Joking in the dark

A friend (you know who you are) recently remarked that my blog doesn’t tell much about life in Accra. So let’s talk about dumsor.

Ghana (and Accra especially) has been suffering terrible power outages for the last three years. The intolerable situation is nicknamed dumsor” – on/off. Here in Accra, dumsor is a daily topic: “how was your weekend, did you have dumsor?”

There are so many ways I could discuss dumsor — the way it has wreaked havoc on Ghana’s economy, or the thousands of generators that now line Accra’s commercial centers — but instead I want to focus on jokes.

In September Elizabeth Ohene published an excellent article on joking as a coping mechanism in Ghana. I want to add two examples to her list:

1. Mahama in New York
This was shared by a colleague after sitting in the dark at lunch:

President Mahama was recently in New York for the UN meetings. He was walking around Manhattan and saw a building with the lights off – “Ah! You see? Even in American they do not have lights!”

“Mr. President,’”an aide slowly said, “that is the Ghanaian consulate.”

2. Adele (Dumsor remix)
ECG, the state power company, is also a daily topic, frustration, and joke. A satirical twitter account regularly tweets amazing things like this spoof on the first line from Adele’s earth-shattering new single:

Hello…. it’s me….

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