In September 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo introduced free secondary education in public schools in Ghana. Whilst many were jubilating at the news, others unfortunately, were not amused. On more than one occasion, I witnessed a few returnees jokingly ask:
“If there’s free SHS (education), who is going to be our house help?”
Appalling, I know.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have heard a few returnees speak ill of local Ghanaians. It is of the upmost importance that those who are or wish to live in Africa respect the local people. I, like many other returnees, did not grow up with a driver or maid in other countries and therefore I hold no right to look down on those who serve us in Africa.
Due to the cultural lifestyle in many African countries, house-help is common in middle to upper income families. An attitudinal change can only occur when returnees accept and acknowledge the privileges that come with this part of African culture. Detaching ourselves from our own people creates division and a hostile environment.
Therefore, it is paramount that as the diaspora, we view ourselves as connected to our African brothers and sisters. This includes working and investing in local Ghanaian businesses and organisations. It is only through communication that these barriers can be crossed.
Whilst many may think the comments regarding free education were made in a jovial fashion, it illustrates a deeply troubling perception of the African people. Holding negative and discriminatory views against our fellow Africans makes us no better than the white man 61 years ago.
By collaborating with Africans and strengthening our relationships, we can ensure that the Africa we all envision shall come to fruition.
- Aba Wilson