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The ‘Misfortune’ Of Being Ghanaian, African   
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In the event of being born Ghanaian or (Black) African, you need to brace up and face the misfortunes of life.

The ill-luck of being a Ghanaian/an African is that for most part of your life, you feel as though God didn’t love you – you feel He created you to be unfit for a wealthy life.

If you’re unlucky to be born (Black) African, you’re enslaved, packed up in slave ships and ferried across the Atlantic Ocean. You worked on plantations for the benefit and development of other nations. Your sweat developed other people. The misfortune of being an African is that you travel around the world and you feel that there are two classes of human beings, and you are the inferior of the two. Why? Because the difference is clear – while some have used their God-given brains so well, we have failed to use ours.

The misfortune of being a Ghanaian and an African is that you don’t seem to have dignity, so you have to change your name. You have no culture, no tradition, so you need to acculturate. You don’t seem to have any religion, so you need to adopt one in order to be recognised by God.

The misadventure of being a Ghanaian and an African: throughout history, we’ve proven to the world that Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, was wrong when he said that we (black men) were ready to take our destiny into our own hands and ready to manage our own affairs. You travel around the world and you feel that we Africans can’t, in fact, govern our own lives. We go round the world cap in hand, begging, when we have so much wealth sitting on the continent.

When Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, said Africa was a scar on the conscience of the world, some of us felt disappointed and insulted. But wasn’t he right? The whole of Africa is poverty-stricken, if not destitute. Ironically (or interestingly), the only country in Africa that appears quite pleasant is South Africa – and even it’s not all parts of the country – which was run by White South Africans who are between 9 and 11% of the total population of the country.

And worst of all, our misfortunes are self-inflicted.

The misfortune of being a Ghanaian and an African: you live in plentifulness, yet lack almost everything. You have so much water, yet you’re thirsty. There’s abundance of food, yet you’re hungry. There’s plenty of wealth – gold, diamond, bauxite, timber, salt, sea, cocoa, oil and, above all, very good soil that needs no fertilizer to cultivate – yet you wallow in poverty. The disaster of being a Ghanaian or an African is that you have to survive on aid from other countries in spite of the massive natural resources at your disposal.

In the unlucky event of being born Ghanaian, you should invariably belong in a family of some powerful people such as politicians, royals and so-called prophets. Otherwise, yours is just a calamity – you have to work your soul to death. You can’t live a decent life that commands respect. You’re looked down upon; you live a life without dignity.

The agony of being a Ghanaian: you’re led by politicians who are irreparably corrupt that they make wealth at the expense of the majority who are poor. The Ghanaian who genuinely works hard wallows in poverty because he/she is not ready to accept bribes, and he/she is usually called ‘a fool’ and unintelligent by society – no respect for him/her. You need to be corrupt to be wealthy in Ghana. If you attempt to change the corrupt system, be ready to be persecuted and hounded. If you can’t beat them, you join them.

The worst part of being born African: you need to slaughter each other in wars, so you and your tribe will exercise supremacy over others. To do this, you need guns and ammunition from the developed world. And they’ll sit back and watch you as you butcher each other. When you’ve almost massacred everybody, they’ll pretend to be sending peace-keepers (not peace-makers!) to prove to you that, after all, they love you.

If you’re not lucky and you’re born Ghanaian, you die a preventable and miserable death. Because you’re poor, you can’t access healthcare. You’ll be killed in a road accident because you travel in rickety cars and buses that are not roadworthy. The leader who’s supposed to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy doesn’t care because he has his private means of transport, the latest model of the Toyota Land cruiser. Do you know why he drives in a Land cruiser? ‘The roads are not motorable and not fit for smaller cars’, they’ll tell you. Even the driver driving that rickety bus on which you travel is not properly licensed – he’ll kill you in an accident because of the mere misfortune of being born Ghanaian.

For the mere fact of being born Ghanaian, you may be killed by some disaster like flood because your town is developed haphazardly (that’s if it’s developed at all). You may die of a disease like cholera because your environment is so filthy. You litter your environment and defecate around because you don’t seem to know the importance of good sanitation and personal hygiene.

The calamity of being born Ghanaian is that you can’t give your children formal education. While the politician gives his/her children the best education in schools abroad, you can’t afford to send your children to even ‘schools under trees’. Your tax is used to educate the sons and daughters of politicians abroad and they return to rule and govern your life, calling themselves the elite class. That’s just the misfortune of being born Ghanaian.

The danger of being a Ghanaian is that politicians always take you for granted because you can’t even decide between good and bad governance. After elections, the politician doesn’t care about how you survive and just for the misfortune of being a Ghanaian, when there’s another election, you’re given few cedis or a handful of rice plus a bottle of oil to vote for the same politician who enriches himself at your expense. The disaster of being a Ghanaian and an African emanates from being managed and governed by corrupt and cancerous ‘stomach’ politicians.

And if you are accidentally born Ghanaian and you become a politician, you need to be corrupt, loot the state coffers, and stash the money elsewhere like Switzerland or buy a house in London or you holiday in Dubai, while your people wallow in poverty. As a politician, all that you need to do is squander all the resources you have, so that you can run to international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout.

And if you happen not to be a politician but a royal such as a chief or a king, you need to sell plots of land and use the money for your personal undertakings; after all, you’re the custodian of the land because your great, great, great grandparents were the first to settle there.

If you are unfortunate to be a Ghanaian, you need to be dogmatic to a pastor, a reverend minister or a self-acclaimed prophet who will deceive you to sacrifice your wealth and happiness for the course of the church, while he/she lives in absolute affluence.

The undesirable circumstance of being Ghanaians: we are over-religious, to the extent that religion, especially Christianity, has almost become a cancerous tumour in our lives. And what makes us so religious? For God to fight against the devil on our behalf, for prosperity and for us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven when we die. For being a Ghanaian, you have to abandon the vast resources with which God has endowed you and pray to Him all the time to develop your country.

The tribulation of being a Ghanaian/an African: when people elsewhere are using their brains, we are praying 24/7. When people elsewhere are finding scientific answers to problems, we are attributing our problems to the devil. There is always a devil behind our sufferings. Yet we appear to be the devil himself. As for God, I think He has done His part by giving us all the necessary resources we need. God has been over-generous to us. It behoves us to use our brains to put all such resources to good and proper use. Let’s leave God alone. Our problems are self-inflicted.

The misery of being born Ghanaian: you lack knowledge. For lack of knowledge, my people perish. Most Christians and Muslims will usually define this ‘knowledge’ as knowing God. But what at all does knowing God mean? Is it about singing and dancing in churches? No, I don’t think so. I would consider that to be scientific knowledge. It is science that gives us food in abundance, it is science that fights diseases, it is science that fights poverty and it is science that develops us.

And the catastrophe of Ghanaian: no formal education. Formal education has been proven to be the mover all developments. Yet what is the state of education in Ghana (and Africa)? How do we expect to develop, when in the 21st Century, our children attend schools under trees? How can we develop when we are giving our school children sanitary pads when others are giving theirs high quality computers and sophisticated educational gadgets? How can we develop when our educational institutions do not even have teachers, let alone well-qualified teachers? How can we develop when we have failed to invest in the education of our people?

Just for the mere misfortune of being born Ghanaians and Africans, this is where we are. It seems being born Ghanaian or (Black) African is a curse, a misfortune, an accident, a calamity, a tribulation, a misadventure and a catastrophe. What a misfortune!
Source: Emmanuel Sarfo, PhD Student | [email protected]

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