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21.10.2008 Travel & Tourism

2ND CULTURAL AWARENESS MONTH: ANY HOPE?

By newtimesonline.com

The Ministry of Culture has announced its readiness to lead the people of Ghana through a 'Cultural Awareness Month' next month. If it does come off, the programme will be the second of its kind since the new Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture was created.

Announcing this to a Times Reporter last week, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry lamented what he described as the demonisation of the country's culture, regretting that “very often, we limit the understanding of culture to the negative and awkward cultural acts such as Female Genital Mutilation and Trokosi, among others.

Asked what would go into the programme of activities, the PRO said the activities would be known when the Ministry launches the programme “soon”.

For the concept, the Ministry deserves a pat on the back. However, implementation is another matter.

The Times can only caution the Ministry against another colourless fiasco.

The last so-called NAFAC in Kumasi last year, has been described by cultural workers and journalists who covered the event as the worst in living memory. Last month, the Ministry organised what was supposed to be a landmark ECOWAS Carnival.

It was a fiasco, if not a disaster. For a human race that loves to gives excuses for failures, the Times is not surprised that the Ministry has more than half a dozen excuses why the event was a failure.

Our fear is that this is the way things will always be. We say so because Culture, as a sector, is the least on anybody's agenda. It seldom appears on the radar of the mass media and, therefore, seldom gets assessed by critical society.

After all, has it not once been described by a one-time Chairman of the Culture Commission as synonymous with “pleasure”!

When the PRO blames society for demonising culture, he does not say who has caused it. For several decades, all that the cultural authorities have focused on has been how to organise NAFAC, which is admittedly a potential platform for cultural revival, promotion and preservation.

Unfortunately, NAFAC has seen very little serious preparation and organisation.

The last time it was held in Sekondi, all that the President of the Republic and other diginitaries were shown as Ghanaian culture, was a young girl climbing a slippery pole!!!

Let the PRO and all workers of culture who talk like him understand that if  (to quote him), “very often, we limit the understanding of culture to the negative and awkward cultural acts such as Female Genital Mutilation and Trokosi”, it is because nobody has taken the initiative to eraze this misconception.

The last time we checked, the Ministry of Culture still has that mandate.

We wish the Ministry well, in the hope that by the end of November, Ghanaians would have been made more culturally sensitive.

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