When I look at how some foreign bodies representing their respective countries in Ghana promote their culture here, I ask myself, if same is happening for Ghana in other countries – I mean outside Africa.
Some countries, for many years now, have studiously and diplomatically, promoted (and continues to promote) their cultures all over the world – through their Ambassadors or Embassies and some institutions that represents them.
Notable institutions that readily come in mind are British Council, Goethe Institute, and Alliance Français. These foreign bodies came in and were largely identified with giving of educational supports services in the interest of their countries or nationals – in addition to their core mandate, they started promoting their culture subtly.
The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. On the art section of their official site, they have stated, “our arts team in Ghana work with the best of British creative talent to deliver innovative, high-quality events and develop collaborations with artists and cultural institutions.
We secure relationships with creative partners internationally to deliver exciting projects in Ghana, from theatre and dance to visual arts and design. The British Council protects the interest of Britain – that is what they are here to do and it’s a fact!
For example, November (11th – 23rd March) this year, the British organized a programme called Shakespeare Lives – a global programme of events and activities to celebrate the world’s most popular playwright’s work on the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. Was Shakespeare an American? No – he was a British! Do you get the drift? They project Great Britain.
The Goethe-Institute is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. They promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange. Not only do they promote the study of German in Ghana, but they promote their own when it comes to culture.
For instance, in 2007, the Goethe Institute honoured German sound engineer and producer, Bodo Staiger, whose studio in Dusseldorf has recorded more burger highlife albums than any other studio in the world and Peter Krick, founder of the Skyline studio in Dusseldorf who has also worked with many Ghanaian artistes since 1984.with a concert dubbed “Made In Germany- A Celebration of Burger Highlife.”
Goethe Institute has done a lot in terms of their cultural promotion in the past and will do more! They promote and protects the German interest here in Ghana.
It is a non-profit-making organization established with the aim of promoting French language, cultural diversity and Franco-Ghanaian cultural exchanges that are fuelled by a passion of mutual enrichment. They promote French artists, films, dress, food, etc. right here in Ghana!
For instance, annually, they, in collaboration with the French Embassy, the Francophone Embassies in Ghana and Francophone Students Associations, and under the patronage of The International Organization of Francophone (OIF), organize Francophone Film Festival in Accra. This year, it happened in March (12th —19th). They promote and protect the French interest here!
On the Embassy front, I give encomium to the Indian Embassy of Ghana. They glaringly promote India culture here as if Ghana is an annex to India – from their foods, film festivals, dance, dress, religion, ancient medicines, Vedic culture, yoga, etc.
They have collaborated with Accra Mall and British Council to promote their cultures countless times. The Indian government must give a special honour to the India Ambassador here for promotion of their culture and interest.
I don’t know of any such body as Ghana Council or whatever name it may be, that functions in same or similar manner as the aforementioned bodies – but I do know of Ghanaian Ambassadors or Embassies that act as representatives of Ghana to countries we have diplomatic ties with.
Are they promoting our culture where they are? If yes, it’s a big plus for them and Ghana. If not, too bad – because, the Foreign Service should not be the dumping ground for politicians, lawyers, doctors, military and other service officers who should be accommodated for political considerations. It should not be a thank-you-token to those in politics for helping their parties win power.
Their services should not end with immigration and residence issues or creating ordinal relationship between other countries and Ghana. Art is a tool used by many developed countries now in economic development – so if our Ambassadors are not promoting our cultures, we should be concerned!
We sit in Ghana, promote, and patronize Pizza (from Italy or somewhere in the Middle East) – we can hype ‘Ap3pr3nsa,’ ‘Waakye,’ or ‘Jollof’ in other continents through our Ambassadors for others to patronize? Through how fascinating our Ambassadors brand and market our cultures, we can have foreigners come to Ghana to invest in our arts – music, fashion, films/documentaries, painting, or theatre.
We have a lot of beautiful and diverse cultures our Ambassadors can hype and the benefits to us as a nation of arts, is enormous! Our rich Kente, our folkloric arts, our dance forms, our rich Highlife rhythm, our foods – amongst others, can all be promoted in foreign lands too!
Not long ago, Ghana discovered a dance form called Azonto – a very intriguing dance move that caught the interest and attention of old and young, home and abroad. The Azonto buzz got so loud that CNN had to delegate one of their reporters to Ghana to do a documentary on it.
Yet, our very own Ambassadors in other parts of the world, failed to promote Azonto where they were. Azonto died off just like that! Ghana could not make much global relevance or capital out of it. But as the saying goes, ‘better late than never’ – we can still do something!
If you happen to be a Ghanaian living outside Africa reading this write up and knows of the exploits of any Ghanaian Ambassador (outside Africa) who is promoting our culture, you may get in touch with the Editor of Presspeep.comvia firstname.lastname@example.org let’s celebrate him or her. If you know of one who is not doing anything at all or much to promote our culture too – let us hear from you. Until then…MOTWUM!!