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Opinions of Monday, 27 August 2018

Columnist: Sampson Boamah

Chale Wote festival

The Ghanaian culture by all standards is one which is envied by the masses. The African culture affords its people with numerous benefits with the predominant being the provision of a platform for uniting several persons in an integrated manner. The Chale wote Street Festival is obviously such of a kind celebrated in the country.

Chale wote Street Festival is a festival celebrated by artists, dancers, musicians and the general populace on the street of James town in Accra-Ghana. Though not a long celebrated festival it has survived the stance of eight years now.

Its observance and commemoration continues each year. This year, the Chale wote festival spanned from 20th August to 26th August 2018. At its commencement, fewer numbers could be spotted at the location from Monday to Thursday with the number more than doubled entering Saturday and Sunday.

Intuitively, the rise in attendance stem from the fact that several workers and students do not go to school or work on these two days. The write up is an empirical experience of YOUNG POSITIVIST at the venue of the occasion.

Initially, I planned on visiting James Town to partake in the festival on Saturday. Coincidentally, Lecturer for Ghana literature Dr. Adika issued an assignment which demanded that students partook and got involved in some of the activities at the venue and come out with a comprehensive report.

Thus on Saturday afternoon at about 12:30pm some colleagues of mine and myself took off for James town. As expected, we were met with a heavy traffic as a lot of people made way for the festival grounds. We had to alight at Novetel Hotel and trek for about an hour to the grounds to escape the stress of being in traffic for long.

One intriguing thing I quickly spotted was that it was rather difficult differentiating between the rich or less endowed as everyone was seen virtually trekking with stains of sweat all over. It was also interesting how vehicle owners parked their vehicles just to join the walk.

The streets were filled with colour painting of all designs with some body and facial painting as well. The place was over crowded as participants were struggling for feet spaces. One could hardly move at a point in time. Young DJ’s were given the platform to exhibit their DJing skills at the several music joints. Not forgetting the numerous food vendors who came around in their numbers to sell so they can make profit.

We cannot forget that kind of promotion that this festival brings to the promotion of cloths made locally here in Ghana. One is likely to see about 80% of Ghanaians and foreigners adorned in beautiful African outfits. This goes a long way to portray the sort of cultural heritage and value available to Ghana and to a larger extent Africa.

I must commend the organizers of the festival for enrolling a vibrant force of security in a bid to control expected deviant happenings on the ground. Many thanks to the Ghana police service military, Ghana fire service and all other state security agencies who saw to a peaceful observance of the Chale wote festival. Lives, properties and belongings were indeed protected.

My first point of visit upon arrival was to the Ancient James Front Prison. This place per history harbored persons who disrespected and or were rude to the whites. This particular destination in James Town was exciting as one could easily find relevant historic features in and around it with its accompanying facts. In fact it was fun and delightful to be in the Ancient James Front Prison.

I headed for the beach after touring the Ancient James Front Prison were several couples, lovers and friends could be seen having fun and enjoying the breeze of the sea.

Chale wote by all standards brings a lot people of together, exhibit the rich Ghanaian culture and affords the platform for one to have fun with friends and families.

The 8th edition of the CHALE WOTE Festival was very special because His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo was present at the occasion. Although his visit was rather short participants present were glad to see him around.

Moving forward as a country such activities ought to be promoted in a bid to address some of the numerous problems bedeviling the country among which employment play a key role. Despite all the fun and excitement at the venue, publicity was on the low.

The media can do massively well than its current performance in promoting such entertaining programs as compared to political events. If same attention given to political coverage is also given to these festivals, awareness creation will be effective thus increasing the yearly participation whenever its time for the festival.

In conclusion, it's my humble plea that the government help such young men and women who want to promote made in Ghana and Africa products. If these young artisans, dancers and musicians are abandoned and not assisted, loss of human resources and or talents will then be our fate.

The Ministry of Tourism has a key role to play as well in achieving this feet.

Many thanks to the organizers for such a wonderful and colourful celebration. Special mention must be made to the inhabitant of James Town and the entire Accra Metropolitan Assembly for their worthwhile contribution to the successful completion of this year’s festival. To all those who made time off their busy schedules to attend, many thanks. You all deserve some accolades.

Let us protect our Ghanaian identity and brand because a foreigner cannot do that for us. Indeed CHALE WOTE has come to stay. Long live the great people of James Town. Long live CHALE WOTE and long live YOUNG POSITIVIST. Ghana must work again. Ghana will work again. YOUNG POSITIVIST a concerned citizen of Ghana.