If my child happens to be a Ghanaian…

By Rebecca Eduafo-Abraham

My dear child, mummy greets you. I know you are not yet here but I deem it important to let you know the recent happenings in your parents’ country Ghana.

I already have your name in mind and thankfully there is no “Naa”, “Nana”, or “Nii” in them. The mighty authority in Ghana which determines the fate of a person by dictating the names we should be given has directed that henceforth, such names shall be rejected because they are not names, but rather titles. They, however, do not mind the English version of such titles as names. Anokwa!

Hopefully, when you come, you shall be a citizen of an interesting country called Ghana located on a "rich yet poor" continent called Africa. I call Africa a "rich yet poor" continent because we are told most lands in Africa have been blessed with natural resources. Our lands are very fertile. We enjoy favourable weather conditions. Yet, my child, Africans are so poor. In fact, a country here in Africa that is described as the breadbasket of Africa is no basket after all. This is a country where apparently one has to carry a wheelbarrow full of cash just to buy a loaf of bread. How can such a country be termed the breadbasket of Africa?

As I mentioned earlier, you are going to be a Ghanaian citizen when you come. My word of caution to you is to “hold your heart” (borrowing Uncle Ayittey Powers’ words) as you grow up. There is a lot of drama in this country, I tell you! There is never a day that we don’t hear new stories. Stories that will make you cringe. Some will shoot up your blood pressure. Some will make you wonder if we have leaders in this nation and others will just make you sad, so sad that you are a Ghanaian. That is when you will start questioning God about why he made you a Ghanaian.

This is by no means to scare you of being a Ghanaian. In fact, you will love Ghana. You will grow to understand that drama is part of us. You will be in a country where people seem to care too much about you and make you wonder if you are really doing a good job taking care of yourself.

In Ghana, instead of being greeted good morning, afternoon or evening, you are likely to be greeted with a description of your body: “Eei, you’ve grown fat papa!”, or “why have you shed so much weight?” If your greeters are that close to you and they know about your relationships, they will start passing comments either praising your partner for taking good care of you or cursing at them for ill-treating you. Some may even offer free consultation on how to perfect your condition. My child, as they say in Ghana, don’t take it “personal” when that happens, for it is “normal”!

My dearest, please, of all the things you can be, I humbly advise that you do not become a politician. This is not an order since I cannot tell you what to do. But if you decide to become a politician, I have a few pieces of advice for you.

Firstly, please, endeavour to read widely. Do not, I repeat, do not make comments on issues you have no idea about. It is so shameful to see some of your uncles and aunties in high places making a mess of themselves in public. When you have no idea about something, be honest enough to say so and go and read about it before you talk. That will do you a lot of good.

As you read, please let your brains also work. I have listened to some people talk and often I’ve had to ask your dad if indeed those people are helping to rule a nation. My child, please don’t be one of them. I always pray to God to grant you heavenly wisdom. Cherish the wisdom God gives you and it shall exalt you. That wisdom shall bring you honour if you allow it to guide you. As the Bible says, the wisdom of God will give a garland for your head and it shall bestow a crown of glory upon you.

However, if you decide to put aside that wisdom, you will bring nothing but shame and reproach upon yourself. Even children and illiterates who have no idea about pertinent issues will call you names. You will lose respect amongst your peers and the society as a whole.

Be careful of the people in your circles who are led by their stomachs and not their conscience. Shun their company, for they may lead you into trouble. Those people have nothing to lose. They do not mind oppressing others or even killing to enrich themselves. Avoid them!

Some school children in Ghana

Quoting from the Bible, you should know that your parents are Christians. Yes, mom and dad are Christians but we are also proud to say we are the thinking ones and I expect you to follow suit even in your political career.

Do not always spiritualize situations. Do not think any mishap that occurs is a spiritual matter; for most of them can be solved using common sense. Don’t ever be like the Minister who declared a nationwide prayer and fasting when cholera broke out in her country when all she could do was to ensure that the people were getting potable water to drink and also a hygienic place to ease themselves. If you do that, even your grandmother who can’t wait to have you on her lap will disown you. You cannot exhibit such lack of common sense in our family. You dare not disgrace us like that!

We as Christians are also very compassionate. But never ever, in the name of God, help to bring some “Borla” goods to Ghana in the name of compassion. Remember to tell your generation that Ghana is not a dumpsite to allow some so-called affluent countries to throw their “Borla” here. Be a strong advocate for your generation and fight to make Ghana a respectable country.

I pray and hope your generation will make a difference. Over twenty years ago when I was in the primary school, I was taught that Ghana was a developing country. My child, my parents were apparently taught same too. We started off with Malaysia. Even Singapore fought to stand on its feet when they broke out from Malaysia years later. But today one cannot compare Ghana with those two countries. On a scale of one to ten, Singapore will be at ten and Ghana, two.

I am now reading Lee Kuan Yew’s “From Third World to First” and, my child, anytime I read my stomach churns. I get angry at myself and the nation as a whole. I keep asking God where we went wrong. Singapore started from ground zero; a man-made country and not a natural one. Yet look at them today. I do not even want to talk about the once war-torn Rwanda!

I will strive to go to heaven for I have a lot of questions to ask God. On the judgment day, He and I have a lot to talk about. I just hope and pray that your generation makes a difference. But if you follow the footsteps of your fathers, I tell you the truth, you will keep marking time in the developing countries’ arena whilst other less developing countries march past you.

Again, my child, do not joke with education. It makes a lot of difference here in Ghana. Educate yourself and strive to attain a higher position in your academics. Anytime you get the opportunity to broaden your knowledge, grab it! Even if you do not engage in politics in Ghana (which is actually my wish), with education, you will be greatly respected.

Strive to be in the upper echelons in your field of work. When you do that, even the Sanitation Minister himself can organize some people to come and clear refuse around your offices and even your home if you like. All you need to do is to take a snapshot of that dirty area and send it to your friends on international platforms and let them circulate those images on social media.

We Ghanaians can never sit down for some international people to degrade us like that. We will prove them wrong! How? By clearing the refuse and also circulating photos to show that indeed we are a nation that sits and waits to be told to do what ought to be done.

I can go on and on about Ghana, but my letter will be too long and boring. I would want you to come and learn a lot here for yourself. I will however continually pray for the spirit of patience for you, especially when you start driving on our roads. If not, you will keep insulting people till you end up insulting your head pastor on the road one day.

I love you already and I can’t wait to journey through life as a Ghanaian with you!

Your Mama,

The writer, Rebecca Eduafo-Abraham, is a student of Ghana School of Law. You can reach her through her email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.