Time Is Now

The Black Lives Matter movement which started in the U.S. and gained international recognition did not occur in a vacuum. It has facilitated black consciousness and awareness that has not been experienced since the Civil Rights era in the 60s. And this time around, the impact and ripple effects are felt beyond the shores of the U.S.

As Confederate and racist statues are being pulled down in the United States, France has decided to honor some gallant African warriors who fought in World War II by naming streets after them. The king of Belgium has written to express regret on the atrocities and horror visited upon the Congolese by King Leopold II and his assigns. And in Uganda, street names and other remnants of colonialism are being replaced. These, and some, are steps in the right direction that should have been implemented long time ago; but we take solace from the axiom “better late than never.”  It’s upon this premise that we think time is now to correct the psychological and ill effects imposed on and/or inherited from European colonists.

The ancient Egyptian god, Amen was worshipped in Greece as the sky god Zeus, and in Latin Roman as the supreme god Jupiter. Asar(i) with its local variations was the indigenous name of the mythical ancient Egyptian figure which the Greeks called Osiris. The largest tropical lake in the world in East Africa long known by its indigenous name before the advent of the white man, was all of a sudden ‘rediscovered’ in 1858 and renamed Lake Victoria by Army officer/explorer John Hanning Speke to honor then British Queen Victoria.  Miriam Makeba’s hit tune “Qongqothwane” was called “The Click Song” by Europeans because the artful Xhosa word was a challenge for them. More of such African names, places, and titles metamorphosed into foreign monikers and It’s about time Africans made conscious efforts to put things in their proper historical perspectives.

In Ghana, the indigenes of one of the few homogeneous regions are called Asante and they live in an area wrongly pronounced and misspelled Ashanti. While we do not know what connotes Ashanti, we know that Asante was coined from Asa – nti (plural of Osa-nti …because of war). The name mispronounced “Ashanti” therefore has no consanguineous relationship with the Asante people. Similarly, Akyem, an ethnic group in the Eastern Region of Ghana is erroneously referred to as Akim, and the traditional capital of Akyem Abuakwa is called Kibi instead of Kyebi. Like Asante, both Akyem and Kyebi have historical underpinnings and cultural meaning. While, “Akyem” appeared as an accolade during the reign of the Asona warlord Apeanin Kwaframoa in Adansi, Kyebi came into existence after migration from Adansi. Likewise, the original names of Cape Coast and Saltpond are Oguaa and Akyenfo respectively. It is hypocritical and even racist for European colonialists to find it easier to pronounce Ashanti than Asante. On the flip side, European double-standard is exhibited when the Italian name Carlucci (pronounced Carlu-cchi) is flawlessly pronounced while Kyebi is rendered Kibi. Following this logic Okyeman should be written and pronounced “Okiman.” A busy and vibrant roundabout roadway in Accra is named “Danquah Circle” after one of Ghana’s prominent sons.  Unfortunately, the letter “q” is not reflective in the alphabets of the one honored and the language of the people -Ga – in whose city he was honored.

Amandla believes the era of anglicizing Botwe, Kwashie, Afidwase, for Botchway, Quarshie, Effiduase, etc., as colonial legacies must be confined to the doldrums of history.

As much as we have greatly been influenced by foreign cultures, it is heartwarming to observe the mode of dressing by recent Presidents of Ghana. The traditional attires they wear to go about their duties, not only define and reflect on their persons, but also promote local commerce, boost and encourage the cultural morale of the younger generation.

Black Lives Matter has precipitated a new global black renaissance that seeks to redefine African personality and identity. It is unconscionable, disingenuous, and woefully ignorant therefore to continually glorify the dictates of the colonial mindset and practices in the 21st century.

Posted by on Aug 14 2020. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply