This year’s celebration of the Afenorto Festival of the Chiefs and People of the Mepe Traditional Area in the Volta Region, has been launched in Accra with a call on celebrants to use the festival as a rallying point for the development of the area.
The festival, on the theme “A People United towards a Culture for the Future through Education: Benefactors and Practitioners” began last June, and would be climaxed with thanksgiving, and interdenominational church service, on Sunday, August 12, 2018.
As part of the celebration, an inter-school gala is scheduled at the Presbyterian Junior High School Park, Mepe; and there would be firing of musketry, special Afenorto prayers by churches in the area and sounding of talking drums (atumpani) and pouring of libation.
Other activities to take place during the festival are cultural music fair, lighting procession, a bonfire, clean-up exercises, singing festivals by cultural troupes, vigils, hunting rites, film shows, annual state harvests, games, inter clan regatta and a grand durbar of the Chiefs and People of the area.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, who was the Guest of Honour, at the launching, praised the
Executives of the Mepe Development Association (MDA) for sustaining the festival, and called on them to do more to push the Afenorto festival unto the international stage.
“The festival should be a rallying point, for all of us, our associates and patrons home and abroad for the development of the area,” Mr Ablakwa said, and called for the injection of fresh and new ideas into the celebration to the advantage and enhancement of the lives of the people.
The MP added that culture and tradition were not relics of the past, but tools for development so that people can have a better way of living.
“We need to continue to celebrate to let our children celebrate our cultural identity, as we also press for innovation and transformation.”
Mr Ablakwa urged individuals, corporate institutions and organizations to take advantage of the festival to support the development agenda of the area.
Mr Emmanuel Arhin, Managing Director of School Excess Ghana Limited, who chaired the launching, appealed to investors to make Mepe an investment destination.
He urged the youth to continue to develop their capacities to the development and upliftment of the area.
Mr Peter Debrah, Dumega (an Elder) of the Mepe Traditional Area, in a background on the festival, said Afenorto, meaning ‘period of rest at home.’
He said it was a celebration by the people of Mepe usually between the month of July and August every year, aimed at renewing the sense of oneness of the people and provides unique opportunities for reunions and bondage with families and ancestors.
The period was chosen to deliberately overlap the recurrent floods caused by the yearly overspill of the Volta River. During this time, most economic activities (particularly, clam picking, fishing and farming) along the banks of the river came to a standstill. So, all citizens returned home (to Mepe) on a forced occupational holiday.
An Asafo (Youth Development) Group enlivened the launching, at which magazine of the festival was also launched with traditional musical performances. GNA