The Ghana Culture Forum –GCF – has marked another edition of the Ghana Culture Day at the National Theatre.
The 2017 edition brought together a broad spectrum of participants, culturists and stakeholders across the cultural divide, including, distinguished personalities within the Ghanaian cultural universe, government officials, students and the general public.
The auspicious event convened under one roof, some of the nation’s finest creative minds and culture enthusiasts as they deliberated on the opportunities within the culture space and how they can be tapped into to help grow the economy.
Chairperson and Co-convener of the Forum, Professor Esi Sutherland-Addy in her opening address noted that the observation of the Ghana Culture Day is to reinforce her outfit’s commitment of celebrating the rich tapestry of the diverse cultures of the Ghanaian people. She said the theme, ‘’60th Anniversary of Ghana’s Independence: Cultural Re-orientation for the Emergence of the New Ghanaian,’’ had been chosen to increase the consciousness of the need to uphold and indulge our cultural heritage.
Professor Esi Sutherland was of much appreciation to partners of GCF especially the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture for its immense support over the years. She expressed hope that the new administration would continue to back the Forum in their quest to instill cultural values among Ghanaians. She called on government to consider officially making the 14th March of every year, Ghana Culture Day so that it will be observed accordingly.
The Culture Day was laced with a cornucopia of activities and performances that delighted patrons. Highlights include, various exhibitions including; culinary, music, film, visual art, indigenous science and technology, literary and verbal arts. Outside the foyer of the National Theatre where main event took place, were street artists and painters who created live paints and a number of cultural troupes who heralded patrons with beautiful culture amidst dancing and drumming.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Catherine Abelema Afeku also commenting on theme for the occasion said that it was very apt. ‘’This is because as we celebrate our 60th anniversary as a nation it is important for us to pause and take stock of our cultural heritage by examining how far we have come as a people and where we are going,’’ said the Minister who also insisted that in the face of globalization and technological advancement, it is imperative that we lose not our cultural identity.
This she described as a collective challenge to us as a country that we need to take urgent steps so that we do not get the authentic Ghanaian cultural values diluted by the effect of these challenges. She said the principal importance of culture is in the enrichment of our own lives and pledged her assistance to less endowed traditional authorities to document their culture and history ‘’so as to bring to the fore, the full range of Ghana’s cultural tapestry.’’
Outlining a number of interventions the ministry will undertake to enhance the sector, Mrs. Afeku said a 2004 Cultural Policy will be reviewed to make it more relevant and purposeful in the face of current modern trends. ‘’ I can assure you that this government is determined to see the completion of all the abandoned or suspended regional centres of National Culture and commence a programme for establishing fully functional centres for National Culture in all the regional capitals,’’ she added.
Patrons were also treated to astounding displays by the Ghana Concert Party Union, Ehalakasa, National Dance Company, Pan-African Youth Orchestra, Models Union of Ghana among others. Honourable Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Senior Minister and Keynote Speaker for the day observed that what differentiates the Ghanaian from other nationalities was our culture. ‘’The true unique difference between a Ghanaian and any other is culture and we cannot do anything without our culture.’’ he opined.
According to him, our culture if properly managed and harnessed could be a major income earner through the creation of wealth for those involved and shoring up the financial numbers for the country in general. He said unlike other sectors that require huge investments before reaping its dividends, the culture and creative arts sector largely depends on honing once God-given talents which demand relatively little investments.
He said the country could capitalize on the economic viability of the creative arts and culture industry to optimize a ‘’creative cultural economy for national development.’’ He assured the GCF that as a member of the Economic Management Team, he will spare no effort in advocating for the culture sector to be considered in the national economic discourse.
Other sideline events for day included Film Screening and Presentation, Fashion Forum, Exhibition o Ghanaian Heritage and a host of others.