Independence Musings

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

Our independence day has come and gone and there have been various issues since I last wrote you a letter. It is not that my fingers are ‘paining’ me to type but then the issues have been so confounding I have no idea even where to start, I tell you.

On the eve of independence, our very vocal friend and corporate designer journalist was suspended from his job because he asked Ghana folk to be brave and hold our leaders accountable.

Eish! This too is treason?

I hear some party political bigwigs sat at a conference table and took per diem from the tax payers money to do ‘conumtea’ and put pressure on the red Indian company dude works for to suspend him pending further non-investigative nothings. Kw33h! what a country!

The independence that we are celebrating is an independence from what and what exactly have we achieved as a nation. True! We are relatively peaceful but I think it is only because we are too cowardly to face the consequences of what our actions or inaction will generate.

Now I can’t even mention that country’s name that has done it for fear that it may flag warnings at BNI and I will be taken down like a toll booth in the wee hours of one morning even though I am here in far away savannah land.

Nii Kpakpo, when Kwame Nkrumah fought for our independence, he had the foresight to develop areas that he believed would go a long way to bolster Ghana’s total independence from the colonial master. The first and key point is education. His policies towards education were myriad and detailed and very long standing.

Teacher training colleges were built as well as high schools plenty in all the regions.

It is therefore not surprising that Tamale Senior High came second in the National Independence Debate, the finals held in Accra on the eve of independence.

My district virtually hosts all the education facilities in this part of the savannah and I feel so responsible every time I pass by those educational facilities.

But Kpakpo, what happened to our leaders after Nkrumah. Education is said to be a priority but then even the Black Stars, for a one month soccer fiesta as the World Cup have a bigger budget than is given the whole year to train the human resource we need as a country.

Wow! This is truly Ghana!

I was in the capital for a fortnight and it was interesting to see how tempestuous the capital has become. There are construction works everywhere and frivolity is the order of the day even though we say we are poor and lacking. Average salaried workers are eating sea food the cost 50ghana cedis in plush restaurants and come out to complain that the economy is bad.

Women are wearing plots of land on their head – headgear and hairstyles cost as much as 2000 cedis – and yet they will tell you life is hard. Wow!

Kpakpo the retort is that do you know how they make their money?

Dr Ben Abdallah said in his book Land of A Million Magicians that Ghanaians are truly magicians. How can a security guy earn just about 300cedis at the end of the month yet take care of children whose day care alone is mind boggling. The average day care for 1-3yr olds is 400cedis and the average school fees for primary and senior high ranges from 600-1500cedis.

With the cedi-dollar waltz, I don’t even want to discuss that in this letter because I’m on my knees too with one eye open whilst the fat preacher prays and having lots of old testament faith that our prayers are answered.

God really does answer prayers I know.

It is therefore evident that corners will have to be cut and there is the need to survive. How then will the capital not be tempestuous with people at boiling point every second of the day? The least opportunity they get, they want to make a buck off you. And woe betides you if you are a novice.

Nii Kpakpo, it was fun being in the capital but soon I was eager to leave because it was getting stifling. I couldn’t believe I have been a part of this hunger for money and mad fray all my life until recently. Only thing I miss are my friends and getting to see them was delightful. To get away from the heat of the savannah was also a sweet relief but now I’m back to it and it’s a standard 40degrees everyday whilst there are cold wet mornings in Accra which I don’t wish for. Ha ha ha.

A lot is going on in this country Kpakpo and as my mentor in noise Don Major will say we will just look on and make ‘silent noises’ and hope we are heard loud enough to be ‘Gyanned’.

For now, it is good to be back in the heat of the savannah and stay in my small corner and try to make Ghana a better place to live both for myself and the community around me.

What is this I hear about you leaving radio Kpakpo? You also tired already and want to move on to other things. I know you have your photography stint and hey, I’m still waiting for you up here. There are lots of mental pictures I will want you to print with your camera and I’m sure you will like them.

Let us pray for Ghana as we struggle to make it work for us.

Till next time, I still remain
Your Cousin in Law
Savannah Boy

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