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30.05.2019 Feature Article

A Hundred Years From Today

A Hundred Years From Today

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X

WE ARE in the 21st century Anno Domini (year of our Lord) or Common Era, according to the Gregorian Calendar named after Pope Gregory XIII. In Latin, this year 2019 is written as MMXIX. In the Assyrian Calendar, this year is 6769; in the Buddhist Calendar, this year is 2563; in the Byzantine Calendar, this year is 7527; in the Chinese Calendar, this year is 4715; in the Hebrew Calendar, this year is 5779; in the Korean Calendar, this year is 4352; in the Islamic Calendar, this year is 1440. Why do we have these different dates? There were Kingdoms and Empires long before Christ was born, and some after his death! Who were the people who came from the East to worship Jesus at his birth?

What did the world look like in 1919? The First World War had ended, and Germany had been defeated. The world had lost 14 million people. Woodrow Wilson had been elected President of the USA, and his policy was to “make the world safe for democracy.”

In Africa, the countries controlled by Germany were taken over by France and Britain. Western Togoland to Britain; Eastern Togoland to France; same in Cameroon.

The Titanic, claimed to be an unsinkable luxurious floating hotel set sail in Southampton heading for New York in 1912, and it had sunk off Queenstown in Ireland. Henry Ford had introduced the T-Ford automobile, and Zeppelin had improved upon the machine for flying (aeroplane) by 1915. In this same year (1915), women were marching up Fifth Avenue in New York City insisting on the right to vote.

The Russian Revolution was beginning against the Czars, forcing Czar Nicholas II to abdicate. He and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks, thus ending the three-hundred-year-old Romanov dynasty. In the U.K., limited voting rights were given to women over 30 years. Again in 1919, The Italian Fascist Party, led by Mussolini, was established and Mussolini signed tiny Vatican City into existence. At The Treaty of Versailles, the League of Nations was formed. It was in 1919 that the Rotary Dial telephones were invented.

Going back to 1633, Pope Urban VIII had set up an inquisition on physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei who insisted that contrary to the popular belief that the earth was flat, it was rather round and revolved round the Sun. It was heretical and against Church orthodoxy. Galileo was penalised: “… by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo be prohibited, and we condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during our will and pleasure; and as a salutary penance, We enjoin thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.” Those who refused to recant were excommunicated, their deaths being nobody's concern.

But what was happening in the Gold Coast a century ago? A lot. Our grandparents were walking to the Coast to buy salt. Cocoa was put in wooden barrels and rolled along to the coast. In 1896, the British had exiled King Prempeh to Seychelles. Yaa Asantewaa had led the Asantes to war with Britain when Governor Frederick Hodgson had had the effrontery to demand the Golden Stool to sit on.

Kwame Nkrumah was born at Nkroful in 1909, and Sir Gordon Guggisberg was Governor of the Gold Coast. There were agitations for self-rule. Paa Grant. J.B. Danquah and others spearheaded it, forming the U.G.C.C. and inviting Kwame Nkrumah who later became Prime Minister of independent Ghana in 1957. CPP became the only political party in Ghana in 1965. It was a crime to belong to any other party. In February 1966, Nkrumah was overthrown amidst massive jubilation; Ghanaians having lived in trepidation under the Preventive Detention Act and J. B. Danquah who had researched for the name Ghana died in detention at Nsawam.

After a two-year civilian rule under Busia, the military struck again in1972 and in 1979. J. J. Rawlings staged his first coup d'état during which time General Akwasi Afrifa, General Acheampong, General E.K. Utuka, Lt. General Akuffo, Air Vice Marshall George Yaw Boakye, Colonel Roger Felli, Major General Kotei, Rear Admiral Joy K. Amedume had their lives snuffed off by bullets.

Then Rawlings was back again in December 1981 with an unpardonable reign of terror. Justice Fred Poku Sarkodee, Mrs. Justice Koranteng-Addo, Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyapong and Major Sam K. Acquah were abducted, shot and burnt. Paragraph 340 of the Final Report of the Special Investigation Board on the murder read: “On the evidence before us, we find that Captain Kojo Tsikata (Rtd) Special Adviser to the PNDC, Sgt. Daniel (now Ahmed) Alolga Akata – Pore and Joachim Amartey Kwei, were all implicated in the conspiracy to kidnap and murder the three judges of the High Court and Major Sam K. Acquah (Rtd). Indeed, Amartey Kwei described Captain Tsikata, with whom he was very closely associated, as the 'architect' of the plot to commit this most outrageous crime in the annals of this country. To effectuate their evil designs, these three men engaged the services of L/Cpl S. K. Amedeka, who had been closely associated with leading members of the government.” We may beg to differ, but what evidence do we have?

Gentle Giant Kufuor and his NPP assumed the mantle of leadership in 2001; John Atta Mills took over in 2009, but like US Presidents William Harrison (1841), and others, they say, he died of natural causes. How dare anyone suggest that Mills was assassinated like Abraham Lincoln (1855), Kennedy and others?

What will happen in Ghana and the world in 100 years from now? Certainly, ALL of us will have gone to heaven or to hell. The telephone will have been transformed. (compare going to the post office to book a foreign call at 6pm and going there to make the call at midnight, in the 1980s). Smaller phones like the thumb will be invented. Many universities will be opened and degrees including PhDs will flow. Many churches will spring up: An Abraham, a Moses and a Jesus will come. Their prophecies will include resurrecting fake dead bodies, helping the barren to give fake births … their methods will include giving their adherents 'holy' water from their wash tubs to drink, measuring their 'womanhood' to see if they could successfully give birth.

The young men will sport haircuts that defy description; their dressing will expose their pants and the ladies' dressing will display their breasts – there will be nothing like 'indecent dressing'. You and I will not be around to criticize them. Vehicles will fly in the air. All priests and Reverend Fathers will be granted the dispensation to marry and to divorce. A new covenant like circumcision of Abraham at 99 with his son, Ishmael at 13 will be signed. Nana Ampadu and Amakye Dede will have gone, and with them the 'highlife'; in vogue will be the cacophonous babble of words and the genre will be: hoo-ha caterwauling. BBC and CNN News will be watched on TV sets no larger than one's palm … et cetera.

Our prayer is like that of Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor: “…for Africa to become a prosperous and peaceful continent so that Africans may share in the comfort, prosperity and the dignity of God's children in the developed parts of the world.”

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Africanus Owusu-Ansah

Africanus Owusu - Ansah
Africanus Owusu - Ansah, © 2019

This author has authored 101 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: AfricanusOwusuAnsah

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