Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Who stole our sense of national pride?

Hit on that link if you will and read the story about the Ghanaian boy in WWE who doesn't want to be known as a Ghanaian.

This is the official WWE site with pictures and all about him.

Ok, now let's see how this goes with our sense of National Pride, assuming there is one.
Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah, (a very Ghanaian name at that) decides that for publicity sake, he'll adopt a stage name Kofi Kingston to represent his brought on Jamaican identity. Now while we may all be originally African or black for that matter, we still need to ask ourselves why? Why will a well-bred Ghana-man decide that he prefers to be Jamaican?
Let's look at both sides of the story. Those of us born and raised in the motherland most of our lives realize how many of our friends pretended to be from outside the country so they could be given some respect above their comrades. And needless to say, some of them did.
Even now, as we have all grown and departed from our childhood dreams of being the british or american bred child, some of us still live in that fantasy.
People travel on vacation for three months and accents change considerably. Move a Ghanaian to Japan/China/Thailand and they'll still come back with a slang. Move a Nigerian anywhere and they'll still maintain their Nigerian accent. What is wrong with us as Ghanaians?
We owe a lot to the Black Stars. Seriously, were it not for them we wouldn't have this many flags selling on our streets. It was only until then was some sense of nationalism instilled into our people.
What is it about Ghana that no one wants to be associated with?
Are we that bad? HUH? Kofi Annan stuck with his true identity and that hasn't taken a morsel out of his dignity has it?
Neeway, I just can't bring myself to understand why Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah would exchange his identity just for fame. It just seems lame to me that he would do such a thing. All the same, it seems to be working for him.
But who am I, maybe if I were in his position, for fame sake, I might just do exactly what he's doing. But to deny your origin and put up a fake Jamaican accent, it's near pathetic!
I think we should deliberate on the untold reasons resulting in our citizens denying their heritage. I'm not exactly the quintessential patriotic Ghanaian, but I would like the opportunity to etch the name of Ghana in stone everywhere I go. If I deny that, I deny who I am and I deny my purpose here on earth. But who cares?
Ghana isn't a bad place to be from, but then again with national heroes like Agya Koo, we might seek a redress. Otherwise, we have me for crying out loud. Seriously, although we might have our challenges, we need not deny it just because it doesn't fit into our personality, we should try and efface the negative publicity that goes out of Ghana and recreate the Ghana we want to see and feel proud of from afar.
Need I say more?


Fenuku Agyeman said...

For years sports entertainers (professional wrestlers) have adopted gimmicks to grab the audience's sense of attention in order to set themselves apart (with a unique identity). To be successful in the ring, in-ring ability alone will not cut it. You must have a wide array of talents and a good gimmick is usually one of them.
Mark "The Undertaker" Calaway, a Caucasian, portrays an eerie deadman (it's his gimmick). Glen "Kane" Jacobs, born in Spain, portrays an schizophrenic, mentally unstable individual (it's his gimmick). Adam "Edge" Copeland, Canadian-born, portrays a vice-ridden womanizer (it's his gimmick). Race gimmicks have also been done before. The late great Rodney "Yokozuna" Anoa'i (Samoan) portrayed the gimmick of a Japanese sumo wrestler. Mark "Muhammad Hassan" Copani, (Italy/Jordan) portrayed an enraged Arab American. Current ECW wrestler, Hazem "Armando Estrada" Ali (Palestinian) portrays a Cuban businessman. You see, its all been done before, however, this is the first time a Ghanaian is doing it so I can see how it strikes a nationalistic nerve for you. I myself was a little irked at first but I realize, it's the mere portrayal of a gimmick.
Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah is doing exactly this. Now I can't speak for the guy myself but I don't think anyone would be ashamed of their background (especially in today's enlightened society). What Kofi is doing is simply portraying a gimmick, this one happens to be Kofi Kingston, a Jamaican-born, laid-back fan favorite. By doing this, he is labeled "The first male Jamaican wrestler" to break out into mainstream. He wouldn't have the same recognition if he were to portray someone of Ghanaian decent because Prince Nana Osei Bandoh was the first to break into mainstream.
So speaking as a huge wrestling fan and a Ghanaian son myself, I can respect what the guy is doing.

famosfreddy said...

I suppose.
I guess whatever works for him abi?
But to deny his parentage and adopt a fake Jamaican accent? Don't you think that's a bit much?
How about the 1st African to break through into mainstream wrestling?
I mean it's not that i'm that nationalistic, but i just think it odd that he does that. Anyway, what man for do?

fenuku agyeman said...

Yeah I understand what your trying to say. Going as far as to imitating a completely different accent is a stretch. I guess in the end, I'll have to look at it from a personal perspective:
Would I personally do something like this myself for free? No way, my roots mean too much for me. However, would I personally do something like this for a six-figure salary a year, maybe. Whatever puts bread on the table right?

famosfreddy said...

You bet! A lot of us do that for much less anyway. Leave a Ghanaian in UK for 3months and they come up punctuating every sentence with "ain't it", take them to the US for a week and they have an american accent. Take them even to China or India and they come back with American accents.
I guess we don't quite believe in ourselves. shame shame shame.

p.s. you have a blog i can check out?