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The Informer
9th March 2013, 09:32 PM
Tattoos and piercings are nothing new in the Western world. However, I must say I’m quite surprised at how quickly it seems to also be dominating Africa as well.

Although I was not raised in Ghana, I’ve always seen my country as being one of the ‘Japans’ of Africa- by this I mean that for an African country, I think we are well developed compare to others, and that we’re not doing too badly for ourselves- I see Ghana as one of the ‘big dogs’ of Africa (not being biased, just truthful).

It always saddens me to see instances where it seems as though our traditional and cultural practices are being banished, in order to make way for Westernised ideologies that do not really suit the moral fibre of a Ghanaian society.

It’s all well and good when I go to Ghana for holidays and I see or hear people trying to ‘brofolise’ themselves; there are wannabe ‘gangsters’ that have to include either “yeah dog”, “yo you feel me man” or “you know what I’m saying homie” in nearly every sentence.

Then you get the wastemen wearing faux fur jackets or some broke-down leather jacket in the scorching heat of Ghana- why do some people make themselves suffer like that, seriously?

When I see or hear such things, I actually find it amusing. On the other hand, practices that I find far from hilarious are the excessive amounts of piercings and tattoos that are now becoming commonplace within our Ghanaian culture. Worst of it all, most of these tattoos are poorly done.

I’m not saying that Ghanaians- or indeed other Africans- should not have tattoos or piercings just because of our status as Africans; what I am trying to reiterate is that we should not do it so excessively like it is done in the Western world, or copy so blindly.

I think that one of the big problems that Ghanaians (both in Ghana and the Diaspora) have is that they attempt to copy the Western world too much, and in such an instance, imitation is not necessarily the best form of flattery.

I remember a time when you could watch a Ghanaian movie and only females wore earrings. Now, nearly every single English-language Ghanaian movie I watch has at least two male characters wearing earrings (not as part of the roles they’re playing either), and females with numerous numbers of piercings, and even tattoos.

Maybe it’s just about personal preference because me personally, I have always thought it to be unlady-like if a woman has a substantial amount of tattoos- too much tattoos on both men and women for that matter, just seems tacky to me.

I know the World is changing and Ghana is moving forward along with the West, but I just think there are some Western practices that we indulge in too abundantly, and to be honest, most times I don’t even think it looks right.

I saw a nice, dark and handsome Ghanaian guy once- seriously I thought everything about him looked perfect until I saw the numerous amount of scars and burns all over his arms. On closer inspection, I realised that those ‘scars’ and ‘burns’ were actually his tattoos, but because of his skin tone, they were not very visible to me.

I’m not going to lie- I think some tattoos are really sexy, and they can look good on both men and women, but in moderate amounts, the same with piercings.

Although to be fair, I think I should add that perhaps not every Ghanaian who gets a tattoo or a piercing is a victim of ‘Copycat Syndrome’. There may be the minority that actually get quite a numerous amount of piercings and tattoos solely because they like them, or for other personal reasons.

I never really had much of an understanding concerning how tattoos and piercings were not something that was commonplace within a Ghanaian society until when I turned 16 and tried to turn my body into an art canvas- my mother let me know straight up that she was not having that.

Personally, I will never ever get a tattoo in my life purely because;

a) I hate the thought of permanently marking my skin with ink,

b) inking your body (i.e. God’s temple as it has been deemed in the Bible) is against my Christian beliefs, and

c) I am absolutely petrified of needles.

Although I do have several piercings, I remember how World War 3 nearly broke out in my house when my mum found out that I got my tongue pierced! (Oh my goodness on that day I actually wanted to call Social Services myself for some form of rescue).

I know what my other African friends (not just the Ghanaians) have been through after mentioning to their parents that they wanted to get a new piercing or a tattoo- to quote my Nigerian friend’s mother: “You think you were raised here so you want to behave like the Oyibo? Over my dead body!” (I always used to get the piercings done and then show my parents- oh man, no wonder I got ten times the beatings).

As I have previously stated in this article, I do think that some tattoos and piercings- when done moderately- are actually very nice to look at.

Are Ghanaians copying the Western world too much? Are the excessive amounts of tattoos and piercings in Ghanaian society HOT or NOT?

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