• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Beauty of Remembrance …

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With his tiny legs close to the foot of the 10.8 feet tall status, and hands clutch around the legs of the status, a little boy sustains his gaze on the image before him and wonders when he will grow tall like the status.

While still wondering, his elder brother is posing for photograph with a foreigner at a tomb a few metres away without being scared of the dead. Even the newly-wed see the mausoleum as a vantage photography spot for their wedding pictures.

“Beauty of Remembrance,” echoes the child’s Ghanaian father, who brings them for a picnic. The man regrets that his legs and neither his son’s will fit into the shoes of the Ghanaian Elder Statesman.

Of course, there is no place in the whole of the old Gold Coast that reflects the Beauty of Remembrance than the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.

Designed in a style reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, the park brings every visitor to a moment of stillness that leaves them wondering how much a single person accomplished in his life time, and queries why a quarter of the feat are yet to be achieved in present day.

The achievements of Nkrumah as eulogise and immortalised in the park are yet the big shoes that the legs of new generation may probably not fit in. No wonder his people call him Osagyefo; meaning “redeemer” in Twi language.

But the park is most befitting as more than 2000 visitors throng the place to see, hear, read more and photograph the resting place of Osagyefo.

Apart from the usual ‘Akwaaba’- welcome from a very hospitable and warm heart from the gate before telling visitors the cost of entry, the pictures, quotes and write-ups of Nkrumah well-packaged and presented in a facing projector boards immediately after the entrance gate, further the welcome. The scene is a mini-exhibition on its own.

A further walk, after feting on the rich contents of the mini-exhibition, exposes you to two reflective pools that draw you forward to the bronze statue of Nkrumah. Each pool had two rows of kneeling, bare-chested pipers, their right arms parallel to the pool as they play their instruments. The edges of the pool are also adorned with more diminutive fountains.

In a sunny afternoon, the gold exterior of the bronze status always shimmers in the afternoon glaze from as far as approximately 100 steps from the main gate.

With two larger fountains that flank the status, the scene is serene amid glamour.

Near the main entrance, there is a statue of a man playing a guitar with a rounded face and five smaller statues of men playing drums; they are clad in the national dress. Trees are dotted throughout the park, but they had not been planted close together — this makes the park seem more open. It was very well manicured and spotless — like Accra itself.

After feting on the beautiful landscape of the park, the museum beckons.

Inside the museum, Amah Mensah, the curator, takes you on a journey into Nkrumah’s life. From his study desk, a selection of books from his library, his personal belonging in university days and during his reign as president and black-and-white photos that prove he was a man that operated in wealthy and affluent circles, the museum is worth seeing.

On leaving the museum, there is yet a sight that will sadden you. Against a backdrop of three single palm trees sits a bronzed statue in two parts that has been rusted to a chestnut hue: Nkrumah’s head is atop a marble block; the rest of his body is on another block, the right arm raised to the sky, the left arm broken just above the elbow.

Moving a little closer to the statue, the inscription reads: The original statue of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah which stood in front of parliament house opposite old polo grounds, Accra attacked by a mob, vandalised as it stands now in the wake of a military with police coup d’etat on 24th February 1966, recovered for the national museum in 1975, this is on loan to KNMP from Ghana Museums and Monuments Board mounted on 11th June 2007.

Before leaving the park, the question on every visitor’ lips that saw the damaged status is “why on earth will someone vandalise Nkrumah’s status?”

But the curator who sees his guests off to the gate always answers rhetorically – the vandalised status is a reason to visit, please come again and tell your countrymen to come and see it.

OBINNA EMELIKE