Redirect Post: A Letter To Ghanaians In The Diaspora: A Rant

Hi all, below is the original letter from Nanama. A couple of people have talked about the link to the original site not working, so I decided to copy the post and redirect people to the post from my blog.

Below is her original letter to Ghanaian from her original:

Dear Diaspora,
When I was in my third year at University and school was out for the holidays, I decided I would visit my aunt and uncle in London. It was summer, but you couldn’t tell because the weather was all miserable and confused like maybe the sun had lost its memory and had forgotten to be hot. They picked me up from the airport, and on the drive home they tried to manage my expectations, saying, “Our flat is not what you’re used to, it’s small but we make it work.” I was ok with that.

After about two hours on the road we got to their flat in Peckham, and they helped me carry my suitcase inside. They didn’t lie, it was a tiny, tiny place and it felt even more cramped because apart from the fact that they had three kids, it looked like they had tried to fit all the world’s belongings into it. I got settled into my new room for the next 3 months and then went to find my cousins (Hehe. I say “find” as if it was a palace with many rooms and I had to wander about for hours trying to figure out where they were. In reality, I took maybe 3 steps and I was back in the living room).

During the course of my holiday, I quickly learned that life in London, for my aunt, uncle and their kids, wasn’t rosy. It was work, work, school and busy, busy. It was easy for me to sympathise with them; they had to deal with weather that couldn’t decide between rain and sunshine and work and school routines that didn’t allow for much leisure time.

Life is like that for a lot of you Ghanaians in the diaspora, but it’s as though when you land at Kotoka, there’s something in the air there that gives you amnesia and makes you forget who you really are. Here’s where my rant begins, and mind you, I have taken the liberty to speak on behalf of all Ghanaians living in Ghana.

First of all, you make a huge fuss about the weather as if you expected any different. The sun was blazing hot in the 25 years you lived here before you left, and it’s blazing hot now. Besides, every time we speak to you on the phone, you complain about the bitter cold and how you can’t wait to come to Ghana and have the sun on your back. Well, now you have it, so shut up and enjoy it like you said you wanted to.

Secondly, you can fold that feigned air of superiority and stuff it back in your suitcase. We know you live in a matchbox, but you have the audacity to turn up your nose at everything, including the poverty you see on the streets — the hawkers that are still hawking and the beggars by the roadside who are still begging.

You talk big when you see people, like you’re playing the role of a hotel magnate in a big Hollywood movie. You paint a picture of a luxurious life, like it’s a bed of roses and every day is a holiday, but we know the truth o, we know. What’s annoying is that after making people think you eat and poop money, you get upset and complain when they ask, “d3n na wodi br33 y3n?” and expect you to be Santa Claus, all laden with gifts.

You have solutions to all our political problems, and you usually bestow your wisdom on us while you sit in your London or American flat. You tell us everything that’s wrong with Ghana, like we’re blind people and you’re the walking stick we need to get to the bathroom. You tell us, “Fight for our rights!”, “Don’t settle for mediocrity!”

This reminds me of a recent occurrence on Twitter, just before the #OccupyFlagstaffHouse demonstration was to happen, when a certain someone (name withheld), who wasn’t in Ghana at the time, was trying to rally people to join in. He was laughed at and insulted, which is, typically, what we do to you when you try to tell us how we can fix our country. If you’re so concerned, move back home and fix it yourself.

Speaking of home, do you realize how silly we think you sound when you say, “back at home,” like London is your hometown and you and the Prime Minister have tea and biscuits every Tuesday at 2 P.M. “Back at home,” like you don’t come from Abetifi, Kwahu in the eastern region of Ghana. And another thing, what is, “you Ghanaians”? You’re racist now? You say it like your nationality is a cheap suit that you took off and decided never to wear again.

The way you dress when you’re here is funny (this is mostly for the women), piling on the beads and the African print wraps that have no business being paired with that flower print dress and those dirty sneakers. Your British accent comes and goes; it comes when you’re talking to people you’re trying to impress, but when you go to Makola and you’re bargaining for cloth, it magically disappears.

You manage to weave, “meti abrokyire o” into every conversation you have. Isn’t it exhausting? Next time you’re coming down, why not just get a badge made that says that on it and pin it to your forehead?

Last thing, the legal tender of Ghana is the Cedi, in case you’ve forgotten. Not the Pound or the Dollar or the Euro, so quit asking, “How much is that in Pounds?” as if we don’t have any forex bureaus, or you don’t have the sense to know to change money before going shopping or to eat at a restaurant.

We love you Ghanaians in the diaspora, we really do. If for nothing at all, for the humour we derive from your antics. But you seem to forget who you are and where you come from. You expect magic, that when you come down everything that’s wrong with Ghana should already be fixed. Things aren’t perfect here, but it’s home, so quit with your nagging.

Yours forever,

Ghanaians living in Ghana


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