Before you go down to the main body of this write up, I want you to understand I’m not tarnishing any tribe. Get to the bottom of this before if you would judge me. And also, sorry if you’re discomforted by something I said.
My late father spent most of his career life on Ahanta land, in the western part of the country, and during the ages seven and eight till the early twenties I lived with him. Whenever I think of him, I remember the town I’ve lived most of my life in. It’s such a small town but so much to see and to hear – very interesting.
I remember conversations I had with peers and experiences some adults shared about some people of different tribes, and mostly the Nzemas were labelled as wicked and superior in paranormal activities to the Ahantas. We were informed that the Ewes and Krobos like killing people. I grew up with these concepts about people and tribes. Did I care if what I heard were true at that age? I was just a boy, so I grew up with it.
I remember a friend who said when he sits behind a book to read, he doesn’t feel okay, he feels some burning in the head, headache, low energy, and yet can’t sleep. He was quick to conclude that someone told him it’s not an ordinary sickness so he should seek spiritual guidance. So he went to see a native doctor and was told there was an Ewe guy in his class who has spiritually hammered his head with a nail because he’s cleverer than the Ewe mate, and that is the reason he felt that burning when he had to study – it’s funny right? This friend left school and was camped at the native doctor’s premises for months for treatment…he couldn’t complete high school, he dropped out.
I went to tertiary and was appointed an executive of an institution and was also working at Tigo. I had to combine academics, work and the responsibilities of the position assigned in a manner that it got to a point I felt just the symptoms my friend experienced, and even much worse. I wondered if I had also been hammered by an Ewe guy – would you believe this? I was reading Fitness course, so upon studies I realized my friend was just suffering from stress, because that’s exactly what I felt too, and considering the activities my friend engaged in as a student, not to talk of the conflict at home, and how he suffers to even go to school three out of five days, there could be nothing more than stress or some kind of mental disorders . But, even now, whenever he tells the story about dropping out of school, he emphasizes that Ewes are wicked, and an Ewe guy is the cause of all his predicament. This story would be carried down from his descendants to another.
I’ve stayed in Eastern Region, precisely Nkawaw, among the Kwahus for two years. I never thought the use of charms and curses is a practice worshipped amongst the Easterners until my stay. Unless you don’t turn on your radio, all you could hear on air are local priests selling charms. I realized whatever I had in mind about my Ahantas, Nzemas, Ewes, the Northerners and many others are not subjected to them alone. I realized that if you haven’t traveled outside your jurisdiction you would always be naive – travel and see. There is no this or that about any particular tribe. We are all the same.
When you read the history about Ghana, you would realize all the tribes shed blood and practiced charms because then, it was like survival of the fittest. All the ethnic groups were fighting for land to dwell on. So why do we single out and picture one tribe as evil in this 21st century? Which tribe in Ghana doesn’t behead innocent lives to burry a deceased royal? Claiming the heads of these innocent lives who are mostly children are going to serve the deceased royal in the paranormal world at this age of the world. And people leave this and single out only one tribe and label it as wicked for it has the tendency to kill people. This is where light is thrown on our hypocrisy!
An incident happened few days back. A popular musician, Edem said if he hates someone, he could watch the person die and would not help him/her. And the comment people asserted were just heart aching. About 99% claimed he said that because he’s an Ewe. Some even said they now understand why their parents warned them not to marry an Ewe. Some say the reason he doesn’t like Ewes is just what Edem has expressed, they’re wicked. I felt sad, I felt sad we could reason like this at this time of the day. This shows our literacy rate is high but we are weak intellectually. What has Edem’s opinion had to do with his entire tribe?
Just two years ago, I applied for employment in one of the companies I yearned for in those days. I passed the aptitude test and went for interview. I was phoned later to come for my appointment letter, I was gossiped to by the secretary when she called because I managed to have a good personal relationship with her. At the reception, I eavesdropped when I heard on the phone the CEO talking with the secretary about me. The secretary paused and whispered to me, Stanley what tribe are you? I fought with my intuition whether I should lie or tell the truth. So I told the truth.
The next conversation the secretary had with me was how sorry they are, for the CEO said he doesn’t want someone of such tribe. I wished I lied. Just imagine the funny look on my face and the cold sweat that bathed me at the reception. I wasn’t employed despite my skills and knowledge set that could help the organization in achieving its goals because I’m a Ga, Ewe, Ahanta, Ashanti… Before that incident, when people tell similar experience I think they are just fabricating stories to tell how dreadful the world has become. But if you’re reading this, kindly trust me that this madness is still going on. It hasn’t been left behind decades ago.
During Ex President Maham’s time, there was rage from the citizens about his governance, and some group of people said governance is not meant for his tribe, for they are good at shepherding cattle so he should leave and go to his hometown and … And similar thing was said about the current Vice President’s wife, that she is a Fulani and she’s lucky to have found his husband and now risen to limelight. I don’t know if presiding over a country is meant for some special people.
When we talk about racism we always look at the bigger picture and our focus travels beyond our continent to locate the whites. We think racism is different from tribalism. The only difference between them is just the spelling.
Tribalism is killing the nation, but much is not heard about it because our systems are not transparent, you know a black person wouldn’t show you in the face that he or she dislikes you unlike the whites who do it openly. Yes, we are cowards as well. The whites show their hatred openly, so we think they are the only ones who are what we tag them to be.
Tribalism isn’t practiced in Ghana alone, but across Africa. I’m certain you have heard of the tribal war going on in Nigeria. We don’t see ourselves as one Africans and a global continent. We undermine other tribes. Even with one country we are divided and bias towards one another, why do we condemn the whites for hating blacks? Recently, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, the King of the Ashantis had to condemn the unfair acts of his people towards the Northerners explaining they are one people.
Is it appropriate for us to hate ourselves tribally, but not appropriate for the whites to hate us because we are blacks? We are very sick and uncivilized if we still have this misconceptions that we were told when growing up as a child that this tribe is this, and this one is that. Those things we were told that has formed the basis why we are undermining other people, haven’t you seen some of your own tribe members engaging in such activities?
We say the Northeners are violent, yet it was Denkyiras that lynched a military officer broad daylight. We say the Krobos are prostitutes, seems you haven’t seen an Ewe or Ga prostitute before. We say the Ewes are wicked, no one from your tribe has indulged in juju or committed murder before right? We say the Ashanti’s are vulgar and thieves, is there no one from your family with similar trait? Then either you don’t know your family or your hometown, don’t stay in the city and condemn people, go to your hometown, your real home, and you would understand if you don’t have similar traits amongst you… What makes one tribe more dangerous or superior to the other, which tribe is so sacred that it can’t do evil? Is it not human beings that constitute tribes, so what is human being not capable of doing?
I always say lots of us the Blacks are not civilized despite the wider exposure to education and literacy, equalling the Whites who are also not civilized for being racist. If you’re in the 21st century and you think and believe your tribe is superior to another, or your skin colour makes you more superior to the other, then you don’t belong to this part of the world – go to the jungle – that’s where animals live and move in like-mannered groups. They never cross each others path, so you would have enough space to express your inhumane nature over there.
Some people are well knowledgeable, skillful, much experienced to handle some key tasks for the betterment of an organization and Ghana as a whole, but they are denied because one thinks such position or task or glory deserves someone from his tribe. And this is evil! Ghana is not for a particular tribe.
The world is advancing, people are changing, most cultures has revolved with plenty subcultures, it would be so bias to judge someone base on what you were told by someone in the past. Advance yourself by stopping to ascribe negatives to yourself and some certain people.
The fact that you have had bad experience with a Fante doesn’t mean ascribe Fantes with such a definition of your experience.
It’s by default the tendency of every human to ascribe negatives to others and see himself or herself as the fit for all glories. The consciously matured are those that see all people as one and deserve same respect and opportunities just like him or herself to make the earth a better place to stay. Are you?
Do you know why we are created with different languages, different food…different skin colour, but one red blood flowing in us all? Because we are one people. Blood represents life and humanity. It’s neither your skin colour nor your language or what represents your tribe that makes you human, it’s the same red blood that flows in us all. Go to the pathology departments of all the hospitals in the world and ask, if there is something like Ashanti’s blood, Fanti’s blood, Ewe’s blood, Dagomba’s blood, Nzema’s blood, Ahanta’s blood, White’s blood, Black’s blood…nothing like that. We are one people!