Fa Ma Nyame (Episode: Exams)

I’m making good on my promise to write a satirical story as stated in my earlier post, “What is he going to teach them?

As a side note, this was inspired by my awesome Grandpa, Charles S. Ofori, and some of the words of the angel are directly quoted from him.

[Fa ma Nyame. Translation: Give it to God.]

Note: No deliberate sacrilege was intended by the author. She apologises if this post offends you or your beliefs.


Fa Ma Nyame Episode: Exams

            ‘Twas the night before exams, and Johnny, one’s typical, frequently-imagined kid with the unhealthy version of what one might call a Ghanaian mind-set, had not studied a bit. I would tell you what he had instead spent his time doing, but it makes no difference to his current situation, and is irrelevant to the sequence of this story. The point is that his unprepared, newly-barbered head was as empty as a freshly-washed calabash, drying upside-down on a rack.

In accordance with the unhealthy version of a Ghanaian mind-set, Johnny did not decided to pick up a textbook in an eleventh-hour attempt to cram some nonessential, but academically-required facts into his head. What he did decide to do, was give his situation to God. I implore you to stop reading for a few seconds so you may fully appreciate Johnny’s exemplary piousness.

Are you done? Okay, we may continue. Johnny boy fell to his knees and fervently prayed a simple prayer: that he would pass his exams. His heart finally at peace, he drifted off into an innocent sleep.

This sleep was one destined to be eventful, because an angel appeared to him in his dreams. He was clothed from head to toe in white, and Johnny, consciously asleep (yes, that was intentionally ironic), beheld his splendour.

“Boy,” said the angel, “I’m having problems delivering your message.”

“What message?” asked Johnny.

“Ah,” said the angel. “Aren’t you the one that said you wanted you to pass your exams?”

“Yes. What about it?”

“I don’t understand what you mean.”

“I just want to pass my exams. I don’t understand what you don’t understand.”

The angel sighed. “Of course you don’t. What I mean to say is: have you learnt?”

“Uhm…no?” It sounded like more of a question than a statement.

“So what at all are you asking for? Do you want God to make the teacher half-blind so he can see your wrongly-shaded answers as right? You want him to see A when you’ve shaded B?”

“Well no, but…”

“But what? Or you want him to develop dyslexia so that the letters on your essay rearrange themselves to make sense?”

“Actually, that’s not what I…”

“Or better yet, he should develop hand spasms while marking, eh? So that every time he’s about to put down a cross, his hand jerks to form a tick? Is that what you want?”

“No!” wailed, Johnny. “I just want to get the answers right!”

“That’s out of the question, seeing as you don’t KNOW the answers. Listen. Here you go.” The angel threw a big fat, glowing textbook in dream-Johnny’s face. “It’s a gift from the ‘heavenlies’ to you. Do yourself a favour and stop being ridiculous. Everyday ‘fa ma Nyame’ … e no go benefit you.”

(It is only then that he realised this angel might once have been a West African. But that is not important.) Johnny woke up, cried for a few hours, and then read the textbook. I can’t say he passed, though…


What is he going to teach them?

On Sunday, I was at my great-aunt Agatha’s house with an uncle and the one and only Charles Seth Ofori, the coolest grandpa in the world. I got intrigued about their conversation when Grandpa and Grandma Agatha began to rant about Ghanaian politics and general human behaviour.

Here’s one thing we should note: Grandma Agatha is the absolute strongest nonagenarian I have ever seen. She may be nearing a hundred, but blast you if you believe, for even a second, that she has lost a fraction of her lucidity! One such blasted man, who happens to be the boy who comes to cut her grass, was mentioned somewhere in these rants, and I am going to relay what she said as accurately as my memory will allow.

“This boy who comes to cut my grass…when we give him sachet water, he just [here, she performs a throwing hand gesture with nonchalance] throws it on the floor! And when we give him food, you come and collect the plate, and there are just…toffee, gum wrappers everywhere! You know, this boy recently finished what we call SSS (senior secondary school…although I believe it’s senior HIGH school now) at Aquinas, and now he goes to a teacher’s training college. I don’t understand this education system. I don’t know what they teach the children in school. If this boy becomes a teacher, what is he going to teach the children?”

I, of course, am not going to continue the rant, because, hey, what haven’t you heard before? What I can tell you, however! is that at least ONE very satirical story is going to come out of this, so please, stay tuned. Many other rants have inspired me to think up many other stories, and I’m actually promising to write them all down before any of them escapes me forever. Who knows? I might actually start a short series.

By the way, if anybody has any practical, workable ideas as to how to correct the psyche of the “educated” but common sense-lacking Ghanaian, please let me know, so that the “elite” and co can do more than just sit at home and rant about it. Thanks.

Amen to future satires and mental development!

Ivana Akoto Ofori

Since we’re all trying to be famous…

Okay, I’m being real here. A lot of Ghanaian teens like me are being “creative” and using their talents to inspire people and allow people to become enlightened and find something to relate to…I sound ridiculous to MYSELF.

Guys, I’m tired. I’m tired of the hyping and the low quality of the things that are being hyped.
Oh, you have a fashion line? Ah yes, that’s right, those fifty-cedi boots you imported from Nigeria and are selling in that tiny kiosk in between the waakye seller’s and the barber shop. I’ll stick with my ten cedi slippers from Makola, thanks very much.

And there’s the “writers” who KEEP SHARING THEIR OWN WRITING and not bothering to check out the blogs of the people they’re inviting to read them. How are we building a strong young writers’ community when everyone is only paying attention to themselves? There are some who don’t even read! How you gonna know how to write? Sometimes I’m just reading and what I keep repeating to myself is, “That’s supposed to be a capital letter. Ooh, spellcheck let you down. That’s supposed to be a question mark. What the heck are you even saying?

Yeah, this is why I hate Wattpad, you know? It’s stupidly hard to try and find gold amidst all the cess. You want a publisher to discover you and make you an internationally-famous writer, when you CAN’T EVEN PUNCTUATE?!

Don’t even get me started on the musicians. I like how you can be saying things like, “F**k, I get so much p***y the girls be fallin’ over me like s**t…Smoke weed!” Wow, congratulations, you’re sixteen and you know swearwords! Sarkodie or Kanye West is DEFINITELY going to put you on their label! Like naahhh, G, you’re a Ghanaian schoolboy who doesn’t even know what the world looks like outside of your GarageBand app.

I’m talking a lot, but by now you should understand why I was motivated to write this:

Since We’re All Trying To Be Famous

Since we’re all trying to be famous,
Let’s all focus on getting what we create out there.
Let’s call it our “passion”
And choose not to be aware of our own terrible punctuation
Or lack of skill with a photo editor
Or our inability to compose lyrics that make sense.
None of that matters when you’re trying to be famous.

Since we’re all trying to be famous,
Let’s all get frustrated,
Because as we’re hyping ourselves, those we are trying to get to recognize us are trying to get recognized,
So everybody’s speaking and no-one’s listening
And everyone is writing, but nobody’s reading

And this is probably why those who acknowledge themselves as talentless
Are now the wisest people and the best critics;
While these people know how to appreciate what they witness,
The hopeless are still trying to get famous.