03.07.2005 General News

VEEP highlights efforts to forge national integration

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Medie (G/A), July 3, GNA- Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, on Sunday highlighted efforts by the Government to mainstream culture as the tool for national integration, citing the Constitutional mandate of the State to realise this objective through the appropriate customary values.

"Article 39 of the Constitution enjoins the State to take the necessary steps to encourage the integration of appropriate customary values into the fabric of national life through formal and informal education as well as the conscious introduction of cultural dimensions to relevant aspects of national planning," he explained.

Alhaji Mahama, who was speaking at the launching of the Dagaba Music Centre at Medie in the Ga District of the Greater Accra Region, which was characterised by various music and dances mainly from Dagara in the Upper West Region and the Northern and Upper West regions. He said the State was also required to ensure that appropriate customary and cultural values are adapted and developed as an integral part of the growing needs of society, while traditional practices, which are injurious to the society are abolished.

The Centre was established in 2000, with the aim of promoting the teaching and learning of African music, dance and visual arts. Alhaji Mahama said the national cultural policy emphasised cultural education as a strategy for spreading gains, unearthing new values for the benefit of the nation and eliminating harmful practices. He commended the centre for complementing the efforts of other State institutions in promoting the cultural values of the country. " I will like to urge the Centre to design an appropriate curriculum that will ensure that students, especially of foreign extraction, take with them an authentic understanding of our cultural values to avoid adulteration," He said.

Alhaji Mahama said the centre would make more inroads by expanding its present scope to include other Ghanaian dances and music as well as the incorporation of other dimensions of arts and culture. "This is the challenge I will like to throw to Management of the Centre as part of its vision to create a Centre of excellence in the not too distant future," he said.

Mr Bernard Woma, Founder and Director of the Centre, said the cultural facility had hosted and trained over 200 international students and professors.

He said the vision of the Centre was to be able to offer degrees in traditional music and dance in the near future.

"It is my vision that this Centre will develop to become the first university of traditional studies in music, dance and arts in Ghana," he said.

Professor Steven Cornelius of the Bowling Green State University in the US, lauded efforts by Ghana's first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah and other Pan Africanists to promote Africa's indigenous culture and tradition, which he said improved on race relations in the US and other parts of the globe. 3 July 05

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