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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

COMMENTARY


The enlightenment & the Ghana culture day
By Kofi Akosah-Sarpong

Wednesday, 14th March, 2012 was Ghana Culture Day. Authorities say the day is to promote “mainstreaming of the culture in national development.” This has been going on over the years – basically pandering the same thinking. 


From Wednesday, 14th March, 2012 till now, I was expecting something more enlightening from the cultural connoisseurs but what I read was the same old, same old rational. Why Ghana Culture Day? To restore Ghana/African cultural values that have been demeaned in the eyes of the world during colonialism and perpetuated by the lethargic Ghanaian/African elites and the fact that Ghanaian/African traditional values have not been integrated fully into mainstream thinking and policy-making. 

Hence, “mainstreaming of the culture in national development.” In the Ghana Culture Day, Ghanaians/Africans, more the elites, are getting their heads, once twisted by misunderstanding of Africa and themselves, straight.
Despite the historic African Personality concept advocated by President Kwame Nkrumah that seeks to raise the African’s essence, the idea have been practically unsustainable, making Ghana/Africa the only region in the world where its development process is dominated by foreign development paradigms. 

It is as if Ghanaians/Africans have no cultural values, that’s no soul of their own, for development. At best, the African Personality concept is shallow, Ghanaian/African inhibitive values are still serious development challenges.

The Ghana Cultural Day, a brilliant idea, is yet to incorporate the realities of the on-going enlightenment campaigns by addressing the inhibitive values within the Ghanaian culture and at the same time influence policy-makers to appropriate the enabling aspects of the culture for development. 

In this sense, the Ghana Cultural Day could be strategized as part of the engine of reforms being advocated by the enlightenment movement. For, in the final analysis, the Ghana Cultural Day will be meaningless unless the enlightenment effort is incorporated into its programme.

Certainly, Professors Kofi Anyidoho and Esi Sutherland-Addy, key conveners of the Ghana Culture Day and its adjunct Ghana Cultural Forum, could shine on the Ghanaian culture. But realistically, they could sometimes look at the Ghanaian/African diaspora for nourishment: the Ghanaian-British-American philosopher and cultural theorist, Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah, of Princeton University and author of the brilliantly dazzling Honor Code (2010) that explores how societies are brought to repudiate inhibitive cultures they have long accepted, could be invited, occasionally, to discuss the attempts to refine the inhibitive values that have been entangling Ghanaians’/Africans’ advancement. 

The Ghanaian/African enlightenment project is a deep, complicated enterprise, and will need profound sages and experienced thinkers like Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah on board its programme. In the Honor Code (2010), Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah, described variously as having “settled mind,” practically speaks to the Ghanaian enlightenment campaigners.

Yes, Ghanaians know about their arts and culture, they know about their traditional food – kenkey/dokonu, omo tuo, waakye, tuo zaafi, fufu with soup prepared with fish, snails, meat or mushrooms, banku/etew, etc. Ghanaians continue to dress in their traditional styles. Ghanaian traditional dresses such as kente cloth are key source of common identity and pride. Traditional festivals such as Aboakyer and Odwira that affirm values of the society are year round events. The Ghana Culture Day, expectedly, also showcased cultural exhibitions and performances. 

Unquestionably, periodic rituals of such culture jamborees are good for the Ghanaian soul, especially if the soul has gone through colonial domination for so long that it has affected its self-worth. But in today’s new thinking and enlightened epiphany about the Ghanaian/African culture in the place of progress, the Ghana Culture Day should re-orientate itself and go beyond all the cultural accoutrements and help shine light on the inhibitive values that have been entangling the Ghanaians’/Africans’ life. 

This will let Ghanaians enjoy their culture better without fear of witchcraft and other outlandish cultural practices.
The Ghana Culture Day should naturally join the on-going enlightenment movement and find concrete solutions to the question of how to refine such deeply objectionable, deeply obdurate cultural practices that greatly undermine Ghanaians’ larger progress.

Once again, in addition to the showcasing of traditional foods, exhibitions and performances, the Ghana Culture Day could use the occasion to discuss the deeper under-currents of the culture - both the inhibitive parts and the enabling aspects - for the larger progress of Ghanaians. The game here is simply about progress. This is “moral obligation,” as Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah would say, for the elites behind the Ghana Culture Day. 

For part of undoing the colonial damages that have created the long-running inferiority complex that have complicated the inhibitive values and the intellectual laziness of Ghanaian/African elites, is appropriating the culture in policy making in such a way that it would help refine the inhibitive values. 

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Love the article on Gaddafi
We must rise above tribalism & divide & rule of the colonialist who stole & looted our treasure & planted their puppets to lord it over us..they alone can decide on whosoever is performing & the one that is corrupt..but the most corrupt nations are the western countries that plunder the resources of other nations & make them poorer & aid the rulers to steal & keep such ill gotten wealth in their country..yemen,syria etc have killed more than gadhafi but its not A̷̷̴ good investment for the west(this is laughable)because oil is not in these countries..when obasanjo annihilated the odi people in rivers state, they looked away because its in their favour & interest..one day! Samosa Iyoha

Hello from
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I was amazed to find a website for Africans in Hungary.
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ANH work but...
Interesting interview...
I think from what have been said, the Nigerian embassy here seem to be more concern about its nationals than we are for ourselves. Our complete disregard for the laws of Hungary isn't going to help Nigeria's image or going to promote what the Embassy is trying to showcase. So if the journalists could zoom-in more focus on Nigerians living, working and studying here in Hungary than scrutinizing the embassy and its every move, i think it would be of tremendous help to the embassy serving its nationals better and create more awareness about where we live . Taking the issues of illicit drugs and forged documents as typical examples.. there are so many cases of Nigerians been involved. But i am yet to read of it in e.news. So i think if only you and your journalists could write more about it and follow up on the stories i think it will make our nationals more aware of what to expect. I wouldn't say i am not impressed with your work but you need to be more of a two way street rather than a one way street . Keep up the good work... Sylvia

My comment to the interview with his excellency Mr. Adedotun Adenrele Adepoju CDA a.i--

He is an intelligent man. He spoke well on the issues! Thanks to Mr Hakeem Babalola for the interview it contains some expedient information.. B.Ayo Adams click to read editor's mail
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