We could talk about the upcoming release of development funds from the UK that were budgeted last year. (And which will certainly come in handy, won’t they?) Or, if you want, we could discuss the latest film from actress Yvonne Okoro. Ghana Must Go is set to cause just as much of a splash as The Contract, which can only mean good things for the country’s film industry.
We could even talk about the soccer. Well, actually, unless you’ve taken to sleeping in your car for the air conditioning and radio, we probably can’t. It’s been awhile since the whole country has been able to catch a game or significant player news and discuss it in real time. And there’s a reason for that.
I some parts of the world, they call it “blackouts”. Officially, in Ghana, it’s known as “load shedding”. But, let’s be honest, everyone calls it “dumsor” and if you’ve been in the country at any point over the past few months, you know exactly what this it. Life without electricity.
The government claims it will get better as early as July. They also believe that the celebrities that have organised a vigil today (16 May 2015) are just using dumsor as an excuse to relaunch failing careers. In fact, the government has gone so far as to suggest that the country’s film and music celebrities should focus their efforts on rebuilding the local film industry. They say there’s no reason to attack President Mahama’s government; that they’re doing everything they can. But, it is worth asking whether it’s possible to worry about film development when running lights, cameras and microphones can’t happen on a regular basis. Sure, Yvonne has done it, and perhaps she will highlight the issues plaguing Ghana’s film industry.
Is a celebrity-led vigil necessary though? Will it make any change? Even if it doesn’t, it might appear that it does. You see, a great deal of Ghana’s power comes from hydroelectricity. And, it’s almost that time of year again.
In the meantime, the currency has declined terribly, babies are delivered by cell phone light, and fridges throughout the country have become little more than cupboards. It’s a strange situation. There’s no way to save food, especially in the heat. And we can only wonder how the cities will cope with the anticipated rural exodus to the urban areas over the next several years. It looks like that development money coming in from the UK will come in handy.