The president of Ghana has recently announced that Ghana will be getting off from the IMF. Based on the progress of the Ghanaian economy, Ghana expects to be able to pay all its loan, and get off from the 3-year IMF financial aid program. This is very good, as any country in this world, when they are well, need not be on financial aid forever, but should aspire to become more independent. I raise my hat to them, and hope that other African countries will aspire to work on being more financially independent! Now, let’s pray for President Nana Akufo Addo’s well-being, and pray for his vision to be completed.
President Kwame Nkrumah, the great, and first president of Ghana once wrote a poem on Ethiopia. Kwame Nkrumah was the mind behind the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (Organisation de l’Union Africaine) which has become the African Union (Union Africaine). He believed in the unity of Africa, not just economic, but in the cooperation within the different states, and their independence. So here is his poem entitled ‘Ethiopia shall rise‘. Remember that Ethiopia is the only African country which was never colonized by Europeans, and as such is the siege of the African Union. Here is his entire speech followed by his poem. In reality, in his eyes, Ethiopia symbolizes the whole of Africa, and his wish is for Africa to rise again! Enjoy!
Addis Ababa, May 25, 1963 YOUR; IMPERIAL MAJESTY, MR. CHAIRMAN, YOUR EXCELLENCIES BROTHERS AND FRIENDS,
We have come to the end of a historic and momentous Conference. The decisions we have taken here have made African Unity a reality and we can see clearly a Union Government of Africa in the horizon.
This is the goal which we set ourselves when we struggled in our separate States for Independence. It is also the compelling force which brought us together in Addis Ababa.
As I have said over and over again, the independence of our separate State is meaningless, unless the whole of Africa becomes free and united.
The resolutions we have made here are a symbol of our determination to become united and to remain united in an African Community with common aspirations and common objectives. Freedom Fighters in all parts of our Continent can now be assured that they are not alone in their struggle. The whole weight and power of a united Africa is behind them.
After centuries of colonial exploitation and domination, Africa has been re- born. We have discovered our common identity, a force with which we can re-assert our African personality.
We shall from now on think, plan and work together for the progress and development of our great Continent. In this way, we shall eliminate completely the handicaps, set-backs and humiliation we have suffered under colonialism and imperialism.
We should be happy that at long last, by the adoption of this Charter, we have seen the end of the various groupings and regional blocs. It only remains for me, Your Majesty, on behalf of my colleagues to convey to the Government and people of Ethiopia especially to His Imperial Majesty, my sincere expression of gratitude for a happy and memorable stay in Addis Ababa.
The ancient Greeks identified Ethiopia with the Black Race. I would therefore like to leave with you a little poem on this:
Ethiopia shall rise
Ethiopia, Africa’s bright gem Set high among the verdant hills That gave birth to the unfailing Waters of the Nile Ethiopia shall rise Ethiopia, land of the wise; Ethiopia, bold cradle of Africa’s ancient rule And fertile school Of our African culture; Ethiopia, the wise Shall rise And remould with us the full figure Of Africa’s hopes And destiny.
As a child, I often thought of how cool the name of the capital of Ghana, Accra, sounded. My aunt however, told me that it meant ‘beignets‘ in some West African language, and that could not possibly be beautiful. See how funny some words in one’s language could mean something totally different in another. That made me curious to find out about the real meaning of Accra. Well, it is not even in the local language, but rather is a European “deformation”. The main Ga group known as the Tumgwa We led by Ayi Kushie arrived by sea. When the Lartehs of the coast saw them on their canoes at sea, they thought they looked like ants, and thus called them Nkranor ants. Nkranwas later deformed by the Danes to Akra, then to present-day Accra. Well, as a fun note, the feeling of an ant walking on one’s skin could make one scream “AaaaaahKrrrrraaaa”!
Jokes aside, originally, Accra was not the most prominent trading center in the country. However, the Dutch built the nearby outposts of Ussher Fort while the British and Swedes built James Fort and Christiansborg castles respectively. By the 17th century, Portugal, France, and Denmark had built forts in the city. As a side, did you know Denmark had been involved in the slave trade? Dutch and Swedes too? The Swedes… in the slave trade along the African coast? For the longest time, I thought the slave trade had only been a Portuguese, British and French affair. So today, the scramble for Africa with the European union, America, China, India, etc… is just a repeat of a 16th – 17th centuries’ history!
Britain gradually acquired the interests of all other countries beginning in 1851, when Denmark sold Christiansborg (which they had acquired from the Swedes) and their other forts to the British. The Netherlands was the last to sell out, in 1871. In 1873, after decades of tension between the British and Ashantis of the peninsula country Ashantiland, the British attacked and virtually destroyed Ashantiland and Ashanti Region capital of Kumasi. The British then captured Accra in 1874, and in 1877, at the end of the second Anglo-Asante War, Accra replaced Cape Coast as the capital of the British Gold Coast. This decision was made because Accra had a drier climate relative to Cape Coast.
As the newly established Gold Coast’s administrative functions were moved to Accra (1877), an influx of British colonial administrators and settlers grew around Christiansborg (modern Osu, Ministries, Ridge, Labone, and Cantonments), and the city expanded to accommodate the new residents. Victoriaborg was formed in the late 19th century as an exclusively European residential neighborhood, located to the east of the city limits of the time. The boundaries of Accra were further stretched in 1908. This expansion entailed the creation of a native-only neighborhood. Adabraka was thus established to the north of the city.
In 1908, the decision was made to build the Accra-Kumasi railway to connect the country’s port with the main cocoa-producing regions. In 1923, the railway was completed, and by 1924, cocoa was Ghana’s largest export.
Today, Accra is one of the biggest hubs in West Africa and on the African continent. It is also a place of pilgrimage to many people of African descents trying to retrace their past: African Americans, Afro Brazilians, especially due to the great numbers of slavery forts in the city and country, but also because of the work of W.E.B. Du Bois. Well, if you are ever in Accra, visit, enjoy it, and feel Ghana! The video below will make you want to go there.
Tomorrow, the world will vibrate to the rhythm of samba, carnivals, and Copacabana… Yes tomorrow, the 2014 FIFA World Cup will start in Brazil, and 32 of the best soccer nations will compete at this great planetary event. This will one month of soccer, pure joy, fun, and above all talent; Talent expressed by players from around the globe. Legends will be made, new faces discovered, and dreams will take off.
Five African teams will grace the tournament: Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria.
We do hope that at least one African team will advance into the round of 16, and beyond. Here are some of the African stars to watch out for.
Samuel Eto’o Fils, captain of Cameroon’s Indomitaple Lions, is incontestably one of the best forwards on the planet, and one of the greatest strikers of his generation. This might be his last world cup, and Cameroon’s first in 8 years. The Pichichi, and winner of several honors including African Ballon d’Or, will have to be ready to affront Brazil, the host country, Mexico, and Croatia in group A.
Didier Drogba, captain of Cote d’Ivoire’s Elephants, like Eto’o is also one of the best on the planet. After playing for Chelsea and winning countless trophies, he is now in Turkey with Galatasaray FC. This will probably be his last world cup. We wish him, and the Ivorian team the very best. They qualified with gusto to this competition. They have a relatively easy group with Colombia, Japan, and Greece. I will put my money on them moving to the next round in the tournament.
The Black Stars of Ghana were fancied to repeat, or even improve on, their run to the quarter-finals in 2010 in South Africa. That was until the draw was made and they were pitted with the world’s second and third-ranked sides. Asamoah Gyan and his teammates will play against Germany, Portugal, and the United States. This is the “group of death”. Ghana is a very good team; if they manage to make it to the round of 16, then they will quite far at the World Cup. We wish them the very best in the competition.
Throughout the years, I have placed high hopes on African teams and have always been disappointed. I might once again be disappointed. However, this is planetary tournament, and the fun of it makes one root for any good team. For the world cup winner, I believe Brazil, the host country has home court advantage, as well as a pool of great talents. Let us hope that will be enough to make them winners. I also think Argentina of Lionel Messi will be a really great contender, as well as Spain, the last world cup winners. Overall, let the world cup start, with all the fun, and may the best team win!!!