Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Week 43. Ghana. About Ghana.
Ghana has to be the most peaceful country in all of west Africa. After some months of war in the area as well as being an extremely poor country it was so very different just crossing the border to experience people smiling all of the time, and being greeted with a big hello....in English which is widely spoken here.
History.Some information about Ghana.
In present day Ghana which has been inhabited since 4000 BC by the 13th century several kingdoms had developed growing rich from the country's massive gold deposits.
By the 16th century one of the kingdoms was taking control of trade routes to the coast. And it wasn't long before the Europeans discovered this African kingdom. First the Portuguese came sniffing around the coast, and then the British, French, Dutch, Swedes and Danes. They all built forts by the sea and traded in slavery, gold, and other merchandises with the Ashanti Kingdom.
Castle Cape coast.
The slave trade was eventually abolished in the 19th century, and with it went Ashanti's domination. By that time the British had taken over the Gold Coast and created the British colony.
After some years of bloodiful problems Ghana finally won its independence in March 1957 and Nkrumah became the first president of an independent African nation. His speeches, which denounced imperialism and talked about a free, united Africa, made him the darling of Pan-African movement.
However back home he was not popular and he tried to turn Ghana into a one-party state which was when things began to unravel. Nkrumah made his personal bodyguard into an entire regiment, while corruption and reckless spending drove the country into serious debt.
He made the fatal mistake of going on a state visit to China in 1966 because while he was away his regime was toppled in an army coup. But few things changed.
By 1979 Ghana was suffering food shortages and people were out on the streets demonstrating against the army "fat cats"!
Onto the scene came Jerry Rawlings: a good-looking, charismatic, half-Scottish air force pilot who always had a cigarette stuck behind his ear and spoke the language of the people. Nicknamed Junior Jesus, Rawlings caught the publics imagination with his calls for corrupt military rulers to be confronted and being held accountable for Ghana's problems. The military jailed him, but he had fellow junior officers free him after they staged an uprising.
Rawlings then handed over power to a civilian government and started a major `house-cleaning` operation- which entailed executing and jailing of senior officers.
The new president, Hilla Limann, was uneasy with Rawlings' huge popularity, and later accused him of trying to subvert the constitution. Rawlings party toppled him in a coup in 1981, and at this time he stayed in power for the next 15 years. During part of the 1980s Ghana enjoyed Africa's highest economics growth rates.
By 1992 Rawlings was under pressure to introduce democracy, so he lifted the 10-year ban on political parties and called a general election. Rawlings won the 1992 and 1996 election freely and fairly.
Ghana consists of around 15% Muslim, 70% Christian but 100% obsessed with spiritual worship. It is a land of glory, gold and God, after all God is everywhere: You will find, `God is Love Hair Salon`, `Jesus Loves ME Forex Bereau....etc etc.
But this is not to say they can't have fun as they love to dance and party, old and young together.
Ghana is roughly the size of Britain and much of it's terrain consists of wooded ranges, wide valleys and low-lying coastal plains. The damming of the Volta River in the mid-1960 created the worlds largest artificial lake.
Logging, mining and the use of wooden fuels have reduced Ghanas forest from over 8 million sq kms in the early 20th century to less than 2 million sq km now.
Ghana is blessed with hundreds of kilometres of coast shared by beautiful beaches and the remains of European slave forts.
There are a lot of national parks and wildlife, including elephants, baboons and antelope species.
More about Ghana, click here.
I met a very nice family this week and have been with them all of the time. Life isn't so bad cycling the world you know, with some amazing memories and extremely happy times.
Libellés : Ghana