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Opinions of Saturday, 10 February 2018

Columnist: Samwin John Banienuba

Good night dear heroine, sleep well our Ebony

It was not breaking news when I read it! It was already beyond the Reuters threshold of breaking news. But when I turned on my phone after work and tried catching up with homeland Ghana it broke my heart and nerves to read what I read.

Ghanaweb, peacefmonline and myjoyonline are my usual online stop overs and they all carried the same grim news of a road accident that called Ebony home to the ancestral end of the world the night before. Ebony is no more!

She died in a collision between her own jeep and a VIP bus on her way from Sunyani to Accra. And she was returning to the capital after doing what all good daughters do, visit mum!

The first time I heard of Ebony is less than two months ago, 31st December 2017 to be precise. We were gathered at a friend’s to mark the crossover into the New Year. We were not many but it was an all Ghanaian affair, young and old and Ebony found her way into our midst. What a Ghanaian!

To put discussions in perspective we looked her up in youtube on screen. Many of us appreciated her stage trademark and submitted that her management must have found it a selling point in her career. Many of us disagreed and gave our conservative Ghanaian culture as argument and explanation. We confirmed or disabused our pros and cons based on the clips we watched. Her music and her performance of it added to our hype and merry plus everything else that makes a Ghanaian gathering Ghanaian.

The differences bordered on the generational! No one disagreed Ebony was young, beautiful, talented and a high-flyer of the Ghanaian flag in the music industry. We welcomed her to our own little corner where we celebrated the good and the beautiful of homeland Ghana in much the same way we critiqued the bad and the ugly as we see it from across the Atlantic. She had clearly gate-crashed and that made her one of us and a welcomed one for that matter.

I thought very little of our discussions thereafter, but looking back from 31st December with reflections of what I know now, Ebony no doubt sums up the meaning of breakthrough whatever breakthrough means. At twenty she was a celebrity and a celebrity she was no matter the perceptions or validations and vilifications. She lived a wholesome life and until that tragic crash she was an epitome of a Ghanaian success story.

Ebony’s death and all the others that perished with her is another tragic and rude awakening of our road and safety policies and strategies. Whatever the doomsday pastors are singing and prophesying it is palpably human error combined with road safety failure that cut short the life of our beloved national heroine.

Ebony is not the first in the string of national losses on our national roads and will invariably not be the last, but could somebody up somewhere find in this additional pain of our collective loss one more reason to beef up everything about driver and road safety? Doing that will be the highest tribute to her and homeland Ghana than any befitting funeral and burial our state could offer in recognition of the industry of Ebony.

Good night dear heroine, sleep well our Ebony!

The writer is Ghanaian and a commentator of national and continental affairs