Thursday, February 12, 2009

Characters in the Ghanaian Church

As for us Ghanaians, we go to church to listen to the word of God o. Well, most of us do, at least, and that’s just as well. Because if we were to spend less of our time fellowshipping and more of it observing, we’d get the giggles. And that wouldn’t be such a good thing to do in church, would it? Anyway, so after watching the people in my church for a while, I described them to my friends and they were so amused by it that I thought I should share it with you.


The Chairman is a osikani belebele (tr: rich man). I call him Chairman because this big man is usually the one who gets to chair harvests and other church events of equal importance. This man shows up to church in the finest of Western style tailored clothing with shiny designer shoes or in traditional garb befitting a chief which he pairs with ahenema. He drives a Mercedes or BMW saloon car and is frequently late to church.

Obia nyɛ Obia

These people form the majority of the Mens Fellowship. Their favourite church attire is the grey or brown political suit which they wear with Opanka sandals or some other Kumasi-made shoe with a “made in italy” label on it. These men cannot dance. When they try, they stick with the wiper dance (shifting weight from one foot to the other in a motion very like that of a car wiper). Their one redeeming feature is they know how to pray long elaborate prayers which begin with Otweadeampong Nyame a, yɛ twere wo a wo ndi yɛn hwiambɔ da! Anapa yi, wo nkoa ne wo mfenaa ya ba w'anim. (tr: God almighty in whom our trust is not misplaced, this morning your servants have come before you)

Ogyacious Brother

This man is on fire for the lord. In the fictional Ghanaian church whose youth fellowship greeting is Aroma, Shake The World, he’d be the one most likely to invent the slogan. This man does not have a great job because his education was terminated due to financial difficulty, however his authority in the church cannot be disputed. He executes his role as prayer warrior with much flourish and in his prayers, he leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is knowledgeable about the bible and has a personal relationship with God. This man may not put much in the collection bowl, but he dances to honor the lord, usually with a handkerchief and his mpɔnkɔ dance (tr: horse dance). He's so vigilant about fornication that one can only hope he’s a virgin. They also believe strongly in the bible passage that says the young will dream dreams and so he will occasion dream that he was getting married to a sister in the church. As he takes dreams seriously, he'll communicate this to the sister and sometimes dreams come true. Praise the lord!

The Rich Man’s Wife

As a wedded wife, her name is Mrs. Paul Kwesi [insert husband’s last name here]. She is active in the women’s fellowship but will not join the singing band or the choir. How can she, when every week, she has to display her latest damask and lace kabas, complete with gold and silver jewellery and hair. At collection time, you do not want her to be dancing in front of you because she dances a little forward, then she dances backward shoving her big ass in front of you. You find her many times in front of the church receiving special prayers which the pastor prays for those who have given thanksgiving offering.

The Singing Band

This is the home of the poor and down-trodden who believe that “let everything that hath breathe praise the lord”. On good days, they sing superbly. On bad days, they are way off key.

The SS-Girl

There are two types of girls in the church, that is the one who attends what she believes to be a superior school such as Wesley Girls High School or St. Roses Secondary School and the one who goes to Benso Secondary. (I like to use Benso secondary because I know their headmaster and think the school deserves some mention). I won’t talk much about the latter, but the former comes to church in clothing that is wonderfully color-cordinated. At offertory time, she does not dance, but walks stiffly. Imagine if she is behind the rich man’s wife. The roles she likes to play are Bible Reader, Usher, and Giver of the Vote of Thanks. After church, she does not stay behind to help the rest of the young people pack up the place but as she is usually the Chairman’s daughter, she hops into their car and they leave. Last to arrive, first to leave. hmm...

Have I left any characters or characteristics out or misrepresented any of them?Align Center


  1. the Osofo Maame-- the pastors wife (or the 'wife-pastoral')... is always up there by the pastor remember!

    she normally claims to be championing the women's cause with some establishment however fake as a 'women's fellowship' and she's the automatic leader!

    and she comes to church well well well dressed with all kinds of ornaments!

    and she's the one the most holy of hollies pastor calls out in front of the congregation "my beautiful wife and better-half", whilst at the same time 'eyeing' one of the SS-gals in the 1st row!

    and let someone bring the roof down with one blast of "Amen"!!!

  2. now now how could you have forgotten the choir master, all the girls in the church esp. the choir believe he is probably next in line to God and interestingly so does he. He makes sure he practises what he preaches (fornication and the sins of the flesh)

  3. How about the young guys tht "twiw Otophista"
    They come to church to look at the girls tht are best and worst dress. lol and they dance in church like they r in the discotheque..

    Madam Esi... pls special request
    Can you write about Ghana's valentines celebration. n pls can you look out for hw many pple will be wearing red outfits

  4. spot on. There's also the other head of the women's fellowship, who is respected and revered by all due to her status as the church's mother. That gives her incredible power to make rules and decide what should or should not be preached etc.

  5. So where do people like me fit? Woarabae, you left me out

  6. @Nana Kofi, I give you full liberties to describe your type. Do you go to church with your hymn book tucked under your armpit and wearing a woodin shirt with black trousers?

    @Novisi, Amen to that!

    @Kory,why do i get the feeling you're just hating on the choir master?

    @Obla Yoo, hehe, why some church woman cross you eh?

    @Everyone, a friend and her colleagues from her workplace had the following additions:

    1.osofo (the man who’s knows the scriptures more than the priest and finds every sermon porous and boring. On the day that he admits the sermon was good, he’s unhappy that the congregation wasn’t large enough)

    2.akyere (the woman who assists in counting the collection and believes “obia didi wo n’adwuma ho”)

    3.koo (the guy who doesn’t miss an opportunity to grab somebody’s cell phone during collection)


    oh, Gosh, the "obiaa didi wo n'aduma ho" (tr: everyone makes her living from her work) part just cracks me up. My mother told me that in her church sometimes some of the monies are not properly accounted for and yet no one wants to out the "chopper" so they just murmer among themselves and in time people forget about it. man!

  7. hilarious Esi! hahaha.
    Osikani Belebele is normally the corrupt politician too. Lol @ wiper dance. Why is the guy called Ogyacious Brother? Ogyacious in Presec means insubordinate. :-)

    twiw Otophista? Haha, I know quite a number of them. Are they same people who go to church to socialize?

  8. MIghTy African - i like the sound of your name, i believe the term ogyacious was coined from the word ogya which means reference to being on fire for the lord, i guess. "Spirito" or "Chrife" would also work.

  9. This is really good . We have all of the above in my church.
    The money counters, SS girls and stuff. Was ''chasing'' a girl like that, and her fathers car didn't make things easier-b4 you could say jack there she goes in the car.

    I think Kofi will fit in with the boy who goes to church bcos his mother pulls him along.He cant wait for church to close so that he would go home.He missed church especially on harvest days when church lasted for hours.

  10. Sorry forgot to comment on the horse dancer. We had one in my church. If ever there was a competition for all oponko dancers he would win hands down. He had only half a tooth in his whole mouth and he made sure everyone saw it. His dance was to some the highlight of the day and when he missed church everone saw it. he was the best!!May his soul rest in peace!!

  11. Maameous... i realised that the hip word for Chrife these days is Chrif (like Krif, the stationery shop).

  12. ahhhhhhh... that description of the 'ass' of the wife of the chairman on the offertory dance line is so hot makes me wanna start going to church again...


  13. very similar to what we experience in Lagos. this is a dead-funny post.

  14. OMG lollllllllll Esi, I was so that SS girl who walked stiffly and HATED the backward dancing women. lol this is so on point mahn, so on point!!!

  15. Dont forget the young guy who seems to have everything going for him in life but is yet still so much interested in church and doesnt care what anyone thinks about them while they dance and praise their lives away without a care....And the people who look on everything going on in church like "supervisors" cos they've beeen christians for decades and seem to always have a "Been there, done that, got a t-shirt" attitude...

  16. this post made me a little sad. i grew up in a church with most of these character types and almost gave up on church-not christianity- altogether at some point. thankfully i found LIC and found that it was possible to just go to church, enjoy it, listen to a good sermon and go home. I warrant some variation of these characters are to be found in my church as well. A church can only work for me if I'm a member at superficial levels. and you know since I decided that christianity was not group work and it didn't matter how others were doing in their exam, i barely notice that stuff.

  17. Roflmao at those descriptions. I liked the ogyacious brothers for a while (heck, I was even an ogyacious sister), but that was all until i began to think and take stock of what i believe (now no longer an ogyacious sister, nor am i impressed by the ogyacious brothers).

  18. ha ha ha. spot on. but you forgot the single and O-four-one women looking for marriage partners.also the middle age casanovas who ocassionally take a smoke outside the church when the service is going on.

  19. More comments coming in. See below:

    The facts are all true sister. I like that one about the singers. On bad days, I tell you, you need some handsfree for your ears.

    They start with the apotro voice and woefully burn the songs at the beginning. Somewhere along the line, they manage to pick up small small.

    You did not talk about the university students in our churches. After one of two semesters in school, they start complaining about how localized church is organized. They always want to be hearing the English gospels and even want their pastors to preach in English. If this doesn’t go their way they start looking for English assemblies.

    They wish to never hear this ebibi nnwom sang by the mmaa kuo.

    How do I call this squad? I think the CHICHES GROUP.

    And there is this group. They come to church quite late. They always want to come and meet praises time. if they don’t enjoy praises time, they tell friends and families that, nne de asore anye de koraaaaa. However you will never find them eyes opened and ears opened for Onyame asem. Always dozing in church. Probably because they eat fufu before coming for church service and after a vigorous praises time, they become to tired to concentrate on the word of God. They like picking quarrels with the young ones.

    Probably because they are the ebibi nnwom lovers.

    Hmm my sister, I think there are more characters in the church than we have now. We will uncover them in bits

  20. This is just tooo funny and sadly tooo true...
    Did you add that the band sometimes comprises 'SS-girls" from Benso Secondary who carry singing notebooks of the lyrics to Cece Winans tunes?

  21. hmm chale it true ooo
    and there is also the pretty sister Ama Addo, who is very beautiful and the young man are dying for her.
    She wears glasses and is slim and has a gap in her teeth.
    She does the solos, at weddings: english songs..she went to gey hey, so she has to prove it
    normal days: hits from de stars, christiana love and all that... hahah only your voice oooo

  22. haha, anonymous, slim, wears glasses, has a gap in her teeth, does english solos, went to gey hey...and the boys are dying for her...i don't know who you are but i know one gey hey girl who fits that description perfectly. hehe.

  23. OMG this is dead on and so funny Esi! I know all these characters existed in my church in Takoradi and I enjoyed all but one; The church supervisors. Those people made it living hell for those of us who thought we were too old for children's service because we thought we "Hy333" and too young for adult service because we thought it was boring. But we would sit in anyway.

    They would always kick us out of the chapel and then make us sit by the door so that they could make sure we still paid attention to the service from the outside... But all we really wanted to to was gossip about our crushes on the older boys who had "Twiw Ottophister", laugh at the singing band while they 'burned' the song and dance during praises and collection...lmao. Ah memories!!

  24. hmmm there are also those rather prim women, i figure they re just nosy, they have a self appointed job of assessing everyone, if you dare come to church with bare shoulders or high slits, it becomes the sole duty to chastise you in english and twi... these high and mighty women are always stood outside the church doors and will othen refuse you entry into the house of GOD.. now that was something..

  25. With all this comment/contribution coming..... i just can't stop myself from laughing....mahn this is so so funny...
    Right on Esi, my first visit to ur blog and already "inlove with ur blog..

  26. Oh charlie, I agree with mammie and most of you. It's a sad realisation that church has become this way in today's world. It's supposed to be a place for all to come and find true healing for our physical and emotional wounds, to fellowship, learn something new about Him, or to just worship freely without minding who is checking out our gele (headtie) or whether our handbags and shoes match... it's sad that some of us unfortunately go there only to either judge others, meet good guys or girls, or for our own ulterior motives.

    Esi, this one is still hilarious, and easy to relate to....yet so true and I enjoyed reading it. It got me thinking too. Thanks for the post!

  27. Very interesting and true in many aspects. Infact it is very honest. It has also made me realise that i have check my own heart. At the end of the day- By ones productivity levels and relational level, you will know them.

    Very funny at times. I bet God sits on his Throne and laughs at us - " what are those peeps doing""-
    Do you think we are worse than isrealites of old-( old testament) when they worshiped God with their lips, made way too much noise and judged each other or just a disgrace to our selves. I guess- you can never fool God!!!! You can sure fool men!!! lol

  28. thoughts of a simpletonNovember 10, 2009 1:05 PM

    Before i re-read this for the 100th time- i love the picture- simply excellent.

  29. I find myself identifying most of the characters in the post, trying to recall any that had been left out, and i got this: the handsome, silent young man from Botwe (forgive)who, very much like the one from Gey Hey, walking stiffly on the way to the offering bowl. He is very patient with the rich man's wife who dances backwards and forwards, and looks on with a superior air.
    Mi eno ji enye.

  30. Hilarious!! I just stumbled onto your site and I love it. I haven't laughed so much in a while! Great Posts!! I have read about 7 today already (and counting!)

  31. This is hilarious, but true. I think it relates to every other Church especially amongst the blacks. It's everywhere. Made me think of who I am and what exactly my purpose of going to Church is...