Before I start this piece, another thing that grates me is when I hear, we are “black people are accepted”, sorry I am a person, you don’t need to be tolerant or accepted, it is a given, I am part of the human race, accept me as a person, if you don’t like me for me (or my views), I don’t really care, it’s like Marmite, you either like a person or hate a person. You don’t need to accept me for the colour of my skin. But so as not to digress.
An actress and her children were murdered by her partner late last year (allegedly). The suspect ran off to Ghana. It pained me to learn that he was of Ghanaian blood, maybe it’s the proud Ghanaian in me, but I don’t want to hear that my fellow country man may have committed a crime.
However, that is the way of life here, it is not uncommon to hear that someone has been arrested for Robbery, GBH or even murder and you hear so and so Mensah, so and so Bonsu or so and so Asante.
As you know I am first generation born in UK, I have friends and family who have children now (and even grandchildren), they are well adjusted well rounded people. They integrate into the British society but also keep their cultural values because that had been instilled in their parents. So when I hear of those few bad apples, it is very disappointing.
The reason it makes me sad is because of the reason most Ghanaians come to settle in UK, US, Germany and alike. Some of these people barely finished high school and are not coming here as lawyers, doctors, etc.. While some do take advantage of higher education, some went into nursing, some do white collar jobs, the other proportion are working around the clock, going from one cleaning job to another or one security job to another all to make lives comfortable for their children’s future. Whatever walk of life are on though, one thing they have in common is the investment into their children.
Education is instilled from a very young age, the intention is to climb higher. Your route is school, university, job, start your own family but don’t just like their investment into you they are expecting their return in the end. The last part is not spoken, but you know watching your parent’s and family members send money back home, that one day the onus will be to do same in their old age.
I grew up in a loving dysfunctional family and we’ve turned out fine, if not a bit too ambitious to the detriment of starting our own families yet, but hey as long as I am on this side of a prison gate, there is still hope.
I get that university is not for everyone, and it’s not easy getting a job, heck even with a university degree it can be difficult. My sister graduated in 2010 and has been working in retail for the past 4 years because after 2 years of getting a temp job here and there, it was a case of get anything permanent rather than staying at home months on end.
I don’t claim to understand why then our kids are turning their backs on the sacrifices their parents made to turn to a life of crime. I was too scared of my parents to even talk back at school, the people I associated with had similar upbringings to myself, and I had friends of all races.
Are we losing our cultural identity? Who knows
At the moment, things are changing rapidly with this global impact. If parents aren’t keeping pace and instilling their culture with some adjustment in mind then it is setting their kids up to struggle a bit.
I really think previous generations were caught off guard at the pace of the world and didn’t prepare their kids for it. Who could’ve known unless you’re good at anticipation and keeping up with the latest technology, world events and connecting them, etc. I’m sure most parents, like mine, instilled things that they were taught and left you to figure things out. Not necessarily good enough foundation in a jungle that has changed drastically within the blink of an eye.
I think things will settle in a few years. When? No idea. I don’t think we have to lose our cultural identity. We just have to keep aware of these new tools coming into play, understand the impact and show that this culture that’s been maintained for generations is still beneficial and can work in concert with these new tools.
Hopefully we can find that balance soon