By Prince Acquah
Cape Coast, Dec. 10, GNA – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has opened the 2022 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) with a call on citizens to guard against actions, which threaten the country’s peace and unity.
He said peace and unity remained the ‘sine qua non’ for attaining sustainable development, therefore, citizens must place them above all individual interests in all circumstances.
“We should be proud that Ghana is enviably one of the most peaceful countries on our continent and in the world. We must, therefore, guard against any action that would compromise the peace, unity and love we enjoy as a country,” he said.
The President opened the weeklong festival of colour, glitz and glamour at a durbar of chiefs, heads of department and students at the Adisadel School Park in Cape Coast.
The magnificent display of the rich Ghanaian culture and tradition in all forms, including music, dance, poems, food, language and dresses was admirable.
The national event attracted chiefs and people from all over the country to represent and sell their unique cultures in a unifying fashion to Ghana and the world.
This year’s event, which marks the 60th Anniversary of the Festival, is on the theme: “Revising Patriotism, Peace and Unity through Cultural Diversity for Sustainable Development.”
President Akufo-Addo observed that Ghana had one of the richest and most vibrant cultures in the world, which bound the people together.
“A country’s strength is built on the vibrancy of its culture,” he declared, and described the Ghanaian culture as a dynamic living organism, which must adapt to change”.
The people must, therefore, work to preserve the valuable aspects and discard those that caused harm.
The President said the cultural and creative industries were key drivers of economies across the world, having the potential of attracting high foreign earnings for Ghana through export.
In view of that, he said, his Government had since 2020 provided numerous support for the cultural, creative arts and tourism industries to help revive and expand the sectors to grow economy.
The latest of such support, he noted, was a $10 million grant for some 1,500 Small and Medium Enterprises in the sector with about 10 per cent of the amount allocated for female-owned enterprises.
The President said Ghana’s cultural representation was a captivating story, which needed to be told with the active involvement of all artists and artisans to achieve the goal of attaining a Ghana Beyond Aid.
Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, the Central Regional Minister, said the festival was a unifier and a great way to pay tribute to the ancestors and heroes of country.
She urged citizens to remain committed and sacrifice individual ethnocentric interests for the national good.
She also urged all participants to seize the opportunity to learn one another’s culture, stating that it was the surest way to give meaning to “living in peace and harmony”.
She implored all, particularly, the youth, to desist from all negative and detrimental acts in the course of the festival so they could live to celebrate more to come.
Every region will have a day to showcase their culture in the course of the event.
Additionally, exhibition booths have been provided for all 16 Regional Centres for National Culture (CNC) and the 22 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies of the host region to showcase their heritage.
The event ground is also a business centre for individual enterprises who have been provided with exhibition booths.
Additionally, a farmers’ market has been opened to create a direct interface between farmers and buyers of their produce.