I discussed with a ‘radio presenter friend’ of mine based in Ghana a couple of years ago that Ghana’s numerous times highlife chart topper-Ofori Amponsah would return to highlife music—and therefore his official release of a high life song over the weekend came as no surprise to me.
I don’t need to be an anointed prophet, a spiritualist or even a scientist to be able to identify a genuine mistake, a staunch hypocrite or a confident fraudster. All a person needs is to wear the cap of reason and since Ofori Amposah is arguably one of the above or even all, I could smell into years ahead at the time that his so called rescue from the house of the ‘seculars’ by a celestial father wouldn’t last.
Also, when you have tasted enough money, alcohol, fame and perhaps could perfectly sketch the petite variations in the shape of the entry points of both local and exotic breeds of some Ghanaian women, you must have equal measure of motivation to let go that one thing which brings these ‘stem-winding fortunes’.
And since I couldn’t at ease spot any plausible alternative chops of incentives in Ofori’s new found ‘pastoral’ lifestyle capable of measuring against the excitement, attention and fun he used to enjoy as a highlife musician, I knew we didn’t need the devil to fix a temptation—he would just find a cunning way to slip back into his old life himself, when he realizes the land God supposedly promised him lacks the dripping milk and ‘horny girls’ which he has become accustomed to in the land of free men.
To be fair, it has taken a little longer than I envisaged and this was not because he was resolute in his new found Christian lifestyle—it is far from that. As a human being, I think he was just struggling with his own conscience and was worried about the sort of reception the many whimsical Ghanaians will throw at him.
They say it’s only a fool who does not change his mind but to be frank, it’s only a fool who changes his mind under certain circumstances—of which letting go a delightful salvation and a promise of eternal life for anything worldly, including ‘secular’ music is one of those circumstances. Something more than talent must be biting your hairy balls to be able to make that U-turn.
Personally, I care less about the musical divisions we have in Ghana—good music is good music irrespective of the genre and each type of music serves a particular or overlapping purpose. Therefore, either secular or gospel, it should not matter to any intelligent person—to be sincere, my friend prefers listening to the latter during her sexual escapades.
Most Ghanaians probably don’t care about whether a song is ‘secular’ or ‘gospel’, because all they want is to be able to dance to good music. My woman lives on the church’s upper echelon with her Christian righteousness and yet she listens and dances to all Daddy Lumba’s songs, with Kakyire Kwame Appiah being her second favourite.
Yet, when Ofori Amponsah became a born-again Christian, he fastened around his neck a gratuitous string—putting forward a self calculated posture that he wouldn’t be doing any of his old type of songs again, because that does not compliment how close he now sits with God. He even called it ‘VAIN MUSIC.’
I can’t remember him expressly saying he was never going to do highlife music anymore because of the underlying secular elements, but a judicious measure of all his conduct points to the simple fact that, Ofori Amponsah impliedly made us aware he was gone for good—and his most important call in life was to serve and worship the God that called him.
Even if he was going to find a way to coalesce music and proselytism, he made it clear he was going to live within the confines of gospel music—he was the biggest born again in town and had to ensure he lived a Christ-like life. In his holy elements, he told DailyGuide sometimes back that “I will release gospel songs on the music market very soon and the songs are geared towards spreading the good news.”
Of course Ofori Amposah was smart with his pronouncements. There was no way he was going to fix himself into a bottle, close it up and drop it into the ocean as Lord Kenya who explicitly stated that hiplife songs are ‘ungodly.’ And that he does not even want DJ’s to play his old hiplife songs again. Ofori Amposah failed to expressly say anything like that but he implied: a man of God cannot be associated with such ‘worldly’ songs.
Even though Ofori Amponsah was circumspect with his words, his estrangement from his old songs/music genre on becoming born-again plus the dud-journey he took into the world of gospel music clearly validate the argument that, he sincerely believed and still believes highlife music somewhat does not have a place in the life of a certified Ghanaian Christian, especially an Evangelist.
But he has decided to play it smart—in effect, eating his cake and having it back. With well knitted shrewdness, he has managed to push himself back into highlife music with a new single-Alewa, featuring Sarkodie.
Prior to the release of ‘Alewa’, Ofori Amponsah’s manager-Frank Agyekum in an interview stated that “Ofori Amponsah never said he was quitting Highlife music, he only needed restoration from his old ways that’s why he became a Pastor.”
He added “Ofori became a Pastor so that he could now do songs that will rather mend the broken-hearted and give hope to people — songs which will be different from what he used to do earlier.” I ask; where is the difference between ‘Alewa’ and Ofori’s previous songs?
Also, Ofori Amponsah told Deloris Frimpong-Manso in an interview (below at point 22:10) that, though he sees himself singing again, there was no way he was going to return to the same ‘VAIN’ music he was doing before God called him.
Now, what changed? He also said in the same interview at the time that music is not his God given GIFT–yet in an attempt to justify his return to music a few days ago, he said on Kasapa Fm: “Highlife song is not secular. Initially I had a problem singing when I saw Christ but with time, I have come to realise that it is a gift God gave me for mankind and I don’t have to ignore it.” Someone is patently confused and it’s surely not me.
It takes a candid person, even a ‘true Christian’ to call a spade nothing than what it is—and for that matter, if Christianity is a way of life, Christians ought to accept there needs to be well define borders. Obviously, Ofori Amponsah is pushing the borders and maybe because of our own hypocrisy or desire to once again enjoy his wonderful ‘secular’ songs, we’ve decided to cut him a peculiar slack, contrary to the basic Christian doctrine.
It’s not just the songs but rather the inextricable lifestyle that comes with it—and as an Evangelist or the head of a newly established Church, you must have no great deal of conscience to want to return to a lifestyle you claim to have been rescued from. And to once again hold the mic to sing the same songs you called ‘VAIN.’
Despite gospel and high life being just music at the basic level, there are fundamental differences, perhaps that explains the different layers of morality attached or expected of those who play musical strings—depending on which genre the person plays.
It’s not a coincidence that by mere virtue of being a gospel musician, society expects more from you—same way we expect more from our judges. The truth is, the moral landscape is different depending on the genre we are talking about, and it’s for a good purpose, because one is inherently supposed to be clean and worthy of a certain class.
Interestingly, pastor Ofori Amponsah has stated he will perform at nightclubs and even at alcoholic company-sponsored events if paid. He said: “[p]eople don’t actually know why I will do it, but I will do it and it’s a secret I don’t want to reveal.”
He continued, “I cannot judge because there are no laws that forbid the sale of alcohol, I will perform but I’ll not be a brand ambassador for alcoholic beverages.”
How is Evangelist Ofori Amponsah, God’s anointed and selected one to lead the flock going to align his bewildering highlife lifestyle with 2 Corinthians 6:14–“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers? For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
The church houses the believers who exalt their God with a type of song which follows a certain principle—’Alewa’ does not serve this purpose and if Ofori wouldn’t be able to rally his church members to sing it to the glory of God, then surely there is a big indelible question mark on it.
Ofori Amponsah is well aware of the conundrum—he cannot serve God in the path he seems to be retuning to, at least in the estimation of every sincere Ghanaian Christian. But the problem is, evangelism lacks a competing incentive—especially when his church has ‘refused’ to grow and the bank account is not running over as that of Bishop Obinim or T. B Joshua.
From afar, it looks like Ofori Amponsah made a mistake with the highlife musical hiatus, erroneously thinking he could achieve the same sumptuous feast with gospel music but a closer examination puts in up there as a staunch hypocrite, trying to have his cake back after having munched it all.
There is a third option, the most plausible of them all: he is a confident fraudster who thought the offertory box was a nippy way to richness at a time his musical career was swiftly dwindling in value and returns.
Musician Criss Waddle captured the minds of several Ghanaians, at least mine, when he took to his facebook page to write “Ofori Amponsah God never Called You, infact he didn’t even Flash you!!! Why exactly are you back to highlife? S3 Sesia wo p3 Kakra?#?AMGToTHEBLOODCLATWORLD ?#?akaBaako”
Nothing stops Ofori from making a U-turn and I don’t intend to judge his choices but he should not take Ghanaians for idiots, as if we are incapable of putting this cheap jigsaw puzzle together.
At least, rapper/pastor-Mase (real name Mason Durell Betha) serves as a global precedent of such wiliness—and a repeat in Ghana can easily be spotted.
Ofori Amposah took to fame in 1999/2000, rising on the back of Daddy Lumba when they released together an album ‘Woho Kyerea.’ The last time we checked, he had 5 children with 3 different women in Ghana and Germany.