6 "Love Letters" to Ghana (Part 2)
Updated: Mar 5, 2018
On 6 March 2018, Ghana will celebrate 61 years of independence. We look on with anticipation at what the next decade will hold for us all. As promised, here are the last 3 letters towards Ghanaian independence celebrations:
Q is for Quarshie
For all the chocolate lovers out there, Tetteh Quarshie brought Cocoa to Ghana from Fernando Po, now called Bioko - Equatorial Guinea in 1896.
Today, Ghana is the 2nd largest producer of cocoa in the world, after Cote d'Ivoire. Although Quarshie is not directly responsible for the full-scale production of cocoa in Ghana, his initial explorations opened avenues for cocoa production in other countries in West Africa too.
Tetteh Quarshie embodies a sense of adventure and exploration that has directly benefited Ghana as an independent nation. Who are our contemporary pioneers: Ghanaian scientists, civil servants, writers, artists, activists, agriculturists and inventors of the 21st century? The chances are they are our grandparents, our aunts, and our classmates.
To the Quarshie-spirited, this love letter belongs to you.
V is for Volta
The Volta river runs from the plateaus of Burkina Faso through the eastern spine of Ghana and empties into the Atlantic through the gulf of Guinea. In A is for Accra, it is indirectly represented through:
S - Swim (hippos of the Black Volta - in the Ghanaian edition of the book.) and
Y - Yapei (the northern inland port)
Downstream, the Akosombo Dam provides millions of homes with hydro-electric power. It is positioned on the Volta lake, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. In 1965, it was the largest of its kind.
This may feel less impressive, if you're currently sat in the dark during an intermittent episode of "dum so" (a power cut), using the light from your mobile to find your house keys. However you might feel about how we engage this precious water source, for centuries the Volta river has birthed and nourished settlements along its banks. It has supported local economies, and lush ecosystems. Let us see how we adapt with our natural environment to address challenges such as population growth and climate change.
G is for Ghana
In Politics or Sociology 101, students often understand the concept of " nation as a socially constructed community, imagined by the people who perceive themselves as part of that group." Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, 1983. Ghana is one of such "imagined communities".
The final borders are a mixture of geographical, colonial and republic-driven influences. As in many nation states, there is just as much pulling us apart as there is cause to work together. In Ghana we can boast of 47 written languages (with even more spoken languages dialects) and several ethnic groups. Modern-day Ghana has worked hard to imagine its multiple identities in a continent of extremes.
For Ghanaians and people who call Ghana an ancestral home, what does your ideal community look like? It takes real human connections and real geographical space to successfully nation-build. So what does 21st-century Republic of Ghana look like to you?
With love, with hope, with anticipation, I say "Happy independence day!" and in the words of our first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, I say, "Forwards ever, backwards never!"