The year was 1984.1 was in my early teens. His name was Bob Geldof. And oh how he broke my heart, oh how Bob Geldof made me cry with sadness. Thanks to Bob Geldof, Midge Ure, and their crew, between late 1984 to 1986, television viewers across the world were bombarded with daily Images of starving Ethiopians. Geldof was deeply passionate and concerned as he went about begging for donations so that these "starving Africans" would have food. He came up with the idea of a charity record which would be sold to raise funds towards feeding these "starving Africans".
So whilst Midge Ure produced the song, Geldof convinced his friends in the music industry to come together and sing the song that would stay at No.1 in the charts for months. "Do They Know It's Christmas" was an instant hit. The biggest names in the music industry at that time, including the likes of Paul Young, George Michael, and Boy George all played (or was it sang!) their part.
The song had lines such as, "there's a world outside your window, it's a world of dread and fear. Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears. And the Christmas bells that ring there, are the clanging chimes of doom. Well tonight, thank God it's them, instead of you. And there won't be snow in Africa, this Christmas time. The greatest gift they'll have this year is life... ooooohhhhhh".
With such words and imagery - In fact, accompanied by real images of starving children with pot bellies and flies sitting on their faces being shown on television everyday - how could ! not be saddened? I was heartbroken to think this is how people were living in Africa. And although I had left Ghana only four years earlier, and my memories were good, I thought maybe something had happened and this was now how the majority of Africans lived. Because although Geldof and his team did say Ethiopia, they also used the generic word "Africa". They talked about starvation in "Africa". Oh I did my part. I bought the record (a single). 1 bought the T-shirt and every other piece of memorabilia. I even volunteered and worked as an usher at the Sport Aid event In Hyde Park on 25 May 1986.
Years later, with Band Aid forgotten, but with the Western media still portraying negative images of Africa, I travelled to Ghana and fell in love with my motherland. I decided to stay. And for 15 years, I stayed, on and off, but I was based In Ghana. In that time, I was fortunate enough to see other African...