16.05.2005 Regional News

Chief unhappy about churches attempt to erode nation's values

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Elmina, May 16, GNA - Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, the Omanhene of the Oguaa Traditional Area, on Monday expressed concern that the proliferation of churches in the country was leading to the erosion of the nation's cultural values and traditions.

He said the leaders of most of these churches have labelled the celebration of festivals and other traditional activities as anti-Christian.

Osabarimba Kwesi Atta said this when he co-chaired the opening of a one-week conference on "culture and education", aimed at creating awareness of the importance of culture in formal education. It is being organised by the National Commission on Culture in collaboration with the ministry of education with support from the Royal Netherlands Embassy and Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The participants include traditional rulers, officials from both the public and private universities and from the ministries of education and tourism.

The Chief stressed the importance of the nation's culture and traditions and said, "You become a people of a nation first before you choose a religion".

Osabarimba Kwesi Atta cited instances where some churches had deliberately planned crusades and other activities outside Cape Coast to coincide with the celebration of ''Fetu Afahye'' in a bid to ensure that many of the residents do not participate in the festival. Touching on the objectives of the conference, he expressed the hope that recommendations made would not be "left to gather dust on the shelves" but would be given attention.

Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Minister of Education, also expressed concern that modernization, urbanization and globalisation were impacting negatively on the youth and even on some elderly persons in the Ghanaian society.

He said in a speech read for him that many of the youth and some adults were forgetting their culture and this shows in their dressing, behaviour, attitude and relationships. This development, he said, called for a conscious effort to redeem the virtuous elements such as humility, care and respect for laws and the elderly, hospitality and communalism.

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