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“Like the Hawk, I will swoop down on the Hen…” A Message Wrapped in Symbolic Garb.

By Akwasi Afrifa
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Asante Mythology, as in all Mythology is steeped in Symbolism. When we say the Golden Stool came from the sky, the undiscerning mind thinks it literally so. When we uphold Gold as the most precious of all elements, the undiscerning mind takes it as avarice. When we say Komfo Anokye sought the “medicine of Death” never to return, the undiscerning mind regard it as such, thinking all the above as” Kwaku Ananse 's Stories.”

But underneath all these symbolic language lie certain truths, so pure and simple. The “Golden Stool”, “the sky”, “the descent”, “the medicine of Death”, all represents, individually, basic truth within the whole, as enshrined in human and Asante wisdom; wisdom that ensures the success of every society; wisdom such as respect, loyalty, allegiance, law, order, courage, prudence etc. In sum, the formulae Plato prescribes for the achievement of justice, the foundation for a peaceful society. But wisdom is so elusive, abstract and unintelligible to the average mind that the only way to render it simplistic and accessible to all is to cast it in symbolical garb. (The beauty and endurance of Greek myth is due to its simplistic narratives of wisdom)

So it came about that, Otumfuo, after consultation with “the 12 clans” – another symbol-, sat in state and announced to the world the course of action to be taken to balance the scale of Justice. This was an announcement, so rich in symbolism, so much so that, the undiscerning mind, once again, made their ignorance known. (It reminds me of the child, who does not get the symbolic nature of Santa Clause and believes that the presents he finds every Christmas under the tree, actually comes from the North Pole).

The “Hawk”, “the swoop”, the Hen” were all symbols, thoughtfully calculated to depict certain variables within the situation and overall, to make light of and at the same time, to place emphasis on the seriousness of the situation.

But the Ghanaian, the so called advanced Ghanaian, the elitist Ghanaian, the so called modern Ghanaian, the so called intellectual Ghanaian; in short, the Westernized Ghanaian (or is it the Ghanaian with Western pretensions?), mainly to be found in our capital city with their “look down upon provincialism attitude”, curiously, failed to discern the truth underneath Otumfou's symbolic message. And as a result, they descended on the King like a Hawk but in this instance, not as a symbolic Hawk but as a literal one. Was it out of ignorance or something else or something more?

To make matters more pathetic, these “elements” were led by” two clowns” -another symbol-: one, a pseudo socialist whose main aversion to everything traditional is his distorted belief in the tenets of “pseudo”-Marxism; and the other, a pseudo satirist, who can be described as the stupid incarnate. To put it in a more laughable manner, think of it this way: It is like Ghanaians electing “Bokum Banku” as “the Chief Advocator” or as president, which in turn “reveals the true nature of the “electorate”. These two clowns nearly brought our country to its “knees”.

The Government, in the end, did the right thing, by heeding the King's call for justice.

The dust has now settled and a few revelations stand out: that the “Accra Ghanaian”, with his cosmopolitanism, is more dangerous to our democracy than a coup dtre ; that any “fool” – yet another symbol – in the name of “modernity” and with the help of Bastard Cousin, Free Speech, can throw the country into chaos by feeding on the emotions of fellow “fools”; And that, to out-westernize the Westerners, to out-democratize the Democrats, and to out-modernize the modernizers, the Accra Ghanaian, would now do anything, including the feigning of ignorance of our beloved culture and self-induced traditional amnesia. This kind of attitude spells nothing but doom for our dear country.

With political corruption rampant in our capital city since the days of yore, a full blown cultural corruption would be catastrophic, politically and socially, to the whole country. So, what are we to do, we the provincial Ghanaian? We, the last bastion of our unique culture, what are we to do? As we, the provincial Ghanaian, nervously and timidly stand by whiles the Accra Ghanaian tramples upon our traditions, what are we to do? This is the question you must now ponder, my fellow provincial Ghanaian.

However, I have one recommendation: a day should be set aside, once a year, for our city dwellers, especially, the Accra Ghanaian, to undertake a pilgrimage to his village, to be reminded by village elders of who he truly his and where he comes from. For the sages say, (or was it Bob Marley) “he who knows where he is from knows where he going.”

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Akwasi Afrifa and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."