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Opinions of Thursday, 21 September 2006

Columnist: Afari, Sena

The Curative Ghanaian Culture

Having lived some 20+ years in Ghana, I have reached a conclusion which time and experience have graciously corroborated: we have culture that glories in cure rather prevention.

The recent events along the length and breadth of this country lend credence to the truth in that assertion. Take for instance the current state of emergency at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. Last academic year, a similar incident happened in which a lady was shot and would have died had it not been for the providence of God. Shortly after that was the usual deployment of more security, more discussions on the campus situation and the like.

After a while, things returned to their “normal flow.” All over campus, there are very few streetlights that have left most of the paths starkly dark. It is rumoured that 15 people had their phones taken from them at one point in time by two gun-wielding thieves. I cannot fathom it then when the school authorities encourage students to walk in “pairs or threes!” Ludicrous! Just last week, another unfortunate incident happened, a Second year Nigerian student was stabbed to death! Like always, there has been the deployment of the Buffalo Unit and security personnel has been “beefed up.”

Between the first incident and this one, couldn’t measures have been put in place to curb the spate and this sad occurrence? Any honest person in authority would admit that there has been an ascendency of these attacks and nothing significant in the way of street lights, etc has been done. All of them may not have resulted in death and thus did not receive the kind of attention this one is. Do we need another death to help us realize that the streets need better illumination and that we need more security? Does anyone see the curative nature of the Ghanaian culture?

I remember many years back when I was in the Junior Secondary School. There was a major road which many school children (Primary to JSS) had to cross en-route to school. It never really occurred to anyone the need for a zebra crossing after all, no child had been knocked down! Some time in the course of my JSS studies a colleagues dad was late for a meeting and had the pedal to the metal. The most unfortunate happened – an 8 year old child lost his life. Barely 2 weeks after the incident, there was a zebra crossing which some people still flaunt with impunity. Why do we like such waste of life? Does it have to take any part of our future for us to realize that there is something wrong with our address of issues? A zebra crossing and a close enough ramp could have spared us the agony of another death.

Yet another recent memory that floods my mind is the carnage on our roads that received so much media attention and suddenly slipped into oblivion. No one seemed to have given much consideration to whether or not these 207 Benz Buses were actually cargo-type vehicles or they were passenger vehicles. There seemed to be very little debate till a whole lot of people started to lose their lives/loved ones. Suddenly it became an issue of National importance. Had someone perceptively looked at the effects of these on passenger security, I dare say that many of these deaths may have been avoided. It takes death for us to realize the effects of some of the things that we have in our permissive nature accepted.

A more humorous example is on the streets these days. Many people are so busy doing so many things they never really have the time to exercise (a very important but not urgent activity). One only needs to get up in the morning and see the many aging people who are trying to “become young again,” by stretching themselves to the maximum in exercise. Goodness gracious! At 65, that 30 minute walk may have some effect but not as much as if you started at 20 or 30! We tend to look at the present so much that we neglect the future into which we will walk anyway. If people began with the end in mind, it would change their attitudes to many things and exercise for that matter. We may not have lost any to exercise just yet but its a matter of time. Wait a minute, haven’t we? Countless examples abound to confirm the fact that we are so curative in our mentality as Ghanaians. A little foresight and perceptiveness on our part would have been particularly helpful in saving many lives. The question still hangs: are you prophylactic or curative?

Many of the disasters we see today are the result of our being myopic about many things. Begin to assess the way you think and be prophylactic and you will see the results. Remember it takes one person to start a revival. Why not let that person be you?

Let’s look beyond the here and now and when we will prevent many disasters!

The Papacy.
September 4, 2006


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