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The year is nineteen-eighty-something. Colour television has still not come to this village, so a band of young fel­lows hanging out in the village square at night cluster around a motorcar battery-operated black-and-white television set sitting on a wooden stool. They are unaware that all around them, global television has gone all colour.

 

The magic of colour television emphasizes the power of colour on everything it touches. There is certainly a deceptive splendour about colour. Colour enhances beauty, but then it alters true features. A cart pusher’s discarded old coat may look like a royal gown in colour. Have you personally met some of the beauties and male celebrities you see on television and the colour ads in newspapers?

The plain, the drab and even the ugly, are dramatically beauti­fied in sharp colour. So now I see what many Ghana­ians who stow away on ships on their way to the lands of milk and honey fail to see.

 

I also now understand how I too once came to build from post­cards and magazine pho­tographs, an impression of the white man's land as heaven's backyard myself.

 

The original colour of printing paper is white and that of ink black. Ink and paper have long since gone full colour. Our newspa­pers have all now gone colour. What will the English do now with the expression "put everything down in black and white?""

 

Truth has always been black and white but now we are slowly learning that it must go colour along with everything else. Pleasant truths may be tolerated in black and white on occasion, but never painful truth. Unpleasant truth if it does not come in colour can only bring trouble to people and places

 

Up till point, I have been trying to writ­e in colour. Let us now try what I perceive to be one or two unpalatable truths in black and white to illustrate the point.

 

Politics and governance will do: Have the Presidents men been telling the Presi­dent the truth (in black-and-white) about them­selves and their activities? Are those who should let the President know what the people are saying and aspiring to in every mat­ter of national importance relating to their welfare doing so?

 

Have there not been times when some of the Presidents men have kept him in the dark about this or that because they thought it was something the President would not like to hear? Otherwise how do we explain such situations as workers going without pay for up to a year, the escalation in the energy crisis and the conflicting statements from public officials on this and other national challenges, which have repeatedly rubbed off negatively on the integrity of the current political administration?

 

Is it because putting what the president needs to know, in black-and-white would expose them or their  colleagues as incompe­tent individuals given to bungling up government policies, programmes and yet there was a precious air luxurious official motor vehicle , a bunga­low, a handsome salary and all the nice trapping of high office to keep?

 

Even where some of the Presidents men may be disposed to telling him the truth, it is rarely in black and white. Colour is now the name of the game.

 

Why does the President not retain only the good and selfless men and fire those whose incompetence is obvious?  For me I shall not answer tone in colour. The truth is that it may not be easy for the President to fire his men just like that.

 

When your avowed "en­emy" has made it amply plain that he wants your skull at all cost, you find it sensible to stick to your allies. What would be the prudence then in listening to your foe when he tells you to kick out your ally because he is crooked or incompetent?

 

Let us put it another way: When you have picked a team for a crucial job in a highly competitive industry where treachery is rife, you do not replace members of your team at the instance of your com­petitors and especially when random replace­ments could easily make cracks all over your estab­lishments. A case of the lesser "evil!"

When you lead a party, no matter the party's name and official colours, you do not endear yourself to the rank and file by kicking top party loyalists out of office by heart. You can console your conscience over the matter with the knowledge that both truth and lies have gone colour and it is difficult for you to distinguish one from the other.

Yet if everything goes colour, the truth will soon cease to exist altogether. Luckily man himself will remain either black or white, something that must chagrin him. Oh yes, apart from “black” and “white” have you ever heard people described by any other colour?

 

Unless of course, some mad scientist comes up with a virus that will infect and turn all white people green and black folks red. That would end all racist attitudes.  It all serves the Englishman right. He would have to rewrite the whole English dictio­nary. No more words like black market, blacklist, blackmail, black money.

 

Cha­meleons easily get a field day when it comes to hiding behind colours. Fighter pilots get close to red and blue clouds be­fore they realize clouds have no such colours. That colour with all its beauty and visual splendour is just a trick of light.

 

Painters get to work magic, knowing what non-painters do not know: That there is no colour like "green". That "green" is actually a combination of "yellow and blue". That there is no colour likes "blue". That "blue" is a mixture of "green" and "indigo", that yellow is a mixture of orange and green, that orange is itself, a mixture of red and yellow!

 

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