User login

Shout Box

There are no shouts to view.
Login or register to post shouts
All Shouts

Recent comments

Who's new

  • Acma
  • nxkwwwblazerod
  • translatornauseating
  • fidelisadjei
  • baronfake

Jacket - what you come back for, the Diasporean Ghanaian

Posted by abocco on Sun, 01/21/2007 - 15:00 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

One of the songs my cousin used to sing frequently when I was in Ghana last Christmas was Jacket by Praye (wOama yEayi me jacket). I got hooked onto the song for a bit, but I only started listening to it a lot when I came back to the USA. There's this line that is now synonymous with the song, 'What you come back for'. A lot of my friends in Ghana constanly ask me when I would be returning to Ghana, for good. I have thought about this question many times but when I have to give a response, I am not articulate aout it. So really, why haven't I gone back to Ghana already and what's stopping me?

Jacket is one of the lead singles from Praye's second album, the Bomb. Nah, not bomb as in nuclear or atomic bomb, but they claim the album is 'the bomb'. I agree, it is very good. Other great songs include Ka kyere me, Wife and Medo wo. Jacket is a song about how a man's love has disgraced him in public because she never really loved him inspite of all he did for her and now she is coming back to him. Praye's lyrics are funny and intriguing and this song has a mix of Ga, English and Twi lines.

The question of 'what you come back for' can be posed to Ghanaians going to Ghana on holidays too. What do we normally go to Ghana for? Primarily, it is to visit family and catch up on friends, if we haven't lost those networks. Some of us also try our best to enjoy Ghana on various levels and get into trouble with our families for doing it. I think in going home, we must get the full experience. We are a very family-based people, (sticking with family, nepotism, investing most of our resources in family) but we must branch out, pursue volunteer opportunities, community initiatives - I think this will ultimately help us pay attention to matters of societal and national development.

My 'what you come back for' question askes me why I continue to stay away from home. I am in school and I am not done. I completed my first degree awhile back but decided to pursue a graduate degree to improve and develop my knowledge in my field. I contemplated going to Ghana (for a year) but getting the masters' degree out of the way became paramount. I will face another decision whether to go back home soon, but I am leaning towards working in the US to gain business and organizational knowledge as well as resources. I feel most of the time, African students in the US get the full educational experience, but do not pick up the business acumen and skills to run businesses, organizations, and manage people, resources and talent well.

Did I come back for the money? The cold? The flex? The things? The women? The internet? I came back for more knowledge, more experience, in a different culture, to educate myself about what could solve problems back home. I definitely didn't come back to the West for the women, Ludacris would bear me out. The flex? Well, the dollar doesn't do me much good in Ghana these days anyway, much less the USA. The least said about America's weather, the better. Ghanaians in Ghana may be getting more materialistic than their counterparts abroad. Oh yeah, I came back for the internet, because I didn't find the need to visit internet cafes in Ghana, too much else to do. The talk of being compensated much more working in the West is overrated, and is not very attractive when you factor in cost of living, WHERE you are living, etc. Besides, some companies in Africa are starting to offer 'competitive' salaries. Some people raise the point that you get compensated for merit in the West, as opposed to Africa, but does that really matter when you are working for yourself?

There are countless reasons and excuses people have for living and working outside of Ghana, but I hope whatever the case may be, our hearts are very close to home. I doubt Ghana can house us all, but Ghana can definitely USE us all.

Full Jacket lyrics.
Scroll down on the lyrics page to listen to the song.


Comments

TO GO OR NOT TO GO...THAT IS THE QUESTION

One thing is for sure, some musicians out there owe you some PAYOLLA; what with the way you always promote them in your blogs. I hope they are your friends but if not go claim your PAYOLLA hehehehe....

On a more serious note lets talk about this 'SANKOFIE' business. Who was it who wrote the song; 'Wherever i lay my head, that's my home' (was it Percy Sledge or Marvin Gaye?)
Listen my brother, i believe in fate, in destiny and in the will of God. The five fingers that make up your hand are not equal in width or size nor shape. And the same applies to people. I sense a battle of wills in your deliberation but you owe it to yourself and none other to be comfortable and confident in whichever way you want to go, otherwise you wont have a sense of fulfilment.

Let me put it this way that circumstances cause people to sojourn in foreign lands. Whether for economic migration, education, marriage or family or even a matter of life and death, the opportuniy presents itself to some but not to all, and those who get it, take it.
There are also people who decide to stay home or for whom certain opportunities presented themselves and they are equally emancipated, satisfied and wealthy in their own rights.
There is no contest here. Its about lifestyles and dreams. If anybody can live abroad and go back home to settle later on and be equally happy and self sufficient, then so it should be.
But if that opportunity is not present i see no sense in going back home to settle and be miserable. And you musn't make anybody make you feel guilty for making that decision.
Sometimes it works out better being abroad and helping family and community back home with much-needed-but-hard-to-come-by support or find a niche in your Ghanaian community abroad where you are able to make a difference...it works out the same.
Othertimes, our expertise, purpose and sense of being are best served living back home and in that respect there should be no hesitation when the will and the way calls.
Take away these two scenarios and i will say follow your heart and your dreams.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.


GhanaThink Managing Executive

Ghana can use us all

One thing is for sure, you probably don't like Ghanaian music as much as I do, because I do not get any payola. The excitement of promoting Ghanaian music is enough compensation for me. :-)

Back to the issue, you raise pertinent points that I try to address at the end of my blog entry. I doubt Ghana can house us all within the confines of our borders, what I said is it can definitely use us all.

Home is where the heart is, it is not really where you lay your head or even where your head is, if you ask me. I feel home is what defines you, your culture, your thought process. That is why sometimes I feel for those 'Ghanaians' who have been born in different cultures and can't really own Ghana, understand it or feel like it is where they are from.

Concerning the said circumstances, they are true and very visible. Ghana benefits a lot from remittances and much has been said about this. What I am trying to address in my post is - what we are coming (back) to our bases abroad for? Do they offer things we cannot get back home? How can we address that? You make a good point about following your dreams. How many people have dreams to leave in Ghana in some capacity compared to other scenario? I suppose the former outnumbers the latter. Hence, it is critical we discuss and ascertain why we go abroad and the cultural neighbourhood we leave expects of us.

The destiny of a nation at any given time depends on the opinions (and actions) of its young men and women.


OKWANTUNI The Traveller

Oh yes i love Ghanaian music. Anything from Ko Nimo to Lord Kenya i listen to. Even got my dad's scratchy apaawa et all. I felt you are doing a yeoman's job in the way you highlight lyrics of songs and use them as launch pads for your blogs. I meant it as a compliment.

Now regarding my response to your topic, i based my script on the section where you seemed to be in a dilemma as to what course of action you must take when you finish your studies. Now that you have specified how you want the topic to progress, i think we can discuss it further.

''HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS'' now that is a common cliche but what will the 'HEART' be in the context of this blog? See what you call home i would rather refer to as Roots or Motherland/fatherland. Anyone can build or set up home or settle anywhere given the right circumstances and comfort; and that is what i meant by my metaphor.

In response to your question; first of all i do not feel that any visit to Ghana should neccessarily be for permanent residency. But having said that, there are mostly social and economic reasons
why people would rather go back to their foreign bases.
1. LACK OF CERTAIN JOBS FOR CERTAIN FEILDS OF EXPERTISE.
2. FAMILY TIES (as in the nucleous and not extended family)
3.THE DOLLAR/POUND POWER which makes the cedi equivalent multiply enough to look after family.
4.LIFESTYLES (grit, grime and crime puts people off)
5.UNSECURE POLITICAL SCENARIOS (That may hamper business)
6. A QUEST FOR ADVANCEMENT (EDUCATION OR TRAINING IN A FEILD OF STUDY)
7.HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES (In the case of people who feel persecuted or are in danger)

How can we address these issues? Well for a start by accepting some as inevitable and working on the negative ones that stop people from wanting to settle.

THE CRINGE FACTOR! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT GOD MADE THREE WORLDS AND THAT I COME FROM THE THIRD WORLD. THE ISSUE OF RACE IS GEOGRAPHICAL AND NOT A STATUS SYMBOL AND NEITHER IS MY SKIN BLACK NOR YOURS WHITE.