No Struggle, Slow Progress. Know Struggle, Mo’ Progress.

I get perturbed when people say foolish things like: You can never know joy until you know pain. You can never know sunshine, until you’ve known rain…

Image                          Or was that a song?


It’s annoying because, I actually think I would know sunshine without having experienced rain. And I certainly know joy, sometimes even when I am in pain. I get the message though: You have a deeper appreciation for the good after you have been through the bad… and that is certainly the truth.

Sitting in my office wondering why there is this general lack of urgency on otherwise urgent matters like… erm… education and job creation— I thought about this joy and pain dichotomy. Ghana hasn’t had to struggle for many of the social goods we enjoy… 

Independence was literally given to us (and some folks didn’t even want it)… no marches… no wars waged against Britain… no riots. no sit ins. no anti- west campaigns (just pro-Ghana).  

‘Democracy’ (as we have come to know and love it) was literally handed to us out of ‘good will’ in one mans heart because let’s be honest: If Rawlings wanted to… he could have just continued until another coup happened (and/or aid money was cut off).

We have inherited schools and hospitals from religious organizations representing foreign interests and international agendas.

This is all certainly quite reductionist… because I recognize that there was unrest in the country and terrible violence… 

…but there really wasn’t a large-national-grassroots-for-the-people-by-the-people-wear-gang-colors-and-throw-gang-signs kind of struggle.


Who are our grassroots freedom fighters?

Take apartheid.
Take Civil Rights.
Take Biafra.
Take the Revolutionary War.
What is Ghana’s equivalent?

And I am talking about Ghana as a colonial entity… because let’s keep in mind that the history of Ghana before colonialism is not the Ghana we know… there were not these artificial borders nor these ‘copy and paste’ institutions of governance. I am talking about the social construct of Ghana as we have come to understand it today.  (So no… not Yaa Asantewaa and her crew…)

Our history of ‘peace’ is probably the double edged sword that is literally stabbing us all in the back— over and over and over again. NGO’s and multilaterals and multinationals and all manner of outside interest and investment feel comfortable sliding right into the corner and crevices of our society like our ‘peaceful nature’ is this breeding ground for foreign powers to meddle with our future. And at the same time… this peace puts our leaders at ease. I am sure they chuckle from time to time when another MULTI MILLION CEDI CORRUPTION SCANDAL hits the news waves and they say to each other ‘What are they going to do… riot!?!?!?! BWAHAHAHAHHA’— because what are they going to do? Really…?

Here is a list of all the things that are more likely to happen in Ghana than actual national unrest behind a cause of justice and righteous indignation (not to be confused with ethnicism and bipartisan foolery):

1. Snow

2. Rapture

3. Ashanti’s and Ewe’s coming together in a grand ceremony of unity and love as they marry each others sons and daughters… and begin the Gameli Osei and Oforiwaa Dalali legacies of the world.

4. World Peace

The thing is… Ghanaians can come together in small pockets to address issues that everyone faces. They will build their own speed ramps, come together as taxi unions to bring order to busstops and fill their own potholes. They will not organize nationally to address these same issues though. 

So what are you saying Amma? Are you saying there should be violence? Are you actually advocating death and destruction… You are probably just saying this because you would be airlifted in the case of any such event (Phew!). We only have one Ghana-oooo.

I am saying there should be something.

A threat of something.

Whether that’s silent protest. violent protest. a protest with the mostest. whatever it is… the leadership should feel threatened by its citizenry when a vile act is committed against the people. No leader should feel their selfish actions can go unpunished… not. one.

But as they say… no pain, no gain. Because Ghana hasn’t struggled… there is no real impetus to change status quo. The idea of shouting and fighting and kicking and screaming and getting indignant against the rich and powerful is literally more frightening then the fact that millions of Ghanaian children cannot read or write (local or english language) after 6 years of basic education. SIX. YEARS. I don’t understand how folks don’t get all ‘there’s only one Ghana’ about that. There IS only one Ghana. And its current social state is a bit more frightening then a couple days of protest. But change has generally come for Ghana… slow and steady, but it comes. So at the end of the day… one can get angry now… but one can expect that over time, in small incremental bits, likely through citizen action at a very local and small scale level, things will change. And that’s supposed to be a good thing. But it means we are forever catching up. And this is our issue. We haven’t had to really struggle. We have never been sooooo looooow that our highs are worth preserving at all cost…. there is a very normalized ebb and flow of good and bad that we just generally accept. Our history does not set a precedent for a large overhaul that was overwhelmingly successful and allowed us to see the power and reward of unity and self actualization. Do we want an Egypt situation? No. We sort of want a Tanzania situation. One big do over. One opportunity to write our own story. Create something that represents us.  We are woefully adequate as a nation… Consistently average and that seems to be good enough. 


We will always be loved by the international community because there is no fear.

We will always be loved by our leaders for sitting by idly because there is no fear. 

No one fears the wrath of a dissatisfied Ghanaian populace.

So maybe Machiavelli was wrong… perhaps being loved works just fine— it just takes longer and is WILDLY inefficient. But hey… all is well that ends well… right?



**Today’s post was brought to you by the letter G… and no it’s not for greed, it’s for GYEEDA. If you missed the awesomely inspiring report of how we were essentially screwed out of MILLIONS of Ghana Cedis (might I add that the Ghana Education Service budget is baaaaasically less than 10% of what we still owe service providers from the GYEEDA projects– and GES is one of maybe five  three relatively notable government institutions) then by all means, click here for some light reading.