Women and Examples from Ghana — by Francis Quamina Farrier 

Map of Ghana

Women and Examples from Ghana — by Francis Quamina Farrier

On Friday March 6, the West African country of Ghana, celebrated its sixty third Independence Anniversary with pomp and ceremony. Last Sunday, countries around the world observed “International Women’s Day” with a range of activities. As such, I have decided to merge these two annual events in this Feature Article.

In more recent years Ghana has been focusing more on higher education for the young women of the country. The education of girls and young women is now increasing in tertiary education as never before. Last year (2019) the country observed “The Year of Return”, when Africans in the Diaspora, whether born in Africa or of African heritage, were encouraged to visit Ghana to mark the 400 anniversary of the commencement of the Atlantic Slave Trade of which Ghana was a participant both as victim and enabler.      

But that’s another story which I have already written about. Before going further, I need to reiterate my mention that slavery was occurring from the dawn of time as recorded in the first book of the Holy Bible; in Genesis Chapter 37, Verse 8 it states, “And they drew and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver.” There are just too many Guyanese who are of the view that the Atlantic Slave trade was the only time that there was slavery in the world.

As would be expected, Guyanese were among the thousands who did visit Ghana, that beautiful African country, steeped in history and culture, during that “Year of Return”. My former colleague at the TV Evening News in Guyana, Dr. Wanda Chesney, who is now one of the Senior members of the Faculty at the University of the Southern Caribbean in Trinidad, was one such visitor to Ghana during the “Year of Return”.

Another Guyanese Educator known to me who visited Ghana during the “Year of Return”, is Victoria Village-based, Desmond Saul. He and his wife Brenda, spent nineteen days touring all around the 95,000 square miles of Ghana during that “Year of Return”.

The country which is just a bit larger than Guyana but with a population of over 27 million, has a wide network of well paved roads which makes it easy to travel around overland. And I am writing from personal experience having visited that country three times. There are also local airlines which can be used to fly between Accra the capital and the larger inland cities such as Kumasi and Tamale.

At this time, it is appropriate to mention that the results of General Elections in Ghana, are usually announced the very next day after the Polling is concluded. However, it is apt to mention that Ghana, like most other countries around the world, had many problems which include corruption, politics and governance. Nonetheless, there are those times when  neighbours visit and help to make peace. What is obvious in modern Ghana, is that politicians generally put the concerns and needs of the People first. However, Desmond Saul expressed his own concern for the measure of poverty he saw in some communities in Ghana which is a very rich country.

On June 11, 2019, the Ghanaian Head-of-State, His Excellency President  Nana Akufo-Addo, paid a State Visit to Guyana. Immediately on arrival one observed that there was a number of women who were part of his entourage. The Ghanaian Ambassador to neighbouring Brazil is a woman. She joined the visiting Presidential Team in Georgetown during that State Visit. While in Guyana, President Nana Akufo-Addo took the opportunity to promote his widely acclaimed “Year of Return” directly to the Guyanese People and announced that Guyanese can now enter Ghana without a visa.

Both Dr. Wanda Chesney and Desmond Saul, spoke highly of the warm and professional welcome which they had received by the Immigration Officers stationed at the relatively new and spacious two floor level Terminal Building at the Kotoka International Airport at Accra, on their arrival in the country. To that I can say, I had similar experiences. Dr. Chesney told me that she thoroughly enjoyed her visit and plans to return sometime in the future. As a journalist and educator, Dr. Chesney observed the many institutions of higher education in the capital, Accra, and elsewhere in the country. The embracing by the country of its History, such as the establishing of the President Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park which was established in honour and to the memory of Ghana’s first president, greatly impressed her as well.

Desmond Saul and his wife Brenda spent nineteen adventurous days in Ghana during the “Year of Return”. Their travels covered almost all of the country where they saw many of the tourist attractions, including the Mole National Park and the Palace of the Ashanti King which is located in the city of Kumasi.

By-the-Way, when Nana Akufo-Addo lost the critical General Election of December 2012 in Ghana, he instructed his Party members and supporters to avoid any protesting or violence, which they obeyed. Claiming that he was robbed, he took the matter to Court and lost. Emerging from the court he made the following statement to the media; “I do not agree with the decision of the court, but I’ll abide with it.” With such statesmanship displayed, I have not seen or heard one statement of praise or acknowledgment by any of the foreign ambassadors of foreign countries accredited to Ghana. Nana Akufo-Addo later won the Presidency of Ghana at the 2016 General Elections. (Ghana’s government terms are for four years).

Not one foreign country spoke openly about the way Ghana was, and is, a living example of Democracy in practice. Not one of the developed countries, or one international Media House spoke of, or gave coverage to such peaceful developments in Ghana, to the best of my knowledge. And again to the best of my knowledge, not one country in the world nominated Nana Akufo-Addo for the Nobel Peace Prize or the Oliver Tambo Award. Very interesting.

As I write this article, Guyana is on almost everyone’s lips with phone calls, emails, twitter, facebook etc., but mostly in a negative way. So, how will Guyana emerge from this present situation? Is there a Guyanese woman who has the resources to take Guyana “Onward and Upward” to “One Destiny”? What will life be like for the Guyanese People on March 15, 2021? Only the time of 365 days will tell. God Bless our Beautiful Guyana.

Dr. Wanda Chesney with Farrier on the Campus of the University of the Southern Caribbean in Trinidad, just before she left for Ghana.

Desmond Saul on a visit to a factory in Ghana where Kente cloth is manufactured.

Desmond Saul and his wife Brenda at the Mole National Park in Ghana. Observe elephant in the background.

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