- Title: VARIOUS: Ghana's 50th anniversary draws mixed reactions from around the continent
- Date: 7th March 2007
- Summary: (AD1) ACCRA, GHANA (MARCH 5, 2007) (REUTERS) WIDE MONUMENT TO INDEPENDENCE HERO KWAME NKRUMAH VARIOUS OF WOMEN DANCING
- Embargoed: 22nd March 2007 12:00
- Topics: International Relations,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA81A6VCC7R0NICQ3TUBRMJKC5X
- Story Text: Ghana became free from British rule on March 6, 1957, the first state in Africa to shake off colonial rule. The event electrified a continent still mostly dominated by foreign powers, and many of Africa's countries followed.
"Now that Ghana is celebrating its 50th anniversary of freedom I think that all the African countries should join them and celebrate with them this is because I feel that most African countries don't give each other support hence it leads to lack of proper or very good economic development oh yes I think we should support them," said Ruth Baru, a graphic designer in Kenya.
"For me I don't think they have a reason to celebrate because after independence the leaders we have they have just gotten in the shoes of colonial people we had in the past," said Nick Tush, a salesman in Kenya's capital city Nairobi.
Some people think it should have been made more of an African affair rather than having the celebrations only in Ghana.
"I think the whole of Africa should have been included in the celebrations because Ghana was the first country to get independence in Africa so we should all be part of it or at least there should have been some sort of celebration at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa to celebrate our Ghanaian brothers," Stanley Mbinsa said a Nairobi resident.
Unlike oil-rich neighbour Nigeria, which has been torn by ethnic and religious violence, analysts say Ghana has largely succeeded in forging a sense of national identity.
"We are not saying that they have reached the level of perfection but on the African continent I think Ghana has exhibited good leadership qualities which I think many other African leaders should abide and follow, if you look at the energy situation we hear that their capital city has had uninterrupted power supply for almost five years," said Theresa Essen a journalist in Lagos, Nigeria.
"I think any African country which has no crisis in terms of political crisis, ethnic crisis, coup d'etat and the rest, has every reason to celebrate. 50 years of existence; I think we have to give it to Ghanaians, right from the time of Kwame Nkuruma Ghanaians have been at the fore front of patriotism and African zeal and the rest, I think they have every reason to celebrate," said Joseph Esenwa a business man in Lagos.
For years - even after many African countries were independent - South Africa suffered under apartheid and gained sympathy from Ghana, which played host to many of the leaders in power today escaping persecution from the apartheid government.
"The first thing was to liberate ourselves. So, we got inspiration from Ghana, and in terms of leadership as well, we had a great leader in Kwame Nkrumah. He was one of the men who not only motivated South Africa but motivated even African Americans. Martin Luther King went to Ghana, the only place to be visited by Martin Luther King in the state, so it was really an inspiration not only for us South Africa but to the whole of Africans in diaspora," said Reverend Chawane in Johannesburg.
"Just because South Africa is economically stronger than other African countries does not mean that we are better, so we are still learning from them. I think Ghana and Ivory Coast, in farming, I think they do good in farming so we learn from them for independent farming 'cause there are black people doing farming in Ghana and it's working. So, we, still in South Africa, still trying our best to learn as black people to do farming, small scale farming because the whites are still in big scale farming in South Africa," said Xolani Mlambo, a resident of Johannesburg.
Even as the celebrations will go on into the night, there are still many who argue that Africa is still struggling to achieve the unity, peace and prosperity that former Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah envisaged at the time of Ghana's independence.
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