Until now I have had neither time nor spirits to write about my wanderings around Accra. Today, all the stars aligned.

On my wanderings, I often see poverty exist right next to immense wealth in this town. This is not unlike Lagos — the city of my teenage years.

We lived in Mafoluku then. Next to the airforce base. It was not a middle-class neighborhood — though people who lived there liked to think otherwise. We were all properly poor with our beat-up Toyotas.

The middle class was in Ikoyi, Omole GRA, and Ikeja GRA. But the problem with poverty…

It’s been a tough year. If today feels like the worst day in a spectacularly terrible year, I can imagine how you feel.

If you feel like crying, do so.

Tears is the shower of the soul. Do so at your desk, the nap room, or in the bathroom. Give your soul a good scrub.

Take a good long walk.

After you’ve cleaned your eyes with the back of your hand, rinse your hands, apply that rose-scented hand lotion your Aunt Jem gave you for Christmas. Listen to “Summer Days” by Radio Citizen and take a walk around the block.

Photo by Wayne Lee-Sing on Unsplash

Can I confess something to you?

Half the time, I feel like a categorical failure.

I spend a lot of time conferring with my inner critic.

“There is a voice inside of you that says you haven’t come very far, that your achievements don’t matter; that anyone could do what you’ve done … and survival isn’t a meaningful accomplishment” — @GoodDsgnAdvice

If you spent any time listening to your inner critic, you’ll come away with the idea that you are a failure too. Only chronic naïveté could shield you from its argument.

It’s easy for it to take potshots at…

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

On the road to Adjiringanor, I thanked my date for paying for our ice cream. As usual, I had no cash and the ice cream shop she demanded we go to didn’t accept cards or mobile money that night.

In the Uber, she told me were a few meters away from her apartment. It was a lovely night, I told her. We should do this again, I lied. I am unsure about seeing another human again, ever.

It had been a fun night. She wanted us to go see furniture. Like in the movies. Or maybe it’s the syrupy YA…

“Rasta night at Wli” by Gbenga Onalaja on Unsplash

In Kpeshie, I lost my voice. I stopped cleaning the bathroom walls and left the dishes too long.

On the small tan rug at the foot of my bed I would often sit; thinking of all the people I promised to call back. I would roll off names in my head and always conclude that it was too late to reach out.

There was the guilt of waiting too long to call that snowballed into waiting too long to do anything else. …

It’s why 30% of internet content is porn and why porn sites attract more visitors each month than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined.

It’s why brands are gravitating towards clapping back on social media when they could instead be a supportive infrastructure helping to direct culture towards more kindness and empathy.

The culture of the internet forms at the speed of light by a decentralized mass of people directed by the basest of human desires. Yet, we (humans and brands) must push ourselves to use social media and the internet in more positive ways.

In ways that challenge other people…

A stroll to Haut Nkam | Photo by Photo by Gbenga Onalaja on Unsplash

What does it mean to be an adult?

It means to be independent and self-sufficient; fully in control of your time and accountable to yourself and no one else. At least, this is the lie you’ve tricked yourself into buying.

The reality is that you have given permission to other things / people / groups / ideas outside of yourself to keep you accountable — a la, a significant other, a boss, people you want to impress, Donald Trump, a god (if you believe in one) etc. …

Brands pay us heavily.

To draw up brand strategies, craft the best ads and create stories that make them swoon, laugh, cry and smash that share button on Instagram; they pay us top dollar.

And because brands pay heavily for this, we’ve come to assume it must be what the customer wants.

But we are wrong.

The customer doesn’t want your big-budget ad once a year. They want you to make them smile every moment, every day.

The customer wants to know that you are there, always (even when they don’t get your weekly email blasts).

They want random love…

As often as Asa has declaimed love, she’s never appeared to play on the active end of the spectrum. In LUCID, Asa’s understanding seems to have cleared up, she’s taking the controller and making her own combinations now.

Bukola Elemide | © 2018 Onalaja Gbenga | Shot at Johnnie, Jazz & Whisky 2018

Between the quietly assertive funk of “Soul” — the first song off Asa’s barely-credited 2005 album ‘The Captivator” — and the mellow rhetoric lull of “How Did Love Find Me?” from “Bed Of Stones” in 2014, there is a lot to break down about Asa’s wariness of love.

I don’t think that we should be together when you are breaking my heart…

Surfing and smiling at Tarkwa Bay.

Image Src: Naidrenalin

“Waves are not measured in feet and inches,” Buzzy Trent is credited with proclaiming, “they are measured in increment of fear.”

Fear, of course, is hardly as wholesome or pleasantly stimulating as Mr. Trent might have one believe. When choppy saline waters of the Atlantic are bearing down on you with a maddening menace, you want to run right back out of the water with the surf board above your head and feet moving inhumanly through the water.

But the insight credited to Buzzy Trent, the first big-wave surfer in the 1960s applies most…

'Gbenga Onalaja

Not your friend!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store