The scramble is on, and this time, it is not for Africa, but rather, the scramble for continents, by continents! As I writer interested in social commentary, I love to observe the changing trends, and each time I look around me, I cannot help but laugh to myself. The ironies of acculturation!
The African is trying so hard to turn white whiles our counterparts are fighting to become like us! People are purchasing all sorts of diseases through bleaching lotions! In the end, the successes, if any, are short-lived! We only succeed in destroying our skin! The stigma can only be shared by the victims! Most often, such unfortunate people become showcases, subjected to ridicule! Our white counterparts are not spared! For them, it is sun tanning! They would travel all lengths of this earth, to all manner of holiday destinations with sunny beaches, just to get the full attention of the sun. When they succeed, they practically spend the whole time laying exposed to the sun, in order to make their skin darker! Other also subject themselves to artificial tanning in the form of the sauna! How far would man go? The ironies of acculturation!
One thing that baffles me is the fact that locally, we have a faction of musicians trying their possible best to master the hip-hop genre or perhaps, rap. Some of our musicians are fighting so hard to sound like hip-hop artists on the international front. Ironically though, in trying their possible best, they also want to be known internationally for that! How do we expect typical African rappers or hip-hop artists, to compete with the well-known American or perhaps English artists, who have the advantage of owning the original language, English? This is something I keep asking myself and yet, cannot find answers! Rather naively, some Ghanaian musicians are practically killing themselves to go international and perhaps, be identified by the Black Entertainment Television (BET) or Music Television as worthy enough!
Arise o African! Wise up! How long would it take us to realize this truth; the truth that we are unique just as we are! No matter how hard we try, we would never get the acclamation that we so much desire, if we try to be just as others are; ordinary! Most Ghanaian musicians who have made it huge on the international front marketed themselves in their original or true nature; Ghanaians! They never hid behind foreign clothes or jewellery, nor tried to dope their music with other blends. It was purely Ghanaian, and hence have been accepted and celebrated as such. The likes King Ayisoba, Kojo Antwi, Osibisa, Ambuley, to mention but a few a living tributes. Our local musicians need to perfect their art by inculcating the typical Ghanaian or traditional elements through language and perhaps dressing. That would evidently put them out there! That is good marketing! How do you expect to be different or identifiable when you only seek to copy from others?
When it comes to our fashion sense, it is another issue! Ghanaians and perhaps, Africans are now going all out to be foreign. The usual African attire is fast being replaced. I know for a fact that some Ghanaian gentlemen would frown if asked to dress locally but would go all out to dress in the suits and ties! Our ladies, the fashion polices, are guiltier! Dressing traditionally is a thing of the past; the colo-fashion! Ironically however, on the international front, it is all about Afro-centrism! People are going Afro-centric these days! At the various international fashion shows and exhibitions, our African designs are now the order of the day! They are being showcased, marketed and sold! Even in hairstyle for some time now, dreadlocks, typically African, has now become a favourite. The ironies of acculturation!
Indeed, it is always a sight that fills us with awe, whenever we encounter foreigners, who are keen on taking up our culture. We have on several occasions encountered people from our western world who have taken pains learning our language, and taking up our dressing. As Africans, and proudly Ghanaians, what do we have to say for ourselves? Do we only say proudly African, or proudly Ghanaian, without actually meaning it? How do we look or sound?
Within this country are people who loathe their own complexion! They loathe their very skin! They loathe their native languages! They loathe their local music! They loathe their local cuisine! They loathe their traditional way of dressing! They loathe the very country from which they originate; even the continent! That is the story of the so-called Ghanaian!
This is the cancer on our continent and in our country today! It is no longer about the scramble for Africa, but rather, the scramble for Europe and America! All are guilty because if we should critically examine our choices or preferences in terms of our culture, evident in our music, dressing, language, cuisine, to mention but a few, we would come to acknowledge the fact that we have been drowned by acculturation!
Anna Esi Hanson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Takoradi.