E. A. Ammah. Materialism in Ga Society. (Accra: Ga Cultural Books, 1965).[1]

E. A. Ammah. Materialism in Ga Society. (Accra: Ga Cultural Books, 1965).[1]

GaMaterialism

Preface

This paper presents a comparative analysis of materialism and idealism in Ga society.  The inspiration for this paper was derived from two sources: the first two chapters of Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism Manual and Osagyefo’s[2] address at the opening of the fifth session of Parliament in 1965.  After reading these works, I realized that many of the ideas which they expressed are inherent in the Ga Outdooring Ceremony.  I, therefore, decided to write this paper to indicate certain aspects of Ga philosophy, in the hope that philosophers whether materialists or idealists would further appreciate Ga philosophical thought.

I should like to thank Marion Kilson, who currently is studying Ga custom and culture, for her editorial and secretarial assistance and John Kedjanyi for his cover design.

E. A. Ammah

Accra

June 1965

Essay: Materialism in Ga Society

 Ga Infant Outdooring Prayer

Strike, strike, strike, may there be peace
Strike, strike, may there be peace
Strike, may there be peace
May our seats be thick
May our brooms be thick
May our circle be intact
May we find water when we sink a well
May the water when drunk give our shoulders ease
To the father of the new-comer, long life
To its mother, long life
Its back is dark
May its front be clear
May it respect the world
Mays its kinsmen be enabled to provide its needs
May it work for us to enjoy
May its back be fruitful
May some survive that others may come
It came with black hair
May it return hoary
Strike, strike, strike, may there be peace

From the dawn of independence, Ghana committed herself to socialism as initiated by Marx and Engels and endorsed by Lenin—which view the world as it actually is.  In fact, dialectical and historical materialism is not foreign to our traditional way of life, as will be demonstrated in this paper.

Everything which Marxist philosophical materialism and materialistic dialectics imply are expressed in the infant Outdooring Ceremony (Bi kpodziemo) in Ga society.  The social implications are vividly expressed in the central prayer (dzoomo) of the rite which “touches every aspect of the life of the infant starting as a pilgrim here on earth—its health and happiness, its relationship with others, its responsibilities and the success with which it is hoped he would meet the many obstacles awaiting him in life.  While the prayer is in part a supplication for strength and blessing it is also a reflection on the vicissitudes of this life, the individual must pull along with the group.”[3]

The book, Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism Manual, notes the difference between Marxist materialism and materialistic dialectics.  The former “emphasizes the relation of matter to mind, the concept of matter, the doctrine of the material unity of the world, analysis of the modes of existence of matter, etc., whereas materialist dialectics puts in the forefront the theory of universal connections of the laws of motion and development of the objective world and their relation in man’s consciousness.”[4]

Coming closer to home in his ceremonial opening of the fifth session of Parliament in 1965, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said among other things:

Continue reading “E. A. Ammah. Materialism in Ga Society. (Accra: Ga Cultural Books, 1965).[1]”

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Serving the needs of the African and Caribbean heritage community in Watford

ImageThere was a time when there were only a few primarily Caribbean people settled in Watford.  However, over the past 20 years the population of people of African heritage has greatly increased. 

37 years ago in 1976, when the Watford African Caribbean Association (WACA) was formed, there were barely 500 African and Caribbean people in Watford and the outlying areas; then its concern was more about gathering people around and fostering particularly the Caribbean identity and projecting their culture.  Now the community has changed dramatically and with it also the opportunity to cater for the needs of all the enlarged community as well as members of the wider community.

The Watford African Caribbean Association now provides services that remains relevant to the needs of the growing community and wishes to continue to do so.

It runs several services including an elderly persons project which provides a luncheon club and a carers befriending scheme; there is a sickle cell and thalassemia support group as well as the supplementary school.  It also provides numerous opportunities for volunteering for African heritage residents and there are several cultural and social activities that engage with everyone and encourage the involvement of all for the betterment of the community.

But while the organisation has maintained its focus on meeting the educational, health, social care, cultural and social care needs of the community, the African and Caribbean heritage population has grown in an astronomical way, it is no longer just less than 500 people, it is now over 6600 people representing nearly 7.50% of the population.  In that time, the needs may have changed and become more complex, there are first generation, second generation and even third generation people of African and Caribbean heritage.  There are now more African people than Caribbean people in Watford.

The organisation is now at the crossroads. With a higher population demanding its services and with funding cuts eminent, WACA is seeking to make the changes necessary to ensure that it remains relevant particularly to the needs of the enlarged African and Caribbean heritage community in Watford and the surrounding areas.

Clive Saunders Chair of the organisation says “it is critical that we continue to serve the needs of the established African Caribbean community, but we are conscious that we also need to look at the needs of the newly arrived and also to look at people living and working in and around the Watford area.  We need the survey information to help us improve on the delivery of our services. For us this is big opportunity to outreach into the communities and if we are to continue to satisfy their needs then their engagement and response is critical

A survey of community views has been commissioned and they are inviting all persons to be involved.Image

Please contact Noel Ackers at WACA because you should be involved in this exciting survey on 01923 216957 or email him at hello@wacas.org.uk

Or alternatively please contact Maxine James of Equinox Consulting who have been commissioned to run this survey on survey@equinoxconsulting.net or on 02086805678 or go to their website at www.equinoxconsulting.net for more information and download a questionnaire to fill and return.

You can also fill in the survey at https://surveymonkey.com/s/wacamatters

Equinox are working with the Trustees of WACA to determine the needs of the community, especially the African Caribbean community and develop services to meet the needs identified.  We are gathering information on the community by consulting widely with stakeholders including:

  • Existing and potential members of WACA
  • Management committee members and staff
  • Councillors and Council officers
  • Community organisations and community leaders
  • Funders and statutory sector organisations