The last time that I wrote and published anything about the barbaric desecration of the tomb of any of our national heroes, assuming that, indeed, we share anything in common called the Pantheon of Ghanaian Heroes and Sheroes, too, of course, it was about the dastardly attempt by some political troglodytes, most likely even common thieves, to desecrate the tomb of Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia, unarguably one of the country’s most astute and erudite statesmen. Busia was a statesman because he looked studiously towards the long-term development of Ghana from a multiplicity of levels and angles. One only has to peruse the vast corpus of his position papers to arrive at such a definitive conclusion.

 

Now, it shamefully appears to be the turn of the oldest of the seminal members of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a widely known and acknowledged relative of Ghana’s first postcolonial leader, namely, President Kwame Nkrumah. We are told that, indeed, it was Mr. George Alfred “Paa” Grant who personally paid for the passage to the erstwhile Gold Coast of the future President Nkrumah, then stranded in the ancient British capital of London. He would also financially support the lone salaried General-Secretary of the UGCC. A brief but, nevertheless, heart-wrenching news article appeared on several Ghanaian media websites, recently, showing what clearly appeared to be the wantonly desecrated tomb of Paa Grant in his hometown of Axim, in the Western Region (See “Paa Grant’s Grave Now a ‘Beer Bar’” Abusuafmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/22/17).

 

The desecration is in the form of what appears to be a mixture of debris and organic garbage littered all over the tomb, whose base appears to be riddled with cracks of various shapes and sizes. We are told that the photograph accompanying the aforesaid article was uploaded to the web by Mr. Socrates Safo, Director of Creative Arts at the National Commission on Culture. At the head of the tomb is a beer bar with window-shade-like curtains. I know that Ghana has a Museum and Monuments Board. This may not have been on the electioneering campaign platform of the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), but it is a matter of urgency requiring prompt attention. Which is that the beer bar in question needs to be promptly shut down by the government and relocated. At least a half-acre or two acres of the land around the Grant tomb may have to be reclaimed by the Museum and Monuments Board, working hand-in-glove with the National Commission on Culture.

 

The space around the tomb could be converted into a mini-museum and/or an archive harboring Paa Grant Memorabilia and designated as a National Historical Site and a prime tourist attraction. A lounge or parlor of dignified architecture could also be created in the vicinity of the tomb. I would even go further to call on President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to vote or earmark substantial funding and cause all the tombs of our national heroes to be located and catalogued as historical sites and monuments of tourist attraction and for the education of our youths. They could also become remarkable sources of employment for some of our history and social science college graduates. I would also suggest the creation of a Pantheon of National Heroes in Accra. Indeed, years ago, Gen. I. K. Acheampong was in the process of doing so when he was overthrown in a palace coup led by Gen. F. W. K. Akuffo.

 

Every one of the 10 regions of the country could also create its own Pantheon of Local Heroes. The criteria of who qualifies to be designated a Hero or Shero must be done objectively and not unduly colored by partisan politics. We shall make time, in due course, to discuss the significance of some of the personalities who have contributed immensely to the making and shaping of modern Ghanaian history.

 

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York