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Opinion: Ghana @ 63 – Doing Sankofa With Yɛn Ara Asaase Ni

Three years ago Ghana chalked 60 years and it is a great blessing for Ghana to come this far. Today Ghana is 63. To God be the glory. At this age Ghana should be moving forward in all spheres of her life. Doing Sankofa is also key to our forward match as a nation.

As we know Sankofa is an Akan word which literally means go back and get it.

The word is derived from the words: San (return), ko (go),
Fa(and take).With critical examination, and clever and enduring investigation, Akan’s believe we can go back for certain important things in the past. At 63 Ghana can also look back with critical examination, with clever and enduring search and bring back some of our values to the current dispensation for better Ghana.

In 1929, Ephraim Amu composed the Yɛn ara asaase ni which is still relevant today only that it is rarely sang.

Yɛn ara asaase ni;
Ɛyɛ abɔ den den de ma yεn,
Mogya a nananom hwie gu
Nya de to hɔ ma yɛn,

Aduru me ne wo nso so,
Sε yɛbɛyɛ bi atoa so.

“This is our own native land;
What a priceless heritage,
Acquired with the blood our ancestors shed for us;
It is now our turn to continue what our ancestors started”

The very first stanza rings a bell in our time calling us not to disappoint our forebears. We are highly indebted to them. If we cannot do what they did, let us maintain the priceless heritage they have left.

Nimdeɛ ntraso, nkoto-kranne;
Ne pɛsɛmenkomenya,
Adi yɛn bra mu dεm, ama yɛn asaase hɔ dɔ atomu sɛ.

“Bragging of educational achievements;
Or useless greed for material things, And bad lifestyles are destroying our nation, and disgracing it.” This is prophetic. Is it not?

Ephraim Amu’s words uttered 91 years ago are still relevant today. The wise sayings of the sages like Ephraim Amu cannot be left in the past. They have a lot of lessons for us today. It is true that at 63 some Ghanaians are still selfish, some Ghanaians are still bragging about academic achievements, some Ghanaians are living bad lifestyle, and some Ghanaians are destroying the nation.

Amu’s counsel in the third and last stanza:

“Obedience and respect;
Caring for the welfare of one another everyday,
Selflessness in the traditional way;
Ensures each person’s welfare,
That is what will bring peace and prosperity to our nation.”This is deep is it not?

It is important to pause on this line, ‘ selflessness in the traditional way’. Indeed, our tradition does not teach as selfishness. Our forebears taught us how to be there for one another. They taught us how to take care of the young ones in the spirit of shared responsibility. They taught us how to respect the elderly. Our elders handed these over to us through the oral tradition: folktales, proverbs, dances, riddles, songs, artifacts to mention but few.Today, some of us see these as old fashion so do not practice them. Even the language to express them to the younger generation i.e. the native language is today seen as inferior. Today, most parents do not want to speak the native language to their children. This is worrying because the wisdom of our elders are hidden in the language they spoke. Our elders had respect for the native language just as the Holy Spirit manifested on the day of Pentecost (2:1-11). This also reminisced God’s power at Babel(Gen. 11.1-9).

Some of the consequences of not keeping the language and tradition of the elders is evident in the confusions surrounding some of our customs today. Let us look at our funeral celebrations today. It has become a moment of merry making and waste of resources. Let us look at the marriage institution – our elders taught us marriage is between a man and a woman. Archbishop Emeritus Peter Akwasi Sarpong in his book, ‘Dear Nana’ volume one, tells us that our ancestors though practiced polygamous marriage knew that the ideal is one man and one woman. This is because most of the proverbs of our ancestors about marriage were against a man marrying many wives.

Now, what do we hear or see about the marriage institution- marriage is also between a man and a man and a woman and a woman. Very sad indeed. Our forebears will be very sad indeed in their graves.

Our elders gave us sex education in the informal way at home. Sex was held sacred among our elders but today the young discuss it openly without no sense of reverence.

Amu says in the chorus of this national song,

“Whether or not this nation prospers!
Whether or not this nation prospers!;
Clearly depends on the character of the citizens of the nation.”

For Ghana to prosper, it depends on all of us: government, political parties, religious groups, professors and people in academia, the family, the elderly, the young etc. It is about time we stopped doing the talking and act.

May the Immaculate Heart of Mary pray for Ghana Our Motherland.

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus protect Our Homeland Ghana.

May God bless Our Homeland Ghana.


Source: Radio Angelus

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