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Kwame Ghana - the personification of our nation

Posted by abocco on Thu, 07/10/2008 - 08:03 GhanaThink Managing Executive

...Sounds on da ground and seens on the see-ins

There has been a lot of controversy in Ghana lately about the recent National Honours Awards and who deserves awards and who should be giving them out. Naturally, we would want 'Ghana' to give out these awards and not the president of the nation or a bunch of people with various interests. So what if Ghana was a person? What would Ghana have to say to its people? If Ghana was a monarchy, the king would be Ghana. We don't have that. My buddy, Okyeame Kwame personifies Ghana in his Kwame Ghana song and tells us what Ghana has to say to its people. 6th march 1957 was a Wednesday while July 1st, 1960 was a Friday. Maybe Kwame Ghana's message sums up the thoughts of Okyeame Kwame, who after all is a Ghanaian as well.

Okyeame Kwame is a hiplife musician from Ghana. He is an original member of Akyeame, one of the first rap duos in Ghana. He's one of Ghana's finest rappers and one of the most respected. His first solo album was Bohye ba and he followed it this year with M'awensem (my poetry). Songs on his second album take the form of stanzas (mostly four lines). Some of his tracks include Medo mmaa nanso mempe mmaa, Woso, Odo nkyen, Tutu, Mbre, Mate ahwe ne do mu, Hello Maame, etc.

Kwame Ghana starts out like a dirge. Kwame Nsiah Appau is not happy about the current state of Ghana. He argues that Ghana is not happy with itself, apparently, it (he/she) is dying. The lives being lived by its children is killing Ghana softly. Okyeame Kwame talks about a number of social vices bedevilling Ghana and many other issues it is facing. According to him, Ghana is not alone as he mentions various African countries who he believes are in more or less the same predicament.

Okyeame makes a reference to monarchies. He talks about how a chief sells a piece of land to two different people. This is a small window to present the larger problem of land ownership. Prices of land in Ghana are shooting through the roof, especially around the metropolitan areas. The land tenure system has failed to do its job and different peopel claim to own different pieces of land. This is one of the greatest bottlenecks facing local and foreign investors alike. We need to get our land ownership system more organized and in turn push for better expansion of our metropolitan areas and planning of new settlements and communities.

The journalists and media are not left out as they are accused of fanning the partisan and tribal conflicts in Ghana. Kwame Ghana calls out to his doctors to have mercy on his citizens by accepting their salaries and desisting from strikes, etc. The people who pay the doctors are different from those who normally benefit from their services. The people who pay the doctors don't use the Korle Bu and Komfo Anokye facilities and they don't seem concerned about upgrading their facilities to an appreciable level. These people can't be the Ghana that is crying out to. The Ghana personified in Okyeame Kwame's song consists of the common Ghanaian who doesn't have access to the best medical facilities, education or financial opportunities. They won't be giving car loans because they wouldn't earn enough to pay them back and they don't have the financial muscle to benefit fully from the transport systems. They also have to live with the bad transport infrastructure which while improving, is not up to par.

Kwame Ghana is standing at the Kotoka Airport and admiring the faces of people travelling to seek greener pastures abroad and those returning to visit families. Increasingly, more people are coming to seek opportunities in Ghana where they believe they can become the next Ernest Chemists, Unique Trust or Databank. Ghana has seen its children through their education, bearing most of the cost and watches them send their skills abroad for better compensation. Ghana is too disorganized and nepotismized for an average person to make it. How can we retain our talent? If there is no space for them at home, can we at least have a say in what they do with the skill, where they achieve further training and enjoy the benefits?

The Rap Doctor could not leave out corruption which seems to be the biggest symptom in many ailing African countries. He starts with the government as usual and how they misuse money allocated for building and tidying up him aka Ghana the person. There are many instances of money mismanagement. For a start, we need to dedicate more money to the GETFund, we should not hold up the progress of our educational facilities for ransom. We have to follow through with all the good ideas, the school feeding program, National Health Insurance Scheme, amongst others. We don't want garnished walls and beautiful gardens when we can't pay our electricity bills or afford a generator.

In an indication that the moral decadence in Ghana has reached another level, Okyeame complains about same-sex marriages as well. He laments sexual relations at work (managers and secretaries) which ultimately lead to broken homes. Some people may see the latter situation as a class-leveller, a secretary who is in the middle class enjoys some rich class privileges as per her relations with her boss. How many stories had you heard of people in Ghanaian companies rising through the ranks to take up more responsibility? Look at our government, it's a rotation of positions and there is little initiative and creativity in growing our ministries, businesses and communities.

For some of you, Ghana is not dying. Okyeame Kwame and I will like to hear arguments to the contrary. Like I argued in my last blog entry, Ghana has a lot going on. The Ghana is crying out to its children not to neglect it and support it through thick and thin. We have to be more responsible, disciplined, self-sufficient and organized. We don't want our country to sing out dirges for our schools, hospitals, etc. Collectively, we can give Ghana life and a life worth living.

Full Kwame Ghana lyrics, audio.
Photo by Cimpsy

Okyeame is on Myspace