On Friday, 7th March 2014, Ghanaians from all walks of life and their families gathered at the beautiful Sealine Beach Resort in Messaied, part of the Industrial heartland of Qatar, to celebrate Ghana’s 57th National Day. As would be expected, families turned out in colourful attire reflecting Ghana’s cultural diversity, but with one common theme for the day: “We Are One”.

Among the social activities on the day were swimming for the youth and a football competition which pitched professionals against non-professional footballers. This was followed by cultural displays by a Ghanaian Youth Cultural Group with classic Agbadza, Adowaa and “Azonto” dances among others. The Ghana National Anthem and other original Ghanaian patriotic songs were led by a local Singing Group with active participation of the crowd of between 600 to 700 Ghanaians, their families and friends from other nationalities.

This was the first time in many years that the Ghanaian Diaspora in Qatar had come together in such a fashion and with team work and good organization, buses were laid out to transport families from all the regions of Qatar for the occasion.

In his opening remarks, Dr David Nkansah, a Ghanaian medical consultant at the Al Wakrah hospital reflected on Ghana’s journey since independence on 6th March 1957, and observed how much impact both the nation and individual Ghanaians have made within Ghana and on the international scene. He said: “As our country has grown in stature on the world stage, so has it made tremendous strides to build a confident nation of people proud in their national identity and respected everywhere they go. As individuals we have all in our various little ways continued to ‘brighten the corner where we are’ and there is ample evidence of the impact that people of Ghanaian origin continue to make in all walks of life throughout the world”.

With respect to the small but growing Ghanaian community in Qatar, Dr Nkansah said there are about 3,000 adults and their families living and working in Qatar, and that “apart from the excellence with which all these various groups of people discharge their duties, one thing that is particularly true is that they do their work with a smile, and are renowned for their hard work, dedication to duty, honesty and integrity”. He also remarked on Ghana’s hard-earned reputation reflected in the richness of its diversity of culture, dialects and languages; and the level of religious tolerance, harmony and blend which for a country almost evenly split in terms of the percentage population of Muslims and Christians, plus other religions, has remained peaceful and peace-loving and one of the most stable, safe and secure countries in the whole of Africa, and a place for foreigners to come and visit as tourists or do business with the confidence that they will enjoy our hospitality and warmth throughout their time with us. One of the major objectives of this social occasion was to bring Ghanaians together, with the view to formally registering the “Ghanaians in Qatar Association” to support the welfare of our citizens in that country. In this regard Dr Nkansah said: “coming together as we are doing today, or more importantly as a “people with one identity and with a common destiny”, should not be seen as a ‘one-off’ or something to celebrate only once a year on Independence Day, but rather to unite us and provide a solid platform for the future”.

Looking ahead, Dr Nkansah suggested that this successful social occasion should serve as a catalyst in bringing about the goal of formalising the association and seeking Ghana government recognition and Consular support. He also saw it as an opportunity for Ghanaians living and working in Qatar to promote Ghanaian culture to the host country whilst at the same time seeking the welfare of all Ghanaian citizens in the country. Mr Stanley Jones, a renowned paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon also urged Ghanaians to remember “who we are, work closely together, look out for each other and also look after our health”.

As one would expect, a wide variety of Ghanaian food was on display and enjoyed by all. The social programme was well coordinated by an award-winning Ghanaian lady – Mrs. Ruby Attricki or Mama Afrika whose tireless efforts helped to make the day and events a stellar success. The event was closed with the cutting of the Ghana at 57 Indece Cake, specially made in the Classic Red, Gold and Green Colours with the shining Black Star in the middle, donated by the Management of the Sealine Beach Resort.

By Paul Amuna, Albert Fiawosime, Stephen Adjei & Leonard Torsu