who wants to be associated with poverty and kwashiokor?

I remember when I was in high school, I came across some Ghanaians who easily denied the fact that they were Ghanaians. Some would tell people they were from Jamaica or some other island. Meanwhile, they spoke the “Ghanaian English” ( I know there is no such thing, but that is for another day and another post) they had last names that reminded me of people I knew in Ghana when I was growing up. Frankly, these people embarrassed me. I was ashamed for them, I couldn’t understand how they could easily say they weren’t Ghanaians.

After being in America for a while, I finally came to understand. I started paying attention to commercials about Africa and how Americans generally spoke of Africa. Americans called African countries, “developing” implying that we are not of the same level as them and somehow inferior to them. I finally understood my school mates denying the fact that they were Ghanaian, after all, who wants to be associated to a poverty stricken, disease stricken, malaria carriers, kwashiokor having, “developing” country?

I also understood why they opted to “be from” Jamaica, because the place was portrayed as paradise. Clear water, clean sand, happy people, vacation spot. So I got it.

These discoveries had me asking ” how come not all Ghanaians have this issue of being ashamed of where they come from?” I ask this because my siblings and I never denied we were Ghanaians, I also know people who never denied Ghana as their home. So here is my theory or my answer to the question. I could be completely wrong.

What part of Ghana we all came from plays a role in our behavior here in the states. Growing up in Tema, I saw homeless people, but I didn’t know anyone personally who was suffering from poverty. I attended a private school, I had something equivalent to a cable, a driver, etc… You catch my drift?! All those things portrayed on American Television about Africa was honestly new to me, so it didn’t affect me leading me to be ashamed. However, I do think that some people may have experienced what was being showed on TV about Africa which brought shame upon them. It may have been their reality or know it as true, so they wanted to stay far away from it.

Thankfully, I see many young Africans embracing the continent with so much love. Many young Ghanaians are accepting their roots, and loving it in its entirety. My belief is that, we as a people have stop accepting what the Western media say about Africa. thankfully, there are so many other sources for people to learn the truth about Africa besides what American television has to say.

Ghana from the skies
Ghana from the skies

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