Saturday, September 26, 2015

One nation under Goats

A billy goat
Source: Ghana Ministry for Agriculture
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that goats seem to feature quite a bit in our lives in Ghana? They are like the devil in that Rolling Stones' song Sympathy For the Devil - goats are everywhere! 
Not only does goat light soup feature prominently in menus across the country, but there are countless other instances that this popular animal makes meat un-related headlines.

Here are just a few examples that come to mind:

1. The goat serum HIV cure debacle of yore:
HIV virus attacking a human cell
Source: Science magazine
Back in the mid-00s, a huge storm brewed in Ghana over a supposed HIV cure derived from goat serum. An eminent local scientist was at the centre of the storm. There was hope, there were headlines, there were press conferences, there were accusations, there was anger and then there was nothing.  Sadly, the curative powers of goat serum were later put in doubt. This was not after an escalation in the sales of goat light soup at chop bars across the nation.

2. The curious case of presidential Dead Goat Syndrome:
Fast-forward a decade later to the "DGS" episode. Talk about an analogy gone awry. President Mahama, our esteemed Commander in Chief, attempted to use a metaphor (?) to describe his imperviousness to strikes and demonstrations across the nation. This analogy was made during an encounter with Ghanaians in Botswana:
"I have seen more demonstrations and strikes in my first two years. I don't think it can get worse. It is said that when you kill a goat and you frighten it with a knife, it doesn't fear the knife because it is dead already.
"I have a dead goat syndrome"
President John Dramani Mahama
Source: Ghana Daily Graphic Newspaper
Unfortunately for him, the result was a statement that was largely mis-understood. One unintended interpretation was that the president was setting himself up as a lame duck president with little concern or interest for his fellow Ghanaians. Clearly a case of goats lost in translation. 

3. A gentleman prefers goats...
Ghana is currently in the midst of startling revelations related to alleged massive corruption of judges and judicial services workers. 
This is all thanks to the intrepid reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his fearless team of crusaders. They are like the much-needed heroes in Gotham City. The judicial scandal stories are damning, shocking and in some cases a tad bizarre. Apparently, all sorts of goodies were proffered to sway judges. These gifts ranged from money, yams, goats and even "a massage". Perhaps the most curious revelation was that one judge allegedly rejected the offer of a sheep in favour of [Ghana's most beloved animal] the humble goat. Do you blame him? We love our goats. 

4. The other goat judge before the new goat judge:
What is it about judges and goats? Even before the judicial scandal, there was another case involving a judge ordering a goat thief to be marched through the streets of Akyem Swedru for his crime. The supposed goat thief was also ordered to hang the stolen animal around his neck with a placard that said “I am a goat thief”. Unfortunately for the goat judge, the sentence was deemed a tad questionable and he was asked to proceed on leave while a judicial review delved into the case. Looks like someone went too far. 

Well, these are just a few examples. Hope you can see that we are a nation entranced by this humble animal. Sounds to me like much ado about goats. 

Got goat examples?


EnterGhana said...

Very interesting post there!

Abena Serwaa said...


Jerome said...

Hahahaha. What can I say? Ghanaians love goats!

Abena Serwaa said...

Indeed Jerome!

Ekow said...

That is perhaps the funniest piece i have read in a long while. Anyway some unsolicited and totally unscientific opinions on the legacy of the goat in the mind of the Ghanaian.

First and foremost, the goat is elevated in our minds by default by unenviable place his cousin, the sheep, holds in our minds. A sheep is seen as stupid, indolent (and peaceful and thus good for sacrifice if we're counting positive perspectives too) and as such these qualities are subconsciously associated with any endeavor that the sheep is involved in. The goat on the other hand is seen as wily, smart and a worthy opponent. Imagine the notion President Mahama scaring a sheep with a knife rather than a goat. That is just plain lame and akin to stealing candy from a baby!! A chicken in that adage will represent much more of a challenge than a sheep. But a killing and scaring chickens is the purview of young men with the smell their mother's milk still on their lips....not men (as i'm sure Mr. Mahama deems himself to be.)

On the matter of the goat as a bribe; when a man sells his conscience and integrity it will certainly not be for a cheap, common chicken and likewise not for a stupid, indolent sheep. A cow would suffice but that would break one of the main tenets of bribery; they should be discreet and draw attention to the act. A cow is too big to hide, it smells of opulence. This is Ghana, bring home a cow and kill it and surely ones neighbors will be peaking over our wall and wishing you "Good morning" in the evening with designs in the eyes over your kill. That leaves the poor goat as the most prudent choice for a bribe.

Perhaps what most makes us a "one nation under goat" is very much the taste of goat meat. That whole unique, sharp, pungent, lingering and "delicious" taste and smell of goat meat that only a nation that appreciate koobi and kpakpo shito will understand.

P.S. I hate goat meat.

Abena Serwaa said...

LOL @Ekow: you get an award for on of the best comments on a blogpost I've ever had. You are so right about the goat vs sheep and of course the prudent choice of the goat for a bribe!!! Hahaha!
PS When I did eat meat, I was not a fan of goat meat either

Rashid Lancer said...

Just read an article on the top blogging sites in Ghana and here I am. I'm happy this was your first post I read... Got me laughing like a goat. Wait a second, Do goats laugh?
I want more Ms Abena Serwaa!

Abena Serwaa said...

Hi Rashid, thanks for stopping by and the comment! Got me laughing!!