A story is told of this young man in a village. He was famously known for the greeting, ‘Ɛfa Wo Ho?’, which translates, 'How does that concern you?' and others replied, ‘ƐyƐ saa!’, meaning 'It is as it is'.
One day, neighbouring villagers in felling trees to build a bridge, unintentionally destroyed some farms in the process. This young man was so livid to the extent that he took to insulting and cursing the neighbouring villagers. His words were denigrating and against the core values of the village, yet no one complained or reacted, since the insulting raucous was merely against their neighbours.
There was a new man in town. He started a plantation but unfortunately had bad initial seasons, culminating in a downsizing of staff. ‘Ɛfa Wo Ho’ went hard on the farm owner, casting aspersions and slurs on him. This time, they didn’t only watch him, the villagers cheered him on as those who lost their jobs felt justified.
Feeling invigorated, he graduated to condescending and denigrating the elders who were not agreeable to the Chief. He amassed more supporters and became the foul mouthpiece for the village. Now the headship was happy with him as he dealt mercilessly with their opposition.
Sooner than later, it was the chieftaincy’s turn. The beast they had been feeding now dealt ruthlessly with them when the famine came and the Chief and his supporting elders couldn’t do much to assist the villagers, as they themselves struggled to fend for themselves.
At this point, everyone realised that dispute, divergent views, and societal displeasure are inevitable in society, but decency and decorum keep cool heads for better resolution and inspire collective action. Whereas uncontrolled hot-temper and unbridled tongues heat up conflict, and eventually leave deep scars.
Today, I discuss this sensitive topic of many young people who resort to insults and unprintable words in the expression of their displeasure, even of simple divergent views.
Today, the prediction of McLuhan, of a global village, has really come true. We are living in an extended village, in that everyone is interconnected in some way. And as it is in any village, there are groups such as minors, youth and the aged; followers and leaders; individuals, nuclear and extended families and the bigger village fraternity.
Gracefully, the world keeps evolving and change thus, is inevitable. But should we change and lose our identities in the process?
There was a time we (Ghanaians) believed that a good name is better than riches. Now we are gradually buying into the notion that when money or power talks, any “bullshit” happens. Now do you see the difference in both beliefs? Thus in order to keep up with the new trends, either you get riches/power or lose yourself trying. There’s gradually a moral decadence and cultural erosion that made us Ghanaians.
Sadly, some bloggers and media houses in the name of trends that profit, whether they will destroy our moral compass or not, are promoting indiscipline, impiety, and flippancy towards patriarchy, casting aspersions on dignitaries, and we are cheering them on.
We are in a world where the “F” word is one of the most popular words in most top movies and songs.
Can’t we make our arguments without disrespecting other parties? Can’t we speak truth to power without denigrating the institutions and those who occupy them?
People are groping eagerly for fame, casting aside morals and regards, and so we're gradually destroying the very foundation of our culture and traditions.
Today, a lot is happening around us. People are busy finding solutions and working towards a better world. They are developing electric cars, artificial intelligence and machine learning keep on advancing, there are RPA, IOT, Quantum Computing, Anti-aging drugs etc., but what do we give attention to in our country?
Who are the popular figures and influencers in our country? Can we the youth shift from insults to solutions? Can we move from rants to becoming the next Elon Musk? Can we fight our way up the system and aim for the change we most desire? Can we become more responsible and collectively push ourselves to a better Ghana agenda?
We can’t expect the country we disrespect to honour us. We can’t expect the leaders we speak so ill of to hear us out through our insults.
Can we consider other alternatives of building the Ghana we want without losing ourselves? Kudos to all the valiant young ones already doing this without losing their moral compass or identity.
YƐ GHANA YI, ƐFA Y3N NYINA HO
[Translated, 'This our Ghana, it is the concern of us all']
Let’s build it together in the true Ghana way
Dr Evans DUAH
Citizen of Ghana