You were ordained Ghanaian, but not quite by people that glanced at you sideways if you were rich.
To them being Ghanaian meant going through struggle and you never had. It wasn’t your fault that your parents had made a lot of money someway, somehow while theirs had struggled with jobs that now forgot to regularly pay their pensions. It wasn’t your fault, and they didn’t care. You were rich, which meant you were a snob. It was your fault that they had an inferiority complex around you. It was your fault that they couldn’t talk about the new second-hand BMW that their father had bought and that they were so proud of, because you probably owned a newer version of that car and you weren’t even old enough to drive. You had a lot, and they didn’t. And they’d never forgive you for that.
And truth be told, it wasn’t their faults either. They had their parents’ lips pressed to their ears, telling them not to entertain your friendship and focus on learning hard so that they could, someday, even the playing field. Their parents told them that your parents had money, so you didn’t have to struggle. You didn’t know the Ghanaian way. You wouldn’t amount to shit, you spoilt brat. That’s exactly what you were; a spoilt brat. You probably threw tantrums when the maid brought your laundry to your room and there was a coloured stain on your white boxer shorts. They told their children to stay away from you and your spoilt brat ways because it kept them safe from unreasonable demands they couldn’t afford. You were a cancer to society, a part of the 1% and you were going to give their children a taste of a life that they would probably never have. They needed to know their place; to place their ambitions at a reasonable height so that if they fell trying to reach them it wouldn’t kill them. You were the thing that was going to destroy all their hard work.
You had ideas too, didn’t you? You didn’t think it was such a big deal for someone to chase their dreams, no matter how ‘absurd’ those dreams were. You didn’t equate money to happiness; success to the number of houses you had. Anyone can build a house, you’d say, but how many people can make a mark on the world? Yes, you dared spread such outlandish ideas. You dared undo years and years of mental conditioning and found ways of convincing Kwame that he would be happier as a pianist than as a doctor. You who never had to struggle a day in your life! You who didn’t know what it meant to be uncertain of where tomorrow’s food would be coming from. You couldn’t even speak any local language. You who watched so much American television growing up that you didn’t even sound Ghanaian! You always had it easy, didn’t you? You never worked a day in your life, did you? You spoilt brat.
It hurt you.
You didn’t understand why people should shy away from being friends because of something mundane as money. You didn’t understand why people always felt the need to bring up how much money you had, or how many cars were parked in your house. Why couldn’t people focus on other things, or talking about other shit? Why did people have to make you uncomfortable about what you had?
You couldn’t fit in. Not with your rich friends or your not-so-rich friends. You got to learn that there’d always be that distinction. That nobody saw the world through your pair of spectacles. There’d always be class divisions. Whether it was based on money, intellect or your level of cool.
And you’d always be caught somewhere in the middle.