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06.07.2005 Regional News

Elmina bounce back to life

GNA

Elmina, July 06, GNA - Life in Elmina has bounced back after the lifting of a month's ban on drumming, noising making and fishing in the Benya Lagoon.

The ban precedes the annual Bakatue festival of the chiefs and people of Elmina.

A procession of chiefs, some riding in beautifully decorated palanquins, as well as fetish priest and priestess and people from all walks of life paraded through the main streets of Elmina with brief stops at sacred shrines where final purification ceremonies were performed.

The chiefs and the people went to the bank of the Benya Lagoon where the chief priest, Kwamina Mensah, performed rituals. The Omanhene's net was cast thrice in the lagoon and guns were fired to announce the lifting of ban on fishing, drumming, funeral and noise making.

The Omanhene's net caught fish and this signified there would be bumper harvest this year.

During the Bakatue festival, sons and daughters of Edinaman are brought together and rituals are performed to invoke the gods to provide abundant food and to ensure peace and unity among the people. A durbar on July 9 would climax the weeklong festival and other activities include football matches, a state dance during which "Miss Bakatue" would be crowned.

Addressing the people later, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, the Minister of State in Charge of Public Sector Reform, underscored the important role Elmina could play in the development of tourism in the country and called for assistance to improve and develop the tourism potentials of the area.

He appealed to the government to expedite action on the dredging of the Benya Lagoon to improve the living conditions of the people who are mostly fishermen.

Dr Nduom advised the people to use the festival to take stock of their past and evolve new programmes that would enhance the development of the area and called for peace and unity.

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