I live in Ghana

Feature Article of Sunday, 14 April 2013

Columnist: Dale-Asiedu, Michael

Ghana, a land of freedom, courtesy of the patriotic toils of our gallant predecessors cum the agonizing sweat of their labors, their wits, persistence and ever optimistic vision of building a country that will be portrayed as a glorious luminary the world over. As the bellows were worked for the triumphant declaration of our independence, the prospects for mother Ghana were all but bright, buoyant and beaming with hope and uninterrupted sun shine. However, as men vary in outlooks, attitudes and temperaments, dissensions are bound to occur anytime no matter whom the mantle of leadership falls on but there is one fundamental goal that cuts across. That is the quest to develop mother Ghana, and make it a better place than we came to meet it both for our children, and posterity. The baton from those manning the affairs of the country from their bunkers at the Castle has changed ever since the nation’s inception but thus far have we gotten to. Albeit, different procedural mechanisms of development have been employed and espoused, each clinching firmly to his as supreme from one ideology to another and sometimes a combination or hybrid. That notwithstanding, what you sow is what you reap. Beneath are some outlooks we are harvesting so far, whether we deliberately planted them, that is still a dilemma for many a citizenry and a complete episode altogether. Our perception of Ghana football now is highly questionable. The same way we watch and admire, go crazy about the English Premier league, La Liga, Bundesliga and other foreign leagues, that is the same way we can work hard to improve ours but over the years what do we see? When was the last time you watched a local premier league match? That notwithstanding, we don’t mind staying deep into the night to catch a glimpse of an EL CLASSICO.Phobia versus Fabulous does not seem to even amaze anymore. Again when it is a rare privilege to be called to play for the Three Lions of England, we are here with so called star players bluffing on us, save some which are as a result of administrative mishaps. Where did it all go wrong in Ghana Football?

Also, what don’t we say about Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Paul Smith, Ben Sherman, and countless foreign designers? Can we rout fully for our made in Ghana designers alike? Suffice me to say the Ghanaian fashion industry is doing fantastic with prominent names such as Duaba Serwaa,Afrochic,more grease to their elbows, but more need to done, no iota of doubt about that. Recently, whilst I bought an Asante made sandal in a shop at Adum, I encountered a lady returning a slip-on she bought from the same shop. Curiosity got the better part of me so I engaged her in a short fact finding conversation. To my utter dismay, her worry was not with the quality of the product but with a nicely capped and cushioned made in Ghana tag in it. She further confided in me only to say she taught it was a foreign designer and that it made her appear so Ghanaian. But how else did she want to appear as she was not a foreigner? Is appearing Ghanaian so problematic?

Again, the movie industry came into mind; we see Indian culture interspersed intermittently in all their movies whilst we sit here and grapple as we try to appear all white with impeccable slangs and all that, in this regard Shirley Frimpong-Manso and her Sparrow Production crew did quite remarkable in how the fabric of the Ghanaian culture was inundated in the “Adam’s Apple”. But does our made in Ghana movie industry need a revisit? What is happening with our “kumawood folks”? I think they glorify wizardry, intemperate discourse and archaic stuffs too much or? Ghanaians deserve some credence, we are in the 21st century and should be more sophisticated in our ways, don’t you think? How far are we going future leaders? These days in most institutions we have students who go on summer holidays for less than three months and come back “slurring” so well as if they were born and bred there. We care less when these same people cannot speak a single local dialect not even their mother tongue. I had a friend who returned from china with an American accent, how amazing! What has happened to the “made in Ghana”? English is used in most literate homes, with our local dialects relegated to the background. In a local parish, when a fresh graduate from one of the nation’s prime universities was invited to help in their Sunday readings in Twi, he pathetically replied in the negative citing the mind blowing fact that he could not read Twi even though he took the subject in junior school, and was born and bred in a Twi speaking community. Ewe is now learnt in a German university and the president of Ohio University, Professor Roderick MacDavis announced that Ewe was to be studied as a course from 2011/2012 Academic year, have you ever wondered why? Should we be surprised if the whites in the near future come to our own country asking us to pay for tuition in our own language? I sincerely believe it has started already with the pre-exmas concert of an all-white singing group who minister songs in Twi. We pay exorbitantly to watch their shows whilst we even shun our cultural gatherings and festivals, Surprising right?

When foreign degrees are preferred to locally acquired degrees, “Na who cause am”? Enlighten me on the genesis; can this developmental trajectory be traced at all? When we now are even craving for everything foreign; dishes, movies and what have you? Can we modernize as Africans and Ghanaians for that matter without westernization? I sincerely believe in reorientation of our general outlook towards everything foreign and it begins with us all.

I won’t add leadership brouhahas, haphazard and indiscriminate littering, Parkinson bed ridden public service deliveries, law and disorder, fluid spate of strike actions all pointing to gross state incapacitation, annual flooding that liken us to the proverbial vulture who only seeks the urgency for shelter only when the rains start bucketing down horrendously and others, mother Ghana will just drop dead if I do.

With all these startling realities I suggest we rush mother Ghana to the Korle-Bu Intensive Care Unit immediately and I hope she is given the best of cares even as we have celebrated our 56th birthday, whew I just got alerted that the Doctors are on strike, SOS…..’This is Ghana, where I live’, MADE IN GHANA, PROUDLY GHANAIN!

Michael Dale-Asiedu, [email protected] [email protected]