Fifty-five years ago today Ghana gained independence from British rule, making it the first sub-Saharan African nation to shed its colonial backing.

This year’s theme, “Sustaining Unity and Peace for Democracy and Development,” was marked by parades and speeches throughout the country, but as the Christian Science Monitor reports, the event has become a “ho-hum” affair, which means freedom has become “the accepted norm,” a major achievement for a country that has been plagued by coups.

Fifty-five years ago, Ghana’s first president,  Kwame Nkrumah, told his people that Ghana must show the world “‘the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.” His sentiments ignited an independence movement across the continent.

Although the country has had its ups and downs, and been subject to several coups, Ghana has been praised for it’s open political system and  wealth of natural resources, including recently discovered massive oil reserves that may provide much-needed revenue to the country.

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