I had most of my basic education in Kumasi, which means the Ghanaian Language I studied in school was Asante Twi, an Akan language.
In Junior High School (J.H.S.), we had a strict but interesting “Twi teacher” we called Agya, which means “Daddy” in the Akan language. Unsurprisingly, he managed to finish the 3-year syllabus for his subject by the end of the second year. In our final year, we used our Twi lesson periods to answer past B.E.C.E (Basic Education Certificate Examination) questions. He gave us 10 multiple choice questions to answer and warned that if you scored less than 8 out of 10, you were going to get a spanking for every wrong answer you gave. To escape getting punished, we managed to consult one another for the answers we didn’t know or weren’t sure of.
There was this particular question that said, “What does ‘Awo’ mean”. The options were maame (mother), sowaa (auntie) and nanabaa (grandma). Nobody around me was sure what the answer was so we consulted among ourselves. Everybody, except me, came to an agreement that the answer was “Grandma”. Most of the people around me were Akans and I wasn’t but I had a knack for reading languages though I’m bad at learning to speak. I was quite certain the answer was mother but the majority, whose local language we were studying, thought otherwise.
“What do you know? Do you think this is English or Ga?” were the words of Stephanie and those were the words that made me reconsider my answer for theirs. At the end of the day, MY initial answer was right but “OUR” answer was wrong. Agya punished me, deservingly, for scored 7 out of 10. After the class, I told Stephanie, “You see what I said?”
Her reply was, “My friend, you didn’t know the answer, if you did, you wouldn’t have LISTENED TO US.”
Although this was a regular class work, the message has stuck with me till now. The popular opinion is not always the right thing. The whole world can be wrong and you may be the only one right. Imagine if I ignored everybody and listened to myself and became the only one who had it right. The respect I would have had. I allowed the world to steal my pride and later threw it at me. Do you really believe what you claim to believe if you don’t act your belief?