Accra should sell the Ghanaian identity

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Since yesterday, it has dawn on me that my city, Accra is undergoing some serious changes of which I have not been totally oblivious to but just that I totally ignore them for what it worth until now. I went to central Accra yesterday and noticed that the city is being transformed right before mine eyes and it would be a matter of time that I cannot recognise my city that I use to know anymore.

In recent years, major infrastructure developments are been undertaken in my city with regards to the siting of high rise buildings (apartment, offices, parking spaces etc.) and shopping malls. I am not sure what my real feelings are in regards to this key transformation of my city’s landscape, but I know am concern about it losing its unique identity. Certainly, I know we live a dynamic world of which my older relatives will definitely tell me that the Accra I know when growing up is totally different from what they knew when they were growing. However, I will be sad to see my city losing its identity as a Ghanaian city in our quest to be a modern city comparable to other modernised cities around the global or to be sad that.

Since yesterday, I have being pondering what I will likely miss if Accra becomes totally modernised. For now, on top of my head I know two things that I will miss. First, with the proliferation of shopping malls with supermarkets all over the city, I strongly feel that I will totally miss the ambience of our local markets (Kaneshie, Makola etc.) especially the bargaining aspect.  Bargaining in our local markets allows the customer and trader to have one on one engagement which is absent in the supermarkets. As a student of tourism, bargaining at our local markets can be one of Unique Selling Point (USP) to tourists who are not used to such practice. A few years back, I had opportunity to visit Bali, Indonesia and the tour guide who took my friends and me around one of their local markets told us that bargaining is the difference between their markets and developed world’s supermarkets. The joy that comes with being able to negotiate for price of any item is not irreplaceable to me.

Moreover, the trickery and tactics that traders master to sweet talk a customer to buy their wares is a sight to behold. I always feel strange when I am shopping in any of the malls because I get the sense that  the sale staff are not that so interested  in what am picking from the shelves but rather they want to make sure that you do not shop lift any item.  So their demeanour is not that friendly because they always on the watch out!

Secondly, I like how we build our buildings not the high rise buildings that are springing up in the city. It is well and good that we want utilised our lands to the best that we can. But do we as a city have regulations to how high the buildings should be or do we have specific style of building these skyscrapers that can portray the identity of Ghana. Some years ago, a tour guide I met in Bali said that their buildings are not suppose be higher than a coconut tree while in Singapore, a skyscraper cannot go more than 230 metres in height.

Ghana aims to be a leading tourist destination so it will be nice if our city authorities will factor our unique identity as a Ghanaian city to the skyscrapers that are being built. Contemporary tourists are looking for authentic experience difference from what they are used to from their home countries. We can learn from Curacao and the Netherlands who have maintained their unique style maintaining or building their buildings as can be seen in the pictures posted.

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About Ada Adoley Allotey
An individual who is passionate about tourism especially travelling to new places or destinations. Travelling really open up your mind, gives an opportunity to meet new people whose ways of living, thinking etc. are quite different from own and also makes you to appreciate the different opinions that are shared across the world even though you may disagree with them.

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