Where do you live? Within a city or on the outskirts? In a slum or in an orderly arranged neighborhood? Are you proud to tell people where you happen to rest after a long day of stress or you belong to the growing number of people who find the closest cool neighborhood to rep as your own? There may be many legitimate reasons to justify your answers to these questions and of course first impressions lasts and where you live play a pivotal role so we tend to understand even before you speak.
The story of Ashaiman is one that resonates with many. What are the first three things that come to mind when you think about this city; filth, crime and slum or Stonebwoy, economic centre or vibrant energetic youth. Living the first 11 years of my life in Tema makes it easy to relate all those things to Ashaiman but then, we moved to a new settlement closer to Ashaiman than Tema and this ignites the thoughts of the latter. This is what TEDxAfariwaa dreamt to inspire.
With the initial idea of naming the independently organized TED Talk as TEDxAshaiman, the curators had to settle for TEDxAfariwaa to meet the requirements and brought together young Ghanaian entrepreneurs and change makers who have lived within the corners of this city and beyond. The event which was held at ICGC within one of the many Ashaiman communities known by few as Christian Village close to Tema International School and Tema Ridge School and within the neighborhood of community 22 is the perfect location to initiate a discussion on this matter. Will you call this location Tema or Ashaiman and why will you probably choose either?
Why do certain class of people prefer not to be associated with this city? Is there nothing good from Ashaiman? The biggest success story of Ashaiman will be Stonebwoy and more recently Abraham Attah all in the entertainment industry but I believe there are many untold success stories of this city. Nonetheless, one cannot run past the problems of cities like Ashaiman, Nima, Korle Gonno and the likes and preach about their successes without finding ways to tackle troubling persisting issues of sanitation, overcrowding, security and many others that have marred the image of these cities.
Within many of our cities are established institutions, celebrated personalities and a growing educated youth who can turn the ship in the right direction and lead the change for a clean, organized, secure community but have we done enough? Can our communities be proud of us like how we pride ourselves with the closest by ours? Will we be willing to allow our children to live and work in these communities?
The story of the new Ghana will depend on you as a catalyst of change from down to up as we put our leaders on the spot for change from top to down. May your choice of association with where you live reflect the hope of a new city and not the fear of stigmatization for being true to where you live.