Waving A Dirty Flag
The history of the development of the press in Anglophone West Africa cannot be complete without mentioning Cecil King.
When he first arrived in Nigeria in the late 1940s from the Mirror Group in the UK, Cecil King implemented a number of strategies that made him succeed in the newspaper business. One of which was the fact that he chose not to publish crime stories even though the crime rate was quite high in Nigeria at the time. He would rather portray the country in a positive light.
That decision which seemed laudable at the time, I dare say, has hurt that country in the long run. Today, Nigeria is noted worldwide for cyber fraud otherwise known as 419.
Let's bring this home. In a joint 2015 report written by WHO & UNICEF, Ghana was ranked as the 7th dirtiest country in the world. Similarly, last year, Accra was ranked the most polluted city in the world by numbeo.com with a pollution index of 102.13.
As much as these reports do not project a positive image of this country, we cannot dismiss them. Just take a look around you, does Ghana look clean to you?
Please allow me to share this experience with you. In the aftermath of the Hope City Concert in 2013 where American singer, Chris Brown allegedly smoked 'weed' on stage, I was at the Tema Station to board a car home.
At the station, a group of young men engaged two American Peace Corps volunteers on the incident. One of them was actively engaged in the conversation while the other was absolutely disgusted with the filth and stench coming from the nearby drain. He couldn't hide it. His facial expression and body language told it all. He desperately wanted to leave. I couldn't stand it either.
Fellow countrymen, the filth is real!
Ghana undoubtedly has a rich history to be proud of. From the heroic warfare of our ancestors, through the determination of our freedom fighters to our achievements in education, governance, sports, the arts among others. They are all worth celebrating.
However, we have our ills too. We cannot afford to ignore the filth, the corruption, indiscipline, our general lawlessness and current underachievement. They are real too. In fact, too real to be ignored. Choosing not to pay attention to them will be tickling ourselves to feel good now; however, it will certainly hurt us in the long run.
We as Africans may not like the way the Western media portrays the continent. And that's totally understandable. Certainly, there is more to Africa than femines, wars, disease, corruption and wild animals. But we must admit that these stories, even though negative, are not made up! They did and still do happen.
Yes, by all means the Flag of Ghana and for that matter Africa, must be waved but it must also be washed to be worthy of waving.
Written by Belindabe
Email: [email protected]