Thursday, January 01, 2009

You Know You're Ghanaian If...

Written by a person who prefers to remain anonymous*

When you were young, your parents bought you clothes/shoes at least two sizes too big so that they would last longer

This one diee (tr: As for this one) , I can say I remember it very well. Whenever we bought shoes, my parents would say, "ma kwan nd’enyim," i.e. "make sure there's space in the front!" Abae!! Already we went to buy the shoes at Kantamanto ( a big open market for imported second hand clothing and shoes), wasn't that shy-ous (tr: embarassing) enough? Next, you want everyone to see that i'm wearing over-sized shoes!

You call older people you've never met 'uncle/braa' or 'aunty/sister'
In Ghana, everyone is your uncle. It's even worse with JSS/SSS (junior secondary school /senior secondary school, the Ghanaian equivalent of high school) students and the whole Kaazin-Kaazin (i.e. cousin-cousin) thing!

Your luggage is almost always overweight when you’re traveling by plane.
The only times i've flown with my luggage being under the weight limit were when I moved to my current state for work and when I first came here for my job interview. Otherwise, i usually go to the check-in counter feeling a bit uncomfortable about my bags.

Your garage is always full because you never throw anything away, just in case you need it someday.
Ha! You should have seen our garage back at home: Broken furniture, old paint cans, wawa boards (planks from the wawa tree), bent tyre rims, old name it - we had it! We even used to keep old and completely worn-out car tyres in anticipation - I imagine - of a time when the current "new" tyres would be so worn out that, replacing them with the less worn ones in garage would be a good idea.

You wash your car on a Sundays.
The rich people especially used to do this! In Legon (where, I must add, there were hardly any rich people), it was almost like a ritual. The only time you would see some of the lecturers was on Sunday, when they would all line up to shine their "pre-owned" cars.

Weddings never start on time.
'Need I say more? When my parents got married, my uncle was the priest at the ceremony and he told them explicitly, "If you're late, I'll start without you." True to his word, by the time the bride and groom walked in, he was already delivering the sermon.

At least one of your uncles is a teacher.

You have a 10 kg bag of rice in the kitchen.
Make that a 50kg bag!:) hehe:)

When your parents scold you, they’re often very loud

It was so loud you’d think they were singing at a concert! The tough part was when our friends would converge on the road behind our house to listen and giggle! I tell you, for the next few days, no one had to remind you to keep a low profile. The great thing about our neighbourhood, though, was that all the parents were loud. Thus, people were always careful about who they made fun of, ‘cos if your parents were among the louder ones (and my Dad was among the “top 3”), you knew what was coming your way when your turn came.

Your parents speak loudly on the phone, particularly during long distance calls

When an incoming call was from the neighbourhood, my parents would speak softly. When, however, it was from somewhere else in the town, they’d speak with a slightly raised voice. When it was from somewhere else in Ghana, they would begin to shout. But, my goodness, it was when we had a call from abroad that we (the kids) would ran for the hills; they would babble as if there was no tomorrow! Shiei!!

* I am open to featuring guest-bloggers on Wo Se Ekyir. As we say in Ghana, Nyansa nyi baako fo tsir mu ( No one person is the sole repository of all knowlege) so we all stand to be enriched if many perspectives, and voices are heard on this blog.


  1. The Shoe thing not necessarily a Ghanaian preserve I recall from my childhood being disappointed the shoes i liked were always soo small in my mothers estimation and one thing she insisted on was folding the shoe to make the front touch the back. "Mother!! if my feet ever look like that shoes will be the last thing i need" non destructive testing Mum called it, most of the time :D

  2. Thanks for the funny blog post. You really made me smile.

  3. how come you were around when your parents got married?!!!:-D

  4. haha, E.K Bensah, good question! I've alerted the writer so hopefully u'll get a respose. But from past experience, guest bloggers haven't been prompt about responding to comments on their articles so i wouldn't hold my breath.