Back to the Future

I am back in Ghana for the first time in 6 years. This is my second ever visit and it feels so different coming back. It's funny that coming here aged 18 I was really impressed by my country. I think being born and raised in the UK, my family back home expected me to be wholly underwhelmed. People hyped up Ghana's negatives in an attempt to make the country seem better to me than they had advertised it to be. It seemed to me to be a ploy. A rather perverse way to make me fall in love with my heritage.

This strategy was misguided to say the least. I was more than ready to love Ghana. Contrary to popular belief (in Ghana), many of us abrokyirefuo enkola are more than ready to embrace the country of our parents. It helps give a sense of identity when living in a country (like the UK) where people forever ask 'where are you really from?'.

This return journey however sees me in a much different mood. I'm in Accra for a few days (which to me equals me being lost! Being from a pure Kumasiano family--don't judge me :P) am I'm taking a better look than the fleeting glance of a few years back.

All of a sudden I am not so impressed. It's like looking at a beautiful picture with cracks in it. As I've grown older I think I have become more and more invested in being a Ghanaian. I am emotionally invested in our sport (as you can tell), politics, language and culture. But the more invested I am, the more pain I seem to feel. It's like watching a child with 'so much potential' hit 30...and all that they have achieved is the title of 'the former child with so much potential'.

Arguments that diasporian Ghanaians should come 'back home' and set to rights their country have always erked me. Firstly, because in many ways for people like me it is no more 'coming home' that it is for any random African-American. It's just not really home. You see, you can never mistake home, love it or hate it there are particular emotions linked to the idea of home that separate diasporians from our 'home-grown' counterparts. Secondly, I think it is somewhat disrespectful to barge in and take over what you don't know. Who am I as a diasporian to Waltz in and decide my way is better? There is much to be said for local knowledge. It's priceless.

Nonetheless, I feel disappointed somehow in Ghana. There is a lot to be done and I feel like the country has stagnated. But there is also much to be hopeful for. There is a generation emerging who want to make a change; I want to be a part of that somehow. I need to find my place in helping to get it all done.

(First published on Life...and Living It)


Unknown said...

" It's like watching a child with 'so much potential' hit 30...and all that they have achieved is the title of 'the former child with so much potential'." It sucks, right? Solution for me is not to give up hoping that as you brighten your little corner, someone is also doing the same, especially when you meet and talk with people who are of like mind. Like we say, e go be! Soon.

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