When I was going through the photos I took over the weekend, I was struck by something:
The stark contrast between the street-vendors, trying to earn a living (to pay 2-3 years rent upfront), and the backdrop of flamboyant, ostentatious church billboards.
This reminded me of an earlier conversation I had had with King Appiah.
According to King Appiah, the easiest way to make money in Ghana is to start a church, because:
1. Church is big in Ghana (See Day#2 )
2. Anyone can start a church, you don’t need any qualification
(There are literally thousands of churches in Ghana. And 99.9% have been started by the (very wealthy-looking) individuals in the posters)
3. Judging by the print and advertising campaigns, budget is not a problem
4. As a pastor, you can charge GHC200 (R545) for a consultation
5. As a pastor you can charge between GHC500-1000 (R1,363-R2,727) for “holy oil”, or to “help with problems”. (King Appiah did not specify what kind of problem, but at that price I am assuming it is of the serious variety.)
6. Almost all the TV stations in Ghana are church-related, and the ones that aren’t alternate between Sylvester Stallone and “Touched By An Angel” reruns, so you have a captured audience for your adverts
7. Some churches only serve communion to those who come to the front armed with their tithing envelopes
8. People are very aware of voodoo, and the church holds the monopoly to the only “cure”
9. Communion wine has more supermarket shelf-space than Coca-cola
Only one prerequisite. You have to be able to perform miracles.
According to King Appiah, this is how you start a church in Ghana:
1. You find a nice, big piece of land that you like
2. You go and see a voodoo specialist
3. The voodoo specialist takes you to the ocean and calls up the marine spirit
4. The marine spirit appears to you and grants you special powers in order to be able to perform miracles
(People will only come to your church if you can perform miracles. “Especially the ladies.” according to King Appiah.)
5. The marine spirit/voodoo specialist gives you some water to take home with you
6. You keep the water under your bed
7. As long as you keep the water, you can perform miracles
8. As long as you can perform miracles you have a full church
9. As long as you have a full church you have (lots of) money
10. As long as you have (lots of) money you can drive a big, black Range Rover, which you can park behind your market stall, with the big PA system, to advertise your church, to attract more churchgoers, to make more money, to buy more water to keep under your bed
I promised to teach King Appiah to surf next Saturday.
If we spot the marine spirit, we will ask him for some water.
King Appiah and I think there is a gap in the church-market for a joined church/Uber venture, which can take people on church-rides.