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In “The Canker of Indiscipline” author Kofi Ofosu-Boateng writes a very compelling two-page article on the lack of discipline in his nation, and its affect on the nation’s moral and ethical structure. Boateng puts blame everywhere, from teachers and parents to pastors and politicians. He voices his opinion very strongly, and mentions several times throughout the article how much indiscipline has taken over his nation, arguing ways to resolve it. He writes that once the individual person begins to take responsibility of their lack of personal, cultural and even religious discipline, their country and its leaders would succeed.
When I came upon this article, I learned it was written on May 10, 2000 and published over the Africa News Service (AllAfrica.com). Later, after researching the author, I discovered my article was only a portion of Boateng’s original argument. The original was written May , 2000 and published in “The Ghanaian Chronicle”, an online Ghana newspaper. The author’s audience is entirely written for the people of Ghana, Africa; therefore the author’s style of writing is evident. His writing technique varies from any that I’ve read by American journalists, which gives his style of writing a different feel. His purpose seems to force his readers to admit their faults by blaming them for indiscipline, thus causing them to rise up and correct it.
The first two paragraphs of Boatengs article introduce his issue by using a metaphor. He states, “The rot of the fish starts with the head before all other parts” and replaces this as the “rot of discipline” as with his nation’s leaders. He continues to use an analogy of a parent sending his child off to buy cigarettes and liquor; when the child returns and wants some for his own, the parent uses the old adage, “do as I say, not as I do.” The use of this analogy leads the reader into the main context of the article. Boateng describes several types of people, such as teachers, pastors, and civil servants, and then labels them where they lack discipline. It is evident throughout the entire article that Boateng want to make sure his readers know who is to blame.
In the second half of the text, Boateng describes the types of indiscipline with his countrymen and how it should be corrected. Boateng makes a rather empathetic statement that, “Charity, we say, begins at home, so discipline should also begin in our homes.” This remark certainly sets a no-nonsense tone. He wants his readers to evaluate their values and morals, which are the fiber of the life-long fabric we humans weave. In his article, Boateng shows one weakness in his organization. He has one or two confusing and contradictory statements. One example is where Boateng discusses the lack of a good education system because of the deterioration of discipline, and debates that, although he puts blame on this system as a failure, it is “because we lacked resources.” He uses the word “we” as if to say he is partly to blame. In other words, he seems to have no problem putting the blame where it lies, even if it’s on himself.
Boateng’s voice in this piece is very strong. He leads the reader into a passionate view on these injustices of indiscipline and gives several reasons behind his claim. I found his argument to be powerful and convincing.
Ofusu-Boateng, Kofi. “The Canker of Indiscipline.” AllAfrica.com May 5, 2000 Elibrary.com
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