secondary road is named after three big men with
_ _ _ _ you fill in the blank!

In the letters section of June’s NEW AFRICAN magazine, there is a comment entitled “A betrayed reader” taking the publishers to task for publishing in Europe. My criticism goes further speculating that the “NEW AFRICAN” is the diasporan African, the brains that have drained away who occasionally drip a fatuous commentary back in the form of a magazine column.

I refer to regular columnist Akua Djanie’s “Reflections of an ordinary woman” who writes for the New African. Ha! There is nothing ordinary about Akua who writes for a magazine with an estimated readership of 220,000! Witness her latest column, “George Bush Highway. In Ghana?” that takes two Ghanaian governments to task for naming the 14 km stretch of ultra modern highway leading out of Accra, one for promising to name it after George Walker Bush and the following different government for keeping that promise.

Highlighted at the beginning is the following:

“George Walker Bush Highway . Really? Why would anybody in any country of the world want to name a street or a road, a major one at that, after former American President George W. Bush? Therefore, for Ghana, a country in West Africa, to name a major road after him is shocking, disappointing and totally incomprehensible.”

In the column, Akua asserts that streets or roads should be named after local heroes. She puts forth two suggestions, somebody who has started an N.G.O. to help street children and another a medical flying service. Hey, Akua, you’ve been gone too long from Ghana. It’s money that talks here. If your government funds a highway, your leader’s name goes on that highway, no matter what history might have to say. So what if that leader went to war on the basis of deception.

A further example, Akua takes an exception to a another major artery in Accra that goes from 37 Hospital to Gold House called Obasanjo Way. Now Obasanjo didn’t fund the road. He gave Ghana oil when Ghana’s reserves were down to one week, way below the thirty-day international requirement. So what if he tried unsuccessfully for a third term despite constitutional restrictions.

Yes, what I’m upset about is not Akua’s criticism of the highway’s name. It’s the fact that she is a regular columnist and yet she doesn’t live here, doesn’t have her pulse on the nation. Most streets in this country are named after those who can pay and do pay. And sometimes its three people who can pay and do pay and it’s three names that go on the signposts for one road!

I’m no expert on the NEW AFRICAN magazine. It would be interesting if someone in a journalism school did a study on their writers’ perspective and the content of the magazine. I’m just tired of the indigenous African’s voice being high-jacked by the diaspora…