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Opinions of Monday, 12 January 2015

Columnist: Blege, Alex

Modern day “Trojan gift horses”; football and fashion.

“…Stroke of my pen”: Modern day “Trojan gift horses”; football and fashion.
Alex Blege

The first time, I came across and really sought to understand the phrase “Trojan Gift Horse” was when I was in Kpedze Secondary School, form three. That was in 2005.

In one of the Government text books written by Kwesi Prah, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business in 1951 called the report of the Coussey Committee on the constitution prepared for the Gold Coast as “Trojan Gift Horse and a window dressing”.

I went straight to see Mr. Ekpe, the Government Tutor as at then, who was sitting in front of the administration block with Mr. Asiedu, the Social Studies Tutor.

The two tutors took turns to explain to me why Dr. Kwame Nkrumah described the report as such. It did not favour the people of this country and as it is said, the devil is in the detail and in fact, in the interpretation, Nkrumah who was against any form of attempt by the British to keep full reins of the Gold Coast subtly; even after they the British had left, had his hackles raised and did not hide it.

Before my encounter with the phrase, my grandfather had given me a book, “Makers of Civilisation, Book 1”. In that book, was all the history about the Roman Empire, the Conquest of Alexander the Great and all the stories of great men and women of this world.

In one of the chapters, I read about Helen of Troy, a story about the people and army of a city called Troy in Ancient Asia Minor. The Ancient Greeks who tried to conquer this city but had failed on so many occasions gave out a wooden horse to the Trojans. Little did the Trojans know that their enemies had their soldiers hidden in a hollow part of the wooden horse. In the middle of the night, they came out of the wooden horse and killed every living soul and burnt down the city of Troy.

History is good, “those who fail to learn from history will have themselves to blame”. It may be defined as a record of past issues, however, the study of past issues of a people determine their present decisions and line of actions.





Consistently, as Africans we are made to have an inferior idea of ourselves and the values that define us. I am not against progress, never, but progress that seeks to put my African and Ghanaian identity at stake leaves a lot to be desired.

Two issues have prompted this piece. I listened to Joy Fm, a few in December last year and there was a report on how one of their reporters, Anny Osabutey on news assignment in Lima, Peru for the Climate Change Conference.

In that story, Anny Osabutey was asked by his colleagues to buy them Peruvian hair. Well, there is a local Akan adage, “aho)fee w) sut) mu” to wit, “beauty is in a shop”. How on earth do we lose our own identity to the extent that our beauty depends on someone’s hair? We preach, ‘believe in yourself’ on the contrary ‘we practice believe in others’. I don’t have a problem once again with fashion, but fashion that takes away one’s identity, in boxing terms, “it is below the African identity belt”

A woman’s hair is her glory, not the hair of another woman’s hair on hers. I am an avid reader of New African Magazine, and one of the sections that thrill my imagination and desire is the column by Akua Djanie, “Reflections of an ordinary woman”. Any time, I have a few wads of note in my wallet; I don’t forget to grab a copy of the Pan-African magazine.

In the October, 2014 edition, Akua Djanie spoke of the warts and all of the role Africa’s First Ladies played in the US-Africa Summit. In her column is a photograph of Chantal Biya in an embrace with Michelle Obama. Eh, Madame Biya, vous etes tres belle, et son cheveau hmm, excusez moi, c’est dommage.

Madame Chantal Biya is the wife of Camerounian President, Monsieur Paul Biya. All other issues that were discussed at the summit did not catch the attention of the major newspapers in the USA like Madame Biya’s “Peruvian” or “Brazilian” hair. If it was wonderful to keep another woman’s glory on your head, why was she a laughing stock?

The second issue has to do with one of the games I love so much, FOOTBALL, or better known as SOCCER. On January 4, 2014, I watched the evening news on TV3. On the sports segment, there was this news item about Saani Daara suggesting that a law should be made to ban free rights of showing foreign football league.

Saani mentions that “in England, parliament has introduced a law that does not allow their local free to air Television stations to show foreign league games live. They only allow pay-per-view stations like Skysports to show the foreign leagues. So, in response I think the Parliaments in Africa, especially in Ghana must introduce a law that stops our local TV stations from showing live EPL matches.”

So the English have done this. They have made their league to become what it is and yet they do not want any infiltration… hmm. It is true that our local teams are not able to pay their players enough to keep them in the country. These are matters of administration which the GFA can help by setting up measures that will ensure that players are taken care of. It all has to do with sponsorship.

The media houses who have the rights to show various foreign leagues will not meet eye to eye with Saani on this one. Come to think of it, the adverts and the new craze of betting; there will be fire on the mountain and no one will be around to douse it off.

The disagreement on this one with Saani shows our level of unwillingness to be part of the solution. We criticise the Ghana Football Association from all angles about how our league is not interesting. We have forgotten that we are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

It is no secret that our league is bedeviled with a whole of court cases here and there. These court cases have their own warts and all. If the FA learns from the root causes that cause these challenges, they will be able to put in measures to ensure that these are avoided and with time the local league will grow.

The FA should consider improving womens’ league, and that of the colts, divisions one, two and three. Although, no one’s umbilical cord was tied to a football, once the GFA has a variety of leagues for the public our love for our league will increase with time.

The local corporate world can be approached to partner the FA in promoting all the leagues that are going to be rolled out. This is our mother land; an effort to build our motherland should not be met with apathy.

The need for political will is required to ensure that as for our league we should not allow anything of foreign nature to deny us the attempt to improve it, love it and sustain its competitive ability with other leagues.

A lot has been taken away from us. GMO is in the offing; an attempt to take over the sovereignty of the Ghanaian peasant farmer and determine what and how to grow what we eat.

Saani’s suggestion is not bad, it calls for a deep thinking; it is a matter of national development thinking, the argument must not be swept under the carpet.

Fashion and Football is a way we can begin working on our national development, attitudinal change can happen and our cherished African identity can be kept.

Writer’s blog address and email address: www.gudzetsekomla.blogspot.com/kw.ameblege@hotmail.com