15-20 years from now, there’s no telling where in the world you will be, whether still here in your country of birth and the place I call home, or halfway across the globe in Asia! I’ve wished for the ability to see into the future numerous times but so far God isn’t biting so we can safely say I don’t know what tomorrow will look like for you or us. However, the one thing I do know in my heart and the one thing I pray you never lose sight of, is this current place we’re calling home, Accra, Ghana and by extension, the African continent.
I followed the US elections last year with mild amusement (granted I lost my cool at a point and started to do the exact thing I found amusing, but I recovered quickly), and I was especially amused at Ghanaians (and other Africans) who felt threatened by the leading candidate’s perceived racist and anti-immigrant views. To be clear, there was more about this candidate that I personally abhorred but it’s not relevant to this letter. Bringing it back, what I have never understood is the need for an African to leave home, and then get upset when someone tells them they aren’t welcome in their new settlement. I’m all for exposure to different cultures and worlds, but I stick to the notion that when all is seen and done, you need to take your talents home and make home better for the next generation.
There are people in this world who won’t respect you or give you the time of day simply by looking at you and summing you up as nothing more than a black woman. Currently, we sit at the bottom of the food chain, metaphorically speaking. It’s not strange for our race to be overlooked and misjudged to be dull and unintelligent with no basis of proof. That’s the time that I’m existing in. Maybe your time will be different and we (my generation) would have done enough work and proved ourselves enough to make your path easier. If we do not succeed before your generation become old enough to vote and participate as adults in our world, I can assure you it would not have been as a result of a lack of trying; we will only look to you to join the movement and chisel away with us. We may just be one hit away. Stronger together, always. We need that strength – yours and mine and your children’s – to make this place, our home, better for us.
I can’t honestly say that home (Ghana) right now is perfect neither can I tell if we will progressively become a better nation. That’s never what it should be about. You mustn’t strive to live in a “perfect” place; you must strive to perfect the place that you live: the place you were born, the place you call home, the place your parents hail from….. the place where the large majority of people look and think like you. And you must be proud every day of who you are (3/4 Ghanaian made up of quarter Ashanti, quarter Ewe, one-eighth Fante, one-eighth Northern, & 1/4 Ethiopian) because doing that, showing pride in your heritage is the thing that will keep others from ever thinking they are better than you.
Is all of this negotiable? Yes, it always is. I will always pray that you make your own choices, fully comprehending the pros and cons at all times. These are my sentiments and wishes based on my time and life here and on my love for this continent. Maybe as you grow and over the years, our adventures across it will become something to spur your own love for this soil. Who knows right? 🙂
I hope I’m able to do that for you.
PS. Leaving with this patriotic song. I wish I could find the original video that used to play on GTV but this will do. “Yen Ara Asaase Ni” (This is our land) – By Dr. Ephraim Amu.
The Lyrics and translation makes this post even more relevant I think:
Yɛn ara asaase ni (this is our land)
Ɛyɛ aboɔdenden ma yɛn (It is priceless to us)
Mogya a nananom hwie gu, nya de too hɔ maa yɛn (Blood was spilt by our forefathers, to preserve and keep it for us)
Aduru me ne wo nso so (It is now my turn and your turn also)
Sɛ yɛbɛyɛ bi atoa so (to do something to add up and move forward)
Nimdeɛ ntraso nkotokrane ne apɛsɛmenkomenya (now-it-all behavior, cheating and selfishness)
Adi yɛn bra mu dɛm (Has maimed our character)
Ama yɛn asaase ho dɔ atɔm’ sɛ (And reduced our love for our land)
Ɔman no sɛ ɛbɛyɛ yie oo! (whether this nation prospers)
Ɔman no sɛ ɛrenyɛ yie oo! (whether this nation fails)
Ɛyɛ nsɛnnahɔ sɛ, ɔmanfo bra na ɛkyerɛ (Clearly will depend on the character of its citizens)