I received an e-mail from my friend Eric Manu this morning. He wrote from his home in Cape Coast to remind me that today is Independence Day in Ghana. On March 6, 1957 Ghana became free of British colonial rule.
Ghana has a rich and troubled history; centuries of the slave trade and many decades of colonial rule. Like many countries in Africa Ghana has had its share of misery and missteps over the past five decades of independence as well, including, at times, inept leadership rife with corruption and severe economic challenges. Changes in government came through military coups; the last one led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings in 1982.
Rawlings ruled Ghana militarily until 1992 when he was voted in as president of Ghana through free election. He served two terms until the year 2000 when John Kofour won election and power was transferred peacefully in Ghana for the first time. It was one year later that 10 members of the DeWolf family visited Ghana as part of the journey that resulted in the film Traces of the Trade and the book Inheriting the Trade.
This past December John Atta Mills was elected president and the reigns of power have once again been peacefully transferred. Ghana stands as a shining beacon of peace and hope in West Africa. I look forward to returning one day.