FEATURE: Mohammad Danti (Square de Med)

My name is Mohammad Danti (I'm known as Square de Med) and I'm a young vegan man from Ghana. I grew up in a small village, predominantly a peasant farming community where African traditions are highly practiced. We worship Gods and sacrifice animals during festivals, and we ask good fortunes from the Gods. I never knew my dad as he passed on while I was a kid. My mom remarried another man who i considered a true dad at childhood.

We were farmers as well and we reared animals and grew our own food. I was always so fond of the animals and I spent much of my time with them as a kid. For instance, we had three dogs who helped us during the dry season to hunt wild animals in the forest. This is a very common practice in northern Ghana. I was always with these dogs and considered them to be my best friends. My first great blow was when these dogs were sold because they were considered too old and no longer effective in the hunting expeditions. 

The worst happened when my only cat was killed in one of our yam festivals! I could not eat the meat. It was like trying to bite the cat while it was still alive. It's face was in my mind as I tried chewing the meat. I ended up vomiting that particular night. But I could not openly express my feelings about the meat but could only say, "The food didn't meet the liking of my stomach." Since that day, I could no longer eat meat. This was around 2002, and at that age, I was in primary school. I had never heard about vegetarians or vegans then. But I stopped eating meat and became a vegetarian unknowingly! My only shortfall was eggs.

It was when I got to high school in 2007 that I came across the terms vegetarian and vegan. I asked lots of questions in class on these new terminologies. From then on, I started doing research, however, I didn't have the internet. It was in later years around 2012 that an internet cafe was set up in my locality. I could now go there and buy time to read. It was then that I realized that I could survive on a plant-based diet. It was then that I realized the true suffering of animals. 

I then made my feelings known and let all those around me know that I no longer wanted to eat anything forcefully taken from a defenseless animal. I tried telling friends how I felt, but most of them laughed at me. Most people brand me as "mad" because of my ideas. My world was really lonely until I was introduced to Facebook in 2013. I started joining vegan groups and making friends as well. I wept the first day I was shown Earthlings. It was a real nightmare for me. I started my own activism in my own small way. I started sharing the small knowledge I had with others, trying to bring them to the light, trying to correct the wrong which had been perceived as right. I used the name Square de Med on Facebook. This was a nickname I used in football when I was in school. Most of my friends know me by that name.

I've had a dream of being part of a vegan family out there one day, to learn more and to get the requisite knowledge to help me effectively fight for justice for all beings. This is almost achieved as a good friend is helping me to raise funds to be part of the Intersectional Justice Conference which is being held next month in Seattle, WA. 

I am so proud of being vegan and fighting for the voiceless.