I don’t fear Antoa 

When the Great Otumfuo recently celebrated 20 years of his reign in pump and pageantry, I was beside myself with mixed feelings cocktailed from a nostalgia of happiness and sadness watching the whole event streaming live on TV!

Happy because I was in Kumasi studentising at the time he was enstooled and he has lived beyond my expectations! Excellent leadership exemplified! Sad not bcos something went wrong o but bcos of a photo opportunity I lost with his Majesty about a decade ago and I may never get that opportunity again on an occasion like that but who knows! Graduating with an advanced degree and having a handshake with the Chancellor, the highly revered King respected across the globe, was a dream everyone would want to actualize!

After the event, everyone went for his or her picture from the accredited photographers and relished the moment in great joy! Where is my picture? Me alone, my picture never appeared la! Every graduating student who was presented got his or her picture in which they shook hands with the Great Asantehene except me. I was so dejected and couldn’t sleep for three months!

According to my friends who could not stop laughing at my predicament, it was bcos the gods of my hometown in collaboration with my family enemies blocked the camera lenses when it was my turn. The reason? I failed to inform them when I was going to have such a memorable and rare handshake with His Royal Majesty; so they followed me quietly spiritually borkorrr and blocked the lenses of the cameras when it was my turn in a congratulatory handshake with the King.

My village gods and people couldn’t imagine me bragging with a picture with Otumfuo and putting on my WhatsApp status when they were not pre-informed about the whole event! Lailai! Abeg, don’t worry your head about this one; there was no WhatsApp then. These my home town people and the things they can do er! Hmmm!

Pinker of SICLife and others suffered the same handshake wahala with Ex-President Rawlings in February 2000 in the same varsity when his pictures never came too! Apparently the photographer didn’t even have Kodak ‘film’ in his camera but was just pressing and flashing kl3 kl3 kl3 throughout the ceremony, unknowingly. The reality dawned on him when he was about to print the pictures. The graduands nearly skinned him alive! Unfortunately for these class of graduands, that was their last opportunity of taking pictures with a sitting President the caliber of a Boom again and that was the year his last term was coming to an end too! Ha! It was no laughing matter o. Hmmm!  

Why are some people still reading this abstract when they have not achieved their weekly targets han? Hmmm! Anyway talk of targets, even the man at the Osu cemetery has a target to meet. Prizins Officers also have targets to meet. As for especially private mortuary attendants, the least said about them the better.

I can feel some eyes are still itching to read what is actually making me not fear Antoaa. No bi so? Hahahahaha! Don’t worry, that is the spirit of this column; I have to go round round round aaaaa before I drop the abstract proper! Ajeeeei!

She used to be a very difficult Primary 6 Teacher of mine. She made me hate Mathematics to the core. Every morning she would come with her agenda: ‘Mental’ – 2 times 13 divided by 45 minus 2 plus 18 and the answer must be instantaneous or the next thing that follows is the cane – kpia, kpia, kpia on your head if you fail to give the correct answer within 2 seconds. Whaaat! You are either fully prepared for the answers to her questions or you accept the pain from her merciless cane or you have to fake an instant seizure of epilepsy in order to scare her, which she would ignore anyway.

My paddy Apeleke and I would spend sleepless nights trying to mentally rehearse possible ‘mental’ questions but the following day, we would still get the answers wrong and the canes would not rest.

Teacher Antoinette made me struggle aaannnnn especially at night; she was ruthless. At a point, I had resolved not to fear Teacher Antoinette again.   I would rather have a good night sleep and the following morning, as soon as she started her things… ‘12 times quiii minus vui divided by X’, I would only stretch my head or hand forward for the canes – 8 straight lashes on it. No time to waste. Don’t you think life was easier that way? Just prepare for the punishment rather than prepare against the punishment and still receive the punishment anyway!

Like Pastor Otabil would say: ‘God reveals to redeem but sometimes He reveals in order for you to prepare for the inevitable so you are not taken by surprise when it happens because it may happen anyway regardless of your prayers and fasting(paraphrased).

Ohhh, Teacher Antoaa, a Tek-trained Mathematician thought the way she understood Maths should be the same way it should be taught and understood by everyone when teaching the subject but not at all oo. Madam or Mr Maths Teacher, please take your time; some of us our heads die and need patience to get stuff in there!

Worse yet, I met another Maths teacher who would not teach you the Maths o but prefer to stand by the black board by himself and work out everything to the bottom of the black board and ask the class ‘did you understand how I managed to get here with my calculations but without a definite answer?’. The genuine ones would respond ‘No Sir’ and the lazy hypocrites among us including myself would say ‘Yes Sir’ just to let us be so we could close early and go our somewhere. Some of my daringly curious mates would still ask him, “But Sir, where did you get this X from in the equation” and his answer, clothed in sarcasm: “from the woman who sells ‘mormorni’ at the market. Mr Cone, the teacher would end up by tell us ‘the answer to the problem I have just solved is ambiguous’. How? He would further justify it by saying ‘as for Maths, the most important parts that earn you more marks is the ‘show working part’ and so the final answer did not really matter’. At the end of the term, the highest score in my class was 14% and the ‘winner’ was shamelessly boastful just because he ‘topped’ the class. Don’t start assuming it could be me oo, please. I was very good at Maths but the highest for that term in my class scored 14% and it was not me! Hahaaaaa!

As for teacher Antoaa she has caused us harm oo. She only made my life more difficult for me otherwise I would have been a politician by now putting figures together and defending them and like Teacher Cone would say, ‘the answer would have been ambiguous’.

 Maths is easy but the way it is taught, I believe, is what makes it difficult! Well, if you have not met an Antoaa during your basic education, thank God today that, you are an academician or a businesswoman.

Today, I am very good at calculations especially when it comes to giving money to my wife for shopping and she comes back and I had to take her through a rigorous session of accountability. ‘Tin tomatoes – GHC2, kpakposhitor – 50 pesewas, jeeney (onion) – 3 cedis…’ then I begin to question her ‘but you bought 4 cedis worth of jeeney just last Monday; how come you’ve bought jeeney again?’ In spite of all the negatives of teacher Antoinette, at least she taught me how to calculate the number of days it would take a family to finish consuming a 4-cedi worth of jeeney in order to block all the loopholes to chobo!

Remember, with a strong integrity and the fear of God, you really have nothing to fear, not even Teacher Antoaa!

So were you really thinking I was going to talk about any other Antoaa other than my Maths teacher Antoinette? Like seriously? Me, talk about that one? Hmmmm!

Let’s meet tomorrow at RANZIES GARDENS at Baba Yara-Ashaley Botwe for a barbecue but please check if your motor insurance and road worthy certificate have not expired before driving out this weekend to the place so we can eat beer and drink grilled rabbit and pork! Hahahahaha!