Once again, the people of Agortime Kpetoe will this year celebrate their annual Kente Festival (Agbamevor za). It is scheduled for September 7th through to September 14 and promises to be another exciting event worth attending.
The celebration was instituted in 1995 to promote the Kente fabric and give the people of Agortime Kpetoe, both home and abroad an opportunity to come home and contribute to the development of their town. The celebration has been consistent to date. Secretary to this year’s Festival Planning Committee, Mr. Elvis Attivoe, told Spy News Agency in an interview that visitors to 2014 Agbamevor za will surely appreciate the essence of the Kente which has become an international symbol of Ghana.
‘This festival is our way of attracting citizens outside to come and contribute to the development of their hometown and it was instituted following the realization that most of them don’t visit at all. We realized there was no point of convergencefor us, so the youth and elders kept asking the question ‘what can we do to bring our people home’ and the Kente product came to mind. It is a celebration intended to be a rallying point for development projects,’ Mr Attivoe stated.
According to him, it also followed the realization that the Kente fabric was losing its value and as such, there was a need for some drastic measures to salvage it. It is also to promote the tourism value of Agortime Kpetoe as the foremost town of original Kente fabric, among others.
The Agortime Kente Festival (Agbamevor za) is a weeklongcelebration.
Almost every Ghanaian now (home and abroad) owns a piece of Kente as a sense of pride and symbol of nationalism.
It is also a sense of pride that every Ghanaian who travels outside this country has a piece of Kente in his luggage and this has obviously added market value to the fabric.
It has created a lot of tourism for the country and people now look forward to this festival every year. Indeed the festival has revived the interest of Kente usage in the country, to the extent that almost every citizen of Kpetoe now has a cause to visit home at least once in every year. The celebration has caused the springing up of hospitality facilities in the town and this has given a boost to the local economy.
Undoubtedly, the annual celebration of the Agbamevor za has helped put Agortime Kpetoe on the world tourism map, and now the whole nation looks up to the sole festival that celebrates Kente.
LONG TERM VISION
The organizers of the festival say they have plans to make it a truly national event and are looking forward to the state to soon absolve it onto its national calendar.
‘We believe that Kente is a pride of Africa, it is beyond Agortime Kpetoe and should be placed on a national festival calendar and supported by government and corporate institutions,’ Mr Attivoe stated, adding that ‘But for this festival, Kente would have become an endangered species. Now it is an important fabric used by important people at various functions at both home and abroad. We need to do more of it though’.
Here is what happens at every Agbamevor za
The one week activity packed celebrations starts with Prayers to God Omnipotent and Omnipresent on the first Sunday.
Monday:Convergence at traditional homes to perform some vital traditional rites inremembrance of the ancestors.
Tuesday: There is a general clean up exercise by all citizens to tidy up the community, followed by a commemorative tree planting exercise. A health-walk and football competition is organized for the youth as a way of keeping the people healthy.
Wednesday: This day is termed Women and Children day. It is set aside for the young ones to learn the intricacies of their culture. According to history, the day was set aside upon the realization that women have a major role to play in the entire Kente venture. Right from their puberty age, through marriage, delivery, naming ceremonies, mourning, among others, women dress to tell the story of Kente throughout the stages of life. So on this day, the various patterns of Kente are displayed by women.
On the same day, Kente weaving competition is held as part of a mini durbar to identify new patterns and designs. It is basically to test the creativity and speed of Kente weavers who are the prime focus.
A quiz competition is also organized for schools to get the young ones to understand the meanings of the various Kente patterns on the market.
Thursday: On this day is what is called ‘Godigbe’ otherwise known as ‘The Day of Landing’. It is a day to depict when the people of Agortime arrived on the shores of the then Gold Coast in boats and canoes. It is performed to show the significance of the landing.
‘Asia le torme’ is another significant indigenous cultural event where women go to the Riverside to fetch water for visitors to the festival. It is a tradition of old being kept alive by today’s people as a demonstration of the good hospitability of the people of Agortime Kpetoe. According to history, this used to be an activity for old ladies and pure maidens. The beauty of it is when they are all walk back from the riverside in a single file cladded in different Kente attires carrying water in bottles to pour in a pot for use by visitors.
Friday: Fridays are very important days on the activity list of any Agbamevor za. It is on this day- known as Heroes day that ancestors who died or survived in war are remembered. The people clad in red and black attires, converge at a designated venue for the various clans of Agortime Kpetoe to display their heroism as they return from war. They depict the ranks of the military and it is a spectacle to behold.
Friday evenings are dedicated to the activities of the youth. That is where a dance competition and a beauty pageant- Miss Agbamevor za (Kente Queen) are crowned. The aim is to identify role models that can promote the Kente fabric so winners are mostly those who display deep knowledge of the act of Kente.
Saturday: This is for the Grand durbar. The traditional leaders of all 37 towns and villages converge at the paramountcy and take a procession to the durbar grounds through the principal streets if the town. Dressed in their various traditional regalia, in different patterns of Kente and palanquins accompanied by their entourage, amidst loud drumming and dancing and cultural displays they exchange greetings with their people. The sight of this is simply memorable. It is an activity that really brings out the best value of Kente and makes it come alive.
After the durbar, streetsin the town are ‘set ablaze’ with fun and entertainment; every street comes alive with celebrations amidst loud music and dancing.
Sunday: on the last activity day of the Agbamevor za, religious prayers are said to thank God for a successful celebration. In the afternoon, the finals of the community football gala are held and in the evening, a State dance is organized for the elderly.
According to the organizers, there would be a new addition to the activity list this year in line with their vision of introducing something new to the festival each time. There would be a search for the 2014 Kente Treasure between the two main divisions- The Adusis and the Adontris. They would be sent on an expedition to find a hidden treasure. The idea is to test the leadership and mobilization skills of the youth as well as their speed, time energy and vision.
This year’s celebrations have the Commissioner of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr George Blankson, as the Special Guest of Honor. It promises to be another lively event worth attending.
I don’t know about you, but I am not ready to miss this even for anything in this world. Why don’t we meet at Kpetoe in September and have fun. Let us celebrate the Kente.
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