With a demand for Ghanaians to reject linguistic imperialism, the Akwapem Twi translation of the Ghanaian Constitution was unveiled in Accra.
Mr. Kwasi Opare, a renowned lawyer, wrote the 1992 Constitution in Akuapem Twi, the first of its kind in Ghanaian history. He needed eight years to convert the official national legal document to Akuapem Twi.
The translation accurately conveys the prologue, all 26 chapters, and two schedules. Additionally, utilizing Akan spellings, it has transliterated and used neologism.
Professor Kofi Agyekum, acting dean of the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana (UG), spoke at the launch and observed that while Ghanaians were delighted to have gained independence in 1957, the nation was still subject to linguistic bondage as a result of linguistic imperialism.
Language imperialism, as defined by the previous head of Linguistics, UG, “phenomenon in which the minds and lives of the speakers of a language are dominated by another language to the point where they believed that they can, and should use only that foreign language.”
He pointed out that linguistic imperialism had forced the country to issue all of its official documents in the language of the colonial ruler.
“Sadly, our constitution, the pillar of our undertaking as a state, is also in English. Where is our identity and cultural heritage then?” He quizzed.
Therefore, he exhorted people to preserve, maintain, and record Ghana’s languages for future generations.
“We should not allow linguistics imperialism to thrive. It will trample on our linguistic human rights. Let us embark on active language decolonization through translation like this one,” he stressed
Prof. Agyekum lauded Kwasi Opare “who dreamt so big towards language decolonization to translate the 1992 constitution into Akuapem Twi.”
He said that nations like Brazil, Bolivia, South Africa, and Tanzania have taken the initiative to translate their national constitution into a number of native languages.
The national legal document, he claimed, was user-friendly and would be useful in many homes, thus translating it into Akuapem Twi would not provide any difficulties for Akan speakers or readers.
Prof. Agyekum noted that “our indigenous Ghanaian language can serve us all in diverse ways of life if we are anxious to develop them to the maximum.
Akan was being used in Education, media, Arts and Culture, Religion, Commerce and Trade and ICT, he said.