Accra, A grand durbar for Zongo Chiefs over the weekend, was held at Nima in Accra in honour of the maiden edition of Zongofest to celebrate the rich arts and culture of the Zongo people.
The durbar was characterised by the display of Chiefs and Warriors in their royal apparels, whilst some carried horses with their subjects parading before and around them amidst drumming, dancing and chanting of war songs.
The Zongofest was organised by the National Commission on Culture and supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture as well as the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development and in partnership with the YaaSalam Opportunity Centre and Zongo Business Incubator.
The maiden edition of Zongofest was on the theme: Harnessing Culture and Arts for the Competitive Advantage in the Zongos, and attended by 12 Zongo Community Chiefs and their people.
Dr Ziblim Barri Iddi, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said the Zongofest 2017 celebrated on July 1 was also, to commemorate the 57th Anniversary of Ghana attaining a Republican state.
Dr Iddi noted that Muslims mostly inhabited Zongos in Ghana, through the intercultural relations of the various ethnic groupings.
He noted that the heterogeneous nature of the Zongos was relevant to rich cultural and commercial interchanges that had existed from time immemorial.
He said the celebration also sought to create opportunities and provide a platform for exchange of information, ideas, capacity building and interaction between private and public sectors besides unearthing talents and helping them market their products.
Dr Iddi said Arts and Culture formed the core of people’s being and the essence of their existence as well as an extension of their human expression.
The role Arts and Culture as a catalyst to progressive ethnic diversity is gaining more recognition, artifacts are a testimony to our heritage, the Deputy Minister said.
Dr Iddi said Zongofest sought to become an annual internationally recognised festival celebrated on the Republic Day and subsequently rotated nationwide to serve as a platform for the people in the Zongos to display their creativity in art and craft, food, business, brands and tell their success stories.
He charged the organisers of Zongofest to ensure that it provided the artisans with mastery class in packaging and finishing techniques and supported them with micro-credit as well as soft loans.
Dr Iddi told the organisers to ensure that Zongofest eventually transmit cultural values from generation to generation as well as provide and connect local artisans for global market opportunities.
Increase economic activities within the Zongo communities and beyond.
He said the country’s economy could thrive through arts and culture if it was seen from the various components of culture through the business spectacle by innovation, forming partnerships and maximising the opportunities brought about by emerging technologies.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Alhaji Imoro Baba Issa, the Chief of Wangara Community and the Public Relations Officer of the National Council of Zongo Chiefs said it was necessary to harness culture for development and economic growth.
Alhaji Issa said, the festival was not just to display dances, songs, horses and culture but the Zongo Chiefs were looking at making it more attractive in the coming years to ensure the involvement of the youth to help curb unemployment in the Zongos.
Mrs Alice Alima Kala, the Acting Director of the Community Youth
Cultural Centre at the National Commission on Culture told the GNA that the festival would be greater in the coming years because the Government, the Chiefs and the people have all demonstrated high level of interest towards Zongofest 2017.
Mrs Kala said the event had the support of the government and had shown commitment to the Zongos by creating the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development, which would ensure that the coming years’ event would be more attractive to international world as well.
She said the Commission had involved all stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the Zongofest after the maiden edition.
The 12 participating Chiefs for Zongofest 2017 included Chief Imoro Baba Issa of the Wangara Community in Nima Ayawaso, Chief Osman Chackson of the Mamprusi Community in the Greater Accra, Chief Seidu Louis of the Zabarma Community in Nima Ayawaso, and Chief Zakari Kuta of Chamba Community in Greater Accra.
Chief Abdul-Aziz Shaibu of the Kotokoli Community in Greater Accra, Chief Ibrahim Bawa of the Basari Community in Greater Accra, Chief Mohammed Dabre of the Bissa Community in Greater Accra, Chief Salley Shaibu of the Hausa-Fulani Community in Nima Ayawoso, and Chief Nuhu Agali of the Kull Tamashak Community in Nima Ayawoso.
The others were Chief Yusif Abdulai of the Moshie Community in Nima Ayawoso, Togbe Mawuko of the Ewe Community and Chief Alhassan of the Grumah Community in Greater Accra.
Source: Ghana News Agency