12.09.2019 Feature Article

Letter To Frema: Whence Busia, The Standard-Bearer Of Ghana's Intellectual History?

Nana Frema BusiaNana Frema Busia
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Dear Nana Frema Busia,
As I was perusing an exciting book, "Gospel According to Judas Iscariot," I resolved to pause and visit MYJOYONLINE.COM, to find out, what is going on in Ghana. I came across your exciting opinion piece "Busia's daughter re-educates' Akufo-Addo on intellectual history.” Thanks for your frantic effort to reconstruct a distorted account of Ghana history in favor of Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah (Ph.D.). Nonetheless, as someone who majored in history at the University of Cape Coast, and erstwhile High School history teacher in Ghana for many years, I was virtually convulsed in the intellectual throes because of the underneath assertion of yours. “Mr. President at a time when the western world was indulging in colonial subjugation of Africa with crude theories about defective 'Negroid' brain and fake scientific justification about ingrained inferiority of the black man and his in-capacities, Prof. Busia by a God endowed superior intellect debunked their theories of inherent intellectual blemish. Prof Busia was Africa's solo Intellectual Star-Banner, shining bright in the sky above a Continent deemed dark with impenetrable ignorance after unjustifiable centuries of enslavement.”

Nana Frema, you appeared to be roiling in disquietude, and quibbling anxiously to come to terms with the reality of fake history constructed by President Akufo-Addo and his chief Consigliere Professor Mike Oquaye, under whose behest as the Speaker of Parliament that a bogus bill scrapped the republic holiday. It is an attempt to make posterity oblivious of Kwame Nkrumah. My sister, I do understand your frustration. We are not only in the same boat, relative to the conspicuous and broad daylight intellectual dishonesty, moral turpitude all in the name of vengeful partisan vendetta, obsessed with sycophancy and bootlicking of their creation, but we are all children of Bono parentage. It is an indisputable fact that Professor Kofi Busia was a man of meticulous and impeccable sociological erudition, even so, projecting your father as the pioneer intellectual, first of his kind to have restructured negative Euro-centric perception about Africans, make you complicit of the same sin you are backlashing President Akufo Addo for.

Dear Nana, your demeanor reminds me of the Greek Storytelling guru, Aesop's Fable entitled; "The Owl and the Grasshopper." In the fable, there was a particular old Owl who had become very cross and hard to please as she grew old and old, especially if anything disturbed her daily slumbers. One sweltering afternoon as she dozed away in her den in the old tree, a Grasshopper nearby began a joyous but very husky song. The old Owl said, get away from here, sir," she said to the Grasshopper. "Have you no manners? You should at least respect my age and permit me to sleep in peace!"

The Grasshopper answered that she had the right to his place in the sun as the Owl had to her abode in the old oak tree. Then he struck up a louder and still more rasping tune. The wise old Owl knew very well that it would serve no good to argue with the Grasshopper. Besides, her eyes were not sharp enough by day to permit her to punish the Grasshopper as he deserved. So she declined to exchange words in the derogatory terms with him. "Well sir," said the Owl, "If I must stay awake, I am going to settle right down to enjoy your singing. Now that I think of it, I have a wonderful wine here, sent me from Olympus, of which I am told Apollo [God of Music in ancient Greece) drinks before he sings to the high gods. Please come up and taste this delicious drink with me. I know it will make you sing like Apollo himself." The foolish Grasshopper was taken in by the Owl's flattering words. Up he jumped to the Owl's den, but as soon as he was near enough so the old Owl could see him clearly, she pounced upon him and ate him up.

Dear Nana Frema, flattery will hardly suffice as proof of sincere admiration, and that is the message from Aesop! The fact that Professor Busia is one of the best scholars in Ghana did not make him a pioneer in the intellectual history of Ghana. At the time that African written history fell under the clutches of European paradigm, J. E Casely Hayford, John Mensah Sarbah, and Rev. Attoh Ahuma authored books and articles in reputable intellectual journals to project Ghana and therefore African culture against parochial Euro-centric worldview about the black racial stock. The black racial stock has been subjected to psychological torture and emotional injuries because of the most egregious holocaust in the world: the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and colonization. In Ghana in the early 15th century, Portuguese passed a criminal ordinance which empowered them to chop off one ear of a black man for breaking a plate. The founding fathers of the Gold Coast Proto Nationalist Movement: Aborigines Rights Protection Society formed in 1897 were destined to fix the porous European egotistical worldview about Africans? Where was Professor Busia then?

Out of patriotic zeal, John Mensah Sarbah donated Funds to set a News Paper called Gold Coast Nation in the late 19th century. The Newspaper adopted the slogan "for the safety of the republic and the welfare of the race." The Motto of the Newspaper is an ample testimony that many people championed the cause of repudiating incorrect Euro-centric perception about the black racial stock long before Busia. Casely Hayford is on record to have founded the Gold Coast Research Association in Sekandi, with branches in Cape Coast and Accra to restructure the negative European perceptions about Africans. In 1911, Rev. Attoh Ahuma, published a book, “The Gold Coast Nation and National Consciousness, Liverpool. Casely Hayford equally published, “The West African Land Question, London 1913. Joseph Peter Brown, Jacob Say all did their parts in fighting for the blacks.

I do not remember Prof. Busia’s involvement in the Pan Africanism. Martin Delany, Alexander Crumwel all African American, and Edward Blyden a West Indian, were the paneers of the foregoing movement. The actual father of Pan Africanism is W.E. B du Bois. Henry Sylvester Williams from Trinidad and Marcus Gurvey from Jamaica played a leading role in pan Africanism. Reggae icons like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff later projected black race through music. Though your father was a sociology professor, his famous dialogue with South Africa was a far cry from a sociology scholar because his position was based on his Christian faith. South Africa was cascaded into the ignominy of the most loutish, and most vulgar face of political brutalities and segregation under the institutionalized apartheid regime.

Busia as a Prime Minister of Ghana initiated a dialogue based on his Christian convictions that apartheid was evil. This is a rebuke to his lofty sociology professoriate! Nana, your assertion, as quoted above, is historically antithetical! I am very sorry for making me make Prof. Busia fall like Aesop's Grasshopper. Those who follow my articles could deduce that I am an ultraconservative Nkrumahist, even so, to state that Busia was a better intellectual than Danquah is very unfortunate. Danquah wrote a Ph.D. thesis on the philosophy of the mind and logic, whereas, Busia gathered information from Asante and Wenchi chiefs’ palace for a Ph.D. thesis. Nana Frema Busia, you know philosophy and classics are very tough disciplines. Danquah was also a lawyer. Nonetheless, Busia became a prime minister whereas, Danquah obtained only 10 percent of the votes against Nkrumah! Just kidding, they are all intellectuals and Ghana is grateful to them! Nevertheless, Nkrumah is the tallest of them all! Better late than never, kindly tell Nana Addo to stop the needless renaming spree! Shalom!

By Nana Yaw Osei, Minnesota, USA. [email protected]

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