As Ghana turns 61, Ghanaians all over the world are celebrating independence from the colonial masters and others are complaining about Ghana not being independent or self-dependent.

I sometimes agree with the people who complain about Ghana being too dependent on the West.

The fact, however, is that our culture is set up as one of dependence.

In Ghana, for instance, young men and women are so dependent on their parents that even at the age of 30, you still see the youth living with their parents or still drawing cash from parents who are on pension or parents who are way too old to be taking care of their offspring. (Apologies to the exceptions in this case).

In the west, however, at 18, most young adults are self-reliant and are ready to move out into the world and face an adventure, make mistakes, correct their mistakes and learn from their successes and failures.

If you are still depending on your parents at 30, at what age will you be self-reliant, go out to the world, make an impact, join a movement and effect change? Life they say begins at 40, so technically you have 10 years to settle down and do something purposeful.

After school, young men and women who should be out looking for jobs will be calling uncles and aunts in high places for jobs. This means if you do not have a privileged family member, then looking for work will be a whole task for you.

I once observed a Western woman caring for her child. She allowed the baby to eat his own food, make a mess and after eating, she gave the 14-month-old boy a tissue to wipe his mouth and hands.

(This is how independence begin)... I said to myself what do we do in our case, we feed the child, clean his hands and mouth. So the child eventually becomes dependent on his parents doing stuff for him.

The dependency cycle continues through every generation and unless we have a paradigm shift, or make a conscious effort to be dependent and self-reliant, we will continue to be dependent because that is how we have been programmed by our history, by our colonisers and by systems purposefully set up to make us dependent.

We need to wake up. Teach our kids better. Encourage one another so together we can celebrate independence, self-dependence and start a new movement to make positive impact in the country with a new generation of leaders who understand that there is a lot of work to be done to get to where we want to be.

By Johnny Abdallah


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