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.