“Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked to the total liberation of Africa” -Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President.
It is a good thing to be independent, if you ask me. It is not by mere coincidence that a country gains total control of its own affairs at an early stage. Well, for me independence means a lot more than just not being under the control of another nation. It is a life long journey with a million stories.
The problem about us as a people is that we refuse to free our minds just as I am about to do, yet we claim to be “bold to defend forever the cause of freedom and of rights”. I will not hesitate to applaud our forefathers, especially the Big Six, for their great achievements and heroic acts towards building this nation. They did all they could to make sure we could man our own affairs. The baton has since been passed and here we are, 59 years and still counting.
The stench at the Makola market sings “happy birthday to you Ghana”. The trotro mate greets you, “yeees! Front” literally scaring its occupants, and reminding you not to look back. The hawkers on our streets sell their wares to you, Ghana, by crying out, “yeees! Pure water, Yoghurt, Tampico, Fan Ice, P.K, Mentos, meat pieeee!”. Traders run helter skelter with their wares in a bid to escape the wrath of A.M.A task force(Abaye). 59 years old Ghana wakes up not to alarm clocks but to the harsh beatings on the shoe maker’s box and the cries of, “hwan na etwe3 ?”, translated as, “whose turn is it to scrub?”.
School children sing in chorus, “…Feel our hearts with true humi-li-ty, make us cheerlish, fearest, honestly…” With what meaning can the average Ghanaian school child attach to its National Anthem? Something we claim to have taught them in our schools. The minimum wage a worker takes is 120 Ghana cedis. Will you take that amount at 59 years old? After having to work for 30 days or more and this could be your take home salary. What will you buy with it? In a sudden speed, transportation fares have taken a full fly and citizens pay silently in pain out of their meagre salaries and income.
Ask me about 59 years and I will only assume it is a time for rest and a time void of stress. A time when your money works for you and your children cater for your needs. The children you took time to bring up, and not shirk your responsibilities from. A period of enjoying the fruits of your labour. But no! The only fruits to be enjoyed here is that of freedom to move about freely and say anything freely. Yes! freedom like the madman roaming aimlessly in the streets, graduates lying lazily in their beds and of “dead goats living” unconcerned lives.
Is that all there is to say about Ghana? Oh! Lest I forget. We are enjoying less than 3% of proceeds from our mining sector and importing tilapia when we are surrounded by sea and rivers everywhere. We almost import everything and export chocolate wrapped in paper and foil since the day of Tetteh Quarshie’s discovery of the cocoa seeds. Is this the Liberation our father of Independence was referring to?
And to think that Yaa Asantewaa may have left some of her courage in Ghanaian “queens”, women of our time are rather “queens” of America. Buying the hair, eyelashes, hips, lips, nails, and waists of the western world. Call it globalisation and Yaa Asantewaa will sneeze in her grave. Ashamed of their “kpenkpeshi”(kinky) sun-silk hair. And even more so, afraid to rise up and proclaim, “Where are the brave men of yesterday? If you men will not fight, we the women will”. Women of our time cannot even boast of independence from their men amidst all the feminism advocacy.
59 years old Ghana has a lot to boast of, yet a lot more to achieve. We have too many literates in this nation to be hungry and poor. Our thinking caps must not fail us. Our universities are part of the best in Africa. We have all the natural resources and the able bodied men that the world can boast of. We have one of the best airports in Africa. And our streets are void of attacks by armed men. We can do more. Yes we can!
If the saying that “life begins at 40” is true, then that can be said about us. Five decades and on, we are still and remarkably the Gateway to Africa. Our nation is blessed and so are its inhabitants. Let’s pick up hoes and cutlasses. Let’s dig deeper and deeper. Let’s mine our remaining minerals and hide it away from the thieves. For in some years to come, we may need a treasure to hold on to and to pass on to the next generation. Let us go back and rewrite the story of Africa for in so doing we shall possess our birthright as Ghanaians. Let us not yet sell it for a box of pizza when our delicious banku and okro stew lie in wait.
Long live Osagyefo’s Ghana. Best regards to the great men and women of old and present who sweat it out for the nation. Your efforts will remain in the records of workmanship and sacrifice. Now back to the issue, tell me about 59 years old Ghana because stories of old are best told by the grey-haired.