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30.06.2004 Regional News

La Mantse lauds foreign interest in Homowo festival

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Accra, June 30 GNA- Nii Kpobi Tettey- Tsuru III, La Mantse (Paramount Chief), on Wednesday acclaimed the deep interest Africans in the Diaspora, were showing in the annual Homowo festival of Ga Dangbe as a means of tracing their roots.

" The support of La Traditional Council is assured for citizens from the area who would like to kindle this interest by promoting the festival abroad."

Nii Tettey-Tsuru was speaking to the Ghana News Agency at his beach- side palace after a three-member delegation from Diaspora Tours; a tourist venture in Accra, had briefed him about plans to send a cultural troupe from La to partake in the annual Homowo festival at Florida in the US.

The 15 -member "Komian-Bii" Cultural Group would leave for the US in August, this year, to perform specialised dances associated with Homowo to give for the first time, a typical African flavour, to the celebration, which have been organised for four years by an African-American firm- Ayoka Gifts International Services Incorporated. " I witnessed Homowo festival in Britain and it was a very interesting experience. These cultural exchanges must be encouraged to assist national development efforts," Nii Tettey -Tsuru recalled. Mr Percy Amoah Gogoe, leader of the Troupe and General Manager of Diaspora Tours said such cultural exchanges were the only means to show case the rich African heritage.

"There is no country without customs and traditions and we have to preserve these rich heritage for posterity."

Mr Edward Amoah, Executive Director of the Company, said the tourism potential of Ghana had not received the necessary attention like neighbouring Benin where Voodoo shrines were attracting large number of tourists.

Nuumo Yemotey Odoi VI, La Traditional High Priest who spoke to the exterminated the Ga Dangbe migrants from their native land in Israel. He said through fervent prayers the gods gave the people bumper harvest hence the sprinkling of the traditional food Kpoikpoi at the precinct of shrines and other designated places as a symbolic food to show gratitude to the ancestors.

The High Priest said after the pouring of libation and other rituals revellers join in communal eating of the food. He expressed the need for La Traditional Council to establish a museum to preserve the regalia and other relics of traditional priests and elders.

"The reality of civilisation is catching up with us," he said.

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