FICTION: Welcome to “Ghayana” where we Speak in “Antonyms” and Eat “Delicious Slogans”!

By Frank Goka (Middle of Keta Lagoon)
Fiction FICTION: Welcome to “Ghayana” where we Speak in “Antonyms” and Eat “Delicious Slogans”!

Folks, as we climb the age-ladder towards the geriatric zone, the health experts keep ringing bells in our eardrums to observe certain “taboos” to keep our bodies fit for climbing higher with stamina; to prevent a sudden slip to the underground where we are told is eternal resting place for all peaceful souls.

In fulfillment of my quadragenarian medical protocols, I was scheduled for a scope to visualize my colons (Colonoscopy). In the clinic, they inserted intravenous line, requested that I lay down comfortably at my left side and a doctor referred as Gastroenterologist injected some liquid in my vein. The last thing I saw was the shiny desert of the doctor’s scalp. I transitioned into deep sleep, and I had a dream:

I arrived at the entrance of a town with a huge colourful billboard that bears the inscription “Welcome to “Ghayana” Where we Speak “Antonyms” and Eat Delicious Slogans!”. The annotation on that gigantic board perplexed me momentarily but quickly reminded me of a revered traditional religion from the Eweland called “Korku”. The practitioners are known as “Korkushiwo”. They are one of my favorite African traditionalists whose skin or body defy sharp objects when they get possessed. Sometimes, they speak opposite words to denote realities; therefore, when he or she is offering a sacred prayer to the Supreme being (Sogbolisa) and declares that “I want everyone in my village dead”, he’s rather calling for longevity for the people and blessings in abundance for the community. Hence, at that point, I presumed the entire “Ghayana” township were the practitioners of “Korku” religion by the message on their welcoming billboard.

I became that curious cat on expedition for mice in Ghayana. But it is no secret that when in search for information on my native land, the best arena is the local drinking bars where talented professional gossips coagulate with different rankings in “TUTI”—talking under the influence.

I met a young loquacious but intelligent lad with evidence of excessive oral “sebaceous glands” to produce enough lubricant for his “logorrhea”. I instantly engaged him to establish rapport:

“Good MORNING my brother. How are you doing?” I asked casually.

“Good EVENING, Stranger. I am NOT fine” he responded.

Instantly, I stared at the Sun from the East to confirm my sanity. Indeed, the Sun was rising, and it was in the morning. Also, I almost queried why he is “NOT fine”, but I quickly recovered to the norm of the land—they speak the “Antonym” language, so their actions and understanding are contradictory to their words!

He was smart to detect from my demeanor that I am an alien to their land. He enquired about my origin, and I told him proudly that I hailed from the “Gold Coast”—the land of love, unity, prosperity, sincerity, and honesty in avalanche of opportunities for her people. Thereafter, I explained the fortunes of my land to him: In the “Gold Coast”, we all dance to Bob Marley’s song “One Love” without missing a step and do not hit each other when throwing our hands in the air when we get in “Irie mood”. It is the land of equal opportunity and no tribal or religious segregations. We never heard anything like “Christian President” versus “Muslim Vice President”. Neither do we know of “Zongo First Lady” nor “Dzelukorpe Second Gentleman”. All we care about is peace, love, competence, and order of merit.

Indeed, in Gold Coast, the man from the West takes keen interest in the development of the Eastern sectors. Also, the South and the North trades cooking pots and ingredients; therefore, you might see both the Bolga-Naaba (the paramount Chief from Bolgatanga) and the Yaa Naa (the Dagbon Paramount Chief) excavating a heap of “Akple and Fetri-detsi” (a staple meal from the Ewes in the South) at a dinner table in the Northern zone; while at the South, the Awomefia (the paramount chief of the Ewes form the South) and the Ga Mantse (the Overlord of the Ga people from the South) would overburden their cooks for “Tuo Zaafi” and “Zantruga” soup—a signature delicacy dietetically engraved on the taste buds of the good people in the Northern geographical locations.

Again, on our land, verity is our cardinal principle, and we affectionately respect each other. Our leaders, know that “promise” emanates from a sacred heart and ought to be kept sacrosanct. Gold Coast is truly the land of “Freedom and Justice” and surely when our leaders talk the word “Free” it must surely walk and rap freely like the musician called “Manifest”.

My explanation extricated him from his confinement in the matchbox in Ghayana. He was highly astonished that such a humane land exists on earth. He ululated in astonishment and wandered hither and thither to herald my message—which appeared to have offered him deep insight, a comparable yardstick, and a contrasting metric to his town—Ghayana.

To ensure that nothing is wayward in his newly stricken-awe, I asked if everything is fine with him. He answered “Yes” (but meant to say “No”). Forget not; they speak in Antonym!

My question seemed to be the activator to his loquacity. He lamented about the witting manner their King and his clansmen conscientiously re-wired their brains and twisted their tongues the opposite way. According to him, the tutorial for speaking in antonym predates the King’s enstoolment when he promised that he will pump honey and milk through their taps; construct asphalted roads with golden lights and deliver free meals daily per every household.

To the youth, he served them dopaminergic aphrodisiacs. The “macho” guys were promised unlimited “free” girlfriends with alimony waiver whenever they decide to tie the knots for their concubines. The damsels on the other hand, were promised “1L1C” (One lady, One Car) by mere presentation of their “Ghayana Cards” to any dealer. The females were even assured further of absolute menstrual and labor pain eradication before pregnancy and during childbirth with their imaginary digitalized “pain-recognition technology”.

My man further asserted that the King consecrated his “Korku” indoctrination when he finally vowed to the people that “I shall protect the public purse…!” at the “Slavery Square” when as it appears now, he really conceived the idea to rather obliterate the purse and even melt the coins therein. So far, they are the heaviest and highest borrowers among all preceding Kings contrary to their vow that they shall not borrow to develop Ghayana because “We know where the money is hiding; the money is there…!”. “Y3 te sika so, nanso ekom de y3n (We sit on money; yet we are hungry...!)” they said at the entrance of the palace.

He added that “initially, most of us were swayed to the novelty antonym-language but were trailing its surreptitious tutorials”. However, just after the second grade, they had swallowed the chalks, textbooks, and the blackboards wholly and were fluent in its deceitful semantics, phonetics, logics, and comprehension. Therefore, when the leaders claimed they will move from “taxation to production”, they had graduated to rather understand it to mean imposition of more taxes and killing of all the hens that lay productive eggs.

The so-called “economic wizards” in the palace had also condemned “Susu Tax” on any transaction conducted through their “Akasanoma” mobile phones. He vehemently talked about its burden on the wood-hewers and water-drawers a couple of years ago, but upon their enstoolment, the King did not only authorize the “Susu Transfer Taxes”, but he went further to collapsed most of the Susu businesses (micro-financing banks) in Ghayana.

My friend recalled again that, the new Elephant King once chastised the previous Umbrella King and demanded his skull for infringing the “family and friends” taboo with only one direct family member in the palace. However, the former became hydra-headed with sixty-five (65) direct relations in the palace and more than 1200 Palace-workers comprising messengers, royal chair-polishers, royal chair-transporters, denture washers, and shoe shiners. Others were the antonym-language coachers and directors, bald head shavers, pot-belly measurers, amongst the lots in the palace.

On education, my new friend complained that the King had promised to deliver “free kindergarten education” to students but on the contrary, “we are rather paying expensively for inferior education instead” he fumed.

He observed further that, when it comes to “tongue-twisting” (aka pathological lying), the King’s successor is more diabolical than the old-man himself. Unlike all the leaders, the second in command possessed genetically coiffed tongue; therefore, every word from his mouth lands naturally somersaulted—different from the source. He taunted himself as Ghayana’s Economic Marksman who propounded that “whenever an old lady complains of bone aches, it means leaders had failed to procure enough Calcium for them”. Soon after being sworn to the deputy throne, not only were the revered old-ladies complaining of aggravated bone pain; but everyone, including babies stuck to dry nipples is experiencing bones-aches. Yet, the King’s deputy is still swearing to the goddess of the Sun that the current unbearable pain in every household is outrightly unrelated to calcium deprivation as he had earlier diagnosed.

My friend recounted vividly but dejectedly that prior to their palace occupation, the deputy chief was also embellished to the skies as the sole carrier of the gourd that bears all the wisdom in Ghayana and possessed the magical economic whisk to conjure kegs of palmwine, milk and honey for the citizens. But otherworldly, he was a shiny soapy bubble on the surface of dissipating water waiting to burst in disgrace. A real vacuum in a barrel that goes rolling loudly. Simply, he lacks the temerity to even carry an ant, but a man who now boats of capability to carry elephants in Ghayana. He does not recall the genesis of the “Ghayana Identification Card”; yet he wants to be credited for producing a card that identifies all Ghayana folks as indigenous slaves, destitute, and desperados in their rich and blessed town.

“We heard he has won the slot to contest as the new King, but truthfully, he does not even deserve to be the cobbler in that palace. He is worthless, impotent, dishonest, discredited, and counterintuitive to progressive ideas. His behavior renders him a nonentity and he is truly a counter-productive material to our survival, cohesion, and development” he spewed bitterly.

Unbeknown to me, my man had a dossier on all the sub-chiefs and having his lips on automatic mode, he flipped from page to pages: He started from the polynomial Monetary Affairs Chief whom he referred as the “hyenas who loves to clad in white sheep wools”.

According to my friend, most Ghayana folks have also labeled him as one of those anopheles mosquitoes that sucks one’s blood but simultaneously induces cooling effect to numb the pain. Others observed that his modus operandi bears striking resemblance to those pickpockets on the “Picadilly train”—they steal smartly, swiftly and safely yet, their faces are as innocent as “Innocentia”—my white cat; so, some citizens prefer to call him “Stealing Me Softly” in remix of the popular R&B Song “Killing Me Softly” by Fugees.

But honestly, when one considers his pestilence and financial virulence, he might be tempted to call him a “Deadly Virus” instead. He is one of the fluent authors of the “antonym” lexicons because when he presented the so-called “Adwuma” (job) budget, they collapsed more businesses in lieu and unemployment rate soared. “Ahotor” (freedom) budget resulted in people finding economic freedom and comfort in sardine-cans better than the puffing and huffing on the streets—the real signs of “Ahokyere” (hardships) on the masses from his bad economic policies and excessive taxations. When he touted that “we are proud people” and that they will never go for “Immediate Monetary Funding (IMF)” assistance, he was the first in line before the whistle blew. Again, he assured his people that despite the IMF conditionalities, there shall be no financial haircut to the people but at the end, not even the scalp of the bald were spared.

His ineptitude was very glaring, and most people agitated for his sack including his clansmen. The King assured of his removal after he presents “the next budget” at the palace but it was all fluke if not a smokescreen because the King spoke with baritone voice in “antonym”. The monetary affairs chief is the branch the King is seated; he cannot chop it off without falling in the wild crocodile infested river. The man is still at post chasing the “longest finance minister” title and has so far presented about three more budgets after the King’s assurance!

Truly, fishes do rot, but always from the head. The King and his deputy’s act of speaking and seeing things upside-down has deeply permeated all his appointees including the hypocritical opinion leaders in the community who knew the truth but prefer to obey “table manners” in silence because anatomy and physiology abhors people talking when their mouths are filled with food!

For instance, his promise to make the central city the cleanest amongst the neighboring towns did not only provoke the heap of filths, rubbish, and the plastic wastes to protest conspicuously in their trillions in the cities. At the end, it was the unsightly filth that swept the millions of dollars, pounds, euros and cedis stashed under the bed of the sub-chief responsible for making the city cleaner in disgrace.

Again, the King, swore to his throne to eradicate illegal mining activities contributing to the wanton depletion of forest reserves and pollution of river bodies but that was indeed the manifestation of a topic called “Charade Strategy” in the antonym lectures because he rather entrenched the practice to benefit his clansmen at the woes of the environment. My man was veering off-track, so I brought him back to his digressed point on his subchief submissions:

They have a resolute Chief for Information, but his main task is to misinform the masses in that, whenever his cronies are caught panting in lies, he will twist that they were practicing “deep breathing” therapy. To him, he must be loyal to the shenanigans of his clansmen to the detriment of his own conscience and the people’s welfare.

The Roads and Footpath subchief is another pathological “Antonymist” who shares umbilical relation with the King. According to my friend, he is claiming that his brother—the King, had constructed more roads than all previous heir in Ghayana. He even relocated his mouth to his end-exit and spewed that, it is only the Ghayana people wearing wooden lenses who also doubles as permanent customers to Mma Adiza—the “Pito” (locally brewed alcoholic beverage) seller that constantly refuses to see the smooth asphalted roads they had constructed! He further described the so-called opaque-lens-wearers as those “Ancestors” they had left behind in their “leapfrogged” road construction ventures. My friend was in pensive mood after he recounted those statements, and I could see his heart pounding “fufu” in his chest cavity forcefully.

“My brother, the reality is that, even a canoe pathway from TREGUI to ATITO on the Keta Lagoon is hard for them to create how much more a dualize-asphalted roads!? “Look (as he points to an apparent dam on the road), it appears the location for their promised National Cathedral is rather on our roads since most of our intra and inter-city roads have “manholes” and “craters” like their abandoned National Cathedral foundation” he surmised.

That was not all. He attributed higher rate of impotence and declining population in Ghayana to the bad roads. His evidence was a sad story of a young libidinal “hunter” who sustained erectile dysfunction (ED) when he accidentally fell in one of the “manholes” on his way to hunt for a lady riding on the dark deplorable roads in his attempt to cross-pollinate from the neighbouring suburb! For the impact of the bad roads on vehicles in town, just imagine what would happen to dry leaves when the fresh ones (humans) are being rendered “highly impotent”. He mentioned that most vehicles plying their roads begs their drivers for mercies as they wail in a distinctive “SOS” sounds—Save Our Shocks! He poured further that, movement of foods and merchandise has depreciated drastically leading to higher cost of living in the town. The positive note, however, was his recommendation to the global vehicle manufacturing companies to consider Ghayana first when they want to test the endurance, efficiency, and durability of their vehicles before marketing. He has absolute faith in Ghayana roads to challenge every bolt and nut of these vehicles to their fullest limit.

The pregnant women were not left out either on the bad-road impact distribution. The Ambulances and taxis had become their preferred labour wards as they facilitate rapid contraction and childbirth for any pregnant woman being transported to the hospital due to the bad roads and their resultant gridlock. “My Brother, even Ukraine and Gaza are far safer than our roads nowadays” he interjected. When I probed for explanation, he affirmed that the poor road architecture, their ubiquitous deplorable states, poor markings, lack of road signages and missing lighting fixtures on their roads have contributed to significant preventable loss of lives more than the bombs in those war zones referenced!

To him, nothing bursts his gallbladder so bitterly in the wake of these “foreseeable” deaths than when their leaders amassed courage in their crocodile tears to add that “may the souls of the departed rest in peace”. Please tell me, “How could those premature souls rest in peace!? How...!?” he fumed rhetorically in tears. He just cannot wrap his head to the callosity, insensitivity and the “depraved” manner their beautiful Ghayana was auctioned to the greedy vampires.

It appeared the time to swig was neigh; judging from his dried throat and diminishing vigor pointing to evidence of possible depreciating serum alcoholic content. He ordered a calabash of Pito again and quickly, a gulp went down the throat following a thunderous burp in satisfaction as he became more invigorated. The next phase of his frustrations was to elaborate on the act of deploying cunning sloganeering tactics to hoodwink his people and belittle their plights:

Indeed, my host appeared fully charged and very infuriated at their leaders’ conscious attempt to force them into acceptance that a bag of cotton is always heavier than a bag of cowries. He stressed that their so-called elders are completely out of touch with realities and had resorted to using frolicking words and saliva to construct castles in their atmosphere. “That is why, when we complained of hunger, they ask us to eat “planting for food and jobs” he vented sadly. His people are crying for decent-earning jobs, but they only hear the echoes of slogans like “One District, One Factory”, “NABCO”, “Nursing Trainees Allowance”, “Turning the Corner” and others emanating from hollow empty barrels.

“My brother, when joblessness and hunger strike us with sickness, one would expect us to seek solace at the infirmaries at least; however, our treatment facilities are nothing but behemoth phantom slogan like “AGENDA 88 Hospitals” which metamorphosed to “AGENDA 111” he narrated. According to my new friend, they have poor healthcare facilities with inadequate resources to the extent that even their prestigious 39-2 Abongo Hospital could not dispense Brufen (Ibuprofen) to covered Buga-buga Defenders and their families.

For employment, “As at now, we are all automatic employees of the devil because our hands are idling 24/7 without work; yet we are being told the antidote is “Ghayana Card” which they say, is a free visa for a digitalized flight to heaven— “perhaps, to our grave instead...!”, he mocked.

Infact, the more we sink in utter depravity, the more efficient the sloganeering machines become to the extent that even the annual budgets were not spared. As mentioned earlier, their “Adwuma” budget brought businesses on their knees in “Ghayana”. “Look (as he points towards a locally made grill), there used to be a dog-meat “chinchiga” (kebab) seller here. His business was very essential to us because his kebab do complement our calabashes of “pito” just like pancake and syrup. However, that poor lad had no choice than to abandon the business three years ago because the King and his clansmen could not honour their “Dog Meat Factory” promise under their “1D1F (one-district, one-factory) policy” he asserted.

They have succeeded in conditioning our minds that, these swaying monikers are our lifelines and sadly, we equally glorify and amplify them as soon as they are released like Kojo Antwi’s album. Worth recalling was the recently baked slogan called “Showdown”. It was introduced by another tongue-twisted, loud-hailing, megalomaniac, and mega-loquacious clansman with high appetite to ascend the King’s throne. Suddenly, his “showdown” mantra went ubiquitous in “Ghanyana” and became the delectable meal that even his opponents fed from. Indeed, “showdown” became the new verb, noun and even pronoun in the community and nearly took over their consciousness and morality. For instance, hitherto, a husband would use romantic lyrics to seduce a lady to bed; however, by its inculcation, the men now command for that intimate moment by yelling “Maame, bra na me mma wo ‘showdown’...!” (Lady, come for the “showdown”)—an invitation devoid of romantic affect and coital seductive ambience. Some courageous ladies on the other hand, do use that term to threaten their recalcitrant husbands into submission by retorting “Herr Kofi, wó bo nsa 3n3 a, menma wo ‘showdown’…” (Look Kofi, if you get drunk today, I will not give you ‘showdown’...!” The youth on another angle, prefers “showdown” as a noun by referring to their usual boisterous and fun places such as nightclubs and sporting activities as “showdown joints.”

In inference, the mere spewing of that slogan and its subsequent adaptation had suddenly consumed the conscience of all right thinkers. It seems to have obscured the people’s ability to objectively query the character, competence, background, and the personality of that individual ascribing to take over from the King. Well, it was a contest meant to select the King’s favorite, and the rigging machineries were programmed for that result ab initio. However, in my narrator’s opinion, neither the mendacious deputy to the King nor the ghoulish close contender even deserve to conceive a spike of thought and the expressive desire to lead “Ghayana” let alone, standing on a ballot for a vote. He described their decisions as abominable and a total affront in front of all sane and rational minds.

Just as he was about to take an oath to lead a revolution to emancipate their incarcerated minds, I heard repeated beeps from afar. The sound came from the monitors in the colonoscopy room. It was the beep to wake me up from that hedonistic expedition to “Ghayana”—my fictional country bearing semblance to Ghana.

I woke up grudgy and cranky with mixed feelings. I wished my sojourn to “Ghayana” was only for the congenialities and its memorable convivialities in my dream. However, the fact that the thirst and quest for power had eroded all the moral gains of the land makes me deeply sad and terrified. Truth is turned upside-down to the extent that any power-wilder could come to one’s home with a “dog” and impose that it is called a“god”. Certainly, the legendary Lucky Dube foresaw Ghayana’s woe when he sang that “the world is turning around, when today becomes tomorrow; lies are said to be the truth and the future becomes the past. No truth in the world”—especially, in Ghayana—where searching for the Truth today, is tantamount to a fowl searching for its urinary meatus to urinate—it is simply non-existent!

We could grant them a long rope of pardon because they are like the proverbial sheep that harbours wicked intent to deface a village with diarrhea, only to realize massive excoriation and oceanic mess around its anal region. But assuredly, they will taste the bitter soup of their deceitfulness, arrogance, impunity, disrespectfulness, mismanagement, and latent insult to the intelligence of our relatives.

Well, for now we have allowed these mediocre leaders to cock-and-hooked their “guns of power” at us and can decide when to press the trigger. But it is also true that since the horsetail was never permanent at the tail of the horse; it shall never be permanent in the hands of even the fiercest fetish priest on our land either! They can engage in all the indoctrination to speak in antonyms, and feed the people with enticing slogans but the realities will surely expose them one after the other in Ghayana.

To be continued...!
By: Frank Goka (Middle of Keta Lagoon)

Which team do you think has the higher chance of winning the 2024 elections?

Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024