Sunday, January 20, 2008

Food at the Stadium and Juju in Ghana

Two quick bites from the news wires after Ghana's dramatic 2-1 victory over Guinea in the African Cup of Nations opener. (Notice the Ghanaian with the guinea fowls in his hands ... very clever!)

First off, interesting choice of food at the stadium. Instead of the usual hot dogs and hamburgers, Reuters reports the cuisine choice veered more towards deep-fried pieces of pig fat, including ears and snout. YUMMY!

Elsewhere, offerings included deep-fried fish heads, slimy-looking sardines served with huge balls of pounded cassava, spicy goat stew, fried dough balls, plus culinary leftovers from former colonial power Britain such as sausage rolls and meat patties.

Sounds pretty good actually!

Then, this harkens back to my article on juju back in May. Apparently, supporters are using juju and prayers to help out their national teams in Ghana.

Many churchgoers in the capital Accra went to Sunday services dressed in the red, gold and green national colors. Some pastors held special "cleansing" services to pray for a win for Ghana.

At the Resurrection Power and Living Bread Ministries Church in the west of the capital, head pastor Yaw Owusu-Ansah led the congregation in the chant "Total victory! Total Victory! Total victory!" to pray for success against Guinea.

Other fans turned to more ancient beliefs to invoke victory.

One group of singing, dancing fans near the Accra stadium carried a "juju pot" daubed in the national colors and containing a mixture of leaves and liquid.

"Its presence at the stadium will scare away all devils," one of the group, Kojo Saaka, said.

International and regional football authorities tend to frown on the use of black magic to try to sway games, but Saaka dismissed suggestions the "juju pot" could cause harm.

"This one rather brings luck and peace," he said.

Fascinating stuff!!

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