From 'Ogyekrom' to 'Asikyre kurom'
..Ghanaians urged to go back home
THE Ghanaian High Commissioner to South Africa, Dr Jimmy Ben Heymann, called on the Ghanaian community in East London in South Africa, to return home to "taste the sweet fruits of success" of the country's economic turn-around.
But some of the 300 Ghanaians who congregated in the George Randall Primary School hall on Saturday were hesitant to heed Heymann's call, saying they have already become attached to South Africa.
"We are moving ahead economically, socially and politically," said Heymann.
"People going back can look forward to a stable society and a thriving economy that is gaining momentum towards prosperity again after the collapse in the 1980s."Go and see for yourself, things are changing for the better in Ghana." The High Commissioner's visit to the Eastern Cape was part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Ghana's independence, the first African country to break away from colonial rule. Heymann said people who left Ghana and took up citizenship in other countries denounced their Ghanaian citizenship and are now given an opportunity to regain their Ghanaian citizenship. "We are opening a window for dual citizenship for those people who have started a new life and have families here and cannot go back for one reason or the other. People are coming back in droves and we want to invite more Ghanaians to return," said Heymann.
He added that the discovery of oil deposits in the country this year has sparked hope of more prosperous times to come.
"We used to say Ghana was ogya kurom, a house on fire, because of the rate at which people were leaving the country; that is no longer the case.
"I am here to announce that the fire has been doused and Ghana is now asikyre kurom (house of sugar)," said Dr Heymann.
Earlier this year, Ghana announced the discovery of 600 million barrels of oil on the country's west coast.
Ghanaian president John Kufuor was quoted on BBC News as having said the discovery would be a major boost to the country's economy.
"Those who have settled here and started families and can't go back, we are opening this window for dual citizenship.
"It's all because of how the country values its citizens," said Heymann.
The year-long celebrations have so far taken place in Cape Town, Tohoyandou, Bloemfontein, Kimberley and Rustenburg, and the next destination is Durban, followed by Pretoria and Johannesburg in March next year.