The Cambridge dictionary defines Culture as:
The way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time.
Ghana may be a third world country but it is one of the most stable in the continent of Africa. I’ve had the luxury of being that little girl playing in the red rich soil within the closed compound of mum’s home. I have cut through the back alleys of homes and greeted every resident with “good morning”, “good afternoon”, or “good morning”. So when I see children playing I don’t think of poverty. When I see compounds that don’t have a wall for privacy I still show respect.
Culture is not something you can wish away or pretend you are not apart of. As the definition states, it is a way of life, customs and beliefs of a particular group of people within a particular time. So why is it becoming the norm for some second generation Ghanaians to be so removed from something that clearly assists in defining who they are?
I am asking this question because amongst all of the Ghana vlogs on YouTube I find that some individuals (mainly second generation Ghanaians) do not have a good understanding of basic common culture within Ghana. There are a lot of us who do have a great understanding of our culture. However, why are some of us slipping though the cracks?
Many older Ghanaians (grandparents) push me to speak the Ga language more. I hear it far better than I can speak it but I can say most things with ease. I have Ga language books and I have a strong desire to perfect my tongue to be as sharp as my ears. I think that may be the only smudge on my culture badge because my mum and family as a whole did a fantastic job of making sure I knew my culture to the third degree on all levels. The generation my mum is from happens to be very strong. They are typically the group that keeps aspiring for better but never forgets their roots. They know all the old ways and incorporate that into their current lives no matter where they settle. They have strong bonds with family and loved ones. Rather than forgetting or not returning home for years they do their best to make an annual trip. Where some might see poverty they see opportunity or a need to assist/mend communities in need.
All those characteristics and more have been solidly passed down to me. I find it very weird, odd, and strange when I come across people around my age who were either born in Ghana or in a different country(who still have a Ghanaian background) but say they don’t have a desire to visit ghana, let alone embrace their culture. There are a lot of technical issues in this conversation such as, home environment, personal experiences that might lead to negative association with ghana, lack of connections due to family issues(housing/ no family home to go back to, e.t.c.), getting so comfortable with western world living that Accra is too harsh to put up with…. the list can go on. I am well aware that these things happen, but what are we really doing to hold onto our culture and does it really matter?
I suppose these things matter depending on the individual. If you are happy with the culture you are living in and feel no need to integrate it with something that speaks to your origins then you are excused from this discussion. However, if you feel the importance of keeping your culture, what steps are you taking to stay abreast and build a strong foundation on your culture.
I am not perfect but I feel in some way I have become a snob. I prefer authentic culture over the incorrect or watered down culture some of us are familiar with. I feel we must check our facts, because regardless of whether your parents/family did not teach you well about your culture I can guarantee you will end up passing your incorrect form of culture to someone else.
My life experience has granted me the gift of culture. I am always eager to learn more about my own culture and I can talk about this topic forever. The real question again is how do you define yours and how much does it mean to you?