Mr. Speaker, I rise to support my hon. Colleague who made the Statement and to say that culture definitely is the identity of a people; it is the soul of every society, and any society that does not recognise its culture would lose its value in the face of other societies.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, it is timely that the hon. Colleague made this Statement because Ghana is at the forefront of leading Africa in most of the things that we see today; in development strides, in our democracy and in our outlook for getting Africa to be united, Ghana is always found at the forefront. But Mr. Speaker, it is sad that in Ghana, we are beginning to lose this very important value which gives us the identity and the forward movement and the strides we are making in leading Africa.
Mr. Speaker, if you take Japan, for example, it is a country that has accepted western cultural practices, their way of life in terms of their ingenuity in developments and inventions. But Mr. Speaker, they have indigenized all these things; they have domesticated them. They take them as they are, and bring them to Japan. And they make sure that by the time the thing becomes something made-in-Japan it is completely “Japanesed” and not westernised at all.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who
made the Statement bemoaned the personality of the Ghanaian youth now -- the way they dress, the way they talk -- everything. I want to say that it is because the Ghanaian adult is not reflecting what the youth should reflect. We do not teach our children at school to love Ghana. The Ghanaian flag, for example, is no longer as much regarded as we should; somebody can wave it and we will not be satisfied.
Mr. Speaker, it is important that we start it all from our schools and ensure that we teach our young people the Ghanaian culture, how to love the language we teach and how to use it wherever we go.
Mr. Speaker, the sad thing about development is when we cannot recognise development policy or when we cannot recognise our culture in our development policy; but that is exactly what is happening now. Every development policy, if you look at it completely, is devoid of what will make Ghanaians better. What it does is to ensure that we make others feel better so we can gain from them. But that is not all about development; development is to indigenise your culture.
The development we see outside, wherever we are bringing it from, when it comes to Ghana, it must come out or go out into the world with a Ghanaian identity and a Ghanaian tag on it. Anytime it does not reflect that sense, Mr. Speaker, we would be losing exactly what we represent by culture.
Culture does not only mean the food we eat, the dresses we wear and how we speak, but the identity in the things we produce, the commitment we have to development and the fact that we respect the moral values that were inculcated in us when we were growing. Anytime we find young people beginning to respect America, Britain or France more than they will respect Ghana, or in file trying to leave the country, it is a message to us that we have to do something about teaching our culture.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I would urge the National Commission on Culture -- they have come out with a cultural policy -- to ensure that we streamline it more carefully and ensure that it is sent to all Departments, Ministries, and Agencies so that any time they do their budgets -- budgets today also include policies -- they include aspects of our culture that will make what we do more authentic, more Ghanaian, and be identified with a tag on it that will make it Ghanaian.
In this way we would be respecting ourselves, we would be sending out messages to our young people that there is the need for us to reflect Ghanaian culture and the Ghanaian identity.
Alhaji M. M. Mubarak (NDC --
Asawase): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made on our culture.
Mr. Speaker, it is very, very important that we as Ghanaians begin to reflect Ghana. So much has been said about dressing already; I would want to emphasise on the pride of being a Ghanaian, the food and what we show on our television and radio.
Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the pride, it is definitely something that everyone here would agree that the youth of today, including myself, most of us find it very difficult to be proud of our country. It is something we have to work on and make sure that we are surely very, very proud of our country.
Mr. Speaker, you ride on the streets of our major cities and you will see the elderly and vibrant youth flagging the flag of America, France or Britain in their vehicles, and we think this does not have effect on the children that they are giving birth to and those who see them passing
by? Someone will build a whole house and he will hang the flag of America on it because he had stayed in America; and the message that he gives to the youth and the children is that there is a country that they must be proud of and not the one they are living in.
It is very, very important that we in our own small way should try as much as possible, with all our weaknesses to be very proud of our country. It is the only way that we can sustain our country, our economy and to be also recognized one day as a leading country in our own respect.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to look at the kind of food that we eat and its effect on our culture and the economy. Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of being in Nigeria and I stayed in a five-star hotel. When we came down to eat, almost every local dish that you could think of in Nigeria was found in the five-star hotel. You go to our hotels, five-star hotels in this country, and ask of fufu and they will tell you, “No, we do not serve that here”.
Mr. Speaker, we cannot be proud of ourselves when we cannot even manifest our food in such institutions. And when you go, all you do is to eat rice; you eat things that you do not truly grow.