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Have you ever listened to a tribute that made you wonder if you were actually at the right place? Wow, am I at the right funeral? Is this the same person that I know of? Because at that moment, the person sounds like a saint! And that is supposed to be the worse person we all know of! The irony of our society!

Yes, it is in death that most people are celebrated! While alive however, it is as though they do not exist! There are so many of our departed friends and relations that we constantly wish were alive with us today because if they were, we would do so many things differently. If they were alive, we would make enough time to be with them. If they were alive, we would give them all the love and support they deserved. If they were alive, we would provide them with all the material things the world can offer. If only! If only! If only! That is the prefix for our regrets.

For a fact, Ghana has a poor track record of celebrating her heroes! In all our history, one man has always been celebrated; Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, for his immense contribution to the liberation of the continent, and this country! Even for this man, the form of appreciation he received raises a huge question mark. For a fact, it has taken longer than it should for Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to receive the kind of recognition he deserves.

What about our other heroes? This country can boast of several people who have contributed immensely to her growth and development. Quite regrettably, several of these people are departed. However, it is good to know that some are living although such are being taken for granted. It is not surprising, considering the fact that this country has a poor history of documentation. We cannot even keep track of these people, and their individual contributions! We only remember them in our tales!

In the arts and crafts, music, sciences, history, government to mention but a few, several people paved the path that most of us now tread on. People like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ng?g? wa Thiong’o,?Steve Biko,?Ama Ata Aidoo,?Nadine Gordimer,?Buchi Emecheta?and?Okot p’Bitek. The bumpy roads of the past have been paved! And yet, they only reign in the realms of literature.

Most African writers and musicians of the past were the forces of change. They were the forces that somehow steered our continent this far. They were the voices of hope and inspiration! ?Had we actually listened to them, much more would have been done for this continent. But like our other heroes, they only dwell in the realm of our imaginations. For the writers, they only exist in our world of literature; for those who actually appreciate literature.

Africans only read for reading sakes. We watch movies for entertainment. In listening to music, we only enjoy the stories, and it ends there. We sing the chorus, but never gain anything from it. We look out for the twist and turn in a novel or movie, and so, fail to grasp or appreciate the true meanings. The words of our writers only stay in books. The only literature we truly appreciate are our text books. We do not take the words of our own; unless of course, it was written by a western author. Then we would do as they say! How then do we grow?

We only love and revere professional and relationship advice. When it comes to advice that would lead to a phenomenal change of life in terms of our attitudes and behaviour, we are subjective. We must shy away from the celebration of our heroes through awards or plaques but take a deeper meaning of learning from their examples. They should inspire us.

Chinua Achebe wrote several powerful literature. Most readers only analyzed these literature for the sakes of literature appreciation but never take lessons. There are underlying truths that should inspire us. We only attack the characters, but fail to recognize them in us, and in our society. Africa is failing, because Africans prefer to take advice elsewhere. Our writers in the past were forces of change and our literature, the tools.

Indeed there is some truth to the assertion that ?If you want to hide something from the African, put it in a book.?

I write each day to inspire a change in our attitudes as a people but as always, what do people say when they see an article of mine online? ??Oh, here is another article by Anna Esi Hanson. Let?s see what she has to say today. Oh, here is another article, what does it say.? We only read, and move on to the next page. We take no lessons. Those who respond to our articles are disappointingly more interested in attacking the writer, than the issue highlighted.

Anna Esi Hanson ([email protected]), Takoradi; esociocomm.blogspot.com

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