There was no better place to be a child than Ghana in the 90s and early 2000s. If you don’t believe it, go and jump!
While taking a stroll this Thursday afternoon through obimanso, my mind suddenly cast back to an old nursery rhyme we used to sing in school. You know, the one about a character’s encounter with a gun-wielding ghost in the forest: “Dabi meko nwuram; Keyinka…” It is amazing how such memories, old and forgotten as they seem, instantly transport you to a lifetime that could well have been a hundred years ago. They take you back to a period of absolute peace and refreshing scenes. You begin to relive earth saving actions of the Planeteers of Captain Planet. Kwaku Anansi stories suddenly become one and the same with Dr Rokoto and Maame Dokono in their By the Fireside series. Kwasasa Showtime, Kyekyekule, and Fun World remind you of what constituted edutainment in the good old days. Sinbad and Journey to the West were our safaris to the fantastical worlds, while Pusher and BB introduced us to the most important aspects of love life. YOLO has since tried to replace Things We Do For Love, introducing the same writer in Eddie Seddoh Jnr, but we all know Jackie Appiah is never the same as Enyonam.
Mehn, time has flown by so quickly. The kids of today live in a world supposed to be perfect, with boundaries overcome by virtual connections. Days of sending cassette-recorded messages to relatives abroad appear as old as Flintstones. (Even in our time, those dudes were living in caves.)
Yet, I feel sorry for them. They have been denied the basic recipe for fulfillment in life. Any boy or girl who has never suffered at Alikoto will forever be prone to depression. He will not have the emotional reservoir needed to overcome difficulties in life. Not only did the game teach us the importance of re-purposing materials, others like Stay instilled in us the value of friendship. If you were fond of provoking your neighbours, thinking that ‘you were you’ and that your dada bee levels were like Max of Things We Do For Love fame, all it took was a session with Killer in this game to feed you a humble slice of agble kaklo. For those unfortunate to have missed the blessed yesteryear, imagine Stay as a form of abate, where two to three persons kicked the ball between them while the fourth tried to intercept it. Except that, rather than having a confined space within which to play, Stay, a game no doubt made by the Communist with American Prisoners of War in mind, could have a whole community as its playing field. You could be sent to fetch the ball from a kilometre away if you were lucky. If you were not, your friends would just keep it between them, within a space barely surpassing ten metres, kicking it back and forth like a game of ping pong, wicked grins flashing across their faces, and it would be only a matter of when you throw in the towel. That was when you would be reminded of the price of ransom. Yep! One doesn’t just quit a game of Stay.
Perhaps, the greatest loss of our time is the apparent departure from true, original Ghanaian content on TV. Those days, NAFTI was more than a film school, and the movie houses were producing content that many identified with. Who could forget Kwame Sefa Kayi in Escape to Love, or Edinam Atatsi and Pascaline Edwards in A stab in the dark? And Ebenezer Henry Brew Riverson Jnr; that man was perhaps the finest actor of his time; eloquent, elegant, and full of Fante charm. The impatience of waiting for Akan Drama made Talking Point twice as boring. And whose mother didn’t suffer from Acapulco fever?!
The list of rumination is definitely not complete without Inspector Bediako. Aside the power duet of Oscar Provencal and Akosua Abdallah, my most memorable recollection of Ghana’s homicide series was its soundtrack. Back then, we used to sing it as “Abusupanyin wataan, men kankyire obia.” Oh Lawd Have Mercy! The closest I have come to experiencing this again is after stumbling upon this remix of the sound track.
Sometimes, you sit back and realise how quickly life has passed. Some of the football pitches have been developed into residential apartments. Piloolo could teach you the basics of a detective’s work in unearthing evidences, and Pampanaa was more exiting than half the movies on Hollywood. (Yeah, shoot me!) And of course, every boy wanted to play Ampe with the girls for only one reason…if you know what I mean.
It doesn’t matter if you had a very lively childhood or you were a stay-at-home child, these memories, when they come, leave you wanting to rewind life back if only to have another taste. It was so pure, so very different from this world of today. Even the dumsor of those days had swag. Yeah, more swag than Shatta Wale. Mehn, Ghana sweet before!
As TT would say, if you need me, I dey here 24 hours a day…see ya!