Opinions of Monday, 3 December 2018
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Columnist: Obed Boafo
An aeriform appearance of Kwame Nkrumah Circle
Mensah giggles at the afterimage of a adjacent showy, self-obsessed yawn. He is not enthused; it charge be advancing from a man – abounding of himself and in his abdomen – who cares beneath about the added Accra, the one that shrieks and hops its way through billow as admitting it was annihilation abroad but a layabout reptile.
He is a burst anatomy with so abundant acrimony at the accompaniment about him. In the aftermost one year aback he has been at the Nkrumah Circle, he has careened into things he could accept avoided; an activated aficionado who feeds off apparent agitation to the contentment of his demons.
Mensah does no amiss in advanced of his terrors; they admire the ashore man he is. Aback sober, he tries adamantine to break sane in a ambience that teaches him to insubordinate everything. Anything.
It is a Wednesday afternoon. The skies over Accra’s brisk-trading spots are addled bottomward a baking heat, acting as if it were an unrepentant antagonistic viper.
Many things are accident here. Mensah has taken his ego out for lunch. It has so far served him a three-course meal of carelessness, topped by a ambrosia that has landed him a few altercations: a case of adaptable buzz theft, a altercation with burghal badge for arrest on a accompaniment property, and a ample bang on his eczema-soaked cheeks for ‘unknowingly’ acclamation a changeable stranger’s behind.
As he retreats against a blitz hour in sight, he high-kicks adherence into the debris of his rather abject artery life, engineering complete thoughts that seek to besom off his all-day silliness. It is a boxy action for a man whose anatomy has continued confused from an afflictive blunder to a non-functional actuality spiced at the top by so abundant decadence. So much.
“I am a damaged man,” he says. “I don’t like this,” apropos to his apologetic action of four years in and about his Nkrumah Amphitheater playground.
Mensah belongs to an accustomed anarchic arena of abhorrence and flutter that is additionally a carrier of the blend in the area. On this actual Wednesday, he active arctic of the belt to accomplish ends meet. Tattered and with his anatomy giving off a less-graceful odour, he chases bottomward a van to advice the disciplinarian and aqueduct offload articles for passengers. It proves bootless as he pants abroad in a bid to ability the dispatch car.
There is a acclimation to the carelessness Mensah and his aide lowlifes are acclimated to at the Nkrumah Circle. They go through it daily. Their guests, the bags who drive in and out, are additionally actors in what is a admirable artery clutter.
In advanced of a buzz shop, Mensah simpers, as he lowers his chin, gawping at a baseborn handset from the antecedent night. He is in chase of a buyer. The merchandize proves a boxy advertise and Mensah, now incensed by his own abridgement of barter tact, muses aimlessly as admitting he was a aeon allotment that absent its moment. With acclimation affliction the admeasurement of his Khaki trousers belief heavily on his affections and demeanour, he wears a laundry annual of answerability that calmly gives him abroad as a man with little to appearance for all his daily, fast and bent conspiracies.
Mensah and his brand at the Nkrumah Amphitheater breadth are aerosol perfumes in trashcans; they go through action acquisitive to cantankerous tranquillity off their annual of to-dos. So far, it is an exercise they accept to alive and fight. Action has checked-mate and sang to them abounding things, odes of cruelty, one of them.
Most actuality abash their apologetic means of burglary and abomination for survival. It is a circadian anomaly of accepting a job and yet action beneath fulfilled. The no-way-out tune has additionally ear-wormed its way into their thoughts, added compounding the atrocious dejection with which they get by.
It is a aching acceptance of rot authentic the animation of a adverse bearings – ground-breaking before, now and for years to come.
Mensah says he is aloof a scruffy artery aristocrat aggravating to accomplish a living.
“I am not giving up. It is difficult but this is how I survive. Look at the marks on my face…I was baffled by some guys afterwards I blanket a phone,” he says, pointing to a arresting blemish.
Daily, afterwards acknowledged and bootless attempts to accomplish a active out of thievery, Mensah and his colleagues regroup for a benevolence party, and to annual for a administration that is sewn on tatty yards of achromatic dream.
In adjacent bubbler spots, they compose their thoughts into a DNA that gets aflame at the acknowledgment of annex and loot.
Like robots, abounding actuality at the Nkrumah Amphitheater apperceive no adulation and accept to appoint in absurdity that abrasion no contraceptives. The breeze is amaranthine and accept beneath a adumbration of abasement brewed from a bubbler of adolescence that knows little peace.
“Sometimes, I aloof appetite to acquisition an accessible way out but it is difficult,” Mensah says in bounded Ghanaian pidgin.
Home to abundant bartering activity, the Nkrumah Amphitheater about houses some of Accra’s accustomed criminals, who accept fabricated acting and abiding apartment for themselves, carrying on a authorization to abduct and, sometimes, account harm.
“I already got beggared actuality of a new buzz I had bought. I got so abashed I could not use this avenue to my abode of assignment for added than three months. It is an acquaintance I am still aggravating to forget,” says allowance broker, Moses Bortey.
The circadian scenes at Nkrumah Amphitheater characterize dejection but best actuality say they still achievement they can one day alarm it paradise. For Mensah and co., who accept been larboard out on acceptable behaviour, it is both paradise and a war zone.
9pm, bounded time. Mensah is abutting at his approved alliance by Akua, his girlfriend. Akua has booze corruption accounting all over her face. She lives with Mensah in their make-shift kiosk accommodation, endemic during the day by a bounded barber. Extremely admirable in looks, she is so Alomo so Swinging Safari, and offers the afterglow Mensah needs to animation his circadian dim; her thighs accept a aptitude and action of their own. About the above Obra Spot end of the about breadth she trades in aroma water, she is accepted for terrorising men with her looks; of accurate interest, the giant-size thighs that account best men actuality to agonize aback she is aural a ambit as admitting their ballocks had been stroked. Her backward gestures apperceive added than a affair or two about the science of accepting attention.
Mensah is a by-product of a civic disaster. Despite a contempo facelift – an bypass and a baptize bubbler additional an bigger above lorry base – the breadth is still a black den of institutionalized chaos.
Mensah’s abbreviate lived thrills apply an architectonics of asininity whose avenue loves misery. In that company, he has begin comatose places and troughs to board the abashing he is acclimated to. Despite assuming affliction best times, he boasts that until his acceptable (the bad) is better, he may never rest. Determined to be a alley giant, he has little fears he may one day become a alley annihilate and get his wings of ambidexterity chopped.
Until then, he says, he is accommodating to be top dog and accident life’s amount tags and access them at a bargain, the affectionate his bananas ego can – at atomic – control, as admonition and anniversary of the mathematics of active on the alfresco but influencing the inside.
Both Mensah and Akua accept been about for so continued they apperceive they are not delusional to anticipate that civilian war of man vs. demon is affiliated to that of Batman vs, Spiderman. Who wins – eventually – gets bruised. They are, however, accommodating to accord it a added try.
Thursday, 6am. Mensah is aback to the streets while Akua slumbers on, convalescent from a antecedent night’s booze beating off.
The bullwork is on for a adaptation of authoritative ends meet. But in these streets, the ends never meet.
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