Connect with us

Strictly Personal

Theatre and development: The Ghanaian case, By Michael Akenoo

Published

on

That theatre and its philosophy are grossly misunderstood in Ghana­ian society due to deep ignorance about what theatre is all about cannot be disputed by any sincere authoritative expert of theatre or theatre critic. Before I begin my discourse on this important topic, let me first explicitly explain what theatre is all about and its all-encompassing implementation in any human society, in the past, in the present, and, for that matter, in the future.

The word or term theatre is derived from the root Greek word “theatron”. This word literally means “seeing place.”

And what does this mean, by the way?

Theatre is intrinsically a reflec­tion or mirror of what takes place or happens in the society of humans. It mirrors all that human beings do daily in their lifestyles by their interactions with each other.

Writers or playwrights who write in theatre create stories about what happens in society, and these stories are acted out on stage for the audience to watch. The stories may have subjects and themes on issues of health, agriculture, sanitation, education, politics, history, religion, tradition, etc. in society.

Thus, playwrights in society observe and see how human beings behave in their daily lifestyles, and write stories about these to be acted on stage for an audience to watch, for the purpose of information, education and entertainment.

And in this way, it can be said that theatre, or “theatron” for that matter, is a projection of all issues that emanate from the actions and activities of human beings living in a particular society or nation.

Theatre is, therefore, a part and parcel of society; and it is embedded in the character or lifestyles of the people.

Writers and playwrights, by their writings or works, can reprove, admonish, inspire, and direct the people in all fields of human endeavour and, in a way, preserve and precipitate the progress and development of a society or nation.

It must be noted that it was the result of a vibrant theatre practice that the ancient Greeks achieved the Golden Age of Civilization in the 5th century B.C. during the reign of King Perides. At this time in recorded history, theatre was at its apogee of practice in ancient Greece.

The ancient Greeks left their great achievements of knowledge, enlightenment, and advancement in all fields of human endeavour—arts, science, and technology—to the Romans, who pursued theatre practice to reach their enlightenment and greatness as the great Roman Empire of the ancient world, which survived and lasted for many many years.

The great Roman Empire became the source of knowledge and enlightenment to the rest of the world.

And now, in the modern world of today, countries such as America and China have achieved great wealth, power and advancement as a result of a vibrant theatre practice.

It will be of much interest to note that America, the most wealthy and powerful nation on earth today, derives two-thirds of its revenue generation capacity to build its powerful economy from theatre and its adjuncts, film production, music, and dance!

This indisputable fact and truth may sound amazing to many a lay Ghanaian citizen who, up until now, despises theatre practise owing to deep ignorance and does not know what theatre is all about. Indeed, theatre is the sine qua non of knowledge, enlightenment, development, and prosperity for all nations in the past, present, and future!

The unpalatable Ghanaian situation of ignorance about the priceless value of theatre and development beats one’s understanding so much to the extent that one wonders about the fact that literary Ghanaian theatre began in the early 1960’s, and it has yet to make a great impact in Ghanaian society!

Although Ghana possesses a gigantic theatre complex building in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, which was built at a huge cost of 10 million U/S Dollars loan from the Chinese government and was nego­tiated for by the erstwhile PNDC government under Ft. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings of blessed memory, Ghana is still yet to find her feet in vibrant theatre practice.

The theatre psyche in Ghana as of now, is extremely low to incite vibrant theatre practice!

In light of the present low theatre psyche in Ghana, I will humbly suggest that the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts and the National Commission on Culture should collaborate now, brainstorm ideas, and develop a blueprint for the effective promotion of theatre practice in the country to meet world standards.

In his book titled “Black African Theatre and Its Social Functions” Tayeb Sadiki, the world-renowned Moroccan dramatist and theatre practitioner, stated, “If you want to build a nation, start with a national theatre”, and Ghana has a gigantic theatre building complex to promote vibrant theatre practice.

In conclusion, I state categorically that Ghana needs to develop her theatre practice to a very high level to meet the world’s standards so that her developmental aspirations can be accelerated to bring about a very high level of development; for theatre is the sine qua non for all developmental aspirations, and Ghana cannot be an exception to this universal rule.

Strictly Personal

Nigeria’s Currency Crisis: Time to deploy Amotekun, By Chinedu Chidi

Published

on

I have thought long and hard about just the right solution to the downward spiral of the Naira, and confidently believe I have come up with the perfect response. It is my humble proposal that the time is right to deploy the dreaded Amotekun to arrest this situation. I’ll explain why.

 

Since it is now clear that the Naira’s salvation is not in the hallways of the CBN or the gold-plated policy rooms of Bretton Woods, but in the battle grounds of the nook and cranny of Nigeria, all patriotic Nigerians must now rightly ignore suit-wearing technocrats and search for militant solutions with real promise. As a patriotic citizen, I have risen to this challenge. I would humbly like to thank the patriotic Nigerian leadership, from the CBN to the Executive, for leading us into this new era of mortal combat.

 

Only a few days ago, we were greeted with the live action scene of security operatives combating BDC operators in the nation’s capital, discharging live ammunition in broad daylight in an open civilian space like fearless patriots at the battle front. The EFCC and accompanying security operatives charged forward and backwards as the enemies of state dared challenge them. It was almost like a combat scene from Gibson’s Braveheart. I was touched. I’m not too sure, but I may have heard the humming of the national anthem from these fearless patriots as they battled the savage saboteurs. What a touching moment! Someone who was at the scene mentioned that these patriots recited the pledge before the onslaught. I can’t confirm this for sure, but if it did occur, it would be consistent with the new nationalistic fervour of the Tinubu administration as reported in the news recently that citizens would be required to recite the pledge at events. I also hear the operation is going on in different parts of the country. All these, coming only days after Sahad Stores, a retail supermarket in Abuja, was forcibly shut down for “economic sabotage”, fill me with great joy. Some unpatriotic citizens had shockingly opposed the move, claiming Sahad Stores was one of the good ones, and that deploying force would not resolve the inflation crisis. Cowards and co-conspirators! They’re too distracted by textbook ideas to see that we’re in war. Shame.

 

Normally, I would have recommended the army for this most important national assignment, but they’re overstretched. They’re battling terrorists, bandits, armed robbers, secessionists, their welfare; just about every violent aggressor around. The police would have been my second option but they too are preoccupied and, as some mischievous people claim, have a special DNA for compromise. For these and some other reasons which I will explain, Amotekun has my blessings.

 

I know Amotekun is also seriously engaged with battling bandits in the South West, but they must be pleaded with to spare some personnel for this all-too-important national emergency. Their stealth, daredevil disposition, and my favourite—charms from the gods— will come in handy.

 

I have heard rumours that some of the BDCs hide their stockpile of dollars in forests. This is the domain of the Amotekun warriors. Through their local intelligence gathering and tactical navigation of the forests, they can uncover these dollar chests and win for the country a huge deliverance. Their spiritual protection against wild animals and attacks from dark forces will be very useful here.

 

I am also confident that what has for so long appeared to be the near-impossible goal of finding the dollars some loud-mouthed people claim are hidden by politicians, bank executives and— I struggle to even contemplate it— CBN officials will be spiritually detected by Amotekun. We desperately need this.

 

It was with great joy that I also received the news that our gallant security personnel are now stopping truckloads of food from leaving the country. What took them so long! How can any patriotic businessman think of trade and profit at a time of economic crisis? This beats my imagination. I am even more infuriated by the argument of their unpatriotic defenders that we don’t have food scarcity, just food unaffordability, and that we can’t seriously let them abandon their goods in warehouses while the vast majority of Nigerians can’t purchase them. This is so inconsiderate and sad. Their argument that the exports bring in needed forex at this time of forex crisis is also another textbook nonsense. Shame on them.

 

I am particularly touched by Cardoso’s sincerity and humility. Realizing that the air-conditioned policies have hit the brick wall and that the fight has morphed into street combat, he did not try to deceive the populace about it. This is uncommon (apologies to Akpabio) pragmatism.

 

I want to enjoin the President to rally leaders in the South West towards mass mobilization of Amotekun for this national assignment. We can’t afford to fail!

 

Chinedu Chidi is a public affairs commentator. He can be reached via: chiobe24.cc@gmail.com

Continue Reading

Strictly Personal

The problem of DRC’s beautiful wife, maize it planted by roadside, By Charles Onyango-Obbo

Published

on

Watching the upheaval in the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent days, one is tempted to invoke the African proverb that “the man who marries a beautiful woman and the farmer who grows maize by the roadside have the same problem.”

The police fired tear gas on Monday to disperse protesters who burned tyres and US and Belgian flags near Western embassies and UN offices in the capital Kinshasa, angry about insecurity in eastern Congo.

The protesters claim the West supports Rwanda, which they and their government accuse of backing the M23 rebellion, whose advance could see them seize the strategic border city of Goma in the east.

This is a new phase of what has become an entrenched tradition of the Congolese oscillating between blaming everyone else but themselves for their problems, and demanding that other people solve these problems, including fighting for them.

In recent years — rightly — the Congolese have railed, then attacked, the long-running and ineffectual United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) for not ending the rebellion in the east.

In late 2022, DRC’s kin in the EAC dispatched the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) to separate the warring sides. Before long, Kinshasa and the people had risen against them, hounding them to go out to the jungle and fight the rebels for them. At the end of last year, EACRF left DRC with its tail between its legs.

Because the Congolese are our brothers and sisters, and we have a responsibility to love them, we also have a duty to tell them uncomfortable truths that will help them overcome.

So, we will return to our proverb. African proverbs are complicated. First, one needs to know that they passed into society through the mouths of men who were not feminists, so too many of them tend to portray women in bad light.

This one paints a heroic hard-working farmer (although it is mostly women, not men, who work the land in Africa) whose maize is stolen by passers-by, in contrast with the beautiful wife who betrays her husband and falls to the charms of other men.

However, African proverbs are also layered, so there is what they say, and the many things they mean. In this case, that people will covet a good thing — a good crop, a beautiful woman and, if we may add, a handsome, enterprising man. The “problem” here is how to keep your maize, beautiful wife, and enterprising husband. If you are better than all the men who hit on her, your beautiful wife will stay faithfully by your side.

Having your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend run off with someone else can be very hurtful, but if you have a cantankerous truth-telling African aunt or uncle, they will also whisper to you that a partner whom no other man or woman has ever or will ever want is probably not worth having.

In real-world Congo politics, then, the reality is rebels will have friends and allies at home and abroad. Even Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), as despicable as a rebel group can ever be, had friends outside who backed it.

The thing that should terrify everyone is a rebel group that no one wants to touch with a 10-metre pole, both in the day and night. The opposite is also true of rebels fighting to overthrow a government. If it is a government that doesn’t have a single friend even in the cynical world of geopolitics, then it’s probably worse than a cabal of cannibals.

For Congo, what is left is how to solve this “problem”. To stay with the farmer and the beautiful wife, what the Congolese are doing is like the strapping young man in old Africa who spent all his time attacking his parents, relatives, neighbours, and their friends because they failed to give him cattle to pay a bride price for a wife and build a hut for him to live in with her.

The scale of surrender of agency by many Congolese, including the political class and the government, is unsettling.

It’s partly understandable, too. The unusually brutal Belgian rule; the exploitation of all sorts of vultures for its vast minerals lasting over 100 years now; and an unbroken long spell of corrupt and cruel rule, have broken its self-confidence. The way to come to terms with the scale of failure and remain sane is to externalise all the problems to evil forces.

It has led to national paralysis, a belief that they can’t do much on their own to overcome.

DRC’s neighbours to the east, Uganda and Rwanda, offer good lessons. When President Yoweri Museveni took to the bush with his small band of rebels in 1981, the odds were stacked up against them. The British had a big programme with a special police force; the Tanzanian army that helped overthrow military dictator Idi Amin was on the side of the government, and hardy North Koreans soon got into the fight against them. They still won.

The prospects were even worse for the Rwanda Patriotic Army/Front when it crossed from Uganda and took to treacherous hills in 1990. Apart from Uganda, it was alone against the world, including one of the world’s superpowers at the time, France, which was in bed with the government in Kigali. They suffered setbacks, picked themselves up, and won.

Congo can win, but first, it will have to plant its own maize and fight its war for its own beautiful wife.

Charles Onyango-Obbo is a journalist, writer, and curator of the «Wall of Great Africans». Twitter@cobbo3

Continue Reading

EDITOR’S PICK

Metro2 hours ago

Hardship: Nigerian govt to resume direct cash transfers to 12m citizens

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun, has revealed that the federal government will resume...

Musings From Abroad2 hours ago

US keen on expanding bilateral trade with Nigeria

According to the US Consulate in Nigeria, it is looking for ways to guarantee prosperity for Nigeria by increasing bilateral...

Strictly Personal3 hours ago

Nigeria’s Currency Crisis: Time to deploy Amotekun, By Chinedu Chidi

I have thought long and hard about just the right solution to the downward spiral of the Naira, and confidently...

Sports16 hours ago

Kelvin Kiptum: Autopsy reveals late Marathon record holder died from head injuries

An autopsy carried out by the Kenyan government has revealed that late world marathon record holder, Kelvin Kiptum, died from...

Tech16 hours ago

M-PESA partners IFC to increase financial inclusion for farmers in Mozambique

Mobile money transfer and payment service provider, M-Pesa, has entered into a partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) aimed...

Culture16 hours ago

Director of ‘Dahomey’ Mati Diop shines at Berlin Film Festival 2024

Senegalese-French writer and and director of African documentary movie, “Dahomey,” Mati Diop, made history when her movie was selected for...

Metro16 hours ago

Zambian govt begs citizens in diaspora to help attract foriegn investment

The Zambian government has called on its citizens in the diaspora to help in attracting foreign direct investment to the...

Musings From Abroad17 hours ago

UN sanctions six Congolese rebels over crisis in its eastern region

Six members of five armed organisations in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been sanctioned by the...

Strictly Personal19 hours ago

The problem of DRC’s beautiful wife, maize it planted by roadside, By Charles Onyango-Obbo

Watching the upheaval in the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent days, one is tempted to invoke the African proverb...

VenturesNow22 hours ago

Nigerian govt ‘may open border for importation of cement’

The Nigerian government has issued a warning to cement producers, stating that if they continue to raise prices arbitrarily, it...

Trending