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Ghana Post Digital Address: GA-018-1233

Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences Inaugural Lecture – Kasahuam-Kasafi in Ghanaian Media and Political Landscape

Speaker – Prof. Kofi Agyekum

Synopsis of Lecture

Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences Inaugural Lecture

Kasahuam-Kasafi in Ghanaian Media and Political Landscape


The objective of this inaugural lecture is to address issues about Kasahuam and Kasafi, ‘Polite and impolite language’ in the Media and Political (Politico-Mediatised Discourse) Landscape in contemporary Ghana.  The lecture emphasises the use of appropriate language based on our Ghanaian Cultural heritage, cultural norms and values that engineer and provide a perfect atmosphere and some panacea for peace, social cohesion and national development.  The lecture is meant to educate and create the awareness for political and media stakeholders to avoid and abhor the use of impolite and intemperate language, hate speech, invectives, lying, fabrications and denigration of personalities. These negative tendencies create divisiveness, tension, ethnic tribal and partisan conflicts and thereby threaten social cohesion, national unity and national development. We will finally recommend that we should look back at how we have stayed as one people with a common destiny and the respect for each other before and after independence.  We should therefore not allow the few political and media practitioners to take us for a ride through the misuse of language for their own parochial gains, especially power and fame.

The topic of impoliteness and invectives, and the need for polite language in politics and the media has been lamented upon by many Ghanaians for about two decades now and we must have a solution. The outline of my lecture will be as follows:

·         Abstract and Introduction

·         Ghanaian communalistic and collectivist Life:

·         Ghanaian cultural norms and values

·         Political and Media Discourse Analysis (PMDA)

·         Kasapa and Kasahuam– Politeness in language

·   Political apology as ingredients of Polite language

·         Kasafi, kasafo, eburo kasa, Impolite language       

·   Political Invectives and verbal taboos, discriminatory language,

·   Political DuabɔGrievance Religious Imprecation’

·   Lying, fabrications, innuendoes, defamation, dehumanization

·  Recommendations and conclusion


1. Introduction

Ghana has been severally referred to as the beacon of peace and hope especially in Sub-Saharan African.  Yes it is; but how can we sustain this and even improve upon it? Two major actors and perpetrators that readily feature the in the peace-making agenda and movement, are politicians and media practitioners.  Political and media activities in Ghana, especially in the 4th republic, have become more acrimonious and volatile and absolutely distanced from our rich cultural norms and heritage.  The political rancours in the first and second parliament with multi-parties, NDC, NPP, PNC, CPP and some independent parliamentarians were minimal. Political and media discourse was not as volatile, polarlistic and divisive as we have now with only NDC and NPP and the “winner takes all syndrome”.

During the 1st and 2nd terms, there was no proliferation of the media landscape; the monopolistic media was dominated by the state media GBC radio and TV with a higher level of professionalism and patriotism.  There are now hundreds of media houses made up of the print and the electronic. The electronic (radio and TV) are mostly private stations.  Some of them are owned and manned by politicians, and this tendency makes the synergy between politics and media stronger. It is thus not surprising that most of the kasafi, kasafo, kasaburo, kasahunu, ‘impolite language’ full of hate and incendiary language occur in the politically owned radio and TV stations and newspaper houses. New politically oriented stations are established annually as the mouthpieces of the two major parties, the NDC and NPP. They follow the same pattern of the overuse of invectives and impolite language to tarnish the image of their opponents.

With the advent of social media, the waters have been muddied the more because it is the outlet where more serious intemperate language and fabrication are unleashed at politicians, non-politicians including the security agencies, academics, chiefs, and the clergy. To be described with intemperate language, all that you need is to speak the truth that will not favour one of the parties.



We recommend that politicians, media practitioners including the political owners of the FM stations, the journalist take a central stage in the use of polite and peaceful harmonious language. Hosts of political and media talk shows as well as the invited guests must show a higher sense of linguistic decorum.  The monitoring and regulatory bodies should create a strong awareness about the need for polite language and the dangers that crop up with the use of impolite language.  The agencies are National Media Commission, Ghana Journalist Association. the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Communication, the National Commission on Culture, the National Peace Council, and to a larger extent ECOWAS.



We will conclude that media practitioners and politicians should be conversant with the unique Ghanaian customs, cultural patterns, politeness systems, taboos, norms, and ethics in social interaction. There should be workshops and seminars on peace, politeness, and political invectives organized by the NCCE, National Peace Council, religious organizations and Councils, CSOs, and NGOs. They should aim at educating politicians and the media on the effects of linguistic impoliteness and political invectives and the benefits of linguistic politeness.

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