Is Ghanaians Infatuation with English an Inferiority Complex?

Wed, 7 Sep 2011 Source: Adofo, Rockson

In Ghana, the knowledge of English is a criterion of a man's great learning. Whoa! When one is fluent in English and has a bit of British or American accent, his compatriots consider him or her a semi-god. Anyone who speaks English eloquently is highly revered. How erroneous the Ghanaian perception about fluent English speakers is. Being a fluent orator in English is never an indicator of how learned, a person is. That unfaltering Ghanaian infatuation with English speaking over and above their local dialects is doing Ghana more harm than good.

Once a renowned English politician said, "Englishness belongs to the English people. Some people may learn English, speak with English accent; eat, dress and behave like English people, yet, Englishness belongs to the English people" Are we right to tag this wholehearted assertion racist? My fellow Black men never hesitate to jump into conclusions, claiming such truthful statements as racist inclined no matter how well they are intended for their own eventual good. It is up to you, my dear reader, to make your own informed or ill-informed decision based on what this politician is saying.

Most Ghanaians unlike their other fellow Africans always seem to suffer from self-imposed inferiority complexes. They are always making conscious efforts to shun their traditions and cultures especially, when they are abroad and in the midst of their superior White contemporaries. Ghanaians have compromised their self-identity at every level of their socio-politico-economic emancipation. Those outdoor Ghanaian cultures staged yearly in Britain and especially, the Americas, are all desperate attempts to mask our individual sufferance of inferiority complexes in our homes.

Could Ghanaians not seek to develop one of their known numerous indigenous dialects to serve as their national language that all may be proud of in the end? Will there not be enormous unifying benefit to all and sundry in what is our current state of country where tribalism threatens to fraction it?

Anyway, the mere knowledge of English as I have come to establish, does not constitute a criterion of a man's great learning, as there is more to it.

Do we pride ourselves in the benefits that such knowledge will bring to us as individuals or as a group of individuals? Ghanaians have a long way to go if we should continue to sail in that ocean of selfishly laughable hollow ideas.

As my favourite civil servant who has his eyes on politics, Professor Frimpong Boateng, categorically says, "Ghana must use technology to develop". If your knowledge of English is with technological knowhow, readily and practically available for use to benefit Ghana and Ghanaians, then I tip my hat to you. Simply priding yourself in mere knowledge of English without any palpable benefit to society is to me vainglory. Professor Frimpong Boateng is a classic example of how one can be technologically useful to their nation and humanity without the hullabaloo about fluency in spoken English.

Rockson will soon enter into active politics intending to impact positively on Ghanaians. He hates corruption and dislikes shallow-minded ideas that impinge on the progress of Ghana. He is farsighted. He will champion the course of unity among Ghanaians, advocate for a national local language and will be vociferous in the defence of the poor masses.

Stay tuned!

Rockson Adofo

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson