Yesterday, a very good friend of mine; Sylvanus Bedzrah, nominated me to tell the world what makes me a Ghanaian. Well, I’ve thought it through and these are the things.
1. My name is Abena Amoafowaa Tawia Mansah Sefa Cecilia; Abena, a name I gained after touching the Ghanaian ground on a day ordained by God in birth. Amoafowaa, my box cum part of my surname, a name my late grandmother used to stand on three legs to mention with its appellations: Nana Amoafowaa Jemremedua! Princess of Nana Yaw Adjare of Ekona Clan. No knife must touch you lest it breaks bones of the holder, no harm must come to you, lest the harmer risk his or her family’s extinction. You are the old wise one reincarnated! You will live long!!! (Smiling at this point). Tawia, a name I earned by the sole reason that I was born after twins, Sefa; the other part of my surname. Mansah, another name earned because I am the third of females born continuously without a male. I make the “Cecilia” my last name because it was borrowed. I could legally remove it but I loved and still love the one who added that name to my list of names, plus, she is late so it is more like a deed of hers I want to live with. Legally, I am known as Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia. This is one thing that makes me a Ghanaian.
2. My palate knows grasses and weeds and alien vegetables and also knows indigenous foods like tuo zaafi, banku and okro, ampesi and “potogum hwei gum” but to mention a few. The lands produce good food and I love eating them in style, it is easy to find others calling me names like “a villager” and the rest, what sort of tag is that? Every body comes from a village, please the good food and demonstration of me eating it always, makes me a Ghanaian.
3. We can bicker like old maids, insult politicians who are accomplished as though they are slaves, hail stars and bring them down (not proud of), but many extend their hands when someone is genuinely in need. Family are sacred entities. By the end of the month, money attracts dead relatives who spring up from nowhere, but when help is needed, all hands (sometimes a few anomalies) are on deck, they are always there to show their support and love. Me giving most and receiving no cash but much love; pure or otherwise, makes me a true Ghanaian.
4. I can watch a local parody of Lil Wayne on Ghanaian screens and laugh at the laughing stock that is associated with the original. No tattoos on this one but the face, mannerisms and gestures tell tales of freedom and humour which gladdens my world. The laughter of life which echoes from me and can travel to others in an infectious manner, makes me a Ghanaian. The elephants can battle the umbrellas on the field of politics all they want, but never see the shoes of wars. Even comedians are among political aspirants allowing electorates some comic relief, my pride in most things we do making life interesting makes me a Ghanaian.
5. Whatever you teach me, I can do it to an extreme (on the good side though). So teach me to fly with wings of a hen and I will make sure I get that of an eagle. Hard work earns me the name “witch”, typical Ghanaian show of successful African women.
Kwaku Atta can date 6 women together, he can only be called Kwaku Attah the he-goat. Let me defend one of his women who has two men, and I get to be called defender of prostitutes; melody to my ears. A woman from another planet may choose to go to court for this, as for me, I know this makes me me and shows I am doing well because I am a typical Ghanaian.
6. I know no snow because the sun mostly dances in my Ghanaian sky, sometimes goes overboard, but what do I care? I get to live, feeling its massages on light clothes. I don’t need to live in hundred clothes a day. Snow can never restrict my movement. Just sponsor a trip with me inclusive abroad and you will know by my shrivelled cries that I am a true Ghanaian.
7. Celebration of excellence is the Ghanaian way. Fail and no one knows you. Be around me where writing is concerned and you will hear, “oh her? I know that girl, she is a very close friend of mine”, go abroad and let someone mention my name and you will hear one who has never seen me say; “Oh! That is my sister” That is just by the way. Everyone we respect and love has a “brother” or “sister” attached to his or her name. Yes, sisterhood and brotherhood, that makes me a Ghanaian, so if I call you Sister Sylvia or Brother Maxwell, know it is a Ghanaian thing of love and respect..
8. So I love taking “trotro” because talking about love, life, politics makes life worthy of living. It is easier to get the biography of an unknown person or know all about the antagonist of another’s life without asking questions. People talk to people freely, known and unknown. So see me talking to someone I just met on “trotro” or in a taxi and laughing my heart out, there is no doubt that I am a Ghanaian.
9. I am a manager by default. The cost of my food alone can be 1000 cedis, school fees, hospital bills, transport cost etc not inclusive while my take home is less than 1000 cedis. Trust me, I can live through the month in perfect stride, don’t mind my “sign dan ho”, my managerial skills makes me a true Ghanaian.
10. I love the natural sights of the Kwahu Mountain, the beautiful Damongo Game Reserves, the intriguing Monkey Sanctuary, the many beautiful waterfalls, the legendary temples but to mention a few. The beauty of nature in Ghana reflects my being, ask me about the realisation of most of these serene places and I will tell you about the many hunters or farmers who chanced upon them. Trust me, that makes me a true Ghanaian.
There are many more I may share in future life if God permits. For now, I choose Nana Awere Damoah and Namerl Tagoe to tell the world ten things which make them Ghanaians.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia (c) 2015