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09.08.2004 Feature Article

A Generation Grew Up - Rejoinder

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This is a rejoinder to Albion Mends' interesting narration of our extended families, entitled article “A Generation Grew Up“ (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.asp?ID=63199), which I just read.

My GROWING UP DAYS in Ghana were not normal and I was not privileged to live with neither my paternal relatives or my maternal relatives (as our Akan lineage proclaims as our ebusuafo). In accordance to custom and common sense, I went home to bury my late mother when she died in 2000. As you may expect, I paid most of the funeral bills incurred along with the ebusuafo demands. Then I gave my family (not ebusuafo) enough cash to purchase a cab to serve as a means to generate income for their upkeep. No sooner had I returned here to devise ways to pay my debt had my family written seeking maintenance money for the taxi, which BTW they spent less than 60% the money they received from me. Somehow, I remitted them necessary maintenance money and decided to stop further remittance and cater for my abrokyir family – my primary responsibility.

Last year, one of my sisters wrote that she needed money to take my niece (i.e. her daughter) to senior secondary school (SSS). Problem was she wanted the funds within 2 weeks. When I sought for proof of the admission, it took her 3 months to avail this basic information. I have worked out a deal with my other abrokyir siblings to pay our niece's 3-year SSS education. Next, my abrokyir-based sibling informed me last June that my aunt was seriously sick and needed IMMEDIATE funds to take care of her. Much to form, I stalled for EVIDENCE as I did not have extra money then. When I gathered funds in July to help, my sister told me that our aunt had come through but she needed money as did our other uncle. And BTW, my sister added that late mother's home town people want us to pay ARREARS in ebusua contributions. Again, I needed to know why I should be responsible for people I never inter-reacted with and never knew. It would be one thing if the ebusuafo had a plan to start a business (e.g. kilns to smoke fish for sale, a tractor to increase farm yield, etc.) that would generate funds for themselves, a practical means to become self sufficient and independent. In the end, I remitted funds for my uncle and aunt but refused to pay anything for the ebusuafo.

My aforementioned narrative is to bring to light my strong opposition to paying what I term WELFARE funds to ebusuafo whose objective is to live off other people's sweat and blood but did nothing when the same people lived in their midst or did not even know such people. That indeed is what I find WRONG WITH OUR EBUSUAFO and extended family at large. As long as there is no concrete means of solving this ebusua problem, I do not feel obligated to help anyone. If and when I decide to relocate to Ghana, I will behave the same way. And when I die, I would want the ebusuafo to stay away from my funeral (prior to cremation) just in the same way they did not play any role in my upbringing.

So Albion Mends' eloquent biblical quotes coupled with conceivable obligations of Ghana retirees do in fact rob me the wrong way. To me, many of the so-called ebusuafo are nothing but receiverships for the pseudo retirement sources (the willing payees) AND to add salt to injury, they do not pay any taxes. If anyone sees nothing wrong with paying such funds, I suggest that they do not place a GUILT necklace on my neck. Again, I may relent and make a one-time contribution to my ebusuafo if they come up with a workable business plan in which they will make personal contributions for their own benefit. Kwaku Kwakyi Huntington Woods, Michigan USA Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Kwaku Kwakyi
Kwaku Kwakyi, © 2004

The author has 8 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: KwakuKwakyi

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