All too soon we have ended another month of march, the moth that is known as Ghana’s independence month. Ghana gained independence on 6th March 1957. Since 1957, this day has been set aside to remember and celebrate the great people of this country who fought hard to gain independence for the country. School children from all levels take part in a march past, and the winning schools are awarded. Speeches are also given and a lot of discussions on how far the country has come since independence are held. Some people even organize floats, funfairs and parties during which they play a lot of Ghanaian music to mark the day. Pre independence, Ghanaians adopted the British culture, way of dressing, food, language and so on. This did not change after independence and Ghana has made efforts to encourage the people to appreciate Ghanaian culture.
One of the things that I love so much about my country Ghana is the government’s initiative to promote Ghana and Ghana made products, through this initiative, you will hear phrases like wear Ghana, see Ghana, eat Ghana, Friday wear, and so on. What the initiative seeks to do is to boost the local economy, get more people, Ghanaians especially to patronize made in Ghana products. This they believe will create more jobs, increase revenue for government and encourage Ghanaian business people to go into manufacturing so that the economy can move from a predominantly agricultural one to a manufacturing economy.
As part of this initiative, the month of March is known as the Ghana month during which period a lot of
activities aimed at promoting the country are carried out. This month is set aside to celebrate Ghanaian culture and other events from history that led to Ghana’s independence. You will find producers of clothes (especially smock, kente, etc) seriously advertising their clothes and products. During this period, a lot of television hosts prefer to dress in outfits that show their culture, sometime, they even switch to outfits of other ethnic groups. They are promoting Ghana, not just their ethnic groups, so why not, they are free to represent any ethnic group of their choice. It is interesting as some may even give themselves titles and names from the ethnic group they choose to represent. Some organizations also encourage their staff to dress in Ghanaian traditional outfits throughout the month. This is not a reserve for media and organizations, some churches also encourage their members to dress to celebrate Ghana’s independence month.
One of the things that get a lot of attention during the celebration of Ghana month is local Ghanaian
dishes. Dishes like TZ with offal in ayoyo soup, banku with crab and fish okro soup, akple with abobi, kenkey with pepper and fried fish, fufu with snail, fish and crab ebunubunu soup, apranpransa with crab, and so on get a lot of patronage. There are also the local drinks like fresh coconuts, asana, sobolo, pito and palm wine, sometimes these are served with snacks like nkatie cake, koose, adunley, coconut cake, poloo, just to mention a few. Unfortunately, I don’t some of the names of these in English, but the internet recognizes some of these, so go check them out. Some media house may even do a documentary on some of these foods and share with their audience. The documentaries usually include the ethnic group from which the food originated, the preparation process and how it is eaten. Owners of local restaurants also use the opportunity to get people to try their dishes, this is the part where people bring out their best cooking skills. You may even find people cooking these dishes in traditional clay pots and served in traditional clay bowls, calabashes or wooden bowls.
The tourism sector is not left out during the celebration of the Ghana month. Tourist sites, especially
those of known to have some historic beginning are visited by a lot of people. Schools, organizations, religious groups and other social groups organize excursions to these places to go and see and learn about the place while having fun too. Some travel and tour agents also organize interesting trips for individuals and organizations. It is during this month that you will hear names of tourist sites you never knew existed. When you visit some of these places, you get the opportunity to see people play melodious music from beautiful instruments like the xylophone, drums, flute, rattle and dance gracefully to the tunes of these instruments. The sites also have artefacts and crafts like wood carvings, beads and other ornaments, clay pots, cups, key holders, bags, slippers, musical instruments and many more. You can get some of these as gifts for family and friends, or for your personal use. Just make you carry enough money on you when you visit these places.
One aspect of the culture that is promoted during the Ghana month is the language. Most people during this period try as much as possible to communicate more in Ghanaian languages. Radio and tv stations may even organize live shows where people call in and speak only their native languages without mixing any other languages. This where you hear people speak elective Dagaare, Dagbani, Ewe, Ga, Twi, Gurune and many other Ghanaian languages. Some people also take the opportunity to learn how to speak different languages other their mother tongue.
The only thing that is not celebrated much around this period is festivals, most of the ethnic groups do
not celebrate festivals around this period. For example, the Kakube festival of the Nandom people in Upper West Region is celebrated in November, Kobine of the Lawra people in the same region is celebrated in October, Hogbestosto festival of the Volta Region is celebrated in November while the Homowo festival of the Ga people in the Greater Accra is celebrated in August. Aboakyir Festival is celebrated by the Efuttu people of Winneba in May. As such, festivals do not get a lot of attention around the Ghana month. Apart from mentioning them during the Ghana month, people do not get to see anything about them during the period
While these may seem to be fun and small initiatives, they help to promote the Ghanaian culture and
sell the country. Social media has even made it easier for people from different parts of the world to see and appreciate the beautiful Ghanaian culture. But the big question is, what happens after the Ghana month? What happens to all the messages about promoting the culture of the country after March? Does it mean that we can wear any other things, eat European and continental dishes, visit tourist sites outside the country and wait its Ghana month before we decide to do things thigs the Ghana way? Absolutely no, but trust some people to never wear the smock or kente or GTP Or any other Ghanaian native attire until it is Ghana month again. They are back to eating their Chinese and Italian and Spanish dishes till they hear the sound of the gonggong saying it is time to be Ghanaian again.
I think that this should not be the case, everyday is an opportunity to be Ghanaian, just like how we
don’t have to wait till it is our birthday to eat some cake, so it is with being a citizen, we can eat Ghana anyday, we can wear Ghana any day, we can plan trips to historic tourist sites at anytime. One beautiful thing about the wear Ghana initiative is that there are a lot of beautiful corporate styles for both men and women. So just feel free to turn out to that corporate event in a beautiful African print dress or shirt, or a smock. And don’t you forget that I sell smocks and other smock accessories and I am available for business all year round, not just in March! CHEERS!!!