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Bonwire Kente Festival To Promote Ghana’s Culture

The chiefs and people of Bonwire in the Ejisu-Juaben municipality of the Ashanti Region are preparing feverishly for this year’s Kente festival scheduled for December 23 to 29.

Bonwire has attained fame as the ‘home’ of kente weaving for centuries and, since 1998, the chiefs and people have set a week aside to celebrate the cultural significance of the gorgeous fabric which has enormous demand across the world.

This year’s event is being organised to tie into the ‘Year of Return’ celebration and it is being promoted by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts and the Ghana Tourism Authority.

On an official visit to the offices of the Daily Graphic to expatiate on the festival, the Chief of Bonwire, Nana Bobie Ansah II, said kente was an African pride because it distinguished the black man from other races.

The chief, who was in the company of the committee chairman for the festival, Nana Asuako Asumado, and the Assembly member for Bonwire, Mr Krobea Asante, said: “Kente has developed from being the cultural pride of the people of Ashanti to Ghana as a whole and now it has assumed the identity of the black man and that is what the whites cannot claim ownership of.”

“We need to give it a lot of publicity and so we are here today to seek for support and sponsorship for the festival whose cultural significance cannot be undermined, he added.”

Festival activities

Activities lined up for the festival include the Obaasima Kente pageant, football gala, clean-up exercise, inter-schools quiz competition, kente exhibition, concert, health screening, food competition, street carnival and a thanksgiving service.

A grand durbar of chiefs and people of Asanteman will climax the festival on Saturday, December 29 which will be graced by President Nana Akufo Addo; the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II; the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei Mensah; the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, and the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Creative Arts, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi.

History of kente

Giving a brief history of the kente cloth, Nana Bobie Ansah said Akan oral history had it that kente started with the Ashantis in Bonwire where two brothers, Kurugu and Ameyaw, went hunting one afternoon and came across a spider spinning a web.

They studied the spider and its art of creating the web to start a design which had lived and survived for almost 400 years.

According to Wikipedia, kente comes from the word kenten, which means basket in the Asante Twi dialect.

For years, kente has been regarded as a royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance but its use has become widespread in recent years.

A variety of kente patterns have been invented, each traditionally associated with a certain concept or set of concepts. For example, the ‘Obaakofoo Mmu Man’ pattern symbolises democratic rule and ‘Emaa Da’ is a novel creativity and knowledge from experience.

The colours also tell a story, with black depicting spirituality, while gold reflects energy, wealth and glory.

Bonwire Kente festival

At a point in time, the lack of resources and sponsorship stalled the organisation of the festival. But in 2017, it was revived and this year, the week-long event will aim at bringing to the fore kente not only as a cultural asset but a fashion ornament.

Nana Bobie Ansah explained that apart from giving patrons the opportunity to learn the art of kente weaving, as well as buying the fabric at discounted prices, the festival will also highlight kente’s other uses such as its relevance as fashion ornaments.

“It appears people mostly know the kente cloth as a piece to wrap around the body but the truth is that, it could also be used for many styles such as trendy skirts and tops and fashion ornaments, including earrings, necklaces and bracelets,” he stated.

The chief also mentioned that the festival would help the weavers and stakeholders in the sector to find solutions to some of the negative practices threatening the survival of the fabric, including the influx of fake kente designs and fabric.

Support assured

Welcoming the chief and his delegation to his office, the Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Kobby Asmah, lauded the organisers for their efforts and assured them of the support of the newspaper and for that matter the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) to promote kente since it was a great cultural asset.

“The Daily Graphic is here to serve the country, and appreciating the cultural significance of kente is one of them so we cannot rest on our oars but promote this historical and very important national asset,” he said.

“This is a very good legacy we can leave for our children and so it is in the right direction to support the festival,” Mr Asmah said.

 

Source: Graphic Online

Classic Ghana

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