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February 26, 2006 | General News

Joe De Graft Students Drama Festival launched

GNA

Cape Coast, Feb. 26, GNA - The media and formal launching of Joe de Graft students drama festival took place on Saturday at the assembly hall of the Mfantsipim School at Cape Coast.

The launching, which was attended by 12 senior secondary schools in the Cape Coast municipality and outside was at the instance of the Central Region's Centre for National Culture (CNC).

The Joe de Graft Students Drama Festival (JGSDF) is aimed among others at creating awareness among the youth in senior secondary schools on the importance of drama, as a tool for shaping their character. Its activities, would from the onset be centred among schools in the region but eventually would spread to other parts of the country, and their performances would be essentially based on the literary works of Professor Joe de Graft.

The JGSDF is in honour of Professor Joe de Graft, a dramatist, poet and a playwright, who died in 1978, whiles lecturing in the University of Ghana at the age of 54.

Prof De Graft, who was an old student of Mfantsipim, and also attended University of Ghana, Legon, had eight unpublished poems to his credit and was instrumental in the coining of the name "School of Performing Arts" of the University of Ghana, Legon, where he lectured until his untimely death.

He was also at one time on assignment sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to Nairobi, Kenya, where he established a drama department at the Nairobi University.

In an address to launch the JGSDF, Mrs Leone de Graft, widow of the late professor, said her late husband's main aim in life was to get drama respected and loved by all. She stated that his intention was to have his poems and his other literary works published after his retirement from active teaching in Legon, but unfortunately died before then. Mrs de Graft explained that all his poems were geared towards educating and inspiring the youth to become responsible citizens, and all were centred on life in the village. She said her late husband was strict, disciplined, punctual and hardworking and always ensured that the right thing was done in the house.

Mr Emmanuel Quao, Regional Director of CNC said it was the desire of his outfit to honour the valuable contributions Joe de Graft made to literary works and the performing arts. He explained that this year's programme in connection with the JGSDF would involve a workshop and other activities that would culminate in a grand climax at the Cape Coast CNC on October 28, and that all the productions would be based on materials written by the late Professor.

The Right Reverend Bishop Isaac Quansah, Cape Coast Diocesan Bishop of the Methodist Church, who presided advised the students to emulate the shining examples of Joe de Graft so as to become responsible citizens in future. He said the nation belongs to them and that, if they wanted to become future leaders they should be disciplined, punctual to duty and hardworking.

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