Ghana @ 64: Celebrating our silent nation builders

by | 15th March 2021 | Ghana, Project Update

 

Ghanaian hand-woven smock

In Ghana, the month of March every year has been declared Ghana month. We celebrate Ghana month because it is the month of our independence. Ghanaians and tourists alike are encouraged to celebrate the uniqueness of our beautiful country. Indeed, there is a lot to talk about when Ghana comes to mind:  friendly and hospitable people, great highlife music with all the new renditions, rich and diverse cultural display from all over the country and delicious, spicy foods, notable of mention being jollof (rice cooked in tomato sauce). There is the age-old friendly rivalry revolving around jollof from Ghana and Nigeria. Either country believes their jollof tastes better. I have savoured both plates and can subjectively conclude that Ghanaian jollof tastes best. So whenever you find yourself in Ghana, I highly recommend Ghanaian jollof and another of my personal favourites: red-red (fried ripe plantain with beans sauce).

We cannot talk about Ghana month without talking about our history and spirituality. The Ghanaian people are highly religious and spiritual. More than two thirds (71%) of the Ghanaian people profess the Christian faith and nearly a fifth (18%) are Muslims. The rest practice indigenous religious beliefs (5%) or have no religious beliefs.  The average Ghanaian believes in the existence of God and could easily find spiritual interpretation to nearly every occurrence. Discussions on our spirituality will be done another time. Our history as Ghanaians is strongly connected to national monuments such as the Cape Coast and Elmina castles in the central region.

Entrance to the Slave River at Assin Manso: Photo by Cynthia Buabeng

Ghana month is the month of our independence. We identify and celebrate specific individuals who played ‘political’ roles in our quest to gain independence. A visit to the Cape Coast and Elmina castles, and the famous Assin Manso Ancestral Slave River (which marked the last bath in Ghana) show the sad trajectory of Ghanaians sold into slavery. The experience should get Ghanaians and allies to reflect and ponder their loyalty and dedication to this great nation. Our ancestors were tortured and subjected to inhumane physical, emotional and psychological conditions. Our grandmothers were beaten and raped and denied the relief of a shower even during the time of the month when they needed it most. Through it all, one thing remained sure-they were resolute and united in their struggle. They looked out for their collective good. They realised that their survival depended on one another. They protected the vulnerable among them even in captivity. Does the average Ghanaian uphold these values today?

As we celebrate our independence and Ghana month, let’s enjoy the beautiful Ama Ghana and all she presents to us. And then please take a minute and reflect on your own role in making Ghana a better place. Let us endeavour to make Ghana a place that someday when we cross the river to the other side of life, we can be proud to account for our stewardship as faithful tenants of the land.

As part of the commemoration of Ghana month, I have decided to celebrate one group of people who are helping to build Ghana and yet do not get enough recognition –teachers in remote and unreached communities. Yes! Our teachers who have been ‘sentenced’ to unreached communities with limited access to potable water, electricity, and mobile network to even stay connected with family and friends. Teachers who for the passion of their profession, have decided to let go of the perks of urban life to help shape the future of other children. To all such individuals, we celebrate you! Teachers who sacrifice their own lives crossing dangerous rivers daily to be able to go and teach children in rural unreached communities. We say you’re our true heroes! Teachers who have to commute several kilometres daily to teach vulnerable children. Teachers who lack basic teaching and learning materials and have to use their own salaries to procure them to teach the next generation of leaders. Teachers who teach multiple classes because the school does not have the full complement of staff, we’re indebted to you as a country.  Teachers who have sacrificed beautiful relationships because of their decisions to serve their country, God bless you.

A portrait of an African woman adorned in Ghanaian colours. By Christian Kertson

Ghana is 64 years old this year. No matter who you are and what you do-Ghanaian or non-Ghanaian, there is something you can contribute to make Ghana a better place for all. The dialogue around Africa cannot be made without Ghana. Ghana is ready for global partnerships in all spheres of life in our quest to build a fairer, safer and equitable global community.

I invite you to visit and experience our warm hospitality, rich culture and highly-skilled labour force. So the next time you’re thinking of global partnerships, planning a holiday destination or looking to experience rich cultural diversity and religion, think Ghana.

Welcome to Ghana, the gateway to Africa.

Akwaaba! Woezor! Amaraba!

 

 

Dr Hayford Mensah Ayerakwa

Dr Hayford Mensah Ayerakwa

Author

Dr Hayford Mensah Ayerakwa is a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Education, University College London.Hayford’s research focuses on digital technologies in education, social and economic impact assessments of P3 interventions on education delivery, production and consumption of educational technologies, and the intersections between technology adoption, willingness to pay and learning outcomes, happiness, and other educational welfare indicators.His past work includes research on inclusion education, newly qualified teachers’ teaching experiences, rural-urban food linkages and multi-spatial livelihoods, happiness, and impact assessment.

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