The National Commission on Culture in collaboration with the Ghana Society UK, Location Accra and AKO Gh, has launched the 2023 edition of Kente festival in Accra scheduled for October 26th to November 26 in Luton-UK, as part of the Black History Month under the theme “Harnessing the Heritage and Evolving Nature of Kente in Trade and Tourism.”
KENTEFEST, is an annual event that seeks to promote the rich Ghanaian cultural heritage and made in Ghana products by way of creating economic opportunities for Ghanaians, African artists and producers in the creative industry whilst promoting patriotism and national pride in harnessing the kente heritage which is global and weaves the world as a symbol of black culture and unity.
Additionally, the festival aims to promote and showcase the rich royal kente fabric of Ghana, and by extension, African culture to the world to avert the importation of fake kente clothes into Ghana.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Kwame Nyame, a native of Adanwomase expressed his gratitude to the organisers (Ghana Society Uk and the National Commission on Culture) for organising such festival yearly in the United Kingdom to promote the kente cloth and other Ghanaian products.
Recounting the history of Adanwomase in kente weaving, he revealed that, though kente was originated from Bonwire, Adanwomasi was the first to use locally hand-spun cotton thread to weave a white kente for Asantehene Osi Tutu I in the 17 century, earning Adanwomasi the title “Fufutomahene” from the Manhyia Place.
According to him, some natives of Adanwomasi spent years learning the basic skills of cloth weaving at Salaga, the capital of the East Gonja District in Ghana, and Bondoukou, a city in Cote d’Voire which served as the centre of trade in the Gyaman Kingdom in the 17th century.
He added that, kente has the potential to earn billions of dollars to Ghana’s economy as it employs more than 200000 individuals in the Asante and the Volta Region and attracts thousands of tourists to the country.
He appealed to Ghanaian leaders, both now and the future to make it a custom to wear the kente fabric as an outfit to international conferences and meetings to promote tourism and develop global market for the cloth.
The Executive Director of the National Commission on Culture, Nana Otuo Owoahene Acheampong stated that, Kente is more than just a cloth, which serves as an iconic visual representation of the history, social values and political thought of Ghana and West Africa at large.
“In spite of the proliferation of both the hand-woven and the machine print, the kente cloth is regarded as a symbol of social prestige, nobility, and cultural sophistication which has over the years, has been exported as one of the key symbols of African heritage and pride in African ancestry throughout the diaspora”.
He revealed that, the festival aims to bring together individuals from diverse background to appreciate and learn about the cultural significance of kente cloth, and will feature a range of major activities and performances that will highlight craftsmanship, symbolism, and cultural importance that are associated with this unique fabric.
According to him, the Ghana Society UK, is delighted to host the Kente Festival and provide a platform to celebrate the beauty and cultural significance of kente cloth, which will be a testament to the diversity and richness of our country.
He used the occasion to invite everyone to join celebrate the festival as it promises to be a colourful and engaging experience for all patrons by showcasing the beauty, history, and significance of the iconic Ghanaian textile.
The diversity in the Ghanaian culture does not only hover around our tradition, practice, what we eat and wear but also our spoken words which is our indigenous mother languages. These languages which gives unique historical background to a person’s cultural identity embody the composition of songs and folktales which depicts the cultural setting of a peculiar enclave. A mother tongue, linguistically known as L1 is the first sign of connectivity/ bond of socialisation between the mother and child and also contributes immensely towards the total development of a child in terms of their cultural beliefs and character formation. Needless to say, weakness in the mother tongue means a paralysis of all thought and power of expression. This means that, the mother language is an indispensable instrument for the intellectual, physical and moral aspects for the promotion of social and educational development as a country.
Celebrating today as an International Mother Tongue/Language Day on the theme; ” Multilingual Education – a necessity to transform education” marks a unique day alienated for the promotion of our cultural and linguistic diversity in the world of which Ghana is inclusive.
Currently in our Ghanaian society, many are under the influence of linguistic determinism and relativity because of their present environment. The quest for greener pasture, westernization and migration by most Ghanaians have resorted to the learning and speaking of other languages, thereby neglecting our rich indigenous languages.
These acts of acculturation and language imperialism by most government officials, business moguls, students and general Ghanaian populace have led to the speaking of English language at all social functions thereby relegating our rich Ghanaian languages to the background. In our pursuit to promote multilingualism, students are still penalized for speaking their own mother language even at the early childhood educational levels. On the other hand, most students are now addicted to uneducational social media platforms which tends to expose them to abusive languages instead of surfing academic sites which will enhance their language skills. How then do we present and promote this agenda?
There is an urgent need for adroit strategies implemented by the Ghana Education Service to preserve our language to be strictly adhered to by all educational establishment in the country. As stipulated in Ghana’s Language Policy, it mandates the use of the child’s L1 as the language of instruction from kindergarten to grade 3 with English language as L1 thereafter. By so doing, there would be the promotion of SDG 4 (Quality Education) and sheer tenacity in the mode of transmission of our practices and cultural heritage to broaden the knowledge spectrum of the learners as they familiarize themselves with our cultural identity to aid in its preservation for the future.
More so, this global advocacy would only come to fruition through tiredless determination and commitment from the family as a basic grounds for socialisation. The fight to preserve our linguistic identity calls for a national backing from guardians to establish strong home language policy with persistent efforts to help their wards and everyone in the household to increase their native language proficiency.
According to a quote by Nelson Mandela, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart”. Dr. Nana Anima Wiafe-Akenten (First PHD Holder in Twi) was in secondment to this quote during a conversation on the Mother Tongue. She opined that “by promoting and encouraging the speaking of our own languages, we will teach our generation to appreciate and use our own ideology for the development of our nation.”
The speaking of our Mother tongue is a basic tool for communication at home and school to empower both children and adults to mutually understand and appreciate each other’s culture. Indeed, the role of language imperialism is placing the Ghanaian languages in a ditch as we usually proritise other languages over our rich Ghanaian languages and this is gradually defacing the pride of speaking the language of our mother tongue.
Language and culture are inextricably interwoven. Hence, the agenda to promote multilingualism and multiculturalism in Ghana requires tactical strategies to table this all important agenda for the continuous presentation, preservation and safeguarding of our languages on the face of technology through an all inclusive approach to revitalize and enhance the speaking of the mother tongue both in school and at home.
The National Commission on Culture is ever ready to partner with all ministries and agencies who have interest in this area of discourse to help promote our Mother Tongue for the upward progression of our dear country.
For further information, contact email@example.com, NCC, PPRME Directorate.
Say it in your dialect,
Speak your language now!!!
Happy International Mother Language Day.
The National Commission on Culture under the auspices of Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has launched the ‘2022 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) in Accra.
NAFAC, one of the flagship event of the National Commission on Culture was institutionalised in 1961 by the late Dr. Alexander Atta Yaw Kyeremanten, the founder and the first Director of the Ghana Cultural Centre now the Centre for National Culture Kumasi. The festival serves as a platform where diverse Ghanaian cultures converge to showcase their ethnic and regional cultural prowess, our diversities merge into a single driving force which has the potential to unite us around common beliefs and ideals which we all cherish as a people.
The week-long celebration will this year be held at Cape Coast and will involve several activities including choral and indigenous music, a night of highlife, a day for young people and the youth, a colloquium, football games and a day to revive our story telling and traditions with the intentions of creating awareness and enthusiasm among the general public about our culture and the values that portray our “Ghanaianess”.
The Executive Director of National Commission on Culture Madam Janet Edna Nyame speaking at the launch expressed her profound gratitude and warm appreciation to the initiators of this festival and all those who have contributed in any diverse ways to sustain the festival as it has been one of the flagship programme of the Commission for six decades.
“We are confident that, NAFAC over the past years has contributed to artistic development, peaceful coexistence, unity in diversity, creativity, and socio-economic development of our country”, the Director stated.
According to the Executive Director, the theme for this year’s festival “Reviving Patriotism, Peace and Unity through cultural diversity for sustainability development” generally enjoins us to situate our Ghanaian culture, norms, values and practices at the centre of our development agenda.
“In all aspects of a nation’s development, there is the need to pay a critical attention to how culture impacts our strategies and I am much optimistic that when the theme is critically discussed at the festival, we shall derive a guide that will inform policy formulation in the country”.
Madam Edna concluded by appealing to all well-meaning Ghanaians, groups and organisations to come and support this year’s festival to make it a success as our culture has the potential of rekindling our patriotic spirit and reinforcing peace and unity towards national development.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Hon. Mark Okraku Mantey in a speech expressed his sincere appreciation to the National Commission on Culture for spearheading this flagship programme for the past six decades as from its inception has aimed at promoting unity, peaceful coexistence and nation building through Ghana’s rich culture and arts.
He asserted that, the theme for NAFAC this year was strategically chosen to awaken our consciousness about the moral duties we have towards our country within the context of the global development agenda currently in force.
He added that, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are goals set by comity of nations, sees the need to adopt an all-hands-on-deck approach towards the realization of the peculiar needs and aspirations of member countries.
“I strongly believe that through the effective implementation of the SDGs and our act of patriotism, we will help curb prevalent issues on poor sanitation, environmental degradation, nepotism, corruption and dishonesty which demean our cultural and moral values as Ghanaians”.
He stressed that; concerted efforts will be required of all stakeholders to lend their supports to help drive such a laudable initiative through to a success.
“As a nation, we can only make progress and be recognized amongst our peers as trekking on a sound development trajectory when we take what belongs to us seriously, package it well, and present it to others”.
“Thankfully, from intangible through to tangible aspects of culture, Ghana is endowed with fascinating repository of many cultural elements that show prospects for investment. We therefore have good reasons to believe that when NAFAC is raised to an international status, it will lead to a substantial improvement in its celebrations thereby creating opportunities for Ghana to generate revenue”.
The National Commission on Culture, in collaboration with Ghana Society-UK, Location Accra and Ako GH has launched the prestigious annual kente festival dubbed KENTEFEST “22 in Accra under the theme “Harnessing the heritage and evolving nature of Kente in both Trade and Tourism“.
KENTEFEST, an annual event seeks to promote the rich Ghanaian cultural heritage and made in Ghana products by way of creating economic opportunities for Ghanaians, African artists and producers in the creative industry whilst promoting patriotism and national pride in harnessing the kente heritage which is global and weaves the world as a symbol of black culture and unity.
The festival scheduled from 20th October to 26th November Luton-UK, further aims to promote and showcase the rich royal kente fabric of Ghana to the world to avert the importation of fake kente clothes into the country.
Speaking at the launch, the Chief of Bonwire Nana Bobie Ansah II expressed his gratitude to the National Commission on Culture for organizing such a wonderful event to promote and showcase the royal kente fabric to the outside world.
According to the Chief, the kente weaving business used to employ most youth but the neglect of the industry by government has caused most to collapse which has rendered the youth unemployed.
He urged that, government must pay attention to the kente industry and invest much into the production of yarn locally to avoid its importation as the high cost of import has crippled most of the businesses.
The Executive Director of the National Commission on Culture, Madam Janet Edna Nyame in a speech expressed her profound joy to the partners for coming on board to promote the celebration of the most recognisable and traditional fabric in Ghana, our unique kente which is a source of great pride as it usefulness cuts across all spheres of events.
According to her, the Ghanaian culture is embedded in music, dance, food, language, and beautiful costumes as the imprints of the rhythmic patterns in the fabric serve as a tool for communication.
“The motifs are symbolical as it presents ideas about our historical background as people, to a great extent; it brings to the fore the Ghanaian cultural values which instill moral uprightness in the individual so as to live above reproach”.
The Executive Director stressed that, fabrics such as Gye Nyame, sankofa, afa among others constitute the Adinkra symbols and other symbolic patterns from which the various Regions add more aesthetics to portray our cultural identity in the production of kente fabric such as afafanto, Fathia fata Nkrumah, and the likes.
Madam Edna asserted that, our magnificent kente must hold its authenticity and avoid piracy, and our ability as people to transform our indigenous craft to the world market in a unique style requires tactical branding and advertisement.
“We must endeavour to use our digital platforms to showcase to the world what we are made of, to commercialise the kente business to generate more revenue for our Ghanaian handmade kente”.
She urged that, there must be improvement in our packaging techniques to suit the global standards in other to promote trade as she was on a strong conviction that such will sit down into our generation through education and training.
She appealed that, the nitty gritty of kente weaving must be taught at various Regions to help sustain our traditional heritage which varies from all others to be able to host and drive tourists from all over the world to patronise our rich original kente cloth as a tourism in trade commodity to improve our financial stability as a country.
Memphis in May International Festival is a month long festival held in the Memphis city of the Tennessee state of the United States of America, celebrated by the people of Memphis.
As an annually events, the festival each year specifically gives a special salute to a country. For the past forty four (44years) and still counting, this festival has been noted of hosting the city’s largest event that attracts people from all walks of life including the surrounding regions of the USA, and across the globe to downtown Memphis.
Memphis in May International festival is a non-profit community-based organisation which focuses on contributing to the economic growth of the Tennessee community, fostering civic pride, promoting awareness of Memphis heritage through education and building international relationships.
Ghana is the seventh (7th) African country to be honored since its inception in 1977. The 2022 edition of the festival accorded a special salute to Ghana based on the country’s historical significance, cultural depth and importance, potential for strengthening existing or developing new trade opportunities with local businesses and its positive diplomatic relations with the US.
Arrival of the Ghanaian delegation in Memphis:
Delegates from the selected institutions in Ghana began arriving in Memphis from 28th April 2022 to participate in the long awaited festival that showcased the beautiful and rich culture of Ghana to the Memphis community. However, each institution represented at the event had unique roles to perform at the event. Institutions such as the National Commission on Culture, Institute of African Studies, Ghana BBQ Association and many others representing their respective institutions thus takes turns to perform at specific days within the program durations.
Itinerary for the 2022 salute to Ghana:
Series of activities were held as part of the programme line-up designed to honour Ghana at the event. These included the famous Beale Street Music Festival which took place in the first weekend of the month of May, this showcased among other things, an eclectic lineup of national and local musical talents. This was followed by the International Week event which had the blessings of His Royal Majesty Otumfu Osei Tutu II as a special guest. The event, which took place in the second week of the same month, saw activities such as the display of a series of exhibits, screenings, Arts works and cultural performances hassled out to mark the occasion, and it was dedicated to the honoring country.
One of the most popular barbecues contests in America, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, was the next activity to follow up after the international week event. This took place in the third week of May where contestants from the different states of US and other countries of the world including Africa displayed their cooking talents at the event. The last in the series of activities held at the event was the Great American River Run Half Marathon & 5K, this event welcomed runners of all experience levels through the streets of Memphis and along the banks of the Mississippi River to climax the month long celebration.
Pictorial of HRM Otumfuo Osei Tutu II
Pictorials from the BBQ contest
Pictorials from the Great American River Run Half-marathon
THE ROLE OF NATIONAL COMMISSION ON CULTURE:
A two member delegates were nominated to represent the commission at the 2022 edition of the Memphis in May International Festival held in the United State of America. The team organised beautiful wearable metallic Ghanaian adornments from the Takoradi Technical University (TTU), The Kumasi Center for National Culture and Nana Anim Obiri the Culture Ambassador for the Commission. Also the team mobilized all the exhibits with a detailed research on the adornments to aid the public understand the exhibits. The exhibits were used as an educational work peace and where displayed at one of the renowned Metal Museum in Memphis Tennessee for awareness creation.
Pictorial exhibits from NCC
Pictorial exhibits from NCC
Pictorial exhibits from NCC
Pictorial exhibits from NCC
The month of May treated the city of Memphis with a display of Ghanaian beautiful Culture heritage such as exhibits, great talents in Music and dance. The month-long salute was experience through a variety of way around the city, from independent film series in area theaters, to multiple art and photography exhibits in local galleries to a series featuring artists, business leaders and government delegates from Ghana. However, the international focus was most prominent during the international week with cultural performances at the Orpheum Theater, local elementary schools, and culinary masterpieces created by chefs preparing their country’s traditional dishes.
The NCC team participation in the event would not have been possible without the support of the Commission’s Executive Director who facilitative efforts contributed immensely towards making the teams participation richly.
SNAPSHOTS FROM THE EVENT:
Performance by Okyeame Kwame
Clothing is an essential descriptor of our culture and this evident in the diverse ethnic clothing styles of the ethnic groupings in Ghana. The promotion and preservation of this aspect of Ghanaian culture has led the National Commission on Culture to curate the event “Wear Ghana”, which is commemorated in the month of March.
As part of the activities for this year’s celebration, a puppetry performance was to be the main highlight for the Wear Ghana Kids Edition at the La Wireless Cluster of Schools. Community Education and Youth Development, a directorate under the National Commission on Culture that has an active puppetry department were engaged to stage a show.
Community Education and Youth Development transmitted a puppetry show to the enthusiastic pupils who were so excited to witness the puppetry show. The show captured why there is the need to dress decently and appropriately and to also find the value in using Ghanaian print fabric which has significant and relevant symbolism. The pupils actively participated by sharing their opinions on the show they witnessed.
The 21st of March was UNESCO World Puppetry Day, therefore CEYD maximized the opportunity to also commemorate the day with the transmission at the La Wireless Cluster of Schools. The World Puppetry Day celebrations for this year focused on SDG 14 and how puppetry transmissions can help address the challenges and offer some solutions to how to curtail the exploitation and degradation of Aquatic Life.
CEYD is committed to nurturing young generations with interactive programs that conserve, preserve and promote our culture.
The National Commission on Culture as part of its “Wear Ghana Festival” campaign has educated the pupils of La Wireless Cluster of Schools on some “Adinkra” symbols and their meaning.
The Commission in collaboration with the National Folklore Board, aside the education on the “Adinkra” symbols also exhibited some locally prepared food to the pupils and engaged them with some childhood games such as chaskele, pilolo and antoakyire.
The Commission believes this conscientization will guide and shape the pupils to accept and appreciate the traditional values and standards of the rich Ghanaian culture as the foreign assimilated customs and cultures have today taken over ours.
The National Commission on Culture (NCC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has set aside the month of March as ‘Wear Ghana’ month to promote the wearing of made in Ghana clothes and accessories.
This initiative is to promote Ghana’s cloth culture and heritage by encouraging Ghanaians to wear Made in Ghana clothes and other fashion accessories that are produced locally for both corporate and social functions.
Speaking at the event, the Director of Community Education and Youth Development Madam Akosua Abdallah (PhD) said, the month of March every year has been designated as “Wear Ghana” with the idea of promoting the rich cultural heritage and the local textile industry.
She added that, as Ghanaians, we must adopt the habit of patronizing in our locally produced fabrics and encourage the eating of our indigenous food such as “fufu”, “kelewele”, banku and many others.
The Director beseeched all Ghanaians to actively patronize in our local games, food and made in Ghana products as this will help increase the productivity of the textile industries and promote our identity both locally and eternally.
The National Commission on Culture (NCC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in collaboration with Ghana Tourism Authority, GTP and the National Theater has launched the 2022 edition of its annual event dubbed Wear Ghana Festival.
The festival which was initiated four years ago was launched under the theme ‘Sustaining Culture to Create Employment through Textiles, Fashion and Style’.
Speaking at the launch, the Executive Director of NCC, Madam Janet Edna Nyame, said the NCC as a cultural institution is mandated to promote and ensure the growth and development of Ghanaian culture and make them more relevant to our development, promote national identity and encourage institutions to patronize local fabrics and all fashion accessories.
The Executive Director reiterated that, Ghanaians must respect, preserve, harness and use cultural heritage and resources to develop a united, vibrant and a prosperous National Comity with a distinctive African identity and personality.
She said, “The first impression created about any person is what you are wearing and this send a lot of message about you. So be decent in your outfit to create good impression about you”.
The Executive Director expressed her excitement on how most Ghanaians have joined the train of promoting Ghana in diverse ways and indicated how Ghanaians have embraced their traditions and cultural values.
She encouraged institutions to adopt local fabric designs and patterns in their regalia, uniforms and paraphernalia and urged Ghanaians to continuously project and promote our cultural heritage by eating our indigenous foods and speaking our mother tongue.
The Indian High Commission in Ghana has invited a 14-member cultural troupe from Ghana to participate in the 35th Surajkund International Craft Mela 2022 in Surajkund District Faridabad Haryana, India.
This is the second time the High Commission has extended such invitation to the National Commission on Culture. The 14-member troupe were carefully selected from the Regional Centres for National Culture. The team consist of Drummers, Dancers, Chorographers and Exhibitors.
The Surajkund festival brings together over 30 countries from Africa and Asia to exhibits their crafts, culture and traditions. The Mela is scheduled to take place from the 18th of March to 4th of April, 2022 in Faridabad Haryana in India.
The Leader of the team from Ghana, Mrs. Rosemond Amuzu indicated that, the troupe will be performing all dances from all the 16 Regions of Ghana and also exhibit items that truly represent Ghana. On the part of the team, they promised to give off their best and give a good representation of Ghana at the Mela.
The Executive Director of National Commission on Culture Madam Janet Edna Nyame, encouraged the troupe to do well to put Ghana on top of the Mela’s map so as to enable them extend another invitation come next year.
She added that, their Regional Directors selected them because of their professionalism and competence, so they should go out there and make their Regions, the Commission and Mother Ghana proud. The team left Ghana on the 17th of march and is expected to be back on the 5th of April 2022.
Due to globalization and migration, multilingualism has become both a reality and an aim of education globally of which Ghana is not exempted. However, the aim for multilingualism can best be achieved when all stakeholders are technologically inclined. Thus, the theme chosen to mark this year’s event is not only appropriate but befitting for social discourse.
For the sustenance of our culture (language) as a country, there is the need for multilingualism in our educational system despite the prevalence of one nation, one language. Technology has equipped both learners and teachers in communicating in both oral and written forms through countless learning applications such as zoom, duolingo, memrise, google classroom among others. An evident display of technology was clearly experienced at the interim stages of COVID19 as most learners were engaged on virtual applications globally.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to enhance the role of teachers in promoting quality multilingual education. Facilitators in the educational industry must receive professional training periodically to enhance their language skills. Additionally, teachers must engage learners in communicative language activities to revive their reading, writing and speaking skills for eloquence and fluency in the various languages.
Albeit the need for technological advancement amidst multilingualism, technology poses some challenges to teaching and learning in our educational industry. The use of technological tool as a medium of communication and learning may pose threat on the behavioral characters of some learners as they will gratuitously surf the internet and associate with ignoble individuals. Technology may also incur additional cost for data usage by both learners and teachers. Finally, the instability in the internet connectivity due to its limited coverage nationwide will leave some learners and teachers handicapped and deprive them of receiving adequate information for teaching and learning. The use of technology for integrated learning and teaching of languages in Ghana will help to enhance the educational system as language is the main instructional tool in all schools. As Ghanaians, let us all embrace the technological tools for learning the various languages to connect us to job opportunities and business contracts through effect communication around the globe. As David Warlick opines, “we need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” With a sober reflection on the above quote, the National Commission on Culture admonishes all stakeholders especially the Education industry to help promote multilingual learning by furnishing educational institutions with technological tools for learning and inculcating the multilingual study in the curricula.
As today earmarks the International Mother Language Day, we are making a clarion call to all Ghanaians to go for their cultural heritage which is their mother language and speak it as it is an element for cultural identity.
For further information, Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, NCC, PRME Directorate.
Happy International Mother Language Day.
Chief Executive Officer of Ceejay Multimedia, and the brain behind the iconic Akwaaba frame, Mr. Joseph Osae, has unveiled a new face to replace the old one which captured Angelina Nana Akua Oduro which has existed over two decades.
The Akwaaba portrait, which means welcome in the Ghanaian Twi language, is the most popular image that welcomes visitors in homes, offices, hotels and tourists at large in Ghana. According to Mr. Osae, the new face is said to continue the unmatched hospitality which accompanies the project.
He stated that he intended to replace the previous frame as a measure to give opportunity to other budding talents to also get the kind of exposure that the model in the first frame got.
The Executive Director of National Commission on Culture Madam Janet Edna Nyame, who was invited to speak at the event said, the iconic image will continue to propagate Ghana as the gateway to Africa, as the image is found in many offices including the embassies.
Madam Nyame added that, she was so much enthused to have met Mr. Osae and the lady whose portrait was on the previous frame last year and was wondering why they had not come out since that time to claim the glory of the viral photo but realized it was part of the challenges.
She further expressed her excitement for the idea of a new face for the Akwaaba frame and took advantage of the event to congratulate the photographer for such a wonderful work done and also encouraged Ghanaians to welcome, cherish, appreciate and market the new iconic face.
A culturally centered critical comparative look at Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Ghana; A survivor’s take.
There are diverse cultural practices scattered across Ghana. Cultural practices in any community have the ability to cause both negative and positive effects on social development in that community or society. Culture is one of the many factors that has over the years influenced the pace of development propelling it or otherwise leading to its decline. It is the wheel that determines where a people are headed and how they choose to get there. As some anthropologists and philosophers assert, no one can develop beyond the boundaries of their culture. Kwasi Wiredu in his book, Cultural Universal and Particulars: An African Perspective equally made the assertions about the immense influence of culture in carving individual identity , as such each aspect of it must be critiqued and appraised from a non-condescending stance in order to experience it in all of its fullness. Culture cannot be trivialized. Yet like many other factors that influences a given society or community, it requires a systematic approach in its application. Indeed, culture is of no relevance without properly laid systems and channels. Though many know culture to be dynamic not static , without these in place , no people can actively progress. Despite, the progress of culture should be guided for it to grow sturdily in the right path to meet a peoples set goals on development. In Ghana , there are such cultural practices that cannot exist along the path of the nations developmental plan and few of these include , child labour, early/forced marriages and Female Genital Mutilation. Many of these cultural practices have been uncovered to impact negatively on the social development of the community and all persons involved. Some of these can be categorized as gender based violence and infringement on human right, specifically right to freedom and education.
In the wake of cultural relativism, many are yet to question; why certain cultural practices are appalling to multiple groups of people. One of such culturally inappropriate practice, which has over the years taken on different forms, is ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ (FGM). Here , we will examine the practice, the philosophies associated with the phenomenon and its effects on the people practiced on. Likewise the intentions /reasons associated with it from the perspective of indigenous practitioners. Most importantly, we will give attention to the social development aspects of it and its ramifications to the survivors. In continuation, lets us ask ourselves, is FGM a bad cultural practice ? if so , why does it persist till date ? Why has it survived decades after its declaration as an illegal practice? One may wonder why, why in the midst of supposed development even at these times of globalization leading to some level of cultural adaptation, such practices exist. As these questions lingers on minds, it gives credence/evidence to the power of culture and its impact thereof; much so when one decides to uphold his ,her or their heritage. For this matter , it is important for all concerned to apply a much more tactical albeit dialogic approach in order to curb such practices.
A recent report issued by National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) discussed the severe health implications associated with some cultural practices such as FGM. It stressed especially on its psychological effects. In a descriptive cross sectional survey which used a Multi indicator cluster Survey (MICS), it was discovered that in disregard to its illegal status , an overall 11.7 % was recorded in Ghana with the Upper West region being the highest.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes FGM as the practice of cutting parts or complete removal of female external genitalia for non-medical reasons. Though there are many fears, objections and opinions associated with it, the practice of FGM is prevalent and is a serious cultural practice centered specifically in certain areas of Ghana including the Northern and Upper regions.
Many survivors of Female Genital Mutilation have recounted their experiences to family members, researchers, journalists and to law enforcers though scarcely. However, it is of much relevance to note that not all persons involved, (both victims and practitioners) see it with a negative lens. For such reason, it is important to address such cultural practices with all tact and empathy.
While speaking with Madam Atiga Asiglu , she shared some thoughts about FGM, yabika as it is called in Frafra her native language. She stated some reasons why this practice may not be suitable for todays woman. Citing the over indulgence in artificial food ingredients, spices and additives as leading to poor health and minimal strength. She stressed on the matter that women of today are not as fit or strong as women of her time. One may find it a thing of humour but that notwithstanding, these views expressed are likely to be shared by many others. She was very concerned however, about the trauma they underwent during child birth and the excessive bleeding and pain they experienced. She explained quite vividly how some of her counterparts also suffered hemorrhage and post natal pains.
Madam Asiglu is 80 years now and is a grandmother to many other women whom according to her would not recommend FGM to be practiced on. Some decades ago precisely sixty four (64) years , as a sixteen-year old (16) girl, Madam Asiglu underwent the mutilation of her genitalia at that stage. When asked what she felt that fateful hour , she calmly explained through her granddaughter who was serving as interpreter that ‘she had never seen so much blood before’. She further explained how the barika the special tool for cutting was used. She narrated how her mother often boiled water to tend to her now sore/wounded genitalia until it was healed. She added that there are some women specially trained for this purpose.
To Asiglu , FGM at the time was a most suitable way to curb teenage pregnancy as “ young girls will not go about feeling for sex and consequently indulging in acts of promiscuity ”. She added that it would have been preferable to do so medically, that is by a medical professional. This view should be recognized since it has become the new norm in recent times, to have medically conducted Female Genital Mutilation. It has become widely acceptable by many groups across the country.
This leads us to the very serious discussion of legalities associated with FGM. The 1960 Criminal Code which was amended in 1994 prohibits the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Ghana. Section 69A states that FGM is illegal and carries a minimum sentence of three years imprisonment (Ghana 12 Jan. 1961, Sec. 69A. However, the practice of FGM still occurs in Ghana even with the consent of key community stakeholders. In June 2006, approximately 4000 women were recorded to have undergone partial or full FGM (Ndubuisi, 2007).
To conclude, it behoves on all stakeholders to take a neutral stance in order to wholly address such cultural issues. Yes, it is equally our responsibility to make our opinions heard when confronted with such cultural practices which can easily be categorized as harmful, backward and an infringement on fundamental human rights. It is very important as stakeholders and persons concerned not to take the aggressive stance in this matter. This is necessary because practitioners of such cultural practices may not see their actions in such appalling light and any such non -dialogic approach can attract the negative outcome.
For many years, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have been working on ensuring that the set laws be enforced to its last letter. From 2006, they begun lobbying for stricter and proper legislation on issues concerning Female Genital Mutilation. It is therefore commendable that UNESCO has made an initiative and is striving to eliminate FGM by the year 2030.
Albeit it lingers, the wheel of culture as we know keeps spinning carrying with it all forms of practices, indoctrinations and perceptions. Likewise, migration has played its own role in filtering certain cultural perceptions as migrants often now see the world and specifically their environment through the lenses of their new locations. Education, sensitisation , awareness creation and citizens participation can greatly affect the decline and the complete end to such cultural practices. In this case, victims can be more willing to divulge information concerning FGM. Persons can report practitioners for sanctions and prosecutions to be made; that in itself can help minimize or abolish the very grievous cultural practice of Female Genital Mutilation.
Eke, Ndubuisi et Kanu E.O. Nkanginieme. June 2006. Vol. 367, No. 9525. “Female Genital Mutilation and Obstetric Outcome: WHO Collaborative Prospective Study in Six African Countries.” The Lancet. (World Health Organization Web site). [Accessed 3 Oct. 2006]
Ghana. 12 January 1961 (last amended 2003). Criminal Code, 1960. (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees/Refworld).
Female Genital Mutilation in Ghana: Prevalence and Socio-economic Predictor. National Centre for Biotechnology Information NCBI, Abdul Rauf Alhassan John Nyaaba Anyinaam – Adolipo
Kwame Gyekye , 1997 .Tradition and Modernity :Philosophical Reflections on the African Experience . USA .
Kwasi Wiredu – 1996 Indiana Press. Cultural Universals and Particulars : An African Perspective
Mail and Guardian [Johannesburg]. 20 August 2004. Boureima Hama. “When I Had Finished, They Didn’t Even Bleed.” [Accessed 22 Aug. 2006]
United Nations (UN). 5 September 2006. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). “Ghana: Increased Penalties for Female Genital Cutting Proposed.” [Accessed 11 Sep. 2006]
_____. 2 February 2004. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). “Ghana: Women Call for Stiffer Female Circumcision Law.”
United States (US). 8 March 2006. Department of State. “Ghana.” Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005. [Accessed 22 Aug. 2006]
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: Madam Asiglu Atiga, victim of FGM sixty-four years ago (64).
Dr Winnifred Atiga , (interpreter) granddaughter to the respondent.
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COVID-19 have ravaged countries and economies affecting the daily routines of most populations. Though governments and private institutions have tried to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, it has been trying and some successes have been attained, though some challenges still persist.
It was therefore, very heart-warming when the staff and management of Goldstar Air a new skyline that will be in the skies of Ghana and the global air spaces soon, Goldstar Air, donated PPEs that are very essential to fight against the covid19 pandemic. The items were donated on behalf of Mr. Eric Bannerman, CEO of Goldstar Air.
The operations manager who accompanied the team mentioned that when Goldstar Air completes all processes and starts operations, they will be landing and transiting through major airports across African destinations; Abidjan, Monrovia, Conakry, Freetown, Lagos, Dakar and the world including Washington, Rhode Island, Banjul, London, Guangzhou and Dubai.
The donations were received by Dr. Akosua Abdallah the Director of the Community Education and Youth Development, formerly (CYCC) who was very grateful to Goldstar Air for recognizing and appreciating the efforts of the Centre using the puppetry transmissions. She acknowledges that the PPEs will not only be beneficial to the department but all COVID-19 outreach sites that the Community Education and Youth Development will be visiting under the “Mask Up COVID DOWN” campaign.
Ghana’s Cultural Ambassador, Her Excellency Georgina Opoku Popularly known as “Asor” has advised the general public not to drive autistic people away but rather embrace such people and get the best out of them.
According to Her Excellency Georgina Opoku, autistic children have great capabilities. she explained that persons with the disability can be highly focused and so embracing them will help them realized their dreams.
She added that, a lot of people assume that the condition is a spiritual problem and most parents turn to spiritual centers instead of sending their children to see professionals who can guide them.
She said, children with autism have impaired social interactions, communication and learning difficulties as well as behavioral issues.
“Despite an increase in awareness in the country, parents of autistic children still feel the burden of coping with a child with the condition”
Parenthood, which should be a joyful experience, becomes a frightening one when a child is diagnosed with any defect or illness. The pressure piles on when the diagnosis is for a complicated condition such as autism; a complex neurological disorder which affects a child’s social development.
Autism is difficult enough to deal with in developed countries, where the condition is better understood, but for parents in Ghana, the response to a diagnosis is not always the best. Some parents have confessed to wishing their autistic children dead.
Mrs. Mary Amoah Kuffour, a Special needs teacher and a mother of an 18-year-old girl Nana Yaa with autism commends Georgina Opoku for her support and kind gesture towards her daughter.
Nana Yaa is a very beautiful young model who has broken the rule of a disability and sailed through the hardships of living with Autism.
Her mother, Mary Amoah has been a pillar of strength in her life, guiding her through every step and managing her career.
The Community Youth Cultural Centre, an implementing agency under the National Commission on Culture was recently invited to the 18th edition of Festival Internationale du Theatre Marionettes Ouagadougou / Festival au Burkina (FITMO/FAB) by the kind courtesy of the organizers led by Dr Hamadou Mande. The festival was scheduled to span from 25th October to 31st October, 2021. A cross section of excellent creative expressions was billed up for an enthusiastic audience as the schedule attached shows.
CYCC as the only outfit under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the National Commission on Culture that has a puppetry department which have been used for the advocacy campaigned to get the Ghanaian public to adhere to the covid-19 protocols funded by the National Covid Trust Fund and some NGOs. The invitation was honoured by the Centre and sent three staffers, the director of CYCC, Akosua Abdallah, Dr, Mr Prince Nicholas Haligah senior puppetry master and manipulator and Mr Elijah Vanderpuye Cunnison assistant, who worked under the puppetry department of the Centre to attend the festival and workshop to experience first hand the other forms of creating and transmitting puppetry to all range of audience.
The two staffers were warmly welcomed on Monday evening in Burkina Faso by the host after a drilling road trip from Accra on Sunday evening. A grand opening ceremony was held at the Espace Gambidi, a creative space built by Dr Jean Pierre Guigane a great writer, now managed by the son with some funding from willing donors. The opening had the key organizers welcoming all participants, performers and imploring them to lit up the festival with amazing performances and exciting ideas that will grow the performing arts industry in the sub-region of West Africa. Post the addresses, the night was indeed lit up with amazing performances of folk music, folklore and drama.
The subsequent days followed the same format with a series of workshops on the stated themes of “Art Against Violence” and “Puppetry Transmissions”. The two staffers from the Centre engaged in all the workshops where possible because they were all happening simultaneously. They focused largely on their expertise of puppetry and engaged in acquiring more insights on miniature puppetry creations and manipulations and other forms of transmitting puppetry with the aid of multimedia, a really fascinating concept.
The Director of CYCC Akosua Abdallah, Dr presented on the themes as the special guest of honour, from Ghana. She was engaged with mostly meetings and deliberations on the themes and further expansion of the festival and other incubating innovative initiatives that will grow the performing and creative arts spaces in the sub-region.
It was a really eventful festival which was climaxed well with amazing performances on 31st October,2021. Inspiring connections between artists, participants and other stakeholders in the creative and performances industry in the sub-region especially notably between Ghana and other French speaking countries were made that will be a mutually beneficial relationship if explored to it fullest by both parties. The mutual similarities in our crafts and arts as Africans must be harnessed well to feed the next generation with narratives that unites the continent against various mediums that propagate violence and conflicts. These narratives must encapsulate the African cultural identity that young Africans residing in the various countries on the continent and over the shores of the continent will be excited to be associated with.