“Marriage is like a groundnut: you have to crack them to see what is inside.” – Akan proverb
My fellow Ghanaian,
There is no beating about the bush with regard to how low we have sunk. Sadly, instead of rising to the challenges we have allowed them to beat us into the ground. We found ourselves flinching and allowed the crisis to run us aground. And instead of doing something about it when we hit rock-bottom, we continued digging; making the world wonder if we were digging our graves. Interestingly, this digging continues; and many around the world have had no choice but to give up on us because the attitude we are portraying tells them that we have given up on ourselves. We have overwhelmed ourselves, so much so our situation stopped being newsy a while ago.
Our story is even sadder when we take into consideration that we are living in an era when we know – at least on the intellectual level – that if we really want to make a difference in our situation, we must stop the talk-shop and work on ourselves to ensure we do not repeat the mistakes that got us to where we presently are. We need to understand that challenges have a way of mesmerising some people in a manner that makes them like idiots. We have fallen into that category. And this is the case because we blatantly refused to meet our challenges head-to-head. Right from the moment when we hesitated to deal with the first one, it stared us so hard in the face it paralysed us. Once we were paralysed, we found all the reasons not to do anything about the situation.
Challenges are scary for those who expect manna to fall from heaven. The flip-side of the coin, however, is that challenges are afraid of truly passionate citizens. They are afraid of those who are not afraid to take them by their horns and convert them into opportunities of change. That is what we are failing to do. Many of us merely hoped that the goodies of life would rain on us, only they did not. Instead, the winds of adversities are blowing around us. Sadly, because we did not practice our strokes on the ‘dummy’; because we did not envisage misfortune to slide into our lives, we have been caught off-guard. We forgot the counsel of our fathers – hardship is never far away from our doors, it only waits for us to get complacent before making its move.
Whatever the state of our nation, we created it – either by our actions or inactions – and it is up to us to re-create it in a way that is better for us and our children. Now it is time to rouse and marshal the creative spirit in us for our good. Simone de Beauvoir, the French philosopher posits: “The present is not a potential past; it is the moment of choice and action”. The time has come for us to make choices and take actions that will not only solve our challenges but also ensure the future manifestation of our aspirations. We cannot remain passive and enjoy the fruits of change. It is impossible. There is no monkey who will work and freely invite the baboon to enjoy the rewards. When the monkey works, it expects to enjoy what it has worked for.
Today everyone has a voice, and we are all saying much the same thing: “we want change”. But have we not sung this chorus before, and to no avail? Are we sure we really mean it this time round; or we do hope singing it will bring about change? If we are on the latter tangent, let us remember the counsel of Einstein – that “doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity”. If we are singing about change, let us make different choices to show that we have changed and we are truly seeking change. Our suffering is the result of choices we made in the past. And many of us will agree that those choices were more emotional than rational.
Today, however, we are being encouraged that the choices we are making in the present will liberate or suppress our future. The ball is in our court. To liberate ourselves from our past mistakes, we need to be more rational than emotional. We must learn to appreciate what freedom and justice means – and choose them; for everywhere that life is better, it is because they promote and sustain freedom and justice. Fortunately, our fathers chose those concepts as our national values. We know them, but not many of us give them much thought. Those values are the real building-blocks of prosperity – not the ‘who-you-know’ con that our detractors have promoted over the years since they sold our nation for thirty pieces of silver.
Let us choose Ghana at every opportunity presented to us. Let us permit ourselves the liberty to love our nation and ourselves, and to do so deeply that we fall in love with our sometimes cranky cultural systems, and our oddly nostalgic rejection of everything the world calls normal – not in a political or social sense, but in a psychological, poetic sense. Progress and beauty are not normal, and neither are wonderfulness, greatness and/or being in love. The best things in life always start off in an abnormal way, until the masses come to appreciate and normalise it. Make the abnormal choice of doing what is right and ethical today – and right and ethical living will become the norm tomorrow. Choose to be different, choose to be a leader; and tomorrow we can be sure our nation will have many visionary and compassionate leaders…
Your fellow Ghanaian.
Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan-African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics – with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses to help them cultivate synergies that catapult them into their strategic growth and certify their sustainability.
Comments, suggestions, and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at [email protected] kobla.com