Ghana is famous for peace, prosperity, cocoa, gold, Kofi Annan, Lake Volta and its mime based dance called Azonto. It is one of the few nations which have avoided the pitfalls of internecine tribal conflicts. It is indeed called the Switzerland of the African continent. Today Azonto has put this tiny country on the world map.
Imagine you did not have the power of speech and you were compelled to keep dancing by music with an irresistible beat. You could only communicate by miming about your life, your job and hobbies by a personal sign language. This is Azonto. Everybody does the Azonto in Ghana.
The music is everywhere and people do a jig automatically when they come within range of a song being played on any music system in the streets. It has originated from a native dance form called Kpanlogo and has slowly drifted to other cities from the streets of Tema, Teshie, James Town and Chorkor. Azonto involves a lot of hip, hand and knee twisting and the messages mimed are generally very funny. Thus you can dance the Azonto miming yourself being on the phone or in the gym. The message is whatever comes to your mind at the moment of the dance.
Sarkodie is the king of Azonto and rules the dance genre of Azonto.
Sheena was a slim girl of fifteen. She was a whiz kid with wiring and sound systems. She knew how to make software programs and she was the trouble shooter for the Chawl Hotel’s laptops and desktops. She had somehow come to the conclusion that I was the richest man in the world. Yes I do have custom built cars. I do wear the ultimate branded clothes and shoes. I have a big collection of watches from all over the world. Still I am no Greek shipping tycoon. She is constantly begging me to allow her to come into my bedroom and have a look.
I know these young Delhi girls. They are dynamite. These teenagers are thrill seekers. They are the biggest gossips and the slightest gesture by a boy or man can be interpreted as an attempt at rape or casual love making depending on the mood of the hour.
‘Why are you afraid of me.’ She said holding my hand and pulling it to near her heart. ‘Can you hear it thumping? It is beating only for you. Let us go into your bedroom and inspect the paintings.’
I smiled and flopped down on the big sofa letting her be pulled along with me. ‘Talk, you can talk but no physical stuff’ I told her.
“Why are you fighting nature? Right now a million people at least are making love somewhere on the globe. In the dark depths of the Amazon jungle; on ships; in Africa even while the lions are roaring near a village; in Australia in the bush; Eskimos in igloos and even stuck up Indians are using Nirodhs at a fast pace. Why can’t you just kiss me? You owe me. I fixed your sound system.’ I grabbed her and picked her up and placed her on a chair away from the sofa.
“Please,” I begged, “we will talk about this when you are eighteen. Right now you are a minor and I do not want to be arrested for assaulting a minor.”
‘You do whatever you feel like I will not lodge a complaint. You can marry me first if you are really that interested.’ Somehow I convinced her to come out of my apartment and go for a walk with me. She slumped along disappointed till we reached the food court in the Mall.