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Diasporian News of Tuesday, 2 August 2005

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Chicago Ghanaian Community displays Ghanaian Culture

.... at GhanaFest 2005

?Wow!! Wow!!?, ?I?m short of words to express what is happening here today?. Those were the sentiments expressed by some attendees at the 17th Annual GhanaFest in Washington Park on Saturday July 30, 2005.

Excellent organization, good coordination, good communication, hardworking and dedicated executives, a supportive Community and perfect weather produced the biggest and best African Cultural Exposition in North America on Saturday.

Present at the function was Ghana?s Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Fritz-Poku and Mr. J.C Akron, the Counselor for Consular affairs. The Guest Speaker for the occasion was Mr. Samuel Akainyah, an art Professor at Kennedy King College in Chicago and owner of Akainyah Galleries on 357 West Erie Street in Chicago. The Co-Chairs for the occasion were Anita Kontoh-Scott of Kontoh-Scott & Kimble LLC in Bolingbrook, Illinois, Francis Akoto, owner of Ghanaweb, the premier Ghanaian News web site, who came all the way from Finland and Veronica Asante, a Ghanaian Business woman who came all the way from Ghana for the occasion and donated $500.00 toward the Ghana National Council?s Youth program.

The Event was co-sponsored by Western Union, MoneyGram, Kontoh-Scott & Kimble LLC, Annaka Enterprises, Oakley Construction, African Spectrum, PrimeAmerica, the Chicago Mayor?s Office of Special Events, Mmrantie Kuo of Bolingbrook, Illinois and ABN America Network of Minnesota who would be broadcasting the event on satellite Television Channel 79.

Present at the festival were the Liberian Consulate in Chicago, His Excellency Alexander Gbayee, The President of the United Kenyans association, Mr. Mukila Maitha and the Vice President and Treasurer, Ms.Sandra Adubofour and Ms.Adiiza Bacary, both from the Ghana National Council in Florida, and Olivier Kamanzi of JP Morgan Chase Bank.

The Executive Council of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago gave a service Honor Award to Professor Samuel Akainya, Black Heritage recognition Award to Mr. Chuck Bowen (former Special Assistant to Major J. Richard Daley0, Service Honor Award to Nana Akwasi Addae, Asantefuohene of Chicago Metropolitan Area and Midwest, Outstanding Achievement Award to Mr. Francis Akoto, owner of Ghanaweb and Black Heritage Recognition Award to Ms. Janet Soliz, Coordinator with the Mayor's Office of Special events in Chicago.

In his speech Ambassador Fritz called on Ghanaians not to lose sight of the true meaning of culture and its importance in national development and international relations in the midst of the festivities. he applauded the theme of GhanaFest 2005 "Passing on our culture to the Youth".

There was a Youth parade and this year there were more sponsors and vendors than ever before.

Ms. Rose Amoonoo sang the national anthems for Ghana and United States.

In his remarks the President of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago, Mr. Reuben Hadzide outlined some of the accomplishments of his administration. He informed attendees that the City of Chicago had offered the Ghana National Council a piece of land for the building of the Ghana Cultural Center.

The Guest Speaker, Professor Samuel Akainyah appealed to Ghanaians to say words about our country and about people in general that reflect a compassionate and a kind heart. It is the only true way to cultivate a genuine and an endearing spirit, hence an endearing nation.

This year the Ghana National Council awarded 20 prizes to Raffle winners. The first prize was a 20" flat screen Television set. Other prizes included a microwave oven, 8 DVD players.