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16.02.2007 Feature Article

Making the history of Ghana alive and vibrant!

Making the history of Ghana alive and vibrant!

The world is our oyster currently. This is the time for Ghana to cash in on all the various facets of our unique history, culture, values, warmth, friendliness and our diversity which are all intrinsically linked into our Government.

I wonder whether the introduction of a Wax Museum similar to Madame Tussands or Disneyland would with all the attractions connected to it would give a new lease of live to our history.

Let face it, Madame Tussands started her business on a small scale but her vision have been integrated into tourist industry. In the same way our present-day Ghana could also start. The Ghana Tourist Board or individuals may need to consider integrating all aspects of our history from the Songhai Empire etc. Reflecting on the excellent works done by Juanda Honore on The Global African Community History is Story Notes a Brief History of the Songhai Empire posted by Runoko Rashidi.
This history informs us that following the fall of Dynasty Egypt, Carthage and Numbia pride of Africa centred on the outstanding West African empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. At the core of the empires were the great cities of Gao, Timbuktu, and Jenne. Gao, founded in the seventh century, was a major terminus for the great caravans crossing the Sahara.
It highlights the great intellectual nucleus of Timbuktu, West Africa. Jenne was a vital commercial hub as well as an important learning centre. Each of these three cities enjoyed an exceptionally high status and wielded considerable influence.
Scholars and laymen regard the Songhai Empire (sometimes spelled Songhay) alike as one of Africa's greatest empires. The Songhai Empire rose to particularly lofty heights in the late 1400s during the magnificent rule of Sunni Ali. During the reign of Sunni Ali most of what was formerly the Ghanaian and Mali Empires were incorporated into the Songhai Empire.
Sunni Ali marched on Timbuktu and captured it along with its Great University of Sankore, which had thousands of students from many parts of the world. During the waging of a seven year war Sunni Ali captured the great city of Jenne. Sunni Ali would marry the queen of Jenne, Queen Dara, and they would reign together splendidly. Sunni Ali eventually gained control over the entire middle Niger region.
Songhai Empire under Sunni Ali had surpassed the greatness of the other West African empires (including Ghana and Mali) that preceded it and became the greatest empire in West Africa.
Since then with the arrival of the Portuguese, Dutch, Germans, Danes, and the British after these events in Songhai empire Africa was ruled by the foreign interventions.
As Kwame Nkrumah said in his famous speech, and I quote, “For centuries, Europeans dominated the African continent. The white man arrogated to himself the right to rule and to be obeyed by the non-white; his mission, he claimed, was to "civilise"Africa. Under this cloak, the Europeans robbed the continent of vast riches and inflicted unimaginable suffering on the African people.

He went on to express his disgust in when he said “All this makes a sad story, but now we must be prepared to bury the past with its unpleasant memories and look to the future. All we ask of the former colonial powers is their goodwill and co-operation to remedy past mistakes and injustices and to grant independence to the colonies in Africa….

It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.”Having a museum integrated into our rich history to form something of a Madame Tussands with her chain of companies now jotted at strategic locations would sell equally market Ghana well in all the countries where are Embassies are strategically located.
In addition the different roles each country contributed towards events leading to present day Ghana would need to be captured too.
Disneyland even with no connections such as Africa have models mini African and other European countries depicting our way of living.
Ghana needs to market itself and the rest of Africa, as no one else would do this for us.
Many Ghanaian children in developed countries are not proud to stand up to the name Ghana as Africa is being seen as poverty stricken countries.
The present day Ghana with its international links stand a chance to use its influence and maximise its opportunities available. Ghana must take this advantage by commission experts or Ghanaians working in Diaspora with expertise. For example, civil engineering, architects, tourist industry, health care, marketing, town planning and form an integrated lucrative tourist industry with hotels, game parks, amusement parks, zoos. This would be similar to Walt Disney's ideas to promote Ghana into our next phase of development.
We need to re-live our history as France, Spain, Britian, Sweden are all staging history in local and national museums in a form a drama and are cashing in on these intivities. This is attracting a new wave of tourists attractions thus generating money in the process for community developments.
Money that would be generated would then be given to make Kwame Nkrumah dream of an educated country with its citizens enjoying the same standard, quality of education universal throughout Ghana once again.
Self awareness is a key aspect of self and community development. We have a choice as Ghanains or sit back and let life take its course. Choosing to take charge and use intiaitives which are evidence based and currently in use at Disneylands and Madame Tussands we enable us to achieve our full potential and move toward our future.
Ghana and the rest of Africa have so much to share with the world.
So what are we waiting for? Hopefully, by the year 2020 there would be no more of filth as Sodom and Gomorrah in any spot in Ghana and the rest of Africa .

Mercy Adede Bolus
Mercy Adede Bolus, © 2007

This author has authored 172 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: MercyAdedeBolus

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