Today is fifty years since Ghana gained independence from Britain. I don’t feel entirely comfortable saying "happy fiftieth birthday" because it seems to diminish centuries of history. It somehow implies that Ghana only came into existence fifty years ago. Ghana the modern state with its defined international borders may have become an entity fifty years ago, but Ghana, the ancient Western African Empire goes back hundreds of years, to a time when Europe was still in darkness! Needless to say, it was the first place in sub-Saharan Africa where the Europeans arrived and started trading in gold and slaves and began to enrich themselves. It was also the first black country nation in Africa to gain independence from colonial rule and within three years, another seventeen African countries had won independence. Not a bad trend to have started!
Coincidentally, as Ghana celebrates fifty years of independence on March 6th, March 25th marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade by Britain, another occasion for Africa and the peoples of the African diaspora to commemorate.