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14.06.2007 Regional News

You’re Setting Us Back, Sir

The Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Mr Samson K. Boafo, announced last Monday that the month of November has been set aside as cultural awareness month to be observed annually.

He stated that the period will be used to sensitise the population to the importance of their heritage as the foundation for the development of the country.

We are surprised at this suggestion, coming from no other quarter than the ministry in charge of culture. The suggestion here is that nothing has been done over the last decade or so, to make Ghanaians more aware of their culture and to hold on fast to its positive aspects.

Judging from the several initiatives and interventions from government agencies such as the Ministry of Trade, which is promoting the national Friday wear concept, and the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs which is spearheading the condemnation of female genital mutilation (FGM), we can confidently say that Ghanaians have gone beyond the 'awareness' stage with regard to their culture.

Indeed the idea of setting aside a month in the year for culture defeats the concept of culture being a dynamic force. We live culture; we do not observe it as if it is a special period on a calendar.

Is it not curious that the Minister intends to use the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) as the platform for his proposed cultural awareness when he himself did not participate in the last edition of NAFAC held in Wa?

The National Commission on Culture has been ready with a national cultural policy document for a couple of years now.

We honestly think the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture should spend its energies propagating the document which sets out our general cultural direction, instead of setting us back.