The Debt


True story: I once met a taxi driver who explained Ghana’s developmental woes to me in simple spiritual terms.

Taxi drivers have all the answers, but we don’t hear them. Accra is noisy, and we like our rides quiet. Or we have just been raised to speak to people, rather than listen to them.

The way he told it, to perform a feat as epic as black independence from a hundred years of white rule, Kwame Nkrumah obviously cut a deal with a spirit:

A blood oath.

Citing biblical chapter and verse, the driver broke down how blood oaths are like loans except instead of borrowing money, you borrow power. As with a loan, you must put down a deposit: the more the deposit, the more power you receive. Nkrumah needed a lot of power to pull off the miracle of African independence.

So he pledged to the spirit the souls of all of Ghana’s unborn children.

The risk must have seemed small: Nkrumah believed in his plans for our fledgeling nation. He would have little trouble securing whatever was needed to alleviate the debt.

Unfortunately for us all – the driver explained – Nkrumah was exiled and died before he could repay whatever debt he owed.

And so our nation is destined to forever be stuck in developmental purgatory until we discover what the debt is, the spirit to whom it is owed, and settle it.

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