GhanaWeb TV



Flagstaff - The Abandoned Home

Thu, 19 Jan 2006 Source: GNA

A GNA feature by Samuel Osei-Frempong

Accra, Jan. 18, GNA - Beyond the fa=E7ade of the Flagstaff House sprawls the ruins of the home of Ghana's Founder, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

The large tract of land, which holds this neglected property, has been partly put under cassava cultivation while the rest has been turned into a banana republic of rodents and reptiles that have no idea about the soul of the man, who once had to overpower an Armed Police Guard, who had wanted to send him to the beyond ere his time. Huge cracks have contoured on the solid concrete pillars that hold the pieces together as it fought off in vain the ravages of the weather and time.

The acrid stench of neglect was high in the air as the dust that has piled up in the interiors, tried in vain to conceal the evidence of looting and desecration, when the GNA visited the place in the company of journalists from other media houses. At the least provocation of the wind, the torn yet not fully detached pieces of a mosquito netting waved as if offering invitation to the seekers of untold stories about this mystery edifice called the Flagstaff House.

For those who have never known the man physically, a cursory look at the plan of the home would reveal a lot about him. An old tennis court fully covered at both sides and the top so that a ball would always bounce within remains intact. Its floor paved with a mixture of tar and rich grained sand that mocks the seasons that wear out human handiwork.

Two indoor modest swimming pools and a ballroom hold memories of a past grilled with the painful spices of betrayal and naivety. A young man who had found the place relaxing in spite of the popular neglect had built his own bodybuilding platform. The devices in the gym that once enhanced the blood circulation and muscles of Ghana's First President had been spirited away.

A small amphitheatre that could hold about twenty people stands tall in the marooning flora and fauna. A few slabs that could pass for meditation pads lie in the middle of the cassava farm.

A room that was once a library now hosts lizards that are quick to read the intention of predators and humans.

A seesaw stood still in the midst of weeds as the infant lizards did their climbing and tossing because there were no human children to use it.

In an era where eating habits are poor and lifestyle diseases that could be checked with exercising are killing the majority of the people, Ghanaians should pause and ask why Dr Nkrumah needed all those things?

Modern estate developers would need to visit the place to understand why they should provide places of recreation when building those expensive narrow rooms for human habitation.

The Osu Castle as it stands now is a scar on the psyche of the African, whose ancestors were bundled and stored like cargo in its hold before being shipped into slavery.

As long as the Christianburg Castle remains the seat of Government, so long would the kaleidoscopic picturesque of hedonistic and sadistic drunken lords tearing into the spirit of slave men and sacred folds of slave women to satisfy their desires, continue to run riot in the grey matter encased in the skulls of patriots.

The address delivered by visiting Laura Bush, United States First Lady, from the balcony of the Castle while her listeners stood on the lawns below, reminded one of the days of feudalism when lords addressed their serfs from their fortresses.

To stage a drama called statecraft on the whitewashed blood stained platform called the Castle is the worst thing that can ever happen to Ghana - the beacon of black emancipation.

To openly show admiration for Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah and his vision and modest lifestyle is enough defence for acquittal in the highest moral court of the land - public opinion.

It takes courage for an offspring of the Busia/Danquah Tradition to openly admire the man, who was so hated and vilified for being what he was.

What is good about the First President should not be discarded just because of politics, Professor Gyan Baffour, Member of Parliament for Wenchi West, the constituency of Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia, said as he accompanied journalists including those from the Ghana News Agency through the ruins.

Inquisitors of Ghana's past would need to visit the place before it is expanded or beautified to erase the pain they inflicted on a man, who gave his all to a people known as Ghanaians because he believed in their greatness.

Columnist: GNA