Wednesday was a holiday here in Ghana. It would have been the 102nd birthday of Ghana’s first prime minister and president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He helped to bring about the country’s independence from Britain in 1957; the first country in Africa to gain independence.
Before gaining independence, the country was known as the ‘Gold Coast’ because of the large amounts of gold found there, if you didn’t already guess that.
About two weeks ago I visited the memorial park that was built to honor him and holds his remains. Along with this newer statue symbolizing his quote, ‘forward ever, backward never’, there is another older, bronze that was vandalized when his government was overthrown by a military and police coup de’tat in 1966.
Personally I find it symbolic that, even though they removed his head, his arm is still lifted as if indicating his vision of Ghana as a republic will not falter.
And it hasn’t.
While the country has had some trying years, Economy Watch named its economy the fastest growing for 2011. There is some debate as to how true their assessment is, given that a large source of income is the newly discovered oil off the coast that foreign countries are vying for, but the point is that they’re moving forward.
Yes, I’ve complained a bit about the roads and infrastructure, but I know that when (not if) I come back in a few years, I’m going to be amazed by the differences. I do worry about the errors the country will make along the way, but I know it’s necessary in order for them to learn and continue to grow.
From what I have seen in the six week I’ve been here, Ghanaians are proud of their country and their history. That pride will, hopefully carry them forward and encourage