To all our US friends, Happy Fourth of July! True, this year I may not have been able to chow down on hot dogs while almost blasting off my fingers using contraband fireworks, but instead I was fortunate enough to instead celebrate a sort of Ghanaian equivalent- Republic Day.
July 1st commemorates the 51st anniversary of when Ghana declared in 1960 that it was a republic under the Commonwealth of Britain. The Ashanti people resisted British policies throughout Ghana’s entire history of colonial rule, but the drive for independence intensified after World War II. Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, one among many leaders calling for “self government now,” was instrumental in the negotiations with Britain that enabled Ghana to be the first sub-Saharan African country to become a republic. He then became the country’s first prime minister.
Because the nation is relatively young, many hold banquets to honor the hard work seniors have contributed towards Ghana’s independence from Britain. In addition, children have the day off from school and many do not have work. It is a day to celebrate Ghana’s past achievements while reflecting on its goals for the future.
But most of all, Republic Day is a day to have fun. How did I celebrate Republic Day? Naturally, by going to a (very crowded) beach on Lake Volta to dance the day away.