Yesterday was Guinea’s Independence Day. To celebrate, I decided to pull a slight twist on the “twenty things about me” game as an ode to the nation as well as to help cure the slight grudge that I hold when I think my friends no dey try know my country at all at all :). I first posted it on my Instagram and I figured I should share here as well. Read, memorize and recite the next time you see me please :-).
1. Guinea’s flag colors are the pan-African Red, Yellow and Green. They match up to our motto : Travail, Justice, Solidarité.
2. That makes sense, the pan-African choice. For much of the sixties and beyond, Guinea was home to revolutionaries such as Kwame Ture and Miriam Makeba. Pata Pata
3. Kwame Nkrumah was co-President of Guinea during his exile from Ghana. Unfortunately, he died in Guinea. However, because of him, every Guinean of a certain age can say this in English: “I am going to Ghana” (Nkrumah voice). That makes me sad. No man should be denied the comfort of home. He wanted it so much. Also, I went to school in Ghana, after every visit home on my way back all the grown ups had one thing to say to me. You guessed it. “I’m going to Ghana”. Sigh
4. Guinea, magnanimously, adopted the French language as its official language. Vous etes la bien venue les Francais.
5. Sekou Toure, the first president of Guinea, made sure to pass one of the most progressive gender laws in the region. Imagine this, in a Muslim majority country he managed to make it illegal for men to marry (civil marriage) second wives without their wives’ consent. Sip.
6. The capital city is Conakry, an island city that has an impressive aerial view. Meet me in Conakry!
7. Guinea engaged in some light Marxism, very briefly, back in the day. Vive la revolution!
8. We have so much bauxite, we haven’t a clue what to do with it. Literally and tragic.
9. Like Mali and Senegal, Guinea has a vibrant Griot culture. This means abundant good music and story telling, however obscure. In fact, that J Cole song “Can’t get Enough” samples a Guinean song “Paulette” by Balla et ses Balladins”. How his producer came across that I don’t even know. Much respect.
10. Guineans love holidays so much that if they fall on the weekend, we still take a weekday off to compensate for it! Wenjoyment!
(2 October, 1958) Deux Octobre, Mille Neuf Cent Cinquante Huit!