I ignored all the talk of how extravagant the structure was to construct. Like it or not, we need these things. Ghana is itself – like most states – an artificial construct, and the varied and different people within these borders need more than flags, songs and Black Stars to hold us together.
People underestimate the importance of history and symbols to the idea of the nation-state. The Golden Stool, for example, remains the stuff of Asante legend today, its history intimately tied in with the pride and identity of the Asante people.
Consider the kind of patriotism that Americans derive from their flag, their national anthem and such buildings as the White House or the Jefferson Memorial. These things did not spring up overnight. Someone once decided on their creation in spite of other pressing issues of the day. Centuries later, they are important symbols of American national identity, pride and history.
On account of this (and a general need in the capital for more interesting architecture), I can get past the construction of a structure more befitting of our Head of State than a former slave castle. What I can’t get past though is the name.
After all this time, all that money, all the controversy…
‘Golden Jubilee House.’
That’s the best they could come up with? A name our children’s children’s children are supposed to say with some semblance of pride? And the Golden Jubilee of what exactly? Ghana is 51. The place already has a historical headstart, incorporating the very same Flagstaff House that housed our first President and his family. Why didn’t they just leave it at that? Flagstaff House was just fine and is certainly less pedestrian than ‘Golden Tree H‘… sorry, ‘Golden Jubilee House‘.
A friend of mine heard the name on BBC news this morning and texted me all the way from the UK to say that he thought Ghanaians were a bit more sophisticated than that. I thought we were too so I’m curious to know which misguided individual came up with a name more befitting of an office building in Adabraka.