Lately, something has felt off whenever I return home from work. The room and the environment don’t feel the same anymore.
I’ve engaged in introspection, reflected deeply, and asked countless questions, yet I couldn’t quite pinpoint what exactly had changed.
This evening, it struck me. It’s the absence of noise—I miss it, the noise.
Living on a bustling street filled with pubs and food joints is akin to a life sentenced to perpetual noise. Instead of being greeted by the ever-absent Kwame, waiting for me with open arms at the door every evening, I am welcomed by a cacophony of jarring sounds. Whether it emanates from the pub downstairs, the neighbouring one, or the joint across the roundabout, several meters away, it’s an onslaught of discordant clamour.
This has stirred up a lot of anger within me. My spirit becomes agitated each time I return home, fueled by the rude trotro drivers and conductors who hurl insults when asked to lower the volume of their blaring music. One fateful day, I left the car in tears. Work had ended very late, and despite my efforts to catch a cab through ride-hailing apps, I had no luck. The drivers kept making excuses, and it took a kind Samaritan to drop me off at a spot where I could find a trotro, only to be met with so much noise. Interestingly, I was the only woman in the car, and those young men insulted me simply because I asked the driver to do something about the deafening music that made even the rickety vehicle tremble.
And there are always some passengers who join in, just like that one ruthless young man who once told me, Maame wo hwɛ na sɛ dede no dɔɔso a, ɛyɛ a fa dropping wae. Na mo kyerɛ mo ho dodo”, to wit, “Young lady, if you don’t like the noise, you should find another way home. You’re just causing unnecessary trouble.”
Why are some of us so heartless? Have we become so accustomed to disorder that anyone advocating for order is seen as an outlier?
But I digress…
Returning to the noise in my neighbourhood…
The days feel strange. Echoes of music resonate faintly, somewhere in the recesses of my mind. The screeching noises of adventurous motorcyclists and some vehicles still pierce the air across the street. I fail to comprehend why motorcyclists, in particular, feel compelled to create such ear-splitting sounds all the time. What should be the exception has sadly become the norm.
So, I’ve heard about the ban on drumming and noisemaking. I’m uncertain how long it will last, but if it takes the “primitiveness,” as some would perceive it, of a certain tradition to restore order to an entire city, then I wholeheartedly support expanding this ban across every part of Ghana.
Perhaps as a nation, we should have a National Month of No Drumming and Noisemaking. A month when all festivities halt, noise subsides, and we collectively recline, relax, and reflect!
We need it! Perhaps that’s why we’re not experiencing much progress. There is so much noise—so much shouting from rooftops, so much blaring on the radio, on TV, in conference rooms, and boardrooms. Our leaders speak, party communicators incessantly explain, and all we hear is noise—so much is said that we can barely hear anything at all.
I believe I have discovered the solution to our national anguish. We need a pause—a national one, at that. Let all talk shows cease. Let political discussions come to an end. Spare us the newspaper reviews. Let mornings be greeted by silence. Let news anchors preserve their voices for now.
Let there be silence!
And within that silence,
Let Ghana think!
Let her children reflect.
Let them pose the questions:
About our illustrious past and uncertain future,
About the distribution of our national cake,
About the dissonance between promises and actions,
About our children, the youth, the future, and posterity.
Although what was once normal has now become abnormal, we can reverse this trend. Together with Christ, we can gaze upon the decaying factories, the crumbling pillars of our nation, and proclaim—just as the people of Accra will do when the ban is lifted—this time not with drumming, shouting, and clamor, but with united voices, hearts intertwined as one, a people bonded together—a nation, a soul—looking back at our history and forward to the future, declaring:
“In the beginning, it was not so!”
For once, I believe culture and tradition have prevailed. Let there be silence!
The Writer is Gifty Nti Konadu; a Future Forward Female, Social Justice Advocate, Human Security Enthusiast and a Campaigner for Resilient Homes that culminate into Resilient Societies.
She can be contacted via