Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Whispering Drums With Maigani

by Musa Ibrahim

On culture and inheritance

Mr Asiedu Yirenkyi, Peoples National Defence Council Secretary for Culture and Tourism's lecture on 'Contemporary Cultural concerns in Ghana Today" at the Africa Centre on the "Ghana Focus programme did give us all a lot of food for thought.

"Culture is both the material and spiritual expression of a people's life and struggles. We therefore cannot understand the problems that we are confronted with today without a knowledge of our history, an important part of which is the history of colonialism in Ghana, a history rich in the events and incidents detailing the plunder of our material resources, destruction of indigenous industry and technology and stifling of their development.

"The result of this history shows that our civilization of hundreds of years ago had advanced into the iron age with its buoyant culture now starved in the midst of fertile lands for lack of appropriate technology," he said.

He went on to point out the efforts of Dr Kwame Nkrumah to reassert the Black man's self confidence.

In a nutshell, therefore, the PNDC government's concern with culture isn't a blind condemnation of the influence of other cultures, but an effort to learn from the positive and negative aspects of other people's cultures. In the end they hope to incorporate those good elements of our own traditional culture that advance the interests of nation as a whole.

Question time brought up really interesting insight into the real direction of the 'cultural revolution' in Ghana. It is the contention of many that Tourism, for instance, an aspect of culture, cannot be effectively promoted in the middle of serious economic problems. With the hotels in dire need of basic necessities like food, drinks and detergents, the tourists would be long in coming. A trip to the Akosombo dam site organised by the ministry of Tourism achieved the desired effect of appris. ing the participants with the havoc that is being wreaked on the nation by nature and not the government of Fl Lt. Rawlings. After all, the PNDC is not a conjuror of rains. But the government cannot shirk agricultural responsibility for the decision to streamline the law relating to inheritance. For they are the ones that concluded that it is only now that Ghana is a nation and should therefore have a uniform system of inheritance whereby matrilineal gives way to patrilineal.

One only hopes that Mr Asiedu Yirenkyi current holder of the Culture portfolio will not have to explain to the Akan group who constitute over sixty percent of the population that there is no conspiracy between him as Akuap em and Rawlings and the Tsikata to impose a minority Akuapem and Ewe culture on the nation.

But since the Ashantis, Akyems, Fantis and Brongs have good reasons for preferring nephews to occupy their Golden Stool, and others and since theirs isn't an alien culture one had thought that it would be presented as the credible Ghanaian culture to be projected and not submerged.

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