The Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge was last night transformed into a vibrant splash of colours and tinkling personalities as a host of Ghanaian and Diasporan glitterati toasted the 55th anniversary of Ghana’s independence.
Ghana’s Finest - Kwasi Kyei Darkwah
On 6th March 1957 Ghana, hitherto known as the Gold Coast, emerged from the shadow of colonial masters, and a new nation was born. In the fifty-five years of its sometimes checkered history, ours is a country whose light continues to shine as the lodestar of democracy in Africa with an electoral system that has won much praise for the nation.
Not so long ago Pioneer Tobacco Company, now British American Tobacco Ghana Ltd, were producing 555 cigarettes, and for those who are into numerology and other esoteric arts, perhaps the number 55 has a special meaning that you would like to share with us here, much like the allusions to the Jubilee year five years ago (Ghana at 50) and its spiritual significance!
The most significant thing, however, is not what people say about the significance of numbers, but what we make of the number of years we have attained independence and what we are going to do about this so-called independence. Is it independence to mismanage or manage our affairs? Have we managed or mismanaged our affairs, and what can we do better to make this nation of ours bold and strong?
It won’t have come as a surprise to many that their happiness and celebratory mood were snuffed out by cynical others who caustically point out only the negative issues in Ghana. And so as I trawled through Facebook yesterday, I was happy to see my sentiments echoed in this status update from my friend and fellow blogger Mz A:
It's really depressing to see people only pointing out flaws on a 'person's' birthday. Sure there are loads of problems but many have been minimized and effects mitigated. Sure there are loads of challenges but there's also been a lot of improvement. Sure you can complain all you want and you're allowed to but what have YOU done about it??? Any of it? Name one single thing. I bet you don't have much to say now, do yah? If you haven't done squat, Shut up and enjoy the holiday. If you have, keep on being positive and hopeful. God bless Ghana.
Ghana has come of age at 55, and each Ghanaian or friend of Ghana has certain expectations, especially on our leadership. We expect public-spirited leaders who will think about today and posterity; who will put the needs of the citizenry over and above their own myopic perspectives of development. We expect a bipartisan approach to development, and a collective effort from all. And we expect YOU to be a part of that nation-building exercise; to embrace growth and education in its myriad forms as the channel through which we can transform our society and economy and enhance productivity. The time is nigh for us to ‘ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.’
And why not? Ghanaian talent can be found everywhere on the globe. Currently, the Azonto dance craze is sweeping the world like a bush fire in harmattan, garnering fans and making converts of previously rhythmically challenged individuals (including me), and last night’s event was no different. Ladies and gentlemen, it was an Azonto independence, alright!
The evening began with traditional dance performances by the Blema Dancers
With the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities there is promise of prosperity and production of more value-added exports. But we mustn’t forget to add value to our creative products as well. It is not only tangibles like cocoa, oil and gold that can bring revenue – we can make earnings from our creativity as well.
As we celebrate the sunny highs and terrifying lows of Ghana, remember these words from the address of H.E. Professor Danso Boafo, the Ghana High Commissioner to the UK:
‘Our independence must mean more to us than just a celebration of years and numbers. It must translate into maturity and a re-dedication to the ideals of peace, hard work, increased productivity, discipline, strengthening the bonds of unity and upholding our rich cultural values that make us who we are, and that have made our country the Black Star of Africa.
Ghana means God Has Anointed iN Africa.’
If the mould ain’t broke…break it!