NAFAC showcases rich culture

But Prez and Vice stay away

From Edmond Gyebi, Tamale

Nana Kojo Pambo II, Chief of Jama and his kingsmen

THE week-long 2010 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) in Tamale is giving a clear manifestation of the legacies of true heroism, unity and the dignity of our ancestors, with the participants doing their best to advance art and culture in the various traditional areas that combine beautifully to create the Ghanaian identity.

But, the talking point on the opening day at the week-end was the failure of President John Evans Atta Mills and his Deputy, Vice-President John Dramani Mahama, to be present, when both of them were in the Tamale Metropolis.

Chiefs and opinion leaders in the Northern Region, particularly, were irked by the failure of the leadership of this nation to be present.

President John Evans Atta Mills was in Tamale on Saturday to attend the funeral of the deceased Regional Chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress, and flew back to Accra immediately after the funeral.

Vice-President John Dramani Mahama was also in Tamale to participate in events marking 50 years of the establishment of the Ghana High School (GHANASS).

The Chief of Jama in the Bole District of the Northern Region, Naa Kojo Pambo II, and his Queenmother, Nana Juboi Hemaa I, insisted that the President and his Vice could not have excused themselves from such a national event, which had attracted chiefs and opinion leaders from all over the country.

“Personally, I am not happy that neither the President nor his Vice is here,” moaned the Bole Chief.  “They were supposed to be here to inspire the chiefs and people of this culturally-diverse nation.

The festival is pointing to where we come from as a people, and where we are going as Ghanaians. The adage that culture is the way of life of people living in a particular place is vividly portrayed here, as the 10 regions exhibit their cultural heritages.”

Even though the celebration was not the first of its kind in the history of the Northern Region, it is inarguably the first time it was being patronised by the majority of the youth, who trooped to the Tamale Jubilee Park to socialise, exchange handshakes, drum and dance with the large number of chiefs, queenmothers, princes and princesses, and other nobility from all the 10 regions of Ghana.

The NAFAC Northern Region 2010 also brings on the exhibition table, the artistic and innovative instincts of the people of Ghana, depicted in the various expensive clothes, jewelries, footwears, palanquins, swords, and linguist sticks among others.

The Kente cloth, common among Akans and Ewes, and the smock (Fugu), which is the most visible wear in the north, were on display all over the place.

While Akan Chiefs were majestic in their Kente cloth and enthusiastically dancing to their favourite “adowa and kete,” the Gas and Ewes were also doing it in a grand style, in their popular “Boboobo, Agbadza, and Kpanlogo dance routines.

What appeared to have delighted many patrons of the festival were the diverse traditions and cultural dances being intelligently displayed by the chiefs and people of the three Northern regions, with special and carefully designed costumes.

The importance of the festival to the people of Ghana could not be over-emphasised, as politicians, including Ministers of State, Regional Ministers, District, Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executives, musicians, petty traders and other businessmen and women were there in their numbers.

The overlords of the various paramount areas present expressed disquiet about the President’s failure to show up at the festival grounds when he was in Tamale, but decided to fly back to Accra.

In a speech read on his behalf by Professor Kofi Awoonor, Chairman of the Council of State, President John Evans Atta Mills directed all regional administrations to set up regional museums, art galleries and exhibition complexes to promote Ghana’s rich culture.

The week-long festival is on the theme: “NAFAC-Promoting Unity, Technology and Wealth Creation for a Better Ghana: the Role of the Youth in Nation Building.”

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