by Natasha Somji
Hope for Other Nations
How does one select only two things they love about Ghana? There are so many seemingly endless things, but here is one – Ghana’s independence struggle.
Of course, how cliché you must be thinking, to write about the first African nation which achieved independence and set in motion a movement of resistance in other colonised nations in the continent. But I think my generation, the one of instant gratification, has a tendency to forget the significance of historic events. This has been most telling for me during this election season in Ghana, where I have overheard many young Ghanaians, frustrated by politicking, making offhand comments about a desire to return to colonial days. And while I did not live in Ghana during colonialism and am a member of this same generation, I can’t help feeling this overwhelming sense of sadness. So against that backdrop, and against my own background of growing up in another African country that achieved independence three years after Ghana – Tanzania, or, more correctly, Tanganyika – and given the name of these delicious chocolates, it only seems appropriate that Kwame Nkrumah and Ghana’s independence struggle is a topic for this blog.
I don’t want to go into a history lesson here, but rather just mention an episode that reminded me about why this is something that means so much to me. I attended a reading as part of the Writers Project of Ghana hosted at the Goethe Institute. This reading was given by a South African author who expressed how coming to Ghana was a lifelong dream for him that he had finally fulfilled. When probed, he said that having grown up as a black man in Apartheid South Africa, Ghana’s independence was a defining moment in his struggle, that it brought about hope that systems could be changed and resistance struggles could succeed. And all his life, he aspired to visit the country that showed him that possibility. His speech brought tears to my eyes and hearing first-hand testimony of how Ghana’s story had instilled hope in other nations, I began to see in more tangible terms how Ghana’s independence struggle was such a defining moment for the continent in throwing off the shackles of colonialism / repression.
About the author: Natasha grew up in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and lived in the US and the UK before coming to Ghana. She works as an Overseas Development Institute Fellow with the Ministry of Education, Ghana who finds respite in writing as a way to insert creativity into the everyday.