Playing our roles for Ghana to rise

Ghana FlagSoccer was made in England but for some unknown reasons soccer left England to find itself a resting place in Brazil. This used to be my joke until the roof caved in on Brazil when they hosted the 2014 World Cup tournament.

Apparently, the disease that has debilitated English soccer is attacking our idolized Brazilian soccer as well. If not then, there must be an explanation for their abysmal performance at the 2014 World Cup tournament.

The poor show of the Brazilians notwithstanding, I noticed something endearing about the players and their supporters. That was when Brazil and The Netherlands were about to commence the third place match.

When the Brazilian national anthem was being played I was captivated by the vim with which they all sang the anthem. The main attraction was when the camera men zoomed a group Brazilian kids who held hands and were vivaciously chanting the anthem.


Attitude towards failure

How I wished Ghanaians also cultivate the Brazilians’ ‘never-say-die’ culture! Over here, the vogue is once the Black Stars lose a semi-final match the rank and file (including the players) loses interest in the tournament. We do not fight to the end.

We do not sing our national anthem in the fashion done by the Brazilians; not even when things are rosy with the Black Stars.

The best that most of us can do about our anthem is to sing the first-two lines of the first stanza because that is all that we know whereas even toddlers in Brazil know and chant their national anthem.


Patriotic songs and slogans

From the time of the late President Kwame Nkrumah to the revolutionary era of ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, we used to sing our national anthem plus other patriotic songs a lot at least in our academic institutions and during state functions. Among the songs sung most were:

o     God bless our homeland Ghana

o     Míadenyigbalorlor la (i.e. the Ewe version of Dr. Amu’s patriotic song)

o     Arise Ghana youth for your country

o     Land of our birth we pledge to thee

o     The national pledge (which was both sung and recited)

In those days it was real fun when the above songs were sung in our schools coupled with some recitations few of which were known as ‘revolutionary’ slogans.

It is sad to say that these inspiring songs are now hardly sung in the society. Most of what we hear these days of the songs is the instrumental beat of the national anthem and is not as frequently sung as it used to be.

I wish to implore readers to just pause and reflect on the words of our national anthem. It is a superb prayer to the Almighty for our country. Every line of the first stanza alone has its peculiar prayer topic.

Any time we vocally sing our anthem we are petitioning Heaven to bestow on Ghana exactly what the words of the anthem say. It is rather unfortunate that this national prayer could not be sung often enough to bless our country.

Words generally have immense power whether they are just spoken or sung as songs. I believe that it was not for nothing that nations compose anthems, patriotic songs and slogans to be sung by the populace during festive occasions.

These songs are not meant to be beautifully laminated and hung on walls as companies do to their mission and vision statements.

As we regularly sing and/or recite our anthem and patriotic songs the words become ingrained in our national psyche. It becomes a force that moves us to put the nation above our parochial interests.

Unfortunately, that nationalistic spirit is gradually dying. Even though we boast of our Ghanaian citizenship, we conduct ourselves as if we are foreigners with only one agenda: to get as much as we can out of the country and then leave her to her fate.

We know what is right to do as Ghanaians but we wait to be forced before we do it. By our actions we behave as if we don’t have a stake in this country. Our behavior as a people is summed up in our favourite cliché, “every man for himself, God for us all.”

People conceive of Ghana as a geographical delineation in the heart of West Africa.

However, the real Ghana is the people: you who is reading this piece, my good self and others who consider this delineated land as our birthright; the soil in which our umbilical cords were buried.

If Ghana must awake from her doldrums to regain her leadership position in Africa then it is we who must awake.

A sure way for this awakening of our national spirit is to go back to our richly-worded patriotic songs and slogans. Singing and/or reciting them feed our national ego thus rousing us to act and do things in the supreme interest of our country. This should be the collective duty of each and every one of us.

We descend on our players and their handlers whenever our Black Stars lose a match. Meanwhile, in our everyday activities we all flagrantly derogate from our duties to the nation in one way or the other.

My parting gift to Ghanaians as we celebrate our 58th milestone as a nation is, “How well are we playing our roles so that our nation may be what we desire her to be?”

By Robert K. Abofra

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