Been observing this Achimota School-dreadlock drama for some time. Here’s my take. Rules are rules. The many responsible men and women we see out there have all been shaped and fashioned by various rules, regulations and guidelines either from the home, church, community and in many cases, school. But have all these guidelines, rules and regulations been truly helpful?
Are some still relevant in this new age? I must admit I find it strange that in 2021, someone’s rights to education are being questioned over the “construct” of his hair. Not his intellect, not his ability to become a national asset in the areas of Arts, Maths or even the sciences…his HAIR! But is the debate one of a personal hairstyle preference or a debate triggered by religion? If it is an issue of style and preference then I would humbly plead that our authorities take a second look at this questionable “decree” that smacks of intimidation, discrimination and even to some extent, racism! How will the locks make other students uncomfortable? How will the locs affect his performance?
Or wait, will the locs perhaps turn into snakes at midnight and hound other students? Can someone please help me understand why I cannot wear my hair the way I want to school in 2021? Let’s even leave the public schools and turn our focus on the private schools that allow any kind of hair preference on their premises. Do we have any records of any troubles being created? I don’t think so. On the other hand, If it is an issue of religion; if these lads who want to wear locks in school are insisting on that because it’s a religious requirement they cannot forgo, then by all means, let’s all stand with Achimota because allowing it, could be very very detrimental!
A wise man, Eric Weiner, once said “Religion is like a knife. If you use it the wrong way you can cut yourself” “Massaging” institutionalized procedure to favour one’s religion is a dangerous path we should not take! The repercussions could be terrible because once it’s done to favour religion A, it must be done to favour all and who knows what religion B might ask for? A school, like the military, is a place to learn many things, but the most important from where I sit is discipline! I’ve heard many people speak about oppression, freedom and many others in relation to this particular subject. But guess what, without discipline, there cannot be real freedom!
That’s why more than six decades after attaining independence we still question our freedom because we have not been disciplined enough in managing our own affairs as Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah declared. But let’s leave that debate for another day. Achimota School is undoubtedly one of the finest intuitions we have in this country. The institution that nurtured and gave us legends like James K. Aggrey, Joyce Ababio, Kwame Addo-Kuffuor, late former Heads of State, Jerry John Rawlings, John Evans Atta-Mills, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, musicians King Bruce, Reggie Rockstone, Richie Mensah, former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Samia Nkrumah, TV star Berla Mundi and a lot more.
I am pretty sure that better than anyone else, they do understand the full construct of their crest. The black and white keys of a piano over an inscription that translates as “That they all may be one”. Is there a better way to express diversity? To all my dreadlocked (religious or otherwise) out there. Let us not tear each other up or hurl invectives at one of Africa’s greatest educational institutions. Rasta is gentle. Rasta is wise. Rasta is strong. Rasta is obedient. Rasta understands and follows rules. Rasta is disciplined. If Achimota school cannot take Rasta, let Rasta move on.
That said, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to some well to do Rastas out there. Can we come together to fund these lads through private school? Until Rasta builds schools like the Muslims, Catholics, Methodists, SDAs and so on have, can Rasta hold its own to ensure no one pushes Rasta about over-rules Rasta must obey in everyone’s interest?
Life is one big road with lots of signs,
So when you riding through the ruts,
Don’t you complicate your mind Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy
Don’t bury your thoughts; put your vision to reality
– Bob Marley!
The writer is popularly known by his stage name Samini, is a Reggae and Dance hall recording artiste from Wa.
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