Why the Kalyppo Campaign Is So Powerful

I don’t know why the NPP flag-bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, was drinking Kalyppo four years ago in that car. That picture, however, has resulted in a campaign that has drawn the members of the opposing party as well the general Ghanaian public together like not seen in a while. I found out about the boxed drink Kalyppo, on my last visit to Ghana.

My mother-in-law bought a pack for my kids, and my son fell in love with the Fruitimix flavor. Thereafter, there were days when we were out hunting for that flavor. That particular one was difficult to get.

So back in 2012, an occasion rose that made this grown man, an accomplished attorney and statesman, favor a boxed drink that kids love. Was it thirst? Was it curiosity? Was he reaching for a bottle of water and absent-mindedly grabbed a box of Kalyppo? Whatever the reason, at that point in time, Kalyppo was good enough.

So it is in life. In a society like Ghana, where millions of people struggle everyday to make ends meet or even get basic healthcare, most have to make do with what is available. For these millions, day in day out, the mantra is “Kalyppo has to be good enough. It just has to do!”.

It doesn’t matter that it was made for kids or favored by kids, sometimes, Kalyppo has to do. The little ball of kenkey has to do. Not going to see a doctor has to do. The kids missing school to go sell water by the road has to do. Becoming a galamsey has to do. Their own personal “Kalyppo” has to do.

So to see minions of the ruling government, often blamed for the morass we are in now, deriding this powerful symbol – a symbol of Nana Akufo-Addo making do – was enough to ignite something. Those minions deriding Nana Akufo-Addo for drinking Kalyppo was like a derision of the millions who make do each and everyday in Ghana.

Are you then surprised at how widespread and popular the campaign became? Sure, there were the wags who saw (and still see) that as an opportunity to draw laughs. Yet underlining all that was a powerful message to those in power. The message said:

“You may have your Voltics, chilled bottles of Coke and freshly-squeezed orange juice. However, most of us are lucky to even get a box of Kalyppo and we are proud of it and make do with it. Just remember us when you are sipping on you bottled water, Coke and orange juice in your mansions. Remember, because we put you there and we have the power to remove you.”

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