Category Archives: Newspapers


I like to believe that I am a writer, and a very good one at that. I like to believe that if you trace the many thoughts that race through my mind it may lead to some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I believe that if these gold nuggets of wisdom are shared with the world and all who live in it, human kind may learn from my life experiences through my words. With that underlying belief, I woke up today and my first instinct was to write. Write something down. Tell the world about itself. Tell people about themselves. Tell the world about people and tell the people about the world. I opened up my word processing application on my computer, I gracefully composed my fingers on my keyboard, poised to type, and … nothing. Yes, nothing. Nothing came to mind. But I decided to write anyway. Simply because I am a writer; and writers have to write, n’est ce pa?

So here I am rumbling about nothing and here you are reading this post and we are both asking the same question: “What is this post about, anyway?”. If you have an answer for me, I suggest you tell me now. If not, then we shall go on like this for the next two or more paragraphs until the ink dries out from my keyboard…ha. ha. haa. Like that’s ever going to happen.

I was hoping that as I hit the return key unto the next paragraph, some of the nugget of wisdom I boast of will fall unto my lap so I can sound like sage and so you can admire the deep insights I have to offer humanity. Unfortunately, that fails me. Being one with truck load of writing experience, one would not think that putting together something meaningful for my readers would be such a challenge. And yet, see the quandary that I find myself in. Seeing as I don’t have much else to say, I shall call this post to a conclusion and hope that as the day goes by, my brain, full of wit and wisdom shall bring my way thoughts that have some relevance to my readers and the general make up of society.

Until such a time, this is your favourite blogger, the Rebel Ryter signing out…

But one more thing I need to say, please accept my heartfelt apologies for not writing anything meaningful for your yearning eyes. I know you could have spent these 5 minutes doing something profitable with your lives, but you chose to read this unintelligible post. I thank you. Now this will be my very last line for this post.


Tags: , , , , , , , (Part II)

Since my last post about Special Ghanaian Vocabulary, I’ve received quite a few comments suggesting I add a few more items to the list. And as with almost every movie in Ghana, part two is inevitable. So by popular request, here’s an update on my previous post.

At Loggerheads phrase

Definition: to be in a stubborn dispute or disagreement.

Trust me, I’d rather have you mad at me that to be at loggerheads with me. Eeish! Just the sound of that phrase terrifies me. The worst part of it is that this sort of language is used by children in primary school. Primary school oh, primary school students have mastered the art of this not so primary language. Ei Ghana!

Light Off phrase

Definition: Blackout, Power Out

They have given light off. Seriously? They gave it to you? They probably wrapped it up nicely in a box with a bow-tie on top and delivered it to your doorstep, right? When the power goes out, not only do the lights go off; the refrigerators, the fans, the air conditioners, the tv sets, the radio, the computer, everything else goes off. Would it be any different if I were to turn the light switch off? Would that be light off as well? Is it the same as ECG cutting off your power source? Ebei people!

Yesternight n.

Definition: Last night

Yesterday, Yesternight, Yesteryears… I don’t even need a dictionary to tell me that yesternight is an archaic word. What’s more to be said? But in all honesty, do we have to put ourselves through this?

Take In phrase

Definition: to have a bite or to eat something

Would you like to take in something? Yes indeed I would. I would like to take in a breathe of fresh air without you polluting it with your gobbledegook! I went up and down and through the definition of take and I couldn’t fine any phrase such as take in. Why people? Why? Why? Why must we torture ourselves this way? Can’t we simply say, “What would you like to eat” or “Would you like to eat something?

KAMBOO n. (also known as Canvas)

Definition: sneakers, tennis shoes

Can anyone, anyone tell me why we call sneakers KAMBOO? I’ve searched everywhere and have come up with nothing!

Jeaner n. or v. (not sure)

Definition: A pair of jeans

How does a pair of jeans become known as “jeaner”? Were we trying to come up with the verb form or we just wanted to make it sound educated?

There you have it people, I don’t know why we do it, but that’s just how we do it in Ghana. We make it our own and make it stick forever. You’ve gotto love it.


Posted by on September 1, 2010 in Newspapers, vocabulary


Tags: , , , (Part I) (abridged version)

Buried deep in the fertile soils of our subconscious speaking man are words planted before our time by our colonial masters. Words that we still use even though our forefathers are long gone. Words that show where ghana has been and how very little far ahead we have come. I know, it even shows in our language. In the paragraphs below, I shall expatiate (ahem!) on a few of them.

Alight v.
Definition: descend from a train, bus, or other form of transportation .

For a word that even the dictionary describes as Old English, we hear it rather often in our day to day transportation life. This is often used by people who try to sound educated in a trotros or taxis. In one trotro, a young girl nearing her stop called out: “Mate, I will alight here.” I had to suppress a giggle. Were you to say these same lines elsewhere on this continent (and I won’t mention names) you might be mistaken for a suicide bomber … Now be warned. When I buy my Range Rover and you hitch a ride with me and you tell me to alight you someplace, bear in mind that I will drive you to my house, park my car in the garage and leave you in the car with the child protect lock on and go to sleep. Aba!

Escort v.
Definition: accompany (someone or something) somewhere, esp. for protection or security

If any young man, trying to pick a move on me ever uses these words, I will escort him right out of the door of my heart. Can I escort you to the junction? No you may not! In fact you may never escort me anywhere ever again in my life! So you can escort your Old English self back to whichever hole you came out of! Escort this!

Block n.
Definition: Alternative for ice-cubes.

Have you ever been to a bar/restaurant/chop bar and had this question posed to you?: “Do you want some block in your mineral?” I just can’t get over it. It tickles me every time I hear it.

Barman(girl) n.
Definition: a bartender, waiter/waitress

If you’ve never heard anyone say this at a drinking spot, then you’ve not been in Ghana long enough. I need not say any more.

Mineral n.
Definition: fizzy drink, a soft drink or soda such as Pepsi, Sprite, Coca Cola or a Malt drink.

I don’t want a mineral. I want a soft drink. A soda. A fizzy drink. I don’t want diamond, gold, or bauxite. All I want is a soda pop to kill this thirst.

Paste v.
Definition: To brush ones teeth

“Have you pasted this morning?” If you ask me why it is that we come to use such words, I’ll ask you to rub your hands together and see if you make fire. I can appreciate the link between toothpaste and pasting, but must we insist on pasting instead of brushing? I just don’t get it. Do you?

Traffigator n.
Definition: A turn signal. origin: Perhaps the shortened form of a Traffic Indicator

Use: “That foolish taxi driver, didn’t even show their traffigator before he stopped.”

Traffigator is another coined word that we use rather freely and frequently. The interesting thing is that the literate, semi illiterate and completely illiterate all say traffigator. Don’t ask me why or how. It just is. It’s not that we don’t know, it’s just easier to say traffigator than turn signal or traffic indicator. It just is.

Augur v.
Definition: (of an event or circumstance) portend a good or bad outcome.

This doesn’t augur well, that doesn’t augur well. Will anything ever augur well for us? Maybe not. Not ever. Until we stop using words like this, maybe not. Get a thesaurus people. Make my life a lot less insufferable. Please.

Scapegoat n.
Definition: a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, esp. for reasons of expediency.

I’ll tell you a funny story. I first heard this word when I was barely 10yrs old. We had moved to a different region and a new school. Things were very much surreal at that point in my life/age etc. We had been called for assembly and a million and one children were all packed in lines like canned sardines. I was from a school with a total population of no more than 150 students, being in that crowded environment took a lot getting used to. Now this really strict looking teacher stands up in front of the whole school and talks about using some student as a scapegoat so others will learn from it. I tell you, I wasn’t sure what he meant? I felt he meant that the child would be beaten up like a goat that had escaped from its pen. So a few minutes later, a name is mentioned and up comes this feeble looking boy (I can’t remember what he’d done) and in the presence of three other teachers, the headmistress of the school, and the entire student population, this boy was given a severe lashing after which they let him go. I know, I was very traumatized by the event. Two weeks later, I received my own lashes (for the very first time) for getting 3 wrong answers in a math quiz. Trauma trauma trauma! I vowed never to be used as a scapegoat ever in my life.

Sack v.
Definition: To be walked out of a place/room/office

As in, when I went into the man’s office, he sacked me because I refused to shake his hand. This word is totally misused by Ghanaians all the time. You can’t be sacked from someone’s room or office, you can only be driven out. You can be sacked if you are dismissed from your employment, in which case you will be given the sack. The sack, not sack.

Accoutrements n.
Definition: Additional items of dress or equipment, or other items carried or worn by a person or used for a particular activity
Use: “He came with 2 portmanteaus, 1 briefcase and several other accoutrements.”
In all honesty, I had no idea this word was English until my second year in the university. I tell you, I had believed all my life until then that it was some Ghanaian slang. The origin of this word is French, from the verb “accoutrer” which means to ‘cloth or equip’.

Portmanteau n.
Definition: a large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts.

This too is a French word from the mid 16th century from the words porter ‘carry’ and manteau ‘mantle’. For this, I don’t really have much to say. The word speaks for itself.

I have no doubt you’ve enjoyed reading this just as much as I did writing it. To all those who helped me compile this list (you know who you are), I’m totally grateful. If you have suggestions and submissions, I advise that you gather them, polish them and keep them someplace safe for the sake of posterity. Or you can simply forward them to my inbox 🙂

Counting on your usual cooperation.

n. – noun
v. – verb


Posted by on August 25, 2010 in Newspapers, vocabulary


Tags: , , ,


You know that feeling that you feel when you don’t like the feeling you are feeling? Maybe you don’t. But I felt that feeling this morning as I drove from home to work. Some of you might know Dewland fruit juices. They are one of my favourites and most treasured natural juices, after Blue Skies of course.

Therefore, you can easily imagine my horror when I saw it being peddled on the street like common food! Inside me, I wanted to cry. But my outer man kept it bottled in.

I consider cheap, things sold on the street, therefore I most certainly do not appreciate it when my most cherished and highly favoured fruit drink is “commonized” into streetware! I take offense, immediately! They did the same to grapes. I mean I love grapes, truly, I do. But not when it is counted, bagged and sold for me along the street like “ebro ena nkate”. They are grapes and by all means should be treated as royalty. Maybe I’m fussing unnecessarily over this, but if you were part of the ancestry of the kingdom of grapes, you will not encourage defaming your legacy by calling you “glips” (I italicized the ‘p’ because it is barely enunciated). This woeful pronunciation of my wonder fruit emanated from the mouthpiece of a hawker. Grapes, if I recall correctly from Greek myths, were served to kings on silver platters. Ask anyone who’s watched any of those movies.

Newspapers I don’t mind; apples I’ve gotten used to but my Dewland, oh my Dewland. This can’t be how it ends. These sales & marketing guys have gotto come up with more imaginative ways of selling their products.

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Posted by on July 28, 2009 in Newspapers, treasured