I met Ade in Ada, Ghana, at a friend’s house party on the lake. He benevolently obliged to be my first interviewee for this project.
Ade is 51 years old and lives in Accra, Ghana, where he was born and raised.
December 5th, 2016 Ada, Ghana
Dayna: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Ade: Superpower as in which one, like… ?
D: Any superpower. If you think of a superhero, say, you think of Spider-Man, he can crawl up buildings; you think of Superman, he can fly. Anything you can think of though, like mind reading, anything. What kind of superpower would you like to have, and why?
A: Well, I would prefer the superpower of, umm… [pauses]. You know what, it’s kind of difficult to answer this one, but I would say I’d like to have the power to be able to put things right– the power to be able to see what is going wrong and have the power to put it back in order. That’s exactly what I would want, yep, because there is a lot of stuff going wrong and I mean, you wouldn’t– [laughs] not many people can imagine this– ninety-nine percent of the world is sleeping and don’t know what is going on and what is controlling things that are going on. And so, I mean, with some research I’ve done into these things– delving into it– which takes me down to Conspiracy Lane… I would want the power to put things right. Hold people accountable for it, and stop the bullshit that is going on around the world.
D: So one thing I have to say about that is, um, considering what’s right and what’s wrong is obviously very subjective. What makes you feel that what you believe is right would be, well, right?
A: Well, I guess, let’s look at it from the point of view where we have some people who are sitting on top of things. Filthy rich. Nasty rich. And some people so poor. They obviously can’t use all what they got. They never will be able to use it for generations to come, the group of people who can feed, clothe, and shelter the whole world, individually… but, so, with all that power and all that wealth and everything, they still… [Ade pauses at the exact moment a round of fake gunshots explode from the music speaker in the background– it’s the song One Dance by Drake]. I mean, look, they still have the world in this way it is. In shambles. I mean, like, poverty here, disease here, wrong politics and in general, it’s a big topic. In general, a lot of bullshit is going on around the world, and it’s not controlled by any government! It’s people who sit on top of the government. It’s the secret governments that control and the rest are muppets. They might nominate some, or give some a chance to come into power, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who comes into power. Because, at the end of the day, you’ll be compromised. And you’ll be under their control. That is exactly what is going on.
D: That’s funny. I feel the same way with you about that. I have this conspiracy theory that voting is just like you’re throwing your name in a box and it feels like you’re doing something but whoever has ultimate control doesn’t give a shit what the people want. They’re gonna do what’s best for themselves, right. And they’re gonna go ahead and–
A: –and the other thing is that they take away the little liberties you have, the little freedom, to make you feel like, me too, I belong to this world. No. You are totally being controlled. And you will not realize it, whether directly, indirectly, you are being controlled. What you see has been put there by somebody. It’s not because of your own creation or your own wisdom or what nature provides. No, nature has it’s things. But they want to control that as well, and that is the annoying part of it.
D: What makes you wake up in the morning?
A: Is that a trick question? [laughs] What makes me wake up in the morning? Come on, we don’t know when we fall asleep. We don’t know when we wake up. [laughter from both sides] And in between we don’t know what happens. Right. So. Um… what makes me wake up… I’d rather say what gets me kickin’ in the morning is the fact that, okay, at least I have another day in front of me… yeah, to live and do my part. For what reason we are put on this earth, we don’t know. And for what reason we are taken away, we don’t know. We know that– we realize at some point that we are life, because when we are born you don’t know even know if you are alive or not, when you’re just born. At some point you realize yourself that, oh me too, I am this, I am that person and I belong to this society, and, I’m trying to now… I have a role to play, I have to choose which role it is, and whatnot. So then we begin to shift our things, depending on also what we have at our disposal. Surroundings, people, education that we’ve been given, and I mean, and the opportunities and possibilities. Sure. So if you’re fortunate, if you’re privileged, you can do more. If you’re less privileged, you can do less. But at least, um… there’s other things that kick me alive, you know. So to say what wakes me up, I dunno, but what keeps me alive is the fact that there’s hope. That at least we can be useful and play our own part in society. I mean, do what we can do while we’re alive, but also, doing it in the best of equality.
Let’s say I live by two principals: don’t do unto others what you wouldn’t like them to do unto you, and also, don’t destroy of nature what you cannot create. And so that’s it, and that’s what keeps me going. And that’s what I’m trying to make the world realize. Live and let live. It’s only one world and we can’t take anything else from anywhere else, not from space, not from anywhere. They’ll tell us, oh the moon… they’ve been to Mars… no, no, no. It’s all here. Now, it’s also in only this quantity. Alright? This much. If somebody takes more, it means somebody gets less. So if everybody would just say “look, I just do accordingly,” you know. ‘Cause in a way, I’m not saying that we should go back and live like animals in the bush, but they don’t go kill for a killing spree. They don’t fight wars and things like that, just for the sake of it, or just for business, because they have to sell weapons. It’s like saying that if you are a coffin builder, people must die so that you make money. Is that what you want? People dying so that you make money? If you have weapons, if you manufacture weapons and sell weapons, then people must use them. So, training programs. You just line them up and the people fall in line and you think… YEAH, put some things on their uniform, and some things on their side, and what not, and if you cool, you think, YEAH, marching on to war! because someone has given you some order and they don’t know they are being programmed and they are being controlled. And then they must use them. So the seller keeps producing them, and making more money, and… whatever. It’s non-profitable to society and nature in general, but only to the people who own such companies, which is the powers that be again.
D: What is the most beautiful place you know of? Not necessarily that you’ve ever been to, but the most beautiful place that you have heard of, or can imagine or have been to.
A: You know, it’s kinda difficult to name a place because every time I discover new places, and I meet new people… Now, what makes a place beautiful is the people I meet and the interactions we have. So it doesn’t matter whether we’re sitting here miles away in the goonies, maybe, a hundred miles away from Accra, and we’re sitting here at this little lake– this is good for me, this is beautiful for me. Tomorrow, it’ll be somewhere else. And even if it’s in a little, small place, doesn’t matter to me. It’s the memories, and it’s the– it’s the feeling that makes a place beautiful for me. The feeling makes a place beautiful for me. I mean… [pauses] This is going to be edited, right? [laughs]
A: If you are with your partner, you’re making love… when you’re reaching there, you see the stars, they say you in the heavens, you see the stars. That is beautiful. The next minute, it’s over. The next time again, it’s beautiful. [laughs] How do we judge which is beautiful, which is not?
D: Am I supposed to edit that out? That was great! [laughter]
A: You can put it in. I have no problems about that.
When you’re hungry, doesn’t matter what you get. It’s good. If you’re desperate, it doesn’t matter what she looks like. She’s beautiful. [laughter] Don’t mind the vodkas you’ve had, she’s beautiful. When you have enough, then you begin to pick and choose. When you have a full stomach you pick and choose. That’s why it’s difficult for me to just pinpoint what’s beautiful in life. It’s just having a good moment. Sitting on a hot stove is not nice. If I’m sitting there with a girl, I might not notice it’s even hot. [laughs] That’s life, man.
Rich people dream for whatever they want– they can afford it. They are not happy. The filthy rich dream for whatever they have, want whatever they have. They are not happy. So they keep on acquiring more. Now, let’s compare here the third world, “underdeveloped”, so they claim, and the developed world.
D: So would you consider Africa “third world”?
A: Well, we just follow those connotations they assign to… whatever…
A: So now, here, if a kid gets some empty rubber bags and just fills it with some thing and tries to make it look round, they play football and they are happy. And they are much happier with no boots, no jersey, nothing, and they are happy. No level playing field, and they just say “hey, five a side. Let’s play,” and they play and they’re happy. Now, if you, say, compare that to the west and you send your kid to go play and he has no boots on, no shirt, no jersey, no this, no extra equipment or whatever he needs, of course then he’s gonna protest. He must have it. He needs it. And then the parents also think that– he must have it, he needs it, and they go sweat and toil to make him have it. Come on! What’s wrong with telling him, “hey, use what you have.” Appreciate what you have. You don’t need more, you know.