The independence of Ghana

Yesterday I rode on a motorbike across two major towns of the northern region. In every small village as I road passed, students were in the scorching sun, practicing ahead of today. It is the big day today. The day Ghana took over the mantle to manage it’s own affairs. The independence of Ghana.

In my history lessons at basic school I was thought of the sequence of events that led to that very day. The sweat and blood people sacrificed. A lot of effort went into the struggle by the masses.

It came to a point, the collective interest of the people was to take control of their own future. They wanted to take their own chances at directing the nation and taking care of themselves. At that time it was an “us versus them” scenario. The various tribes were one against the outsiders.

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Independence day celebration

Definitely not everyone was ready for the change. Some people truly never wanted the change to happen. Those were the people who were enjoying the spoils of the white man’s ways. Nonetheless the collective interest got stronger. It overcame the greedy interest of the few. It the leaders wanted it or not there were no many options but to fight forward.

But today, we hear Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and sometimes the big six at best. Hardly anyone else unless you are interested in digging down into history. This reminds me of what Voltaire said: “History is the lie commonly agreed upon.”

You cannot blame the historian or the politician for this. That is just the way history works. History tends to celebrate those who fixed the last puzzle. History loves to tell a tale of fantasy and heroism. That is what is sweet to say. After all who wants to hear that Dr. Kwame Nkurumah was just another man with his ambitions and personal struggles?

We all want to hear that he had a perfect plan to get Ghana into independence and after studying outside the country he decided to return and take over Ghana. Palatable to the ears but far from the actual events.

So if the great men of history were this perfect and out of the planet, it means that if you are currently confused about your future and you are almost 30, then you should relax join the many. That is what God gave you. That is the mindset the hero and heroic stories hands down. We often highlight and mostly exaggerate the glory and mild down the struggles.

The point is that, the people who took over the independence of Ghana were just people. Kwame Nkrumah was a great leader and a visionary but he had his own personal struggles. Success is not that excitable and ‘congratulatable’ aspects of life you see. Success is a bunch of failures and confusion wrapped cleanly in the piece of satisfaction and external glory.

What the people of those days fought to achieve is something we need to continue every day. Ghana is independent but do you feel any independence?

And we are often quick to push blame to the people in power. We forget that there are those that benefit from this current system, do you really expect them to change it? Until you and I realize that we are just as responsible as anyone else to progress Ghana, it will be hard to see any noticeable transformation.

Every great nation out there had the same politicians working for his own agenda or the collective agenda of their party or group or family. What makes the difference often is the collective mindset of the people.

“Be the change you need”, easy to say but hard to practice. We need to see that the struggle that led to the 1957 glory is still on. Nkrumah’s declaration was not to showcase a closed door. The struggle is a continuum.

So it was not until the collective mindset of the people was for self-governance that self-governance happened. People were ready to lay down their lives in the struggle and some did.

Today, as we celebrate the 63rd birthday, let’s begin the mind change. Let’s begin to see the politicians as a true reflection of the collective mindset. Let’s think about the role we play as individuals. It is nice to have great leaders but no great leader can lead without great followers.

It is feels good to have other people to blame for your own difficulties but you should know it is the “feel good” stuff the keeps us here. We have to push ourselves and build that personal ego for success. When the collective mindset does not want corruption, corruption will disappear. When the collective mindset chooses an attitude of growth, there would be growth.

Singapore is clean but it is not the government responsible, it is the collective citizens. Some countries have realized this and have chosen a different way to instill this collective mindset by beating it into their citizens. China, Cuba, Korea etc. are shining examples. I’m not saying that is the best way to go, I’m saying we need to see the importance of the collective mindset.

No single person can change the collective mindset, but everyone can change theirs. Your duty is to get transformed. It is those little things that culminates into the big headlines you see. The transformation of this country begins with you and you can do it, believe it. As for the Nkrumahs, they will surface once the collective mindset is ready for the next level.

Those kind of leaders popup when needed. When the collective mindset does not call for a visionary leader they can be no visionary leader. When the collective mindset does not scream for a transformative leap, there will be a continuum of mediocrity. If we continue to enjoy the good feelings of having someone else to blame then we also have to be okay with the level of mediocrity our nation in enjoying.

This is a provocative piece. It was not written for you to feel good but to challenge your thinking. It takes you to change the rest so start today.

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