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Opinions of Sunday, 31 May 2009

Columnist: Afriyie, Meshack Opoku

The Conception and Perception of ‘Sakawa’

The word ‘Sakawa’ is a Hausa word which means ‘how to make money’. This I can’t make any connotations about, however, interesting enough I have observed that many people don’t really understand how the word ‘sakawa’ came about and what it was regarded for. But rather confusing themselves and labeling certain deeds as ‘sakawa’ instead of ‘Sika Duro’(blood money),’Mugu’ (zombie), the Almighty 419 among others.

I have read articles in the media about how state officials and others intend on clamping down ‘sakawa’. This is a positive attitude and reaction to the recurring news of lads acquiring mysterious fortune and immoral activities. However, I believe that our society needs to know what they are up against and what specifically they are looking for. You can never fight your enemy when you don’t know who or what it is?

A little history about its genesis will paint a clear definition of what the young refer to as ‘Sakawa’.It all started in Swedru,where young people and even adults enticed foreign nationals with pictures of nude girls who claim to be searching for other nationals to marry. So unsuspecting victims fall prey to this demise where males fraudulently disguise themselves as ladies and communicate with them through the internet in order to establish a relationship which can lead on into something serious even marriage. In the process, the victims send money, gifts to so-called pals or lovers. So this is how it all started.

As many of the young realizing it was lucrative, begun establishing network pals whose trust they gain and started extorting money by conniving means. But as time went on the white folks realized this, so many resorted to charms for manipulating people into sending them money and their details as well as credit cards numbers which they used to shop online. So that was and is referred to as ‘Sakawa’ or computer fraud. Presently the rising issues of snakes, coffins, madness etc…are not activities or operations of sakawa but rather ‘Sika duro’ aka blood money, ‘Mugu’ (Zombie) where people are deceived into thinking that there can be multiplication of their money and also charming people for their monies. In the mist of the computer fraud, lads have now resorted to blood money due to the fact that our Security agencies, Interpol and even FBI has become vigilant on computer fraud and its kind of legal to engage in blood money. More over, no police can arrest you for carrying a coffin at odd hours, having snakes around you or having something that generates money without raising any security alarm (your own personal ATM machine) Just imagine, how many foreign nationals will send over $ 15,000 to a pal, unknown lover especially with the credit crunch situation at hand or how many credit cards have over $5,000 on it or how smooth will the procedure be for a fraudster to purchase a Toyota Corolla S model without any detection. Just think about it, if you now comprehend what ‘Sakawa’ is then it will highly be impossible to keep up such a pace with the lifestyle of the blood money individuals who have a constant supply of money.

A sakawa guy can obtain some money but it never last that long to acquire what most lads are purchasing nowadays; like cars, houses, stores etc…so you wonder where they get it from and your guess is as good as mine. There have even being rumors of these young ones get involved in accidents and surprisely stacks of money are discovered at the trunk of their cars(especially their favorite Toyota Corolla S) just like a story I heard last week about a similar incident at Tesano.

So its high time we realize that the youth of today are engaging more in spiritual dealings like blood money, occultism because its now the easiest way to make money than sakawa. Therefore we have to redirect some attention to that, start praying for the youth of our beloved Ghana and educating the youth that life is not all about money but values like hard work. For the youth’s angle of success has changed due to societal preference for riches, so we must also refocus our scope in order to hit the right targets because we are loosing future leaders and talents.

BY MESHACK OPOKU AFRIYIE i4shark@yahoo.com