The Black Stars of Ghana: A Motorcycle Adventure in West Africa
by Alan Whelan
Travelling against the backdrop of Ghana's Black Stars' thrilling performance in the 2010 World Cup, Alan Whelan sets off on a motorcycle adventure into the heart of West Africa. Curious to discover the current state of Ghana after two generations of independent rule within his lifetime, he rides optimistically on a continent that has had its fair share of trauma. On this, his second major African journey, he aims to prove the lie to the warning in 1951 by a British politician that to allow African colonies their independence would be "like giving a child a latch-key, a bank account and a shotgun". He meets witches, fetish priestesses, custodians of the slave trade, and the only white chief of Ashanti who confirm that - if Ghana is an indication of progress - the future of the continent is bright. The fuel for the trip becomes the electric atmosphere in every town and village he visits as the Black Stars progress through the World Cup taking place in South Africa. He becomes convinced that their success is partially down to the mysterious black powder he is given by a fetish priest. 'It is from the bush,' says the priest. 'This powder will keep you safe. It is powerful!' But will it see the Black Stars to the final - and will it see him to the end of the journey?
- Alan Whelan, December 2012
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