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GhanaFest in Vancouver

17 July 2018 at 19:51 | 3707 views

By Our Correspondent

Surrey’ Bear Creek Park in Vancouver, Canada, witnessed a splendid display of Ghanaian culture and hospitality, friendship and heavy doses of fun and merriment Saturday, July 14.

The occasion? GhanaFest 2018, where a multicultural crowd of over 700 was treated to a rollicking medley of music, dance, and storytelling. The beautiful bright and sunny weather added additional glitter to the fun-filled festivities.

The festival kicked off with prayers by Robin Raweater of the Sto:Lo First Nation community in Chilliwack and Sharon Werner of the Tla-o-qui-aht of the Long Beach on Vancouver Island and Pastor Joseph Acheampong of the Church of Pentecost.

The African Stages cultural troupe and the Karakata Afrobeat Band treated the attendants to pulsating Nigerian traditional dances and Afrobeat music. This was followed by an enactment of Asante Royal Durbar, storytelling, and a fashion show.

“I am glad that our main goal to expand GhanaFest, which has until now been largely an all Ghanaian affair, was achieved today, as we were able to draw a wider and diverse participation as a way to bridge cultural divides among various ethnic groups in our community and to promote mutual understanding, respect, friendship and a better appreciation of the cultures that the various groups represent,” remarked Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, president of the Ghanaian-Canadian Association of British Columbia (GCABC).

The festive atmosphere at the Bear Creek Park, filled with laughter, music, hearty and chatty jokes was a sight to behold.

“This is the best of all Ghana festivals I have ever attended,” said Patience Okantey.

The entire afternoon saw a beehive of activities, animated conversations, games, children playing in kids’ castles, youths playing soccer, spontaneous dancing to music provided by DJ Backyard (Eric Obeng). And of course, people eating freshly barbequed hot dogs, sausages, home-cooked jollof rice, ‘bofrot’, kenkey, fufu, and many more.

Ananse Storytelling
The theme of GhanaFest 2018 was “Ananse Storytelling as a Medium of Moral Education.” Dr. Quist-Adade explained that Ananse (Trickster) stories are not only repositories of folk wisdom, but they are also deployed as one of the arsenals in the socialization toolkit for youth moral upbringing and education.

Dr. Quist-Adade also noted that Ananse (or anansi) stories
are also global in nature. “Having originated in West Africa the legendry Ananse story has gone global spreading to different parts of the African Diaspora, thanks to the European trade in Africans, spinning a web of multiple and diverse versions spanning African Descent communities from the Caribbean to South America and to North America,” he added.

In Ghana, Kwaku Ananse—the spider—whose greed and guile, vanity, and selfishness almost invariably land him in trouble, sometimes tragic— is the chief protagonist or main character of the Ananse stories. The stories are typically told in a group setting around in the late evening the fireplace under the moonlight. They are interactive and involve singing and creative narrative interventions by participants, Dr. Quist-Adade observed.

Ananse storytelling is a time-tested vehicle for moral education, especial for young ones and a powerful tool for´ social cohesion, Dr. Quist-Adade, said in the introduction to his narration of two ananse stories. Both stories were designed to impart lessons of humility, honesty, generosity, reciprocity, and care to young ones.

“Thank you for the opportunity for my family to participate in your GhanaFest. We enjoyed the food, especially the shito,” said Ernesto from the El Salvadoran community. And Sharon Werner from Vancouver Island chimed in: “What a fantastic festival! I won’t miss it next year.”

The activities were rounded off with a fashion show by Babsy Fashion and Alycia Styles and a youth bash by Ika Quist-Adade and friends.

GhanaFest2018 was sponsored by the City of Surrey. Other sponsors were WINGS, Bassant Motors, and Fufuopa.

The following individuals deserve special mention for their selfless contributions to the success of the festival: Vicky Mensah, Megan Lew, Roger Amenyogbe, Dereck Kankam, Charles Quist-Adade, Godfried Lovelace-Dodoo, Samantha Ogbeiwi, Subbash Negi, Abdul, Ivy Owusu, Barbara Naana Kwakye of Babsy’a Fashion
Victoria Mensah and her Vic’s Golden Girls: Sarah Oduro, Meyer Quaynor, Addai Brianna, Boateng Chantal Doffoe, as well as Supporting Sister Organizations: Unique Sisters, Abusua Kese, Nkabomu and The Church Of Pentecost.

Here is a video clip of some of the Ghanaian cultural dancing: