The theme for the month is Reflection. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang has been reflecting on matters other than his presidential ambition. He believes the Golden Jubilee Anniversary gives Ghanaians an opportunity to consider making some psycho-cultural adjustments."I think we should consider replacing the Ghanaian National Anthem with one that is more culturally reflective, stimulating in its patriotic call to duty to self and country and simply easier to inspire.”
He continues, “Fortunately for us the great composer Ephraim Amu has bequeathed the nation with one that is perfect, Yen ara ya asasa ni, which we can all sing in our various native languages as Ghanaians.” If the Minister's proposal gains favour, it will make Ghana the only West African country with its national anthem in a local language. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only nine countries (Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Niger, South Africa and Zimbabwe) do not sing the national anthems in the language of the colonial 'masters.'
In proposing Yen ara y' sase ni (This is our own land) as the new anthem, the Minister for Water Resources, Works & Housing argues that already Ephraim Amu's composition has become the unofficial anthem of Ghana, pointing to President John Agyekum Kufuor's decision in 2003 to make it the theme of his state of the nation address:
“It's like the second national anthem. My view is that we should consider making it the main anthem. It's a truer reflection of who we are as Ghanaians.” Mr Owusu-Agyemang, whose friends have dubbed him the Action Man, believes the recital of a national anthem in a language indigenous to one carries more significance and symbolism of cultural identity than in a received language, like English.
He points out that in Germany, Das Lie Der Deutschen (Song of the Germans) is naturally sung in German, in France La Marseillaise is sung in French. Other examples include the Kenyan national anthem in Swahili, Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu (Oh God of All Creation), although English is also an official language in the East African country; and the South African national anthem which was altered after Freedom in 1994 to Nkosi Sikelel Africa & Die Stem van Suid Afrika (God Bless Africa & The Call of South Africa combined) to better reflect the multi-ethnic mix of the post-apartheid South Africa.
Even Wales, which is part of the United Kingdom, has its own distinct national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Old Land of My Fathers). The Minister explains his suggestion as, if carried, having the “psychological weight and value to help rekindle and redefine in a more meaningful and contemporary way that sense of positive nationalism which the country lost through those old and painful years of betrayed leadership.”
He observes, “It's our own unique, home-grown version of US President JF Kennedy's famous soundbite appeal to the patriotic instinct of the American people, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” But, Mr Owusu-Agyemang is quick to point out that Ephraim Amu's composition precedes JFK's inaugural address, which was delivered in Washington on January 20th, 1961.
Mr Owusu-Agyemang, who is considered to be among the Big Six of the political heavyweights aspiring to become the ruling NPP's 2008 flagbearer, thinks the 50th anniversary of Independence offers Ghanaians a “timely opportunity” to undertake some useful introspection and use all the available tools of construction to forge a new collective surge of progress in unity and duty to self, community and country. “The President said at the People's Assembly stated that this being Jubilee Year, we should all use the jubilee spirit to bring about genuine reconciliation. Ephraim Amu's song is just one of such tools that appeal to our innate sense of nationalism and shared destiny. I think making it the national anthem is worth considering,” he ended modestly.
The Ghanaian National Anthem
God bless our homeland Ghana,
And make our nation great and strong,
Bold to defend forever
The cause of Freedom and of Right.
Fill our hearts with true humility
Make us cherish fearless honesty,
And help us to resist oppressors' rule
With all our will and might evermore.
Hail to thy name, O Ghana
To thee we make our solemn vow;
Steadfast to build together
A nation strong in Unity;
With our gifts of mind and strength of arm,
Whether night or day, in the midst of storm,
In every need whate'er the call may be,
To serve thee, Ghana, now and evermore.
Raise high the flag of Ghana,
And one with Africa advance;
Black star of hope and honour,
To all who thirst for liberty;
Where the banner of Ghana free flies,
May the way to freedom truly lie
Arise, arise, O sons of Ghanaland,
And under God march on forevermore.
YEN ARA YASASE NI (This is our own land)
EYE ABOODEN DE MA YEN (It is very dear to us)
MOGA NA NANANO WHIE GU (The blood spilled by our ancestors)
NYA DE TO HO MA YEN (To secure and bequeath it to us)
ADURU MENEWO SO SO ( Now it's time for you and I
SE YEBEYE BI ATOASO (To build upon that legacy)
NIMDEETOASO NKONTONKRANE (Arrogance, lies,)
NE APESEMENKOMENYA (And Selfishness)
ADI YENMAN MU DEM (Has hurt this nation of us)
AMA YASAASE MU DO ATOM SE (Affecting the sense of love in our) nation)
OMAN YI SE EBEYE YIE O (Whether our nation shall progress)
OMAN YI SE ERENNYE YIE O (Whether our nation shall regress)EYESE NNA AHOSE
OMANFO BRA NA EKYERE (Our national character will determine)