Communication consultant Dr Etse Sikanku has suggested alternative ways Ghana and Ghanaians can celebrate Independence Day.
The lecturer and broadcaster believe the annual ritual of holding
parades across the country in celebration of the country’s independence
is colonial, to say the least.
Dr Sikanku, who is also an international politics analyst, has therefore suggested 6 ways to better celebrate Independence Day.
His suggestions include celebrating modern Ghanaians who have achieved great things and height in the country.
“Now in 2019, there are several Ghanaians who are driving for Ghana’s
development in their own ways. We normally celebrate Ghanaian heroes
during this period but it’s time for us to celebrate more modern day
Ghanaian achievers,” he noted.
He also asked that Independence Day is used to push the course of patriotism and volunteerism among Ghanaians.
“The options are varying: organize free skills training and vocational
programs, empower a young person with a skill, volunteer in the
community, cater for the homeless or engage in any special act of
patriotism. Of course, Independence Day is not the only day to feel
patriotic but we can do something even more special on such a day than
simply organizing parades.”
The views in the article below are not those of YEN.com.gh. They are the
views of Dr Etse Sikanku, Center for Public Discourse Analysis and the
Ghana Think Foundation.
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All too soon, another Independence Day beckons. Parades will be held. Guns will be fired. Flames will be lit.
Salutes will be given. Speeches will be read. Celebrations will be held.
And we will bid goodbye to Independence Day 2019, only to gather next
year to repeat the same ritual if the good Lord gives us life and
health. We’ve been wondering – aren’t there other ways to celebrate this
Here, we present certain ideas as to how to better celebrate Independence Day.
1. Cancel the parades
Yes we know there’s something nostalgic about those parades. And
there’s just something about seeing the school kids march past the flag
and the security services dress immaculately while engaging in all sorts
of gymnastics and acrobatics.
The music from the brass band, we must admit, is also good. However,
there is something colonial about the Independence Day parade too. The
parades are a post-colonial relic that must be done away with because
they perpetuate notions of hegemony.
Yes, it is more about celebrating the efforts of our for-bearers but
there should be better ways of recognizing their efforts than simply
marching every 6th March. While at it, I’m sure we could save some time,
money and energy.
2. National values town-halls or forums/assemblies
A better way to pay homage to our forefathers for their valour and
sacrifice is through our lives and attitudes rather than simply marching
once every year. If we truly love our country, if we truly desire for a
great awakening, if we want to be truly independent, we have to think
about using Independence Day to fundamentally contribute to
revolutionizing our way of life, attitudes and governance than simply
organizing cookouts or going to the beach.
These gatherings will help us decide what values are important to use,
how we can deepen such values and talk about creating an enduring
national identity. We can also use these communal gatherings to discuss
issues of importance in our communities.
At these meetings, we could also talk about what the national vision
should be and what the Ghanaian dream should be. It may not seem
apparent but a change in attitude, mindset and an emboldened sense of
identity is critical to transforming our nation.
A great sense of identity would ignite a sense of confidence and lead to
a mental change that will put us in charge at the centre of our own
destiny. In other words, this will feed directly into the government’s
plans for a “Ghana Beyond Aid”.
3. Share Ghanaian success stories
Success is infectious and inspiring. Let’s use this occasion to
celebrate present day Ghanaian success stories. Now in 2019, there are
several Ghanaians who are driving for Ghana’s development in their own
ways. We normally celebrate Ghanaian heroes during this period but it’s
time for us to celebrate more modern day Ghanaian achievers.
Let’s point out Ghanaians who are doing well in their chosen professions
that we know personally. This ensures we are taking note of progress
being made and are near such success. This would drive us to
individually do better as well.
We used to say we were not celebrating successes enough. Now, there are
lots of awards celebrating achievement in Ghana. However, we see award
organizers selling awards to the highest bidder and others buying
recognition. This is unethical and we must do things these right.
Let us publicly acclaim great things around us and showcase small
successes in spite of daunting odds. We would be giving ourselves fewer
excuses for why we are not succeeding. It would bode well for our
confidence as people and we would stop looking down at ourselves too
much of the time. Some Ghanaians ask around March 6, “What are we
celebrating?” If we pinpoint people and places to celebrate near us, we
would inspire ourselves to do more.
4. Buy our own: consciously buying solely ‘made in Ghana’ products
Ghana has grown over the years economically, especially through 25 years
of stable democratic rule. The macroeconomic numbers could be better
and the cedi devaluation has been undefeated through the years. It is
important for us to buy made in Ghana products and have more confidence
in the cedi as a nation.
If we can create better demand for local products, we can help control
the amounts of imports into Ghana while giving local producers the
confidence and urge to supply more. Particularly in Ghana, many
businesses here are owned by Ghanaians. We must endeavour to buy more
local products and produce.
On the occasion of our independence day celebration, Ghanaians should
buy things we have made and continue to make. We need to ensure as many
Ghanaians have a good basic income. This can be driven by citizens
patronising more local products, giving great feedback and support for
the things we collectively make to be better.
5. Celebrate other tribes/ethnicities
Secondary school education has been a great way for Ghanaians to
experience different parts of Ghana and be introduced to other Ghanaian
tribes and cultures. It is one thing that many scholars outside Ghana
celebrate about our dear nation. Various policies have helped Ghanaians
mix and become more aware of our nation’s history, cultures, and
Elections, partisan, politics other things have seemed to divide us
along tribal lines. We like to joke and troll a lot and that has lent
itself for further cultural divides. In the spirit of celebrating Ghana,
let us praise what we love about other tribes that are not ‘ours’.
Let us show our knowledge of other parts of Ghana and what we adore
about those places. This should spur more domestic tourism as we
discuss and demonstrate our collective heritage. Many Ghanaians,
especially youth, have hardly been to their hometowns. This must change
as we must take pride in where we are from and contribute more to
develop these places.
This would check rural-urban migration. We should not limit our love to
our hometowns and our families. There are many communities in Ghana that
can benefit from our skills. To appreciate these places more, we must
discover what is great about them. It improves our worldview and makes
us more enlightened. We must embrace Ghana as a melting pot and must
showcase, enjoy and benefit from that is within it.
6. National empowerment and skills training day
Though 21st September is often celebrated as national volunteer day,
Independence Day should also spur acts of patriotism. Let’s each find
something to do or give back to society on such a day. The options are
varying: organize free skills training and vocational programs, empower a
young person with a skill, volunteer in the community, cater for the
homeless or engage in any special act of patriotism. Of course,
Independence Day is not the only day to feel patriotic but we can do
something even more special on such a day than simply organizing