STAR OF THE WEST.
“Ghana is 50..Congratulations! Ghana is 50, let’s all celebrate.. ”
This song was composed nine years ago to mark the golden jubilee of our beloved country; a time that witnessed quite a number of festivities, adverts and even some renovation of the Black Star Square.
‘This day must be really special’, the whole atmosphere caused me to think. But nine years on from that day, do we as a nation really have much to sing about?
In spite of the various challenges we may have faced as a country, this Independence Day should be extra special to us because it presents us with an opportunity, especially the youth, to reflect on how far we have come as a nation and what difference our presence in this country could and should make.
Ghana is sometimes referred to as the Black Star of Africa. This star, like every other star, is meant to illuminate whichever space it finds itself in, and in effect make a difference. How have we shined as a nation amidst not just our neighbouring countries, but Africa and the world as a whole? How have we as individuals made an effort, be it singular or collective, to make our country shine?
Scientifically, a star is said to be made up of a number of gases, mainly hydrogen and helium. Today, and every other day, I would like us to view ourselves as an important constituent that blends with other constituents to make up a bright star. The land is ours and can only shine if we do our part. We need to be the light this nation needs to see.
I would like to make a brief comparison between Ghana and two other countries, namely Singapore and Malaysia.
Singapore, like Ghana, was once a British Colony and gained independence in 1965. One unique feature of Singapore is its location and size. It is a small island, but has managed to rub shoulders with great nations. One lesson I have learnt from this country is that size does not need to determine our rate of success. We do not always need to be surrounded by successful people or nations before we feel the urge to make the most of what we have.
Singapore has used its human capital over the years to its advantage by depending heavily on the size of their population to build a commercial hub that is still vibrant today. The nation boasts of amazing infrastructure and great sanitary conditions.
Malaysia, also a former British colony like us, gained independence in the same year we did… 1957. Being the 44th most populous nation in the world, Malaysia has used its diversity to its advantage, becoming one of the best economies in Asia, and is still growing. Unlike Singapore and more like us, Malaysia is blessed with abundant natural resources and has capitalised on this as well to achieve great development.
What makes these two countries, and others, so different from Ghana? Nothing really. We have virtually the same opportunities they do and Ghana boasts of a population far greater than quite a number of countries, a fact we can use to our advantage. Ghana can be even greater because above all, she has you and me. It is up to us to make the difference.
As a nation, we have quite a lot to be proud of despite our challenges, including our constant peace and our diversity; traits we need to hold on to in our quest to develop, irrespective of our political affiliation or ethnic group.
Ghana is hopeful that with us, more ‘birthdays’ will witness greater strides in development. We are the only ones who can make the Star of West Africa and beyond, shine again. It is only by our initiative that the word INDEPENDENCE can become truly meaningful to us. Then the star against the backdrop of red, gold and green will truly stand out.
The Star of West Africa can only shine with YOU. The time to shine is NOW.
Happy Independence Day!
Do you think our annual March Past is still a necessary way to commemorate our Independence Day, or it could be improved?
Your opinions are always welcome. Changing the status quo is always ready to learn from you.