Independence Day and the Tears of Lucifer

It was another culturally stimulating day on Sunday.

Carolyn and I left the house at 6:15 in the morning to catch a tro-tro downtown to Independence Square for Ghana’s Independence Day Parade. We got good seats and enjoyed watching 2000 schoolchildren from about 30 different government schools in the area march through the square in a manner which reminded me a bit too much of Nazi Germany, but I got over it. After the children marched in, they stood there at attention for long periods of time while other ceremonial stuff went on, and about 30 minutes in, the kids started dropping like flies. I know I watched at least 20 children go down from the heat and locking their knees, and that was only on our side of the square. It made me kind of sick to watch so many collapsing, but the people in charge of the parade were on top of it, running out with stretchers every time, stripping the kids of their shoes (apparently to cool them off faster) and getting them into the shade. Later on in the parade we saw the President of Ghana being escorted in by a troop of policemen on horseback. He supposedly gave a speech, but the sound system wasn’t working so we didn’t hear any of it.

On the opposite end of the day, I left the house at 6:15 in the evening (this time unaccompanied by Carolyn) to watch a play on campus with Lauren. Our American friend Brittney was stage manager for the production, and our Ghanaian friend Michael was the director, so we went to support them, but weren’t expecting much entertainment. We were both very pleasantly surprised!

“The Tears of Lucifer,” as the play was entitled, was a drama about Lucifer’s son Kenta, who is sent to earth by his father to let loose all kinds of sins on the enemy, the Christians. Lucifer is the King of the Universe and lives in a giant anthill (I thought this was highly amusing, since there are giant anthills all over Legon, some 7 or 8 feet high,) and he promises Kenta 2/3 of the anthill kingdom if he succeeds in his mission. We watched interesting, surprising, even comical enactments of Kenta unleashing anger, malice, armed robbery, drunkenness, and even fornication on the people of earth, with a lot of detail you wouldn’t see or hear in any play at WSU (I’ll leave out the details here.) Eventually Kenta falls in love with a woman on earth who is killed by a robber Kenta provokes, and so after that he decides he’s going to leave his wicked ways and become a Christian. A charismatic church scene ensues, in which Kenta tries to join in worshiping God, but the horn on his head gives him away to the Christians and he is beaten in the name of Jesus and thrown out of the church. Kenta later dies from his beatings under a cross while praying to God, and the church people are condemned for rejecting him. Lucifer tries to welcome his son back into hell, but Kenta refuses. As for whether or not Kenta is accepted by God and goes to heaven, no one knows…

The fun thing about plays in Ghana is that the audience participates with the actors, shouting out responses to happenings on stage, which made the play even funnier at times. The actors did a great job, the set was really good, and the music and lighting did a lot for the whole experience. All in all, congrats to the University of Ghana Theater Department. They put on a really good show!

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