I wrote this piece 12 years ago for the Ghana Union Newsletter ‘Amanie’ and have made some minor changes to reflect that we are now entering the 54th year of our independence
Independence suggests that one can survive without external and therefore means that there is interval viability. In the real world everyone needs to interact with others and the benefits of association must therefore be highlighted.
Independence makes more sense when contrasted against dependence. So for Ghana as the first country in black Africa to attain independence from our colonial masters, the very fact of our independence was very important. Politicians at the time notably Kwame Nkrumah, however, noted that before we can be viable our independence must be linked with the total liberation of Africa.
Fifty-four years on all other African countries have been liberated but we are yet to fully benefit from our independence. For me this is why Ghana Union has an important role to play in the lives of Ghanaians in London and the UK.
Benefits can only be accrued through interdependence and organisations bunching together in units to assist each other. There are great benefits of association, there are great benefits in belonging to community groups and voluntary organisations, but greater benefits can be reaped if we all support an umbrella organisation that provides benefit to our individual associations.
There is movement towards political, economic and defence integration in Europe and we must take a leaf from the book of the developed world. We must be able to capitalise on the benefits of interdependence.
Ghana Union as an umbrella body will represent a stronger voice than our individual associations. Ghana Union will be able to better share vital information in this information age to amongst all our associations.
So for us at Ghana Union independence means more it also means interdependence and that is why we are more than determined that this community centre will happen. We need our own village hall we can all interact wherever we are in London. We need a place in this London that we can call our own. We need to come together as Ghanaians in this country.
We must start by joining our individual associations, by getting them to be affiliated to Ghana Union and also by joining Ghana Union as individuals.
It is when we have attained a state of interdependence with others that we can be truly independent and not dependent on anyone.
The vision is still as clear as it was when espoused, that every Ghanaian living and working in London will become part of a supportive community that will help us to achieve our social and economic aspirations in this country and that we as Ghanaians will have a first port of call when we have any problems or any good news to share with others.
Ade Sawyerr is partner in Equinox Consulting, a management consultancy that provides consultancy, training and research that focuses on formulating strategies for black and ethnic minority, disadvantaged and socially excluded communities. He also comments on social, political and development issues. He can be contacted by email on email@example.com or his blog at http://adesawyerr.wordpress.com. He is an ex-chairman of Ghana Union London