REPORT ON KWABRE ANWENIE FESTIVAL-2019

The Kwabre Anwenie festival is celebrated by the people of Kwabre East in the Ashanti Region especially indigenes of the Kwabre East Municipality.

The Anwenie festival which is celebrated in the month of September is to provide a platform for all indigenous and traditional products of wood carving, kente and adinkra and beads making.

The festival was brought to being to unify and unite the chiefs of all Kwabre communities and people to have one voice and strength with a single purpose to promote their culture and traditions to the outside world to achieve desired development within their capacity and means.

BACKGROUND

 

The festival was brought to being under the leadership of Hon. Nana Osei Asibey Bonsu, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Kwabre East Municipality.  The Anwenie festival which was last year celebrated under the chairmanship of His Majesty, Otumfour Osei Tutu, the Ashantihene was derived from the nature the product are produced.

The Anwenie name which means – things woven with the hands – include Kente, Adinkra, and Beeds making in various communities in the Municipality. Kente is woven in communities such as Adanwomase, Sarfo, Kasaam and Asonomaso with small scale individual’s waving the cloth at Abira, Bamang and Antoa.

The Adinkra symbols and cloths are primarily made at Ntonso, the home of Ashanti Adinkra. Adinkra means ‘farewell ’ or ‘parting ways with a friend’. Other surrounding towns like Aboaso are engaged in embroidery of Adinkra symbols on T-shirts and any fabric in very colourful and elegant clothing.

Ahwiaa community is also the home of wood carving. The community has predominantly engaged in this traditional trade over 100 years handed down from generations to generations with Ashantihene as the custodian of the craft.  The Ashantihene, Otumfour Osei Tutu II has installed a chief over the craft in the person of Nana Frimpong, the Asenfuorhene appointed to oversee the trade and work.

The festival was first celebrated in 2018 in various communities including Ahwiaa, Ntonso Adanwomase and Mamponteng hosting the Grand Durbar.  The week long celebrations had high patronage in attendance and exhibition at various centers.

The event was well attended by dignitaries, politicians, business men and women, and other important guests including the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon. Simon Osei Mensah and Deputy, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Arts among other high profile guests.

Awards were presented to achieve personalities from the Kwabre indigenous territory which extend from Suame Municipal, Kwabre East Municipal and Ejisu Municipal.

PURPOSE

 

The focus of the Anwenie festival was aimed at bringing the Kwabre people and their leaders together on a single platform where their demands for development can have immense effect in national discourse.

The festival was again aimed at uniting all communities in the municipality and beyond its borders to include all Kwabre indigenes otherwise separated by political borders and administrative boundaries.

All this was aimed to unite the people towards a desired goal of unity in development to bring about good governance, economic growth, social cohesion and good relationship among communities in the municipality.

The festival was primarily aimed at promoting the indigenous wood crafts, adinkra and kente in the Kwabre surroundings and nationwide to boost domestic tourism and patronage in line with Ministry of Tourism’s slogan of ‘Eat Ghana’, ‘Feed Ghana’, And ‘Cloth Ghana’.

It seeks to revamp a dying industry and modernize its processes and marketing strategies to increase the artifacts awareness, patronage and market share in both local and international trade.

It was against this backdrop that the Anwenie festival seeks to achieve in the Municipality to revive, strengthen and boost the indigenous occupation of the Kwabre people to create employment and open up investment opportunities in the tourism industry both domestic and internationality.

LAUNCHING OF FESTIVAL

 

Kwabre Anwenie festival 2019 were launched on the 2nd August 2019 at a ceremony held at forecourt of the Assembly, Mamponteng. The chairman for the occasion was Dr. Yaw Adu Gyamfi, a native of Adanwomase and President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) in his remarks stated that the festival is an occasion to unite and bridge the divide and showcase to the world the heritage of the Kwabre people to create revenue and employment through domestic tourism.

Other speakers at the events also reiterated the need to promote the culture heritage and products.  They asserted that investment must be made in the festival to reap its benefits by actors of the festival by promoting all products made by the Kwabre citizens.

The chairman also used the occasion to inaugurate the 24-member committee to oversee the planning, preparation and sponsorship for the festival.  The committee was chaired by Hon. Nana Osei Asibey Bonsu.

Among dignitaries at the function were from the various communities, student representatives, staff of the Assembly, Assembly members and the general public.

Exhibition stand was also mounted for Wood Carvers, Kente and Adinkra products as well as beeds making products.

MEETING WITH STAKEHOLDERS

 

A meeting was held with stakeholder at Ahwiaa, Ntonso and Adanwomase.  This was to listen to their challenges and together finds ways to address those challenges to make the 2nd edition of the festival a success. At Ahwiaa, the Municipal Chief Executive met with Nananom of Ahwiaa, Anyinam and Asenefourhene.

Discussions were held on challenges faced during last year festival and how to improve it, Nana Kusi Yeboah Asiamah, Ahwiaahene urged for unity of purpose and put behind any grievances since it can be addressed at a later date so as to focus on the upcoming festival of which Ahwiaa will be hosting and how to organize it well to be successful.

The Asenefourhene, Nana Frimpong Boadu bemoaned the neglect of him by the Assembly and Municipal Chief Executive especially in correspondence and invitations letters though he forms an integral part of the festival especially in events at  Ahwiaa wood craft display or exhibition where his name and  presence was not acknowledge.

Hon. Nana Osei Asibey Bonsu apologized for all administrative errors and any thought of neglect which he acknowledges it was not intentional and fully took responsibility for it.  He stressed on the need to cooperate and promote the dying craft industry and once again become viable as it used to be.

He urged the Assembly men and the local organizing committee to put plans in place for a successful festival and also make known to him any challenges they might face in the cause of preparations.  The Municipal Chief Executive meets Nananom at the Ahwiaa craft center.

At Ntonso, the Municipal Chief Executive and his team of planners meet the Assembly member and some opinion leaders at the Ntonso Adinkra village to have a discussion about the hosting of the festival. After a very fruitful discussion the leaders of the community pledged to do their best in its preparation for the festival.

The Municipal Chief Executive and his team later paid a courtesy call on the Queen mother of Ntonso and officially informed her about the event of which she gladly gave her blessings and applauded Hon. Bonsu efforts to revamp the tourism industry.

At Adanwomase, Nana Kwadwo Ntiamoah Panin II (Brempong) and elders received Hon. Municipal Chief Executive and his entourage.  At the chief palace, Hon. Asibey Bonsu officially informed the Otumfour Brempong and elders of the festival and also congratulated him on his ascension to the throne.

The Adanwomasehene, the Assemblyman and the local organizing committee to discuss the preparations and challenges for the 2 day program to be held at Adanwomase at the chief’s palace.

The Municipal Chief Executive also took the opportunity and inform the newly installed Kenyasehene, Nana Barima Fredua Agyemang II and elders including stakeholders in Kenyase of the Kwabre Anwenie festival at Kenyase palace which also happened to be a day of traditional Wukudae’.

Nana Agyemang II voiced appreciation and gratitude for the foresight of the Municipal Chief Executive and planning committee members to boost domestic tourism and promote our traditional heritage – kente, adinkra, beeds and wood craft to create revenue and employment with its economic rippling effects.

Hon. Nana Osei Asibey Bonsu also met with various stakeholders in the Municipality and beyond to discuss the Anwenie festival 2019.  These stakeholders include Accra chapter of Kwabre citizens, Muslim communities, subject matter Associations and groups, chiefs in the various communities, the clergy and other recognized groups.

PUBLICITY

The campaign to publicize the festival and whip the communal interest of the festival was done aggressively though with minimum resources.  Among the strategies used include;

 

  1. Radio and Television Advertisement
  2. Radio Interviews on selected radio stations
  3. Festival jingles for both radio and televisions on selected radio and television stations
  4. Banners and poster placed across the municipality
  5. Church and Mosque announcements including organized group’s visits

SPONSORSHIPS

Sponsorships were sort for the program from various institutions and organizations.  Most of the sponsorships were in kind other than cash.  Among the sponsors of the program include;

  1. Adonko bitters and related products
  2. Taabea company limited and television
  3. Danpong Healthcare limited
  4. Nipa Begye Adie (NBA) Herbal center
  5. Juaben Rural Bank
  6. GIHOC Distilleries Company limited
  7. Peprah company limited
  8. KF trust point company limited
  9. Danadams Pharmaceuticals Industry Limited
  10. Sekyere Rural Bank Limited
  11. Koraf mall shopping mall

The festival planning committee also solicited sponsorship from the radio and television station in Ashanti Region and beyond.  These stations were to spear head the publicity and announcement and promotion of the festival in their platforms and other media station.  These media sponsors include;

  1. Net 2 Television
  2. Ash Fm
  3. Fox Fm
  4. Alpha Radio
  5. Angel Television
  6. Angel Fm
  7. Otec Fm
  8. Sika Fm

 

ACTIVITES OF THE FESTIVAL

 

NON DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH SERVICE

 

A non-denominational church service was held on 22nd September, 2019 at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Ahwiaa.  The traditional Sunday service was to usher the festival into God hand to seek his protection and guidance for a successful blessing of the festival during and after the one week program.

Address was made by the Municipal Chief Executive on the need to participate fully in the festival and promote the traditions of the Kwabre people which are the trade of Kente, Adinkra and Wood Craft including beads making.

Rev. Joseph Gyimah prayed for the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and his entourage and the festival and sort God’s blessings for the duration of the program. Many of the church congregants were in Kente and Adinkra cloth to celebrate the occasion.

 

AT AHWIAA

 

Nana Kusi Yeboah Asiamah, Ahwiaahene who grace the occasion applauded planners of the festival and their foresight to revamp a dying woodcraft industry.  He urged all to combine every effort and marshal all support sustain the festival and reap its benefits thereof.

Among other speakers at the festival were the Municipal Chief Executive, Hon. Osei Asibey Bonsu, Member of Parliament, Hon. Francisca Oteng Mensah and Otumfour Asenefourhene Nana Frimpong Boadu.  There were also a talk on domestic violence by domestic violence and victim support unit (DOWSU) of the Ghana Police Service and teenage pregnancy by the dynamic health consult that also provided health screening at the durbar grounds.

Dignitaries were taken to the exhibition center to see the crafts of wood made by the wood carvers.  Among the dignitaries at the durbar included Nana Amo Ntiadu Ababio, Anyinamhene and elders, Ahwiaa wood carvers Association, the security, opinion leaders and other high profile personalities.  The event was well attended but below expectation as compared to last year’s durbar.  The mini durbar was need at the forecourt of the Ahwiaa craft center.

AT NTONSO

The mini durbar at Ntonso, the home of Adinkra was well attended by all from various communities across the Municipality. The audiences were excited with traditional songs and dances in addition to poems on Adinkra and some dance steps from some high profile people to the delight of the crowd.

Speakers at the event including the chairman of the local organizing committee spoke on the importance of the festival and the need to revamp the dying domestic tourism including acquiring patent and copyright to every design to reap every benefit on the trade. Hon. Nana Osei Asibey Bonsu in his address expressed the need for unity among leaders of the community and eschews divisions which negatively affect development.

He stated that it is only by common purpose and objectives that the Kwabre people can achieve greatness in all endeavors for which reason the festival seeks to achieve.

Dignitaries were tasted to a delicious traditional dishes and food exhibitions at the durbar grounds. Others was health screening by the dynamic health consult on HIV/AIDS, blood group, pressure and other health diseases.

Present at the durbar were Hon. Nana Osei Asibey Bonsu, MCE for Kwabre East Assembly, Hon. Francisca Mensah, MP, Kwabre East Constituency, NPP constituency party executives, Nananom of Ntonso, and other high dignitaries and guests.

AT ADANWOMASE

 

Adanwomase hosted the event for 2 days with their own program for day two of the event.  Mr. Steve Wilson, an expatriate with a company chaired the program.  In his address after he was awarded for promoting Kente in his native United States of America, Mr. Wilson stated that Adanwomase community changed his life and made him establish a travel and tour company through which he promote Adanwomase Kente in Europe.

He urged that promotion of tourism is visible businesses which must be sustained to promote the beautiful heritage to the outside world. Various speakers including the Assemblyman for the community Hon. Eric Boakye Yiadom stated the need to protect the Kente trade though registration of designs and copyright under the copyright law.

Hon. Eric Boakye bemoan the attitude of chiness in stealing of designs to print fake Kente cloth and cost of thread for Kente which enormously affect  their business and the attitude of Kente wavers who deliberately and weave the size and quality of the Kente designs.

Hon. Nana Osei Asibey Bonsu, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and Hon. Francisca Oteng Mensah, MP also spoke on various ways to promote and improve the Kente industry in the Municipality and how to market the product internationally through modern techniques of trading using the internet and all sources for which festival seeks to achieve.

Awards were presented to deserving personalities including Hon. Asibey Bonsu, Municipal Chief Executive for his vision in establishing the Kwabre Anwenie Festival and Hon. Francisca Oteng Mensah, MP, for her support for the festival among other deserving personalities.

Audiences were thrilled with traditional Kete songs and Adowa dances with both young and old joining the Traditional dance on their Kente cloth.  Traditional food exhibition was also display for dignitaries and guests alongside exhibition of Kente cloths, Shirts, Sandals and Adinkra and beeds.

A new Kente design was adored with it name – “Baakofour enbu man’’- to wit- one man cannot govern a community or nation, which was woven by Osei Yaw.

Among the well-attended mini durbar were the Kente weavers associating of Adanwomase, Adinkra maker and Ahwiaa wood carvers Association.  Other was students and cadet from the Adanwomase senior high school and many visitors from the surrounding communities.

INVESTMENT FORUM

 

These were an investment forum held at the Koraf Mall conference room, Asenua.  The finance and investment forum primarily focused on modern methods of marketing and securing financial help and from which sources to improve their business.

The event was chaired by Ahwiaahene, Nana Kusi Yeboah Asiamoah supported by his Colleague Chief, Kasaamhene, Nana Antwi Semprempeh II.  The event was well attended by various business individuals and groups namely Kente weavers from Adanwomase and surrounding town, beeds makers from Dumanafo, Association of wood carvers, Ahwiaa, Hair dressers association among other business.

Mr. Richard Asiamah, assistant manager for sustainability and partnership of Sekyere Rural Bank talk on how business can beverage on e-marketing for growth, basically internet marketing of all products.  Consultants from GIFEC also made presentation on effects of e-marketing on business in our country.

Open forum was given for participants to ask questions and appropriate response given.  Hon. Nana Osei Asibey Bonsu expressed gratitude all participants for the attendance and urged participants to fully implement whatever lessons they have learnt and full take advantage to improve their business.

AT ABIRA

 

Abira community hosted the games of Anwenie Festival 2019.  All traditional games were played alongside modern games including football, oware, cards, chest, and draft among others.  Six teams played in the football with Dumanafo and Adense making the final which has been set for a later date. Audiences were thrilled with life music from Ashanti Regional chapter of Musicians Association of Ghana (Musicgha)

In his address, Hon. Asibey Bonsu stated that the festival is to propagate his unity of Kwabre peoples to promote the desired course to developed their lives and products.  He stated that the games are meant to unite and bring the people of Kwabre together to drum home their demands on any platform and especially the promotion of their cultural heritage namely Kente, Adinkra, craft and beeds making.

GRAND DURBAR

 

On 29th September, 2019 the grand durbar for the Anwenie festival was held at Mamponteng Roman Catholic School Park.  The event marks the climax of the week-long event of Kwabre Anwenie Festival 2019.

The event was attended by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon. Simon Osei Mensah, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Tore Degembol.  Others include the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GIHOC industries and native of Asonomaso, Mr. Maxwell Kofi Jumah, Hon. Eugene Boakye Antwi Deputy Minister of Works and Housing.  Hon. Francisca Oteng Mensah, MP for Kwabre East constituency and other distinguished guests and personalities.

Speaker at the events were the Ashanti Regional Minister, minister for tourism.  MP for Kwabre East constituency and Hon. Nana Asibey Bonsu, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Kwabre East.  The Danish Ambassador was stooled ‘’Nkosuoohemaa’’- to wit-development Queen for the festival after she delivered her address on behalf of the Danish government.

There was fund raising for the launching of the Anwenie brochure.  There were traditional songs from the kete and Adowa drum groups including live music from Musician Association of Ghana (MUSIGHA) led by Oseibu Amanfi and other renowned musician.

Dignitaries were taken to the exhibition center where sponsors and subject matter materials – Kente, Adinkra, beeds and wood crafts – were displayed.  Among them were GIHOC distilleries, Akate farms, potted chicken, Ntonso Adinkra, Adanwomase Kente, Dumanafo beeds designs – necklace, wrist beeds, bees sandals etc.  Others included healthy life fruit juice, Adonko bitters and other commercial venture which brought their product to display.

The colourful event was well attended by chiefs and elders from the various communities including queen mothers across the municipality in their royal Kente and Adinkra clothes, Assembly member and Kwabre citizens, Accra chapter were all present to witness and enjoy the memorable events including security agencies.

OBSERVATIONS

 

The following are the observations made at the weeklong events

  1. That the patronage was at certain communities not satisfactory. Such communities include Ahwiaa and Adanwomase as compared with last year’s attendance. However Ntonso event attendance was surprising after issue of participation erupted. The grand durbar attendance was also quick good on the part of chiefs and elders put poor on the side of Kwabre citizens
  2. Publicity of the event was quite good as compared to last year but more activity based publicity and perhaps event T-shirts and other paraphernalia to publics the event.
  3. Security at event center was not good as there were no or none at event center including emergency ambulance services.
  4. Time schedules of start of events were not followed as scheduled in program line up.
  5. Staff and Assembly members’ participation was not encouraging as expected compared to last year’s enthusiasm associated with the festival.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

  1. Perhaps buses may be provided to convey residents far away from event center to the event sight since the distances a cost of transport may discourage them from attending the event and only send delegations to the center as witnessed from attending the event and only send delegations to the center as witnessed.
  2. Publicity can be enhancing with activity based campaign to create enough awareness including logos, prints of shirts and hand bundles etc. The information van can also be employed in community entry sensitization and awareness creation.
  3. Security arrangement must be engage with security agencies to provide security all events center to secure lives and properties.
  4. Ambulance services must also be engaged to cater for emergencies at event center.
  5. Schedule time of program must be strictly followed to avoid delays and anxiety of guest invited to a program and proms must be strictly followed except in special instances.
  6. Pressmen should be increase enough in all forms and accurately taken care of for news making.

CONCLUSION

 

The week long event was well celebrated with its set goals largely achieved.  It is hoped that the next celebrations will even be bigger than expected desires and objectives.

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