Tuesday, 17 March 2015


I have this rare gift of not forgetting faces no matter how long it takes. People I meet tend to be fascinated by this rare feat and always wonder how I am able to keep such an amazing memory of faces. "Last week I chanced  upon a very good friend I had not seen for at least 14 years in a market at night, hence I walked up to him and stood there smiling, thinking he would recognise me too but the young man stood there looking so startled and I had this very "stupid" smile on my face. He tried to place the face but to no avail and the fascinating part is that we are in the same WhatsApp group. So I decided to put him out of his misery by introducing myself and he was like "I remember you the Random African Thoughts guy right"? He is also a twin like myself so I figured he was going to use that as a point of reference instead he referred to me with something I did and not what I was. To be honest I felt really honoured that someone made reference to my pieces and recognized me based on that. I am blessed with the gift of remembering faces but on the other hand, many people are blessed with the gift of or are in the business of not forgetting what other people did or sometimes did not do when they had the opportunity. I realized that not all people can remember faces that well because my friend could not fathom how I made him out after so many years but another observation I made was that, people would never forget your reputation be it good or bad no matter how long it takes and would use that as a reference point should you bump into them in town. Many people tend not to forget easily things and circumstances and will be quick to "christen" you with such a feat. For instance many ex presidents have their names put on certain achievements. In Ghana for example you would often hear Rawlings' chain, Kuffour bus and so on.
People will always recognise you for something be it good or bad and it tells us that our reputation really matters to people. What you do, did and could not do, what you stand for, are things people do not easily forget. People take decisions and even form opinions about people just by their actions and sometimes inactions. As much as people would remember you by your many good achievements, just one blunder can override all those achievements and reduce your reputation to zero. It is sad but it is the truth. Joseph Hall captured this observation too when he said "A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was". People, let us try to build  good reputations so they speak for us wherever we may go. Henceforth, let us watch our actions and always think of who is watching. I could not find a more appealing way of concluding this piece than borrowing the words of Benjamin Haydon when he noted that "The great difficulty is first to win a reputation; the next to keep it while you live; and the next to preserve it after you die, when affection and interest are over, and nothing but sterling excellence can preserve your name. Never suffer youth to be an excuse for inadequacy, nor age and fame to be an excuse for indolence". My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is my RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT.
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