General News of Thursday, 6 March 2008
Source: Kwaku A. Danso
Fifty one years ago on March 6 was a day of vague and confused memory for a ten year old, but for sure a memory of joy and hope. The hope was undefined, but it was solid and reliable, and we had no reason to believe in anything but the future. There was an air of hope and we took it. We took it with great jubilation when one man’s voice echoed through the night and day and said:
FREEDOM! FREEDOM AT LAST! THANK GOD YOUR BELOVED COUNTRY IS FREE FOREVER!
The idea and concept of black people seeing all symbols and models of authority and leadership as white people, obviously different people, was weird. It kind of made one feel like one was a possession of somebody. It makes one wonder today how slaves might have felt. Indeed that was what we were. Colonialism was a form of possession, where the people in the country of Ghana, former Gold Coast, belonged to Her Majesty the Queen of England. There were no chains and branding, but the pain of belonging to somebody psychologically is not a good feeling. It is amazing that our leaders who worked under colonialism cannot even today consider themselves fully themselves!
There was no question or doubt about it. Our adults wrote and signed their official letters and correspondence with “YOURS OBEDIENT SERVANT”.
Today WE MIGHT ASK: What the heck was that?
However, that was what it was some 51 years ago.
As a younger kid I had a chance to stand at very close distance from the man they called the savior. Indeed that was the truth. He was the man who represented salvation from the yoke of colonialism and even as a child growing up in Abetifi I had a weird feeling growing up and saluting somebody from a foreign land who gave orders through a colonial governor and we celebrated Her Birthday, Coronation, and so forth. What kind of self image was that! We are not white like them, and we are not part of them, but we have to worship them? It was confusing for a kid growing up!
Perhaps I was not old enough to evaluate who this Kwame Nkrumah was, but all I knew is that he was courageous! He had a sense of humor when he would speak English and stop and say “I will use my own Fante” and continue in Fante. That elicited applause and laughter in 1952. To stand up and articulate the needs of our people, such as pipe-borne water was a fresh resource of Hope! Later on, in the 1960s during Secondary school, this same man would motivate us to study Science and dream big, of things we never dreamt before, of going to America, and being somebody.
I am not sure if I am somebody today, but then who is to judge or define what somebody means but me! At least not by Her Majesty. I have achieves and leant, as most of my friends have also, what was perhaps thought impossible for us to learn and accomplish in 1957!
But for sure March 6, 1957 is a day that will live forever in the minds of this writer and perhaps in history as the day a few black people sacrificed their lives, under the brave leadership of one Kwame Nkrumah, to fight for what was morally right, to risk and fight for their fellow human beings in servitude, and let the thirst for freedom ring out aloud around the world, “WE ARE FREE AT LAST! THANK GOD WE ARE FREE FOREVER!!”
Kwaku A. Danso