Ghana at 50 !!!
Today is a very important day for Ghana. Tuesday March 6, 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence!!!! Ghana is the first ‘Black Africa’ country in colonial Africa to gain its independence in 1957. Ghanaians have proudly thrown down the shackles of colonialism and have persevered through shaky times, early political instability, local tribal conflict, and extreme poverty. Ghana is now the home to a wealth of vibrant cultures and tribes living in harmony together, and steady development has resulted in a significant and promising decline in poverty across the country. Tremendous success in the recent 2006 World Cup embodied Ghana’s strength and determination to succeed. She is the motherland of the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, home to high life music and incredible drummers, and is the ‘black star’ of West Africa.
Excitement has been building steadily since the first of the year, when we officially entered the ‘Golden Jubilee Year’. Beautification projects were commenced for cities and villages all across Ghana, and special gathering areas for 50th anniversary celebration were constructed or revitalized in the region’s capitals. The celebrations in Tamale were held at the Police Park in the center of town, which recently saw the construction of new grandstands and a stage for the regional minister and other officials. I left my house this morning a bit too late to get a seat in the shade, but myself, my host family, and a few EWB friends made it in town just in time to see the start of the celebrations. The police park was filled with thousands upon thousands of people, and groups of local drummers played throughout the crowd. Much of the marching square in the center held members of the military and police who were on parade, and scores of school children, marching bands, and even the ‘Zoomlion’ street cleaning crew were all lined up to march through the square. To be honest, the event was a little bit un-eventful, since the speakers set up for the minister’s address could not be heard in the crowd, and the parade was difficult to see because of the crowd. But other than that it was quite amazing to be a part of such a huge celebration, and to see how excited people were.
There are many Ghana at 50 parties planned for this evening, though most people have been partying throughout the day. The sun kicked me in the arse, so I spent the later part of the afternoon sleeping! But the vibe around town is just amazing. I can hear the faint sound of drumming coming from many directions in the distance. Its pretty cool. I’m heading out for an evening of local music and dancing, but will post much more this week. Hope you all are doing well out there!