Culture, not a word that i have a full understanding of. Is this because i am a diasporian, born under the influences of the west? Or could it be my disagreement with some cultural practices. Let me explain my self more clearly.
In Ghana culture is not only a choice but rather a hidden interwoven set of behaviors that manage there everyday live’s. For the most instances this is beautiful, real community spirit, respect for elders and such. Things that have long been eroded in the Diasporian black community’s.
However it seems some of this what is called culture gets in the way of progress. In those instances it should be shelved. As was the culture of selling our own people.
I will give you an example. Recently the great Volta lake ran low in water. The electricity company of Ghana declared that there will be forced power outages staggered around the country “The power shedding programme” they called it.
Consumers are being restricted to “Light off” from between 18:00 hrs and 06:00 in the morning.
Or from 06:00 to 18:00 hrs in the evening. Thats everyone businesses, homes, factory’s industry’s, everyone is supposed to get light off at some point.
This in the west would be just plane lunacy! It undoubtedly would lead to massive legal actions against the power company’s. Particularly bearing in mind that there was no backup system. Even as every car has a spare wheel.
But in Ghana people accepted it, to protest is not in their culture especially when you are complaining about those who hold authority. This as well as the fact that Africa lives culturally in the dark led to a popular silent.
Sure there was those on TV3 and Ghana TV “discussing the issues” but nothing said that would reflect the massive damage to the economy both with restrictive production now and with any future world business proposals. How can Ghana be economically viable with no constant power?
The culture of bad Leaders where those who are your elders, (as stated before) command respect even if they where WRONG, has somehow translated in to the elected offices of government positions. Hardly democratic, in fact its bordering on the dictatorship. Ironically even the Leaders would agree that they need Electricity all the time.
A professor at University of Ghana Legon said to me that “Ghana is a country experimenting with democracy”. He wasn’t wrong.
I would ask can culture be limited to a tool used to beautify the nation, and not one in the way of essential progress? Maybe the born Ghanaians reading this blog can answer this question.
Having read that you probably asked yourself “why did i leave my nice cold fully infrastructural integrated council flat in south London for lunacy?” That is because i didn’t say Things don’t get done they do, but at a slow, painfully slow pace. Lets give those who have learnt that “nothing should get in the way of building a nation” a bigger voice.
PS suffice as to say construction work has begun to create a power backup system in Tema.
Thank Allah, God.
First published Sunday October 29, 2006
I Welcome your comment. Will Muhammad