Castro’s Disappearance: Fat Chance, Pastor Owusu-Bempah!

When I saw the sensational banner headline of “Owusu-Bempah Declares Castro Dead” 8/8/14), I couldn’t help but wonder whether the Rev. Isaac Owusu-Bempah had just been appointed Ghana’s newest Inspector-General of Police (IGP) by President John Dramani Mahama.

And if so, I further wondered just what the possible motive might be. And then I delved deeper into the rather terse news item and realized that Rev. Owusu-Bempah was rather about the positive business of disabusing the minds of his teeming fans that Mr. Theophilus Tagoe (aka Castro) was still alive and dancing heavenly with “Maame Watta” somewhere under the turbulent estuary waters of the Volta River and the Atlantic Ocean.

If, indeed, the authorities of the Marine Division of the Ghana Police Service have come out to publicly and categorically declare that all chances of finding the popular Hip-Life musician and Ms. Janet Bandu, his widely alleged companion, are zilch, then, of course, it is time to let go of the ghosts of Castro and his pretty companion.

As President Barack Obama said in tribute in the wake of the historic passing of the immortalized South African human rights and democracy spearhead, Mr. Nelson R. Mandela, Mr. Tagoe and Ms. Bandu belong to the ages. It is, however, quite common, and some would even say, altogether normal, for the fans of the apparently drowned Hip-Life artist to stuboornly hang onto any hopes of finding their idol alive somewhere within the Stygian depths of the ocean.

The fact of the matter is that even if the much-touted romantic pair were amphibious critters, they would have since long emerged from their purported watery hideout for a whiff of fresh air. And just what would make Castro decide to tarry this while – the man and his belle were reported missing a little over a month ago – unless, of course, he has discovered an even larger fan base down under who are willing to reward him with much fatter paychecks that he ever received while on this side of the universe with us?

Rev. Owusu-Bempah also claims that certain rituals are normally performed for people who have reportedly drowned, and that once such rituals have been performed, it takes only three or four days to have the remains of such victims washed ashore. Does it therefore mean that in the case of Mr. Tagoe and Ms. Bandu, no such known rituals were ever performed? And if so, what could be the reasons for the non-performance of such rituals in this particular instance? And just who, according to Rev. Owusu-Bempah, ought to have performed these rituals, since he also claims that the latter are more related to “customs and traditions.” And then, also, are we to assume that such rituals fall outside the functional purview of Christocentric ministers like Rev. Owusu-Bempah?

These are quite legitimate and interesting questions, because they have been raised by a bona fide Ghanaian clergyman with an apparently remarkable appreciation for the implicit potency of at least some of our indigenous religious customary practices and traditions.

Which, of course, is another way of trying to find out from the controversial cleric precisely where Christianity and African traditional religions share similar practices and insights; and also precisely where the two spiritual realms part ways. And also, if these two religious practices may be harmonized or can be made to ritually complement one another.