Regional News of 2014-03-05

Independence celebration must reflect Ghanaian identity

The Paramount Chief of Essikadu Traditional Area in the Western Region, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, has called for a national dialogue to redefine Ghana's Independence Day celebration to reflect the true Ghanaian and African identity.

He said the prevailing situation where schoolchildren marched in the hot sun instead of using the day to inspire the Ghanaian and African personality which was the dream of Ghana's Founder and first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, was most undesirable.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic at Essikadu, Nana Nketsia called for self- introspection to give meaning to the celebration as Ghanaians.

"When we talk about the celebration of the Independence of Ghana, it should be like one big festival for the country spanning over a week to take stock of the past and redefine what the independence means," he said.

He said overemphasizing the colonial legacy of parading schoolchildren across the country was just a mere tool for disorienting the children. We cannot continue with this colonial legacy of , marching, he said, and added that previously the Independence Day was on I May in the 1930s and celebrated as Empire's Day and then changed to marching after 1957.

He gave an example of a j traditional system where I through festivals, people I converged every year to think; I about their vision, raise I funds for developmental j projects, and discuss issues and celebrate culture, and f added that, "this is one of the j best ways that Independence Day can be celebrated."

Independence as indigenous dependence

Nana Nketsia said, "independence" to the Ghanaian should be interpreted as "indigenous dependence" whereby Ghanaians did not have to rely so much on the international community to develop the nation.

"Currently we talk about job creation, ironically everything is imported after almost six decades of independence," he noted and asked "After 57 years, why should we prefer the imported goods to made-in-Ghana goods? Why can't we use the day to celebrate the Ghanaian identity, teach our children a sense of pride and understand the reason why the country fought for independence?"

The only thing that changed

Nana Nketsia explained that after March 6,1957, the only things that changed were the-national flag, the national anthem, the official title of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who became the Prime Minister and subsequently the President.

However, the country quickly went back to the colonial legislation, colonial educational systems and other colonial governance procedures which did not translate into the core motivation for the fight for independence.

Antithesis of independence

"Ghanaians did not go on with the antithesis of independence, which included everything that sought to make Ghanaians act like their colonial masters from whom they gained a bloodstained independence.”

He said it was sad that a free slave would rather act like his oppressors rather than be himself, in order to prove that he had really gained independence and was indeed a free person capable of managing his own affairs.

He asked, “Did we fight for independence to continue colonialism or to be our own selves?”