Sunday, 6 March 2016

The A to Z of Ghanaian Food Favourites

You know I love my blog tradition of publishing something Ghana-centric on Independence Day. This year, it is sugar and spice and all things food. You've been served. 

A is for Apapransa

The joyous fusion of palm nut soup and roasted maize flour are the main components of this Ghanaian dish. Filling and eye-catching, especially when garnished with crabs, you certainly won't forget it in a hurry.

B is for Banku

To make banku is to get a lesson in: proportionate mixing of fermented corn and cassava dough, achieving a smooth consistency and being rewarded with perfect lump-free balls. Serve with soup, stew or a pepper sauce with fish. Tilapia usually wins here. 

C is for Chichinga

This skewered meaty addition - also spelt kyinkyinga - is a must on any party table or street food venue. Lamb, beef, pork, chicken...the possibilities are endless. Don't forget the all important liberal sprinkling of chichinga powder which is made from a mixture of roasted cornmeal, red pepper, pulverized peanuts, salt and other spices. You don't want to miss that distinctive zing.

D is for Domedo 

This spicy pork belly delicacy had to have the entire letter D because it has become an institution unto itself. An unmissable component of Ghana's street food scene, domedo can be fried, grilled or roasted to accompany kenkey, fried yam or banku with pepper. Among some friends of mine, Sundays in Accra are not complete without hitting up a domedo joint in Jamestown.  

E is for Ekwegbemi 

Coarse corn meal eaten as a cereal with milk and sugar to taste. As a child in Kumasi, I used to listen out for Eno Mary, the neighbourhood ekwegbemi seller. Her melodious ditty alerting the neighbourhood of the readiness of "hot hot ekwegbemi" was one of the firm sounds of the morning. Good old days.

F is for Fufu 

This national dish is traditionally made by boiling cassava, yam, plantain and/or cocoyam, and then pounding them into a dough-like consistency using a mortar and pestle. Due to the exertion in making fufu, you really must sit down to the finished meal with the view to enjoying every last morsel. Or, you may also skip all of that and purchase any of the ready-mix powdered versions available on the market. Enjoy with just about any local soup going - See 'N' for some examples.

G is for Gari

The multi-functional gari can be eaten sweet (soaked in water with sugar and milk, popularly known as 'gari soakings') or savoury (with gravy, soup or shito - See 'S')

H is for Hausa Koko

This popular meal is available from the time the cock crows. Made from components including corn, millet, ginger, dried pepper, hwentia (Grains of Selim), fom wisa.(Grains of paradise) and soro wisa (West African pepper), it is guaranteed to hit the spot and set you up for the morning.

I is for Iced Kenkey 

The divine ice kenkey is the art of giving kenkey a new lease of life. Perfection is achieved by mashing the kenkey to a watery mix, with sugar and milk added to taste. Pop it into the fridge to complete the ice cool goodness. 

J is for Jollof Rice 

There's a battle on social media (#JollofDebate; #JollofWars) and in real time to decide which West African country lays claim to the best version of this one-pot dish of deliciousness. Made with a tomato stew base to which rice and spices are added and allowed to slow cook, jollof is the summation of all that perfectly cooked rice should be. Rest assured they don't come tastier than the Ghanaian version. Sit down, Nigeria. 

K is for Kelewele 

Diced, well-spiced fried ripe plantain that is the stuff of enjoyable snacking. What's not to like? (I also have an untested theory that kelewele is always the first to finish at the buffet table of any Ghana/West African party).

L is for Light Soup

This soup, although called 'light' can be thickened with garden eggs and broad beans, and enjoyed with different types of meat and/or fish. 

M is for Momoni

One not exactly for the faint-hearted. This salted fish could blaze its way through the nostrils of a comatose patient - and wake them up. The French have their 'stinky' delicacies in cheese and what not. In Ghana we have ours in momoni and its ilk (eg. koobi, totobi, dawadawa). So allow. Keep calm and spice your local soups and stews with it. 

N is for Nkwan 

We seriously love soup (nkwan - Akan word for soup) in Ghana, and, thankfully, the national palette serves different options. These include Nkrakra (light soup), Abe nkwan (palm nut), Nkate nkwan (groundnut), Werewere nkwan (sesame) and Ebunu ebunu (soup prepared with an assortment of green leaves, particularly kontomire), among others.

O is for Omo Tuo

One for the rice lovers, omo tuo is cooked with more water to achieve a soft consistency, and then rolled into small balls. Usually served with groundnut or palmnut soup.

P is for Prekese

Prekese goes by the sonorously alliterative botanical name, Tetrapleura tetraptera (...go on, say it again. I know I did). Your soup will thank you for its flavoursome contribution. Not one to slack in life, prekese is also notable for its medicinal uses.

Q is for Quiche 

I'll crave your indulgence and go with quiche here since it has become a firm fixture on the Ghana food scene. On that note, anybody out there with suggestions of a local Ghanaian food/ingredient beginning with the letter 'Q'?

R is for Red Red 

Getting its colourful name from being cooked with palm oil, red red is black-eyed bean stew. For the love of beans, have it with fried plantain and gari to make it a memorable threesome! 

S is for Shito

This black pepper sauce is as ubiquitous as the wind. From being a student companion taking pride of place in the 'chop boxes' of boarding schoolers, to finding itself a suitable accompaniment to everything under the sun, you will soon love the fiery presence of shito. Call it a black magic potion for every season of life, if you will. 

T is for Tuo Zaafi ('TZ') 

'TZ' can go far with you. I mean, it can be made from millet, corn, sorghum or cassava mixtures, and enjoyed with soup. Tell me, if that isn't going the whole nine yards with you, what is?

U is for Umbles

Umbles is the offal of deer. Those who have had it tell me it needs to be eaten to be believed. This neatly takes us to the next letter.

V is for Venison

Empirical observation tells me use of venison is not as widespread as other meats. However, it certainly has enthusiasts who swear by its flavour. The contents of the gut are squeezed out, mixed with water and strained before being added to venison soup to give it that "gutty" taste. It's not for me, but it certainly is a delicacy for some. 

W is for Waakye 

Your typical waakye meal consists of cooked rice and beans with stew, plus a combination of spaghetti, moist gari, fried fish/meat, boiled egg, fried plantain or kelewele and vegetable salad. It is the stuff of goodness, the stuff of legend, the stuff of morning or lunchtime joy, the stuff of - okay, it is rather obvious waakye is a firm favourite of mine. At this point, I'd like to thank Mama Tess Special Waakye Joint at Kaneshie for many delicious meals. She and I are even on first name terms. That's special. 

X is for 

Erm. Yea, this is not happening. Please send help. 

Y is for Yam

In the food world, the humble yam is high on the list of 'Most Versatile Vegetable'. What do I mean by that? You may bake, boil, fry, mash, pound or roast yam. Here, the list really is endless.  

Z is for Zomi 

Zomi is palm oil cured in an especial way, giving it a distinct flavour and tasty sediment . May it forever make meals memorable. 

Happy Independence Day, folks!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

''You don't look Ghanaian''

Check out the audio version of this post below!

I've apparently stopped looking Ghanaian. 

And I am not talking about the numerous times I have been erroneously described as Nigerian, including one bizarre encounter when a strange woman leapt out of a queue she was in and forcefully hugged me, all the while insisting I was the long lost Nkechi - "or, at the very least, Nkechi's sister!" (I've been Nigerian a number of times, but this was the most dramatic circumstance yet).

When the Nigerians "claim" me as one of their own, I am told I could be an Igbo woman anyday, and that it is as a result of any one or combination of the following: my height, complexion, eyes, cheekbones and, lately, my natural hair. I don't know how true any of it is, but it certainly always makes for interesting conversations. 

But as I say, I'm not even talking about these peculiarities here.

I refer instead to the statement that often gets levied at me every time I am in Ghana, so ubiquitous as to keep rearing its head in various settings, by turns amusing and perplexing me: "You don't look Ghanaian." 

I have heard that statement one too many times, sometimes even expressed in an accusing tone by the speaker as though, somehow, I'm also to blame for their getting it wrong. It has been uttered in 'formal' settings (such as passport control in Accra's Kotoka Airport and the Ghana High Commission in London) and informal contexts (meeting friends of friends, and of course, the many times I've randomly been 'Nigerian', 'South African', 'Sierra Leonean' and once, - whilst transitting through Madrid - 'Guinean'). As much as these various encounters would have me believe I'm rocking some kind of 'global African look' (and I will have some lipstick with that, please), the main thrust of this post is how this perceived lack of "Ghanaian-ness" about my person has coloured what would otherwise have been unremarkable events in Ghana. Let me illustrate with three examples from a particular trip home.   

1) I went to sort out an internet data plan at one of the telco offices in Accra and encountered two male customer service staff. At first, I was being attended to by only one customer service rep who treated me with acceptable professional courtesy. In the course of our transaction, he was joined by a colleague seeking his opinion on something. As soon as the second rep joined, the professional courtesy hitherto shown to me whimpered, withered and died quite the death as they started trading comments in Twi about me. There were crude sexual innuendos interspersed with giggly observations that I looked like I needed the nearest swimming pool (moments after I dabbed a bead of sweat on my forehead with my hanky). Then from this last, they started to wonder how my body would look in a swimsuit. Despite the incredulity that was coursing through me, I stood there quietly and re-arranged my facial expression into one of careful neutrality, waiting to see where it would end. That they could be so crass wasn't nearly as surprising as the realisation that such commentary was first of all being passed on the assumption that their target was none the wiser. You know, because somehow or other, she didn't look Ghanaian - and by extention, couldn't possibly understand the Twi that was being spoken. Oh, but I have never enjoyed reading the riot act more vigorously than I did when I revealed my Twi-speaking status at the end of our transaction.

2) Arranging a flight from Accra to Kumasi, the airline office couldn't say if a plane would be available to fly us on the selected date, even if one made a confirmed payment! Oh, but wait! They would be more than happy to arrange "a refound" if we arrived at the airport and found there to be no plane on the day of departure.


Then, giving me a critical onceover, an assistant added helpfully that, if it indeed happened, they would process my "refound" quicker because I neither looked Ghanaian nor like I lived in Ghana. I was speechless for a moment. Until, irked by how much the word "refound" was bandied about, I eventually snapped, "it's refund!", left and booked my flight with a rival airline who would actually have a plane to fly us on the day! (Side note: I will blog about  the first part of her observation soon, this selective appraisal of which customer deserves better service on the basis of perceived foreigner privilege, instead of great customer service for everyone). 

3) Over lunch with a friend, I questioned the "freshness" of a piece of chicken that was supposed to have been grilled that very day and yet tasted anything but. The waiter exclaimed, "Ei madam, so you can tell it's not fresh, eh? But you don't look like the kind of Ghanaian woman who cooks oo..." Oh, shame! But the eejit wasn't to know that I have been honing my cooking skills for a very long time. Besides, who, even if they do not like to/cannot cook, can't tell when they're eating a poor excuse for the real thing? At least he thought I was yay, progress. 

They are but few examples, often compounded by other moments of intuitive knowledge which make me wonder about these criss-crossing encounters. Why should the baggage handler on the tarmac at Kotoka Airport say an instinctive "welcome home, sister" to me, but the immigration officer minutes later inside the terminal give my Ghanaian passport extra scrutiny whilst insolently asking, "are you sure you are even from here?" Why should the market woman haggle good-naturedly with me in Twi, but a taxi driver blatantly ignore me in the same respect, choosing instead to negotiate in English when that is not the language I approached him with, all the while quoting an inflated price on the presumption I wouldn't know any different. Like I said, criss-crossing encounters. 

So what gives? I can be bemused by non-Ghanaian strangers insisting I'm Nigerian, South African, Guinean and goodness knows whatever else. But it sure does throw a spanner in the works when it is inferred that I don't look Ghana.

Pray, tell, good people of the world - what is this crucial Ghanaian look that has gone walkabout in my life?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Where will your travels take you?

On an unseasonably warm day in February, I board a bus.

I am going on a journey.

My breakfast is still swimming around my throat in protest at how fast I've gobbled it down, threatening regurgitation. I am pressed for time, yet I can still pause to acknowledge porridge oats as the one food I can make and eat within seven minutes. I have timed it and it is a remarkable feat, because usually, I can nurse my food till the cocks come home to roost. When I was fourteen and about to go to boarding school, one of my mother's valid concerns was that I'd be the soul left on her lonesome at the dining hall while everybody finished their food and left for their next class.

The sun is out and I am appreciating this rare opportunity to wear just a light blazer as opposed to the warm winter jacket that has been attached to my body for the last few months.

A cacophony of sounds jostle for dominance in the bus. Noisy children ask tedious questions of their parents, whilst they in turn respond with the patience that only a parent can muster. There is loud chatter and general bonhomie which only the appearance of the sun can bestow on the good people of the United Kingdom. That it is also a Saturday adds a certain gaiety to proceedings.

I go to the upper deck and I spot them immediately.

He is blond, with a face that looks like it is always on the verge of bursting into raucous laughter.She has skin the colour of rust, and an accent she later assures me is supposed to be Kenyan, as though she could tell my geography fails  me on various occasions.

'Do you think I have the face for it?' She asks without preamble as I take the seat behind them.

'For it?' I echo dumbly.

'For a perm cut. Come on, be honest with me.' She adds conspiratorially.

Before I know it, we are discussing hair types, cheekbones...and the luminous Lupita Nyiong'o for whom the world has gone loopy.

They are good friends, she tells me, turning to her mate, ruffling the blond hairs on his head, and he retaliates by telling her that a perm cut would not suit her prominent forehead. I am touched by their easy banter.  

With mock solemnity I assure her that life is so much better when you accept that yes, your forehead is prominent et alors? I point to the scar on mine, the one I can't hide especially now my hair is short, and we share a smile.

I am nearly at my stop so I say goodbye and go downstairs, feeling like my day can only get better thereon.

It does.

I am attending a travel writing workshop run by Peter Carty, an experienced writer whose travel features have graced numerous publications including The Guardian, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph etc.

It's a full house, chatty with enthusiastic people from all walks of life, and it doesn't escape me that for all our differences, one thing unites us all in that moment: our passion for travel. During the ice-breaker session, I meet Georgina, born in Serbia, raised in Sydney and now living in London. Seated on my left is an English woman from Kent, whose transatlantic accent reveals on further probing, an early life spent in Nairobi. I want to tell her that the only Swahili I know is from playing 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' as a child, but I don't think now is the time to outdoor my limited language skills. (I can say 'Stop, thief!' and 'Are you a detective?', just in case you're wondering.)

Through various conversations and writing assignments in the course of the day, I am taken on a food tour in Bologna, hiking up the Scottish Highlands, navigating local life in Colombia and back for a culinary tour de force in San Sebastian, amongst other exhilarating experiences brought piercingly alive through text.

The workshop is intense, packed with nuggets of information, and so easily whets my appetite for travel until I can almost feel the ants in my pants move down to give me itchy feet.

And so as the day ends, I am buzzing, thinking of passports, finances and travel destinations. But mostly, I am also thinking who will I talk to next? 

Because to travel is to allow yourself to experience a people, a place, an adventure.

Where will yours take you?

Travel Writing Workshop

Thursday, 6 March 2014

57 Words For Ghana Livin'

So you've heard about us Ghanaians. We are the lively, captivating bunch who light up the west coast of Africa. You've seen us banter with each other on various social media platforms and been entertained by some of the more dotty stuff. Your timelines occasionally flood with 'in country' jokes that everyone else is in on. Well, continuing the blog tradition of a Ghana-centric post on 6 March, here are 57 words for Ghana livin' and lovin'.

1) Akwaaba 
We bid welcome with this word that rolls pleasantly off the tongue. Although it is an Akan word, Akwaaba is that warm outstretched hand of Ghanaian hospitality which you'll see all over the country.  

2Abeg (I beg)
Think 'Oh, please!' or 'Yeah, right!', and occasionally, 'Wow, impressive!' 

This is a verbal pat on the back that means 'well done!'

These days, your dance moves are seriously lacking if you haven't learnt how to pull off the arm-raising, hip-moving, knee-bending, leg-twisting dance that is Azonto.  

5Bele Bele 
You've not met a more industrious hawker than one who changes their wares in response to supply and demand. Bele Bele is small-time hawking of just about anything that is hot right now. It is loyal to no one product or place and brings new meaning to bric-a-brac.

6Bronya ade
During the festive season, peace and goodwill to all mankind won't suffice. You must also expect to be asked for bronya ade (Christmas gift) by just about anyone, including relatives, friends, the waakye seller, the tailor, the taxi driver, the mechanic (fitter), the hairdresser, the trader in the get the point.

7) Boss
Yes, you could be talking about your superior at work. But because the word 'boss' is..well, such a boss, you could also use it in the context of 'buttering someone up', 'cajoling' or 'coaxing.' Think flattery, without too much insincerity.

8) Blow
As a student, academic excellence comes in the form of 'blowing your exams', which is simply to say you have passed with flying colours. Rather neatly, this takes us to the next word. Because in order to blow your exam, you must first be a...

9) Shark
Sharp-toothed as those marine fishes, and brimming with general brilliance. 

10) Bend down boutique ('Fose')
 Second hand clothing usually spread out on mats in the market, hence your needing to 'bend down' in order to make a selection.

This is not the onomatopoeic dance of Latin-American origin, but gambling in local parlance. 

12) Check-Check
Bright, and, often, crudely designed kiosks from which a lucrative fast food business booms. Check-Check joints are local and lively, with regular customers who are enticed to this street food establishment because of convenience and affordable pricing. 

13) Chisel
If you are miserly, you are a tool. You are chisel!

This is a wooden square box for storing food or 'provisions' when a student goes to boarding school. It is a crucial accessory for survival if your school kitchen staff are notorious for serving what is meant to be food, but actually looks like an Unidentified Floating Object. 

15) Chop Money 
Before you brandish a weapon that hacks through paper, chop money is allowance that a spouse provides for the upkeep of the home. 

16Chale wote
You've never seen a more ubiquitous footwear than chale wote. A Ga language word for flip-flops, chale wote revels in its duplicity as the one footwear all Ghanaians own, whilst also doubling as a local slang for 'Homie, let's go!'

17) Chew and Pour
While this phrase has been coined with characteristic humour, 'chew and pour' is the systematic learning by rote in order to regurgitate on paper as demanded by one school examination or other. The gamut of challenges Ghanaian students face in the education system contributes to the survivalist attitude to simply 'chew, pour, pass and forget' without appreciation for critical thinking and evaluation. 

Born again Christian. 

Someone who is perceived as spoiled and pampered because of their moneyed background. 'MamaBa' is used interchangeably with DadaBa if applicable.

20) Dropping
Local transportation in Ghana is peppered with inside jargon, and 'dropping' is one such. This simply means chartering an empty taxi to get you to your destination as opposed to sharing with other passengers at a station or bus stop. The crucial thing to remember about dropping is that price must be agreed beforehand as taxis in Ghana are not metered. So if you feel as though the taxi driver has plucked the fare from somewhere in the stratosphere, it's because he actually has. Ready, set, time to negotiate!
Did you know the Electricity Company of Ghana puts disco lights in the homes of Ghanaians? Load shedding is the official term for the rationing of national electricity supply, but 'dumsor' is the term that everyone calls it to signify the on-off nature of electricity supply. And there you have it, disco light electricity. Now you see it, now you don't.

22) Feeli Feeli
As in, 'Barack...honey, I saw you two feeli feeli! Flirting! Oh, and a selfie at a funeral?!' Are you thinking feeli feeli means 'with my own eyes', 'live', that sort of thing? You're absolutely on the right track.

23) Flex
Being showy with seeming understatement, or standoffish. Context is golden with this particular slang.  

24) Fix us
Give us a treat.

25) Flash
Not indecent exposure or anything even to do with lighting. Unless you count lighting up the screen of someone's mobile phone with the briefest of flash to signify 'you called', which, in this case, is totally what it's about. In Ghana, you will hear people say they only have 'flashing units' on their mobile phones. 

Ghana's rich mineral wealth is well-known. Unfortunately, so is the process of illegal mining known as Galamsey.

27) Guarantee
You know those shoes with soles so high they put you on another platform altogether? We call them 'guarantee.' I don't know why either.

The stuff of good home cooking that ministers straight to the soul. Can I get an amen?

A genre of Ghanaian music that is a fusion of highlife and hiphop, with a bit of dancehall and reggae in the mix. Often recorded in local languages, most popularly in Akanhiplife has arrived to titillate your tympanic membrane and give rhythm to your dancing feet. Enjoy.

30) Item 13
Not a wordy amendment to the Constitution of Ghana or any such highbrow documentation. Item 13 is refreshment, and your party or gathering better have plenty for all attendees to eat. 

Ga word that describes young females who ply a trade in major markets as porters, carrying goods for a negotiated fee.

32) Knocking
When a dating couple have made the decision to marry, the man's family uses the all-important 'Knocking' ceremony to formally inform the woman's family of his intention to marry her. The term 'knocking' comes from the Ghanaian tradition of knocking on someone's door before entering their premises as a visitor.

Is a slang for police officers, whether they are on the beat in the sweltering heat, or at the charge office waiting  to give you an unforgettable 'counter back' experience.

There was a time when your evening meal didn't digest until you had taken a walk to the nearest kyibom stand and made an order. Kyibom is omelette, but enterprising sellers have expanded their offers to include all manner of hot pastries and drinks. Crucially, no kyibom seller worth their eggs sets up stall in the morning, because trust me, kyibom is a roaring joint for the nighttime in much the same way kelewele brings life to a dull evening. 

35) Mate
They are not your chummy buddies with whom you break bread. Mate is the savvy, no-nonsense right-hand man who monitors passenger pick-up and drop-off, and collects fares on the trotro

36) Our Day
Children in primary school celebrate 'Our Day' on the last day of term, bringing in food and drinks to share with their friends. However, it is also very possible that the jollof rice, biscuits, chicken, cake and whatnot that mother has slaved over will end up in carrier bags which a random teacher has brought especially for looting on this day of food and feasting. Our day? You bet.

This must be delivered with the righteous gloating of someone who predicted a particular outcome and was roundly ignored. Because oyiwa means 'I told you so!'

Technically, obroni means white person. But if your complexion is approaching anywhere that society at any point in time may consider 'fair', then you too are 'obroni.' 

Friend. Buddy.

40) Papa
You could be talking about any one of the following - Father (Papa), stressing the effect of something or someone (This annoys me papa!) or any object that can be used as a hand fan - and the word 'papa' becomes handy. All it takes is context and intonation. Some words are just born versatile.

41) Phobia
In Ghana when you say 'Phobia', you're really talking about one of the country's biggest football club sides, Accra Hearts of Oak, whose popular nickname can be traced back to the sixties when their prowess on the field put 'Hearts' fear in opponents. A fiery rivalry with Kumasi Asante Kotoko has kept generations hooked on their football antics, and to yell 'Phobia' is to stretch it till the letter 'O' begs for release. Phooobia!

Oh, you will have memorable birthdays with this one. The tradition in school is to be 'ponded' by your friends on your birthday, during matriculation or any other excuse on university campuses by more senior students: and the gist of what goes on is in the name. Think water, immersion, soaking wetness/ pummelling, and the guffaws of friends enjoying your every reaction. Fun.

43) Post Kaya
It is that person - sometimes at school, sometimes at work - who wants to curry favour with the powers that be by jumping on every task with alarming, ingratiating alacrity. 

44) Raps
Beware the sonnets of a smooth-talking chancer who promises you the sun, the moon, the stars, the Northern Lights  and the nine planets. He is giving you 'raps'. Go figure.

45) Shine!
The streets of Ghana resonate with a rhythmic tapping that the trained ear immediately recognizes as belonging to a passing cobbler. Shoe shine boys, as they are known, often ply their trade on nimble feet, stopping by homes and stores as and when their services are called upon to polish or mend shoes. Before long, a patron will be shouting 'Shine!' in response to that tap! tap!

This double entendre, on one hand, refers to a head completely shorn of hair (baldness), and on the other hand, anything (usually a meal) that is woefully lacking...something - example, koko sakora.

Sankofa is an Akan language word usually typified with an Adinkra symbol of a bird reaching backwards. It signifies the importance of learning from the past in order to forge ahead in the future, and literally means 'go back and get it.' 

Hater. You know, those people others tell to 'go sip on some Gatorade and stop the haterade.' 

49) Some way bi
Something that is not clear cut. Most recently, the term has been popularized by Ghanaian rapper and songwriter, M.anifest.

50) Small chops
...because who can be bothered to say 'hors d'oeuvres?'

Could just be the piggy bank where loose change is grown, or an informal collection and saving scheme operated by any group of people, society or club that is set aside for the proverbial rainy day.

52) Takeaway
The thing about takeaway is that here we aren't talking about food from a takeout restaurant. No, it's the surplus that must also be budgeted for at a private party so that even after guests have eaten their fill, there must still be enough for them to 'takeaway'. A party bag, if you will.

A story that may or may not be as far removed from the truth it purports. Don't fall for it. 

tro-tro is a minivan that typically carries anywhere between 16 to 50 people (or more). It is a crucial link between people and their destinations, packing experiences such as petty squabbles, heated debates, foul-smelling armpits and amusing times into one journey. See more here.

55) Too-Known
All-knowing, all-seeing, all-annoying. Relax, you don't know everything.

Until recently, 'tweaa' was the go-to word to express disdain or derision. Now it is mired in political wahala and has even risen ranks to be a banned word in Ghana's parliament. How's that for notoriety? As usual, my people are having a laugh with this one. 

57) You don't know what is happening in Dodowa Forest
Who knows? It's all a mystery...

And there you have it, some of the words and phrases colouring our speech 57 years after 1957. I love you, Ghana.