Advice from Ghana Taxi Windows

Ghanaians love to put interesting sayings on their vehicles and shops. Often they are quotes from the Bible and, almost as often, quotes of traditional sayings, some of which sound like they might come from the Bible, like “God’s time is best”.

A number offer advice to the reader. These are often found on taxi windows. Another feature of Ghana is that Ghanaians are not embarrassed to write the signs in their own languages. Taxi windows are as likely to carry words in the Twi or Ewe (pronounced Aye-Vay) languages as they are to display English. Most of the advice is pretty good.

We’ll start on the main road from Kumasi to Accra, where I found this taxi offering advice in the Twi language. Literally it means “Think about yourself”. The meaning is something like “Don’t put your nose in other peoples’ business”, “Mind your own business” or “Don’t Meddle”.
My next example comes from the streets of Accra. This taxi driver is also offering advice in the Twi language. We are told to “Let it go”, meaning that when someone does something bad to you, then let it go. In other words, forgive them. “Let it go” is an interesting idiom for the concept of forgiveness. It is important that we do not assume that the English and Twi idioms have exactly the same meaning. That considered, the hard part of forgiveness is often to “let it go”, that is, not keep dwelling on the matter, running it over and over in our heads.

Next we have a taxi on a road in the beautiful highlands of Eastern region. This time we have advice in English. Apparently, gossiping is not something confined to any one culture or age. We are warned about it in parts of the Bible written 2,000 years ago. This taxi driver seems to think that the advice is as relevant for contemporary Ghanaian society as it was then.

One day, I walked out the gate and found this taxi beside the road. The driver was grabbing a bite to eat from the roadside food stand. I commented on his advice. He brightened up. According to him, we need to be humble because even Jesus Christ was humble. I suppose that he had read the second chapter of the book of Philippians. About an hour later, he came driving past me as I was finishing my walk. He leaned out the window, smiled and yelled, “Be humble!”

These photos were originally posted on my Facebook feed. If you liked this, you might also like Festooned with Signs, God’s Time is Best. or Shame.

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6 thoughts on “Advice from Ghana Taxi Windows

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