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Opinions of Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Columnist: Agbodza, Paul

Your “Breakthrough“ Is Now

If there is any single word on the lips of the youth of Ghana, then it is the word BREAKTHROUGH. This word is often seen, heard and read from themes for various church conventions, meetings and conferences. This word reveals a deep mind-set. The word can be used to destroy oneself and as well energize one to achieve greater things. The former use of the word is the point of departure of my write-up.

I see and experience no success in life. My ancestors or an old lady in my village is the cause of my failure at the SSCE or at any interview. I have applied for many jobs but because I have nobody to lobby for me, I am not successful. I am looking forward to a better job, come next year. I am making “connections” to get a visa to fly abroad for a better life. I already bought a visa application form; a connection man is helping me. I apply to go to a nursing training college as a stepping stone to do something “better”[?]. I apply to go to the teacher training college as a stepping stone to go to the University. The classroom is not my place to stay.

I intended studying “Admi” in Accra- Legon or “Kumasi-Legon” [with apologies to…] but I accept any course offered me now as a stepping stone. I have just written my SSCE but I am studying to better a few more subjects in order to do something better. I am expecting God to help me get a substantial amount to travel outside. I completed SSCE or Technical College, I have not passed all my papers but I am looking for a scholarship to study in Europe or in America. I am employed at the moment doing a job but it does not befit my status so I am just hanging around and still looking for a better job. Someone has just started a shop in a corner of Accra, he has offered me employment but I have no interest in it because I am looking for a better job.

A man is above 30 and still waiting for the perfect woman. A woman is above 30 and still looking for her better half. One says, but first let me realise my breakthrough; let me save some money to start life with my partner. One says, the guys these days are not sincere and trustworthy. One says, the ladies these days are not satisfied with one guy who is poor. When would one have enough to start life? Then one may have to wait forever.

My brother or sister living abroad has just sent me two hundred dollars but I am waiting at home (doing nothing) to get more to be able start something. I shall offer a tenth part of what my Uncle abroad has sent to me as Thank You to my ancestors (or as tithe) and then I hope to realise my breakthrough. I shall give my money to a juju man to multiply for me so I can start something meaningful. I shall see my pastor to change my birth-date from the baptismal register so I can meet the required age to apply for a scholarship or a job in the military.

The list is unending. But this is the mindset of many young and young-adults in Ghana and some contributors to the comments forum of this site. Many contributors (commentators) reveal a profile of young persons, “a Kweku Ananse-like characters”- creating and causing innocent mischief, frustrated by the difficulties of life, bogged down by failure in life and the hope of a better somewhere, in need of attention, carrying bitterness against any successful person in their hearts, and in a word “burnt out”. Therefore, young persons or young-adults live in the future and refuse to live the present here and now. A consolation: my breakthrough is on the way; my breakthrough is tomorrow; my breakthrough is next year; or in a more positive note: this year is my year; it is the year of my breakthrough.

There is no breakthrough anywhere else in the future. The breakthrough of everyone one of us is HERE and NOW. Tomorrow might be too late. The examination system, for example, is a powerful process of discrimination and classification. After exams, our results show those who genuinely have the “arête” or the capacity to study something further. We are selected and placed/classified according to our various categories. In much of the cases the selection process is correct; of course there are exceptions to explain failure in an examination. But failure in an examination does not mean failure in life. It does not mean the candidate is of no use. Intelligence could be harnessed in another form.

I might be a teacher of Mathematics but when it comes to Biology I am a failure. I might be good at Literature but when it comes to History I might be a flop. I might be a superstar wherever I work, but comparing myself to the individual superstars of the glorious Black Stars, I might be an “illiterate”. It does not mean I am no good.

The selection process of the examination system is a reflection of our capabilities and even though we may be encouraged to re-write papers we must already live in the present to do so. Where is the better life? When is the better life to begin? When shall we start living our lives to the full? There is no better life anywhere. Wherever I live now is the better place. Let us live it as though it is the best place on earth. Whatever we do, let us do it as though it is the best thing. Whatever group of leaders we have now, we still have to accept as though they are the best. Else we shall continue to be disappointed in life because we are never satisfied with where we are and where we live. Where is the better life? It is the now.

But I must add that while we accept that, what we do now, and where we live now is the place of our breakthrough, we must constantly re-examine our situation; and make every effort to improve upon where we live and what we do or what we have in hand. It is not enough to say this is my breakthrough and refuse to move further up. This is the essence of “criticism” and self-examination. One sage says, “the unexamined life in not worth living”. Check out later for a continuation of this piece!



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