During the summer months of 2010, Michael from Ghana made his first journey abroad. His destination was Norway, where he had relatives. In an interview recorded a few days after his arrival in Norway, he introduces us to his country, and gives us an insight into its culture, history and geography.
When listening to Michael Kwaatizle Owusu, you should have in mind how you would have presented your country, your values and your culture if you were a visitor to Ghana.
You are now going to listen to two interviews with Michael.
The First Interview - "My Voice is Heard"
In the first interview, Michael talks about Ghana in general, including topics such as demography, scenery, religion and education.
Before you start listening, you should look up information about Ghana on the web regarding the topics listed below. Make three key words from each topic.
- natural resources
- history with focus on the different invasions
Questions for Reflection
- Why can we say that Ghana is a rich country?
- Why do you think so many people are poor in spite of all the resouces?
- Michael is a student, what are his thoughts about education in Ghana?
- Michael emphasises traditional family values in Ghana, how do these values correspond with traditional family values in Norway?
- What does Michael answer when he is asked about what makes people in Ghana happy?
- How does his answer compare with your idea of happiness?
- When asked if he felt that his voice was heard in the Ghanese society, Michael answers without hesitation, a loud "yes". What are his comments?
- How does the religious diversity affect the Ghanese society?
The Second Interview - "Is There a Future for Africa?"
In the second interview Michael shares with us his thoughts about Ghanese culture, politics and languages and whether there is a hope for Africa. He even shares a typical Ghanese story.
Before you start listening to the recording, what ideas come to mind when you think about African culture?
- After listening to the interview, how do your ideas of African culture correspond to what Michael presents?
- Michael talks about his hope and aspiration for Africa and its future. How does this compare with the impression you get from the media? What do you think; what challenges does this continent face, and how do you think they will manage?
- What does Michael state about the interest Ghanese people take in reading books? How does this contrast with his impression of Norwegians? Do you agree with his observation? If, you do; how can the different reading habits be explained?
- Michael speaks of his impression of Norway and Norwegians. In meeting a new culture, he experiences an intercultural meeting - an encounter between two cultures. How important is it to understand different cultures if we want to avoid cultural misunderstandings and conflicts?
- Estimates show that there are between 2000 - 3000 native languages in Africa. What do you think are the reasons for this?
- Check out online resources and find out how many languages are spoken in Ghana. English is the official language? Why?
- When listening to Michael, did you notice how Ghanese English differs from Standard English? Comment on accent, vocabulary, pitch and intonation.
- According to Michael, Anansi (the trickster spider) has been a source of inspiration for Spider-Man. How can the tale of Anansi have travelled across the Atlantic and been transformed into a modern superhero? Check out this link Trickster Stories
- What is the moral in Michael's tale about Anansi? Do you know any similar stories from your own culture? How important are such stories for our cultural identity?
- In the interview, an intercultural meeting takes place - an encounter between two cultures - how does good communication enable us to avoid cultural misunderstandings and conflicts?
Like the tale about Anansi, African music, dance and rhythm were transferred across the ocean to the Americas. Explore how this inspired music and dance in America and the Caribbean islands. Write a blog entry where you include pictures.
Make an Interview
Choose one of the interviews. Listen to it one more time. Write down the questions Michael is asked. Work in pairs. Pretend that one of you is a Ghanese host and the other a Norwegian visitor. Record the interview (recorder or cell phone).
Compare and contrast the answers. Are there some topics that you would like to add in your interview?
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