Chicago, July 27,2008: As expected,the only Ghanaian cultural exposition , home and abroad, that depicts cultures from all the Regions in Ghana and the largest cultural event in the Diasporas , Ghanafest, came off in Grand Style yesterday at the Historic Washington Park,Chicago.
The organizers of the festival, the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago must be congratulated for putting up such a large scale show employing their spare time and volunteering to make sure fans of Ghanafest are not disappointed annually.
The dignitaries were there to grace the occasion. Two presidential aspirants, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, leader and flagbearer of the Convention Peoples Party, CPP, and Dr. Edward Nasigri Mahama, presidential candidate and Flagbearer of the Peoples National Convention (PNC) displayed a lot of maturity and goodwill when they warmly shook hands to dispel any notions that the recent ill-fated merger of their parties might have affected their personal relationship.After two years absence, the Minister of Culture and Chieftaincy, Honorable S.K Boafo, came back to “Obama Town” to celebrate and be part of this unique festival once again.
A crew of TV 3 from Ghana covered the celebrations gavel to gavel . They will broadcast it later to their viewers in Ghana. Adepa Radio broadcasted the celebrations live to its listeners.
For the first time, a Ghanaian traditional chief outside Chicago, the Chief of Ghanaians in Ohio, participated fully.
The Ga-Adangbe Organization stole the show this year from the rest of the affiliate organizations of the Ghana National Council by first dressing in Red whilst sprinkling the traditional kpokpoi and later carried their Chief and Queen in a Palanquin amidst pomp and pageantry. That was the first time a Palaquin was used at Ghanafest.
In his keynote address, Honorable S.K Boafo thanked the Ghanaian Community in Chicago for instituting Ghanafest.”One remarkable observation is that, although you are thousands of miles away from home, in a different environment altogether, you still cherish your rich cultural heritage. You have worked tirelessly to institute Ghanafest as an important annual event to showcase Ghana’s cultural diversities which bring us together as one people!”
Mr. Boafo informed the audience that this year, his Ministry will undertake cultural awareness in communities, schools and churches in Ghana.
In his welcome address, Mr. John Henry Assabill noted that, Ghanafest 2008 cost $23,000.00 to put together. The City of Chicago approved a grant of $850.00 for Ghanafest 2008. The Affiliate organizations provided $5,500.00 to support the event. The rest of funding, $16,650.00 was raised through the hard work of the Executives of the Ghana National Council.
In conclusion,Mr. Assabill told his audience that, “It is worthy of note that a new administration was sworn-in for a three (3) year term which began in January 2008 and end in December of 2010. Ghanaians in Chicago are privileged to have some of the finest in the community to serve them. Equally, this administration is lucky to have unqualified cooperation and support from the former President Reuben C. Hadzide. This is healthy for the community and we are thankful.”
Attendance was mainly Ghanaians from across the States in the USA, Canada, Europe and Ghana. Majority of non-Ghanaians were African-Americans, a few Hispanics and whites who are mainly former Peace Corps members who served in Ghana. The Sankofa Group, a Ghanaian traditional Music and Dance group from Cincinnati , Ohio, entertained the crowd to Kete and Adowa. D.J Sam Q returned after a two year break with fantastic selections of High Life and Hip Hop Music. There were traditional Ghanaian foods, African arts and craft at the festival. Attendance at this year’s celebrations was projected around 15 thousand.
The Main Sponsors of the festival are Money Gram International, Ghanaweb, Annakka Enerprise and The African Spectrum.
Source: Bedzra Consultant L.L.C.