19 March 2017

I love Ghana. I love the aspects of community and culture. I love our beautiful, bright bold Kente which is like no other material in the world, and I love the sun kissed land. 

I’m a British born Ghanaian and when I was younger I spoke a quite a lot of Twi (one of the languages in Ghana) and used to dance traditionally with a friend of mine, her sister and an auntie. Now I am older, I miss it all. I began to lose my fluency in Twi when I started Primary School so for a while went to Twi school in Brixton to re-learn and also learn how to write in the language. I remember on the drive to class, we’d listen to Ghanaian music, two songs I think I remember being “Aben Wo Aha” by Daddy Lumba and Kojo Antwi “Bomi Nkomo De” (not that I know all the words lol).

I think I got to a point where before I knew it I wasn’t speaking Twi, but as I understood it I thought that was enough. Now at 28 I listen to my friends who are able to speak fluently and quite frankly, I’ve felt jealous and guilty for not keeping my roots internally. It’s so easy to wear the clothes and say “I’m proud to be Ghanaian” but there’s so much more than just occasional attire. What about remembering the history? Not that I was the best dancer (probably the worst at times haha) but I look at some of my girls now and they are just amazing when it comes to our traditional dances and sometimes I just think to myself “If only I kept going...”

I could really go down “what if” lane but there’s no point. It’s good to acknowledge the past, but it’s equally as important not to get stuck in it. I am where I am now and all I can do is move forward. I’m sure there are quite a few people from different countries who have had similar experiences of losing some aspects of culture and would love to get back into the swing of things. The problem is where to start! Well, who can you ask to help you relearn your native tongue/family dialect? What software/apps can you use? Which reliable websites can you browse to keep up to date with news back home? One of the ways I’m keeping my brain active in understanding Twi is listening to Ghanaian Gospel songs and trying to sing along with them. They have been such a great help! I’ve also found 2 apps that I can use to learn basic phrases so I can at least keep a conversation for now.

I urge you, especially if you’re still relatively young, to be proud of where you come from. Speak the languages, Learn some of the traditions. Make the food. Keep informed. Embrace your heritage. Don’t let time pass you by. 

Hold onto your roots.

Natalie @pursueinspire

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