Children tend to commemorate birthday parties with enthusiasm: regardless of how much or little is at their disposal, the excitement makes the day magical. With older people, the hope is that such anniversaries progress from simple celebration to a combination of merriment and reflection. Sometimes the reflection is forced, especially if there is overindulgence on the day – this can lead to uncomfortable repercussions immediately after or later on in life.
Even though they hold true for a person, it is not a stretch to link these observations to a country. In the case of Ghana where we have engaged in excessive overindulging since independence (to complement the sustained pillage by successive foreign exploiters), Independence Day arrives at the trotro stop with a big bright suitcase of pessimism.
The cynicism is palpable on social media, a place where the youth form a huge demographic. When the youth are at the forefront of venting then you know that something is really wrong. Yet on these same social media platforms there are young people who are harnessing the potential of social media to more productive ends.
Ghana has some of the most intelligent, hardworking, and versatile young people around. Thus, with the proliferation of Internet technology it is pleasing but not surprising to note the many pages that showcase projects of all kinds: these range from project management through shoe making to accessories, photography, auto maintenance, and fashion.
It is naïve to pretend that all is well in any country, much less in our beloved Ghana. Cynicism is healthy to an extent because of its counterbalance to optimism, with interplay between these two extremes preventing a fall into binary thinking. With this in mind, one can think about the relationship between social media, young people, and nation building especially in a country like Ghana where older people could celebrate young folks more during anniversaries.
Obviously, there are those pockets of our youth who have been sucked into the uselessness of partisan politics and are selling themselves along those lines. But on a day like this, it doesn’t hurt to focus on people with the potential to make our country worth being proud of. After all, that is one of the significances of an anniversary: an examination of milestones on a milestone day.
So, Happy Independence Day to Ghana. May our young people be the creative drive that propels the country forward in development.