Interview logo

Ghana: The Treatment of Having a Nigerian Parent & Their Surname

Conversations with Ghanians with one Nigerian parent & the treatment they receive living in Ghana

By IwriteMywrongsPublished 3 months ago 6 min read
Photo Created in CANVA by the Author

Monday, 4 December 2023

By: TB Obwoge

I've been trying to delete items from my phone, when I came across notes from conversations I've had with several Ghanians, while living in Ghana. The notes are about a year and a half old, they're eye opening to what I've been writing about the xenophobia and treatment of anyone who's different living in Ghana.

This reminds me of how lighter skinned Blacks in America, decided to "pass" for being white, to avoid the racism and discrimination that millions of Black people in the United States have had and still have to endure. This is one of the saddest things an African country can do to another human.

I befriended a young man who was the caretaker for the building where I lived. He shared with me that his parents were both from Benin, he was born and raised in Ghana. He's a Ghanian in all aspects, with one difference, he doesn't have a tribe in Ghana.

He also grew up using just his last name, he used it because it was a name Ghanians knew, he also used it because he says many wouldn't be able to pronounce his (French) first name. Also had he used his last name as his family name, Ghanians would know that he indeed wasn't "one of them!"

He said he was raised within the Asante region, he called them a group of very arrogant people, funny thing is many would use that word to describe them. They think they are Ghana all on their own, they area is one of the best and their King is the only one in Africa, all things I've heard some say.

This phenomenon in Ghana is common, no matter how long you live in thew country, you are never "one of them!" This was typed in a Facebook message to me, from a white woman, with mixed-race, Ghanian children. She said that no matter what, her children would never be looked at as a Ghanian.

This is proven by some of the racist, rants Ghanians went on about the late Christian Christian Atsu Twasam.

Screenshot from Twitter

However I've met and asked several questions of Ghanians with a Nigerian parent, several of the cases were of Nigerian fathers. One man was unable to travel with his partner because he was denied a passport on several occasions.

Here is a video of a women who talks about people not thinking she's a Ghanian because of her Nigerian name. She's having a light hearted conversation about her life because of her Nigerian name but for some it's worse. Much worse!

The claim that Nigerians were forging birth certificates to say they were indeed Ghanian, came about several years ago. So Ghana changed the design of the Ghana birth certificates, making all with the older versions apply to get a new one.

Still even with new birth-certificates in hand one man with a Nigerian father and Ghanian mother was refused a passport. He needed it to be able to travel with his partner, who does humanitarian and Christian work around the world.

The two were saving money to bribe an official to issue the passport, they were very upset about the months spent apart from one another. The inability to travel, while one was a British citizen, the other stuck in Ghana with a Nigerian surname.

The xenophobia in Ghana isn't highlighted, it's commonly swept under the rug, much like the colorism and racism from Ghanians towards other foreigners. This is possibly suppressed as the country is fighting to become number one for tourism and investments in Africa.

The rampant xenophobia isn't being highlighted, however the UK high commissioner to Ghana spoke about the rampant corruption. Corruption that's become so rampant that it's now acceptable in Ghana, even among the citizens.

Also note the suppression of the media and journalists is horrible in Ghana, also journalists have been jailed for reporting on these issues. Which is why X formally known as Twitter has started pushing for citizen journalists.

A Ghanian woman born and raised in the country, privately spoke to me about having a Ghanian mother and a Nigerian father. She said that she doesn't speak of her Nigerian father, she said that Ghanians wouldn't accept her. She works in a small cafe, where the owner as promoted her to lead the staff, whenever he's not around, she's in charge.

When I asked her how it felt to hear Ghanians speaking negatively about Nigerians, she said bothers her and she knows that not all Nigerian are bad people. Ghanians openly voice their dislike for Nigerians, not caring that there are millions of humans who are not only Nigerian but have one Nigerian parent.

She like many of those in Ghana with a Nigerian parent face discrimination and some live in fear for being discriminated against.

The TikTok platform didn't even see these comments by a Ghanian, towards all French speaking Africans as hate-speech. The government of Ghana, won't chase or arrest people spreading these messages of xenophobia, racism from a non-Black person, or from a Black Ghanian to anyone.

One of the most ignored societal ills facing Ghana is the fact that tribalism, racism, xenophobia, religious hate-speech and colorism aren't a priority to the government. A government that doesn't seem serious against the fight of anything.

Right now their minority leaders are only fighting for an Anti-LGTBQI bill, not against the growing femicide, rape or sexual violence towards women and girls.

For now most Ghanian's with Nigerians parents will remain hiding who they are from the majority of Ghanians that speak ill of Nigerians.

Irene Logan ‘roasted’ on twitter for saying Ghanaians are xenophobic

Liberian singer based in Ghana, Irene Logan has taken to twitter to remonstrate how deep xenophobia runs in Ghana.

According to her, “the depth of xenophobia in Ghana towards other African citizens runs very deep! Especially towards #Nigerians and #Liberians.”

Irene Logan (born February 16, 1984) is a Ghanaian-based Liberian singer and songwriter. She gained popularity as a member of the music duo Irene and Jane, composed of herself and Efya.

The duo competed in the maiden edition of the Stars of the Future talent show in 2006, where Logan emerged the winner.

Logan started her solo career in 2009 with songs like “Runaway”, “Kabila”, “Na me dey there”, and many others. Irene Logan’s music is generally inspired by the diversity of Africa, witnessing different cultures of the beautiful continent.

Source Ghana Weekend

The bullying by Ghanians for speaking out about your mistreatment, usually ends with bullying. Ghanians are relentless are social media bullying, as well as street harrassment.

People posted Tweets proclaiming to be Nigerians, they said they weren't treated poorly. While every foreigner in Ghana has stories of being over-charged, people bothering them for money, or thinking they can scam them easily. This issue with speaking out about your life as a Non-Ghanian born in raised in Ghana is usually followed with hateful, bullying.

This will remain the reason why Ghanians with Nigerian parents or in the case of the young man from the Asante region who is only Ghanian because he was born and raised in the country, to hide themselves within Ghana. When there is no need to expose yourself to unwanted discrimination.

Thank you for reading 🙏🏽 Please consider buying a coffee for Lacey’s House efforts in Gender Equality & Children’s Rights as it tries to move international.

©️TB Obwoge 2023 All Rights Reserved


About the Creator


I'm the president of a nonprofit. I've lived in 3 countries, I love to travel, take photos and help children and women around the world! One day I pray an end to Child Marriages, Rape and a start to equal Education for ALL children 🙏🏽

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.