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16.11.2019 Education


By Opanin Kwabena Mensah

To celebrate the success of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy, the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo would be encouraged to organise a landmark musical event in the country to serve as a token of rememberance for its first graduates in June/July 2020.

The government of Prime Minister Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia (1969-1972) organized one of the most successful musical events in the country-Soul to Soul- for the celebration of Ghana's independence, March 6, 1971. The event brought together for the first time renowned Ghanaian and US artistes on the same stage in the country.

Musicians from the US who performed were Wilson Pickett, then known as "Soul Brother No. 2.", Ike & Tina Turner, Les McCann and Eddie Harris, The Staple Singers, Santana, featuring Willie Bobo on timbale, Roberta Flack and The Voices of East Harlem.

The concert also featured performances by several Ghanaians: Guy Warren, a.k.a. "The Divine Drummer," also known as Kofi Ghanaba, one of the first African musicians to play alongside American jazz musicians; The Damas Choir, perhaps the nation's most prominent vocal group since the 1940s, led by Ishmael Adams; Charlotte Dada, best known in the West for her soul cover of The Beatles' song "Don't Let Me Down"; Kwa Mensah, a pioneer in highlife music and the older palmwine style; The Kumasi Drummers, a group from the Ashanti Region; The Aliens, Ghana's best known rock band, sometimes known as The Psychedelic Aliens or The Magic Aliens; The Anansekromian Zounds, the house band for the Ghana Arts Council and the Nandom Sekpere group from Upper West region, and the whistle player Nakpi. In addition, Les McCann and Eddie Harris played part of their set with a Ghanaian calabash player and medicine man named Amoah Azangeo.

It was a successful event attended by some 100,000 Ghanaian youth from across the country. Students ran away from their schools and spent a night or two in Accra. Those with little resources walked the distance from wherever they were and made it to then Independence Square. While there they let loose in jubilant, energy saging, hillarious and no hold bars enternainment. They danced and enjoyed themselves. It was reported that some revellers stayed at the venue till 7:00 am the next day. It was a magnificent spectacle to watch. The event turned Accra upside down. It rekindled interest of Ghanaians in the music/entertainment industry.

To organise this the Ministry of Culture and Tourism would link up with the Ghana Arts Council in collaboration with MUSIGA to present a similar event to the Ghanaian youth. Tina Turner is still around. Her presence in Ghana would be a homecoming event for her. She would come with Beyonce and a host of other US artistes. The organisers would have a tall list to draw from in Ghana ranging from hipelife, highlife and gospel musicians.

In 1971 Soul to Soul was organized as part of the celebration of Ghana’s attainment of Independence from the British. Organizing a similar event in 2020 for the first batch of the free SHS graduates would be a befitting climax for the successful implementation of the policy.

Soul to Soul would be purposefully focused – to raise funds for FSHS' sustainability and prevention of cruelty to children. This would make it easier to attract well-known artistes to come to and perform in Accra. It would be their contribution towards the promotion of educating all children in Ghana in particular and Africa in general. By raising the funds here institutions like University of Education, Winneba and University of Cape Coast would get direct funding for research in Education and thus boost their status as research institutions in the world.

The event would pump direct foreign money into the economy, as people attending from various parts of the world would exchange their currency and use them in the Ghanaian market. It would generate billions of cedies in economic activities. Our hotels, guesthouses and motels would record increase in occupancy rate.

Soul to Soul or Highlife to Hiplife whatever one wants to call it would challenge our security forces as they coordinate, co-operate and control frenzied yet hilarious and jubilant crowd of international nature as youth from meighboring countries would be in Ghana for the event. It would release years of boredom and social inactivity and open the gates of Ghana for the influx of internationally known entertainment and sports personalities into the country.

The event would for the time being make Ghanaian youth forget about NPP/NDC, North/South, Kotoko/Hearts, Christians/Muslims and all variables that divide us.

Prime Minister Busia organized Soul to Soul for the “Akotex” (Ako, Ako) generation. Since then no other government in the country had even thought off let alone organized something similar for the youth.

Nana Addo, given that your government is the "grand child" of Prof. Busia's, it would be in order if you continued or repeated what he did for Ghanaian youth. This is an opportunity for your government and the New Patrotic Party to bond if not rekindle your relationship with the youth. Think about it.

It is time we talked about something other than politics – Soul to Soul.