African Time Takes Deep Root In Ghanaian Society | Opinions 2015-02-26
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Opinions of Thursday, 26 February 2015

Columnist: Tetteh & Mawuena

African Time Takes Deep Root In Ghanaian Society

The culture of lateness commonly referred to as ‘African time’ has taken a deep root in the Ghanaian society and only God knows if this bane can ever be broken. It is so endemic and cuts across all manner of events - social gatherings to state functions. This is costing us so much and drawing us back as a country. Leaders who draw programmes know very well that they themselves will never turn up on the stated time but they announce the time with alacrity - programme starts at ...o’clock ‘prompt’.

A very good friend once asked me to do a Bible reading on her wedding day. She assured me that the programme would start at 10 am prompt and since I was the first reader, she entreated me to make it on time. I obliged and got to the venue ten minutes ahead of time only to see about ten people, most of whom were adding finishing touches to the decoration in a very big chapel. I spent one and half hours waiting for the programme to commence. I got so bored that I chose to offer my immature assistance with the decoration. At long last, the programme commenced around 12pm but had to be deliberately delayed with prolonged song ministrations for more than an hour to cater for the bride’s lateness. Even though brides’ are expected to arrive after guests have settled, as a sign of honour, excesses are not acceptable.

Poor planning and an African culture that does not respect time cannot be left out of this phenomenon. Others also attribute bridal lateness to the beautification process-make up! Hmmmm! especially when the ladies of the day decide to use excessive make up in order to become different persons from whom their ‘would-be husbands’ saw and fell in love with. Obviously, wedding days remain a special occasion for our ladies and they should not be denied their best looks. Nevertheless, beauty they say lies in the eye of the beholder and before a man takes a lady to the altar, he must be convinced of her beauty over months or years of dating. The question then is; is it on the wedding day that ladies have to prove and showcase their beauty? Once upon a time, a congregation was thrown into a state of confusion when the groom failed to recognize the bride after removing the veil due to excessive make up which apparently had changed the lady’s actual looks altogether. Guess the drama and anxiety that ensued!
The clarion call is for us to respect time as guests and brides’ in particular while maintaining a sense of moderation. As social beings who cannot live in recluse, it is important to be time conscious in order to meet the high demands of the time. We need to plan well and ensure order. It is about time events commenced irrespective of the number of persons in attendance at the designated time-this is one key way out of lateness. The idea of waiting for chairs to be filled before programmes start is a big disincentive for early comers and an incentive for late comers. Ladies, please look good on your wedding days but avoid excesses for you risk not being identified by your husbands-to-be. Wishing colleagues and all on the wedding list a fruitful marriage life.

Vivian Tetteh / Emmanuel K. Mawuena