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Why Am I Not Ghanaian Enough For you?

Mar 22, 2018 | Ghana Adventures | 2 comments

In one of my recent posts I talked about the rise in the number of people from the diaspora returning to Africa to live and start business, to press the reset button on life so to speak.  Whilst this is great news in terms of Africa and its economic growth potential there is still a lot of work to be done very much behind the scenes in Ghana’s daily life.  I’m talking about mindsets, mindsets of people and how those of us in the diaspora are judged and treated as “obronis” meaning foreigners.  We are treated as though we are here on holiday and soon the phase will pass.
 

Moving to Ghana for me and my family has been great but there is one thing that we have had to face daily that we really didn’t expect to experience and that is the fact that we don’t seem to be Ghanaian enough for a lot of people.  There seems to be this common misconception that because we have been outside of Ghana for a period of time that we ARE NOT and CAN NOT be Ghanaians.  This notion still remains even if we were born in Ghana and left because our parents decided to live life in a different country.  We are still being painted with a brush that says “NOT GHANAIAN”.  This is something that I just can’t get my head around.

Why am I not Ghanaian enough for you?

“Is it because I don’t speak a local language?” “Is it because I don’t have the Ghanaian accent that you expect to hear when I speak?” “Is it because I occasionally like to eat a burger and chips instead of kenkey?” or “is it simply because you are threatened by the fact that Ghana/ Africa is developing at such a rate that you feel that YOU will no longer be relevant?” Which ever answer you choose the fact remains that there is enough room for all of us.  There is not nor should there be a stereotypical Ghanaian.  We are all just trying to find our way through this thing we call life.

In the same vain that our body shapes, our hair and even our shoe sizes are different so are our backgrounds.  Our over all genetic bodily make up is different and to be quite honest I would be more worried if we were all the same because then we would be robots. Think about it.  Whether I have lived in Ghana for 2 months or for 20 years should not make a difference to my Ghanaian-hood. I am Ghanaian, stop trying to take that away from me.

I don’t speak a local language but I can understand, teach me, don’t think I am too British to learn as though that somehow qualifies me unteachable.  I am living in Ghana because I love Ghana and want to capture more of its essence so please don’t label me as fake.

I hold a British passport but my heart is for Ghana.  My passion is for more people to see that there is potential in Ghana.  For too long we have been sold a lie that “we” cannot make it in Ghana.  “Ghana is too hard” ” You don’t understand the Ghana system” “you can be more successful outside of Ghana” “There are no jobs in Ghana”.  None of this is true.  You only have to look at the rate at which people are moving back to Africa to get some understanding as to the potential development there is here.

Ghana has masses of potential, yes there are some things that need to be changed, same as there are in every other single country but who is going to be the first to make the change happen?  Are you going to wait for someone else to come along and pave the way for you or are you going to be part of the change that is happening right now?

Moving back to the motherland comes with its own set of challenges and we really don’t need things complicated any further because of petty-mindedness.  Electricity, water, internet to name a few are some of initial challenges that we have to face when we move back.  At times it can also be extremely difficult to make friends here because we are seen as outsiders.  It is as though we have to tick the “other” box on an application form because there is no option for us.  We’re not considered Ghanaian but we are not necessarily considered “British” or “American” either.  We are confused as to which box to tick. Why can we not just be Ghanaian enough?

It’s a sad day when there is division amongst African countries, amongst tribes within those African counties and then even within the tribes according to your geographic location.  I’m not here to take away YOUR Ghanaian-ness, I’m here to reconnect with you. I have seen it in Ghana time and time again and it is simply unfair.  My relocation to Ghana is not part of a trend like the dashiki wearing movement. It is a full-blown all or nothing lifestyle change.  We get called foreigner, we get told that we were better off where we were living prior to moving to Ghana and we get laughed at.

Despite me not being Ghanaian enough for you, I AM Ghanaian enough for me.  I am quirky, I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a banku eating, burger and chips kinda girl, I was born and raised in the UK and I am Ghanaian. Take it or leave it. This is me.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, for those of us that have lived outside of Ghana for periods of time you should see it as a strength and not a floor in our DNA.  If you want Ghana to rise up please let us help. For once let us unite and do good together.  We are Africans, we are Ghanaians, we are brothers and sisters.

2 Comments

  1. Afua

    As a Ghanaian born and raised in the US, even I would be called obroni. Some think I don’t look African enough or can’t speak the language because of my American accent (little do they know I understand Twi very well). Despite that, I think about moving to Ghana often, especially with the continuous oppression the black community faces. I believe this wave of people moving to African countries accelerate development. I’ve heard too many stories about dumsor (light off) and corruption but some of the people complaining have just settled. It’s time we shook things up for the growth of Ghana. Thank you for the article and this website as a whole. I’d like to see an article on job opportunities in different industries like tech, finance, education etc.outside of entrepreneurship. I know a 9-5 job isn’t exciting but starting a business isn’t for everyone (or maybe that’s just me lol)

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  2. Natural Ghana Girl

    I couldn’t agree with you more. We need a real shake up and it seems that that is what Is beginning to happen here the more that people are moving back. I say to people all the time that there is no use in complaining about something if you are not willing to put in the effort to change it.

    Starting a business is definately not for everyone especially to begin with but the more time you spend here I think a natural progression is a business even if it’s just a side hustle.

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