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09.08.2014 Feature Article

A Letter For Posterity Part 6: Towards National Unity

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The prevailing economic conditions of the day has made many of the citizens of this country to ignore what has the capability to bring us together for the speedy development of our nation Ghana. Ghana is made of ten regions with varied ethnic groups which speak various languages. It is of much zest when one travels across the country and meet with citizens who will welcome you in splendid cultures.

Festivals are celebrated with pomp and pageantry in colourful traditional regalia such as Aboakyiri of Winneba, Homowo of the Gas, Odwira of Akuapem and Asante as well as Hogbetsotso of the Anlos. Many with interests in such celebrations including Tourist travel across the length and breadth of Ghana to enjoy these festivals. This help rake in some amount of hard foreign currencies into the country and the communities.

In spite of all the strong interest and serenity in the country, there are pockets of suspicions which have existed with the nation since independence. Though the suspicion has no severe negative effect, it needs to be checked to enhance the already created, help maintain and protect the reputation, image and good will, Ghana enjoys as the hope and star of Africa. This has to do with the language barriers which exist in the regions. The regional demarcation has placed particular ethnic groups together. Where there are groups living among others, there is always greater dominance.

Among the forty-five (45) local Ghanaian languages spoken, nine (9) are written and studied in Ghanaian schools. Language is foremost of every culture. Hence, the inability of fellow citizens to speak and understand the dialect of other ethnic groups does not promote full and complete national cohesion. More often, when a citizen leaves one region and district to the other, the fellow becomes handicapped due to the language barrier. Without this barrier, many Ghanaian citizens would readily accept job postings and transfers.

It is in this spectrum that, this piece is requesting for a measure to be put in place, which will establish across the country language centers. This is to facilitate the teaching and learning of the languages of other ethnic groups in the regions. The project will not conscript citizens, but be available for free access. When any citizen is transferred or posted to another region, the fellow can freely attend these language classes to learn the host region's dialect at a small fee. If I can speak your language and you can understand mine, I think our bonding will be superb and cooperation immeasurable. Trust will be created, maintained and sustained towards national development if this project is carried through. These centers will enable citizens who leave their comfort zone to still find same outside home. There will be no feeling of home sickness.

The reluctance of some citizens to accept postings and transfers to parts of the country is not only at the behest of lack of amenities in these communities, but communication has come up as another issue. For instance, a language center can be set in Accra and other parts of the region where Ga and Ga-Dangme are thought. This will enable easy interaction with brothers and sisters of the capital. This will bring about harmony and trust. You realise that, at any opportune time, when a person communicates with you in your dialect, it comes to you with comfort and both easily bond perfectly. It brings about a high upbeat level of acceptance, love and togetherness, for you have met someone who believe in your language and speaks it.

The Ghana Institute of Languages (GIL) can be tasked to execute this all important project, which has the resultant vector for speedy national development. Because, this project would help improve upon accepting the cultures of other group of people and citizens agreeing to work away from their homes, thereby enabling equitable distribution of efficient and qualified as well as quality work force.

As citizens of a nation like Ghana, we need to unite to achieve more to improve upon our lives now for a better future for posterity. This has to be done, it is a must to heal wounds and help deal with suspicions. Ghana stands to benefit.

Patrick Twumasi
Patrick Twumasi, © 2014

The author has 61 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: PatrickTwumasi

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