Diasporian News of Thursday, 26 September 2013
Source: Ga-Adangbe Association
Talking about setting high standards. This year’s Ga-Adangbe Association of Calgary’s 6th Homowo Festival held on September 21st, 2013 beat every imagination and participants came from various parts of the country, as far as Toronto, B.C., Ontario and New York. And yes they came and enjoyed the festival of festivals Calgary has ever seen. No one was disappointed and approximately 200 attendees danced and demonstrated what it is that we relate to as Homowo. Children from 18 months to 12 years were turned on to the music and stayed on the floor till 1:00 am.
The Kpa Shimo music, Wogbe Dzeke, was danced to by members while entering the hall. The music and the performance by members drew applause from visitors who were in the hall. The festival as a whole, provided a sumptuous banquet of Ga-Adangbe sounds, with the concomitant dances and singing. Four extraordinary voices were added during the occasion with Mr. Fogah Amega, once again singing both the Canadian and Ghana national anthems followed by special sounds and drumming by Sankofa African drummers of Winnipeg, bringing the hall down with a rambunctious, audience-participation version of Kpalongo.
The occasion was highlighted by a visit and short speech by Mayor of Calgary, His Worship, Naheed Nenshi, who spoke about diversity, inclusiveness and being each other’s keeper. He challenged all Ghanaians to make an effort to volunteer to help the needy. Citing the recent flood in Calgary, Mayor Nenshi thanked the GAAC for the flood relief and the financial contribution made to the Canadian Red Cross and other donations made by the Association to other relief agencies in Calgary.
The occasion was heralded by our guest speaker, Mr. Cheema Nkendirim, who spoke about citizenry and challenged Ga-Adangbe residents in Calgary to think about the community of Calgary and Canadian Nation as a whole. He related that responsible citizenship is about individuals who realize their obligations to take actions that ensure their community is healthy, safe and secure. A responsible citizen participates in their community to promote personal and public good. He challenged all the Ghanaians in the diaspora to think about socio-economic needs of Ghana and set a goal of helping to rebuild our Nation. Reflecting on the Association’s accomplishments in the past six years, Chairperson of the Association, Liz Quarshie, quoted Helen Keller on volunteerism:
“I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.”
Ms. Quarshie announced that GAAC has been granted Charitable Status by the Province. She commended GAAC members for their volunteerism, vigilance and assistance rendered to Calgary and adjoining area flood victims. Other accomplishments mentioned by Ms. Quarshie included:
• Calgary Food Bank
• Calgary Drop-in Centre
• High River and Siksika First Nation
• Donation of $1500.00 to Canadian Red Cross for flood relief
• Donation of 10 boxes of new clothes and shoes to flood victims
She then asserted GAAC’s philosophical tenet that some sense of culture and identity is better than none and that a nation that loses its language and culture dies. Ms. Quarshie challenged us to do all in our power to maintain the Ga-Adangbe languages and culture to enable us to pass them on to our children wherever we may be. She stated that GAAC works toward fostering communication and solidarity among visible minority youth and families in Calgary and catchment areas and towards achieving social, racial, cultural, political and economic harmony across the Province of Alberta, Canada and across the globe; ensuring our participation in the shaping of a community that members benefit from fully.
The Chairperson related that GAAC priorities in the coming years are the revitalization of our Ga-Adangbe language school and the strengthening of links with other organizations across the globe.
“It was extremely successful,” said Dr. Ayite Ayi, past president of the GAAC. He related that the performance was splendid. Secretary of GAAC, Theo Aryee declared that the Festival was a fantastic opportunity to showcase and highlight the diversity of the people of Calgary and adjoining areas.
Mr. Henry Nii Tettey, Public Relations Officer of the GAAC stated that “I'm extremely pleased with the turn out and how it's gone this year and the response from the approximately 200 guests has been extraordinary.”
The event also provided the opportunity for visitors to sample Ga-Adangbe and Ghanaian dishes, including Kpokpoi, kose, wakye, banku, kenkey, joloff, etc.
Ms. Quarshie extended gratitude to all the members of the Association and paid special tribute to the organizing committee members and volunteers. She expressed special thanks to Ms. Becky Mensah, who decorated the hall, Mr Josh Laryea, Mr Michael Quarshie, Mr Theo Aryee, Nii Tettey, Fogah Amega, Linda Nkendirim and Monica Provost (the foot soldiers of the Association). “The top is indeed reached by wisdom, never by size,” quoted Liz Quarshie.
Ellis Q/Theo Aryee