My life changed forever on June 4th, 1979 when there was a military coup in Ghana. It was also the last time Ghana experienced a political unrest of such magnitude. Thankfully, Ghana is now a shining example of democracy in Africa, and I believe with all my heart that this has come to stay.
It happened when the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) took over power under the leadership of Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings. I was then in primary school in Accra, the capital of Ghana. My school was situated right next to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation(GBC), the number one facility of interest during coup-d’etats, as it was the only means of disseminating information across the entire country via the air waves at the time. This is in sharp contrast to the current situation in 2015 with over 3,000 radio stations.
Earlier that day, on the way to school, we started hearing gunshots and occasional explosions and knew something was up, but we still made it to school and what a day that was! At a point as the shots started to sound closer and closer. Suddenly, a loud bang made us hit the floor again when an armored police vehicle crashed through a wall not far away from our classroom. Meanwhile it was raining cats and dogs outside.
Soon I was totally alone trying to reach the highway. I could hear the gunshots and explosions play over and over again in my mind. I was worried I could get hit if I walked on the side of the road, so I decided to run alongside a ditch below the road. There was so much water running in the ditch from the rain, that I got swept up by the current and pinned against some metal bars under a bridge. I still remember that feeling of utter desperation. I sustained some cuts and bruises from rocks and other debris flowing with the water and lost my shoes and school books, but somehow I made it out alive.
I stood by the road shaking from fear and cold. My clothes were wet and muddy. An orange car pulled over and picked me up gave me ride home where it was much safer,even though it was not far from my school.
I know there are so many others in different parts of the world, especially in Africa, who are fighting daily for their lives and have been denied the right to live as a free human being. I know that so many must live in constant fear as a result of political instability and unrest that results in the displacement or loss of their families and loved ones. My experience gave me just a little insight into what it must be like to live in places controlled by extremist groups like those we hear about on the news all the time. I can only imagine that it is like a living nightmare and my heart goes out to all of those suffering.
The title track of my latest album “Time For Peace” is based on this experience as a young child and the desperate need for peace and understanding in this world. Even though the album is for sale on iTunes, CD Baby, etc., I would like to offer you a free download of this track as a gesture of my deep appreciation for your support.
Thanks for staying with me on this.