A magazine for Africans and friends of Africa...Our Voices, Our Vision, Our Culture

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Ghana-Must-Go
By Sowore Omoyele
Five years after I left the shores of Africa, I returned to Ghana for summer vacation. Activists seldom go on vacation, as every vacation leads you into another finding or experience of the many global injustices that abound everywhere. I tried not to get involved with anything that might sour up my well-deserved vacation. I saw Ghana as a very cool place. Although I am a Nigerian, it is not easy to rest in Nigeria because God hasn't rested since he created Nigeria!

I was there in Accra asking where to go and have fun. A very well organized city, Accra's crime rate is low or almost non-existent. It was unbelievably clean and safe. The two questions that pop up for the first-time visitor are the slave forts or castles, and Kwame Nkrumah. As a Nigerian, I had a third question lingering on my mind - which was to find out if Ghanaians have gotten over the 1980's Ghana-Must-Go incident. This was the anti-immigrant act of the Nigerian military regime in 1983 whereby Ghanaians living in Nigeria were asked to immediately leave the country with a limited amount of luggage, which had to fit into a small sack known as Ghana-Must-Go bags. Incidentally, today those bags have become the highest symbol of brazen corruption as they are currently used in shipping raw cash amongst government officials and Nigerian politicians.

Quite honestly, Ghanaians did not seem to worry about any of my questions. My guide was quick to remind me that Kwame Nkrumah was an overrated nationalist more respected by Africans outside of Ghana than within Ghana itself. Regarding the slave trade, Ghanaians are not crying over it. They regard the slave castles as part of the national museum where visitors from outside Ghana throng, especially black Americans. When I asked about the Ghana- Must-Go incident, the guide was emphatic in saying that Ghanaians didn't lose anything from that episode. After all, he queried, "We are far better than Nigerians today. Nigerians were the losers; you guys lost all the brilliant teachers, engineers, administrators and ebony-skinned, never-say-die Ghanaian women." It was amazing to see how comfortably my guide spoke about my concerns.

I set out to Kakum National Park and the Slave Castles at El Mira and Cape Coast. While it was pleasant to be at the national park, it was sad and depressing to see the slave forts. More than 200 years since the end of slave trade and you dont have to be a bloodhound to smell human blood that lingers in the "holding areas" or cells. While on tour, we were quickly told how blacks and whites are no longer allowed to tour the castle together; apparently some Caribbean tourist had beaten up some white students while touring the castle together.

From the point of delivery of black Africans until imprisonment and their subsequent shipping as human commodities to the western hemisphere, the operating word was to "bend-them-to-fit" into the ships, the small cells, and the cargo ships that brought them to the several slave markets. As I was looked around, I was fast in thinking that as suggested by African Americans, the term welfare "Benefit" must derive from the slave masters action "bend-to-fit". Blacks all over the world are still being "bent-to-fit" by the institutions, corporations and multinational agencies whose descendants are direct beneficiaries of profits and privileges of slave trade.

As for Nigerians, their local slave masters are standing permanently on their bent backs, shipping their benefits to the west through multi-national corporations and the IMF, so they are bent, but do not fit into anywhere.

Ghana was a beautiful experience. It is an interesting country to visit or live; they have the best summer fashion available anywhere in Africa; a humble president who lives by the roadside; contented people who love to party at nightand beautiful women who never age, - thats right!
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