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Entertainment of Sunday, 6 May 2012

Source: Nana Kofi Acquah

Four Word Story: Chale Wote Street Art Festival


Walking through the streets of Jamestown was so different on April 14. It
wasn’t a normal Saturday afternoon for me. It was one that gave me a lot of
inspiration. It was the second edition of the Chale Wote Street Art

The festival celebrates the vibrant art traditions of urban life from
visual media, experimental theater, and dance installations to extreme
sports. It’s a very “young” festival since most people in the country
aren’t aware of it.

For those of you who don’t know, chale simply means “friend” in Ghana and
“wote” is a Ga word meaning “let’s go.” When you put both words together,
you have “friend, let’s go” and that’s certainly what happened when I
decided to go to the festival with some friends.

The Chale Wote street art festival taught me a few things….

#1 Chale, there are talented people in Ghana.

It was very easy to see talent all around. I was astonished at how some
young guys could paint. Did I say guys? Maybe I am supposed to say boys.
The streets of Jamestown were painted. Some were done on wood and hung
along the roadside. There were guys on skates doing dangerous tricks and
they were incredible even though I feared for them most of the time. Don’t
mind me…. I am just like that when it comes to people’s safety and health.
There was a musical concert in the evening. There were some technical
hitches but that didn’t stop the event.

#2 It’s time for Ghanaians to embrace Ghanaian stuff

I am a huge fan of African fabrics, bracelets, shoes etc. I find it
astonishing when people ask me sometimes why I wear them. You will never
find me going “Britain” throughout the week. A few weeks ago, I was working
at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and decided to pass by the Cultural
Centre to get a new African-printed bag. There was an exhibition so the
stuff was pretty affordable. Unsurprisingly, I met more foreigners than
Africans or Ghanaians. I really don’t know why we don’t like our own stuff.
I don’t know why we don’t write our own stories. I don’t know why we don’t
promote our own culture. I don’t know why we don’t love ourselves enough to
love our own things.

At the Chale Wote Street Art Festival, you could see foreigners more
enthused about Ghanaian dresses, bracelets, anklets, necklaces than the
citizens. They love stuff made in Ghana… while we cherish those made in
China. I just implore my fellow Ghanaians to love Ghanaian stuff a bit.
Chale, the country is for us oo…. We are the only ones who can make it

#3 There’s another fun thing in Ghana and this time…. It’s free.

Christmas, Easter, Independence Day… oh let me take out Independence Day.
It’s really celebrated by the Ghanaians abroad. Those of us over here don’t
care about it, right? If yes, I believe there is only one thing that gets
Ghanaians excited…. Football or let me say “The Black Stars.” That’s the
only time the nation goes agog especially after a victory. The Chale Wote
festival is another opportunity for many Ghanaians who want to have fun but
have limited options.

#4 Chale, we are gradually placing Ghana on the world map.

Ever heard of the group, Generik
Vapeur from
France? Yeah, they were there and that was the climax of the festival for
me. They are usually called the “Blue Men” and they brought more fun to the
festival. Having such a group at the festival meant a lot to Ghana and the
organizers. Tourists visit the country each and every day. Soon, Ghana will
be on the list of Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries to visit. We can do it
and we must. Check out more

by Nana Kofi Acquah on his blog.

Big ups again to Accra [dot] Alt and
the French Embassy for making it happen this year too.

I hope to see you next year at the festival. Can Ghana be the top country
to visit? Let’s hear from you.