Since Sunday, May 2, 2021, the hashtag, #FixTheCountry, has been used by Ghanaians on social media to protest against poor governance and get Ghanaian politicians to shun creating wealth for themselves with taxpayers money, and implement policies that will make the nation better.
The people who are most agitated about how the country is being run are the youth. Through the use of the #FixTheCountry hashtag, the youth have been able to garner the support of other Ghanaians, and also gained the attention of the media (locally and internationally) and the politicians.
Amid the protest against poor governance on social media, Dodzi Korsi Aveh shared his story to give an idea of what young people in Ghana experience after completing school and national service.
Dodzi Aveh, a performance artist, completed the University of Ghana in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in English and Theatre Arts.
Known in creative circles as WhoIsDeydzi, Dodzi is renowned for telling stories through spoken word poetry, theatre, film and paint.
According to the 23-year-old, while in school and during his national service, he started putting things in place to ensure that he makes a living as a creative because he knew there was no government support and initiative to get him employed. In achieving that, he says it has been a roller coaster.
“In February 2020 I successfully staged my first experimental play, with the help of my friends and colleagues. We had a full house but made no profits. We began planning so that we can now stage at different places and make some money and see our art pay us, then Covid hit.”
The experimental play he talked about was titled Who Be We?, which was Ghana’s first-ever experimental pidgin theatre piece. It was staged at the National Theatre on February 26, 2020.
The piece was first devised as a theatre presentation by Dodzi, as an independent study on “The Metaphorical representation of Ghanaian Pidgin English as a reflection of the Ghanaian post-colonial society”. This piece was presented at the University of Ghana, School of Languages Symposium on Pidgin English in Ghana, in 2019.
Dodzi, however, was not able to realize his dream of making money from his theatre pieces due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also did not get any financial support after that.
“Other countries had covid support funds for creatives but here dierrr bueeii!. Some of my colleagues were able to benefit from funding from an artist trust organised by Barbara Ntumy. The rest of us have been surviving on takashi and vibes, but we try chale.”
With him being unable to stage theatrical performances due to COVID-19, he had to find other avenues to make money by supporting a family business and also starting his own business.
“My family and I started running Enterprising Farmers Group Ghana, as a farmer’s market that supports farmers to sell their products directly to consumers at farm rates. I started my own business with The Gourd by selling fresh palm wine, but the economy is killing me.”
He also indicated how the effects of poor governance in the country is affecting his business.
“Dumsor can make my palm wine ferment while in the freezer. Fuel prices have gone up nine times since January, it affects transporting farm produce and palm wine, it affects the price of the raw materials, it affects the price of the packaging, it affects the cost of living for everything, it is killing small business owners trying to make a living. Even those ‘gainfully’ employed are starting small businesses on the side.”
While the #FixTheCountry protest was being staged on social media, there were counter hashtags such as #FixYourself and #FixYourAttitude, which were perceived to be politically motivated by the governing party (NPP), to suggest that Ghanaians need to change their attitude to make the country better.
Dodzi, however, indicated that most Ghanaians are doing their best to help make the country better. He highlighted some of the things he has been able to do as a citizen to help the country.
“I’ve been volunteering with Plastic Punch Ghana and Calabash Farm to fight plastic pollution. In my house, we separate waste. I also volunteer and teach children in Nima through the Spread Out Initiative.”
“All my entire creative discography and catalogues speak to Ghana’s socio-economic-political situations.”
In addition to his theatre pieces, Dodzi has released two spoken word projects – Soundmind: If The Broken Mind Could Speak and 4 Shege Reasons: Eyered which seeks to address issues of social injustice and neocolonialism that has been reinforced through a tradition of silence, puppet politics, education and religion.
“There is only so little individual citizens can do. The problem is bad governance… if that is fixed the people won’t be pushed into situations to be dishonest,” Dodzi concluded.
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