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New path for the culture ministrypdf print preview print preview
29/04/2009Page 1 of 1
 
NEW PATH FOR THE CULTURE MINISTRY
By Nelson Kofi Akatey

The Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Mr. Alexander Asum- Ahensah soon after assuming office met with all the directors of various agencies under his ministry.

As usual, the purpose of the meeting was to learn about the sector with the view to having a fair idea about the task ahead of him.

The meeting provided the platform for discussion on issues, particularly challenges facing the sector and to map out effective strategies to combat theses challenges. And for the Directors it was a good opportunity meet face to face with the captain of the Ship under whose authority and command they will be.

The ministry needs to be commended for this bold initiative. The agencies and departments represented at the meeting include the National Commission on Culture, the National Theatre of Ghana, the Bureau of Ghana Languages, the National Dance Company, the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, the Symphony Orchestra, the regional centre National Culture Accra, among others.

The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture established in 2006 is perhaps the youngest ministry now but certainly with a lot of heavy responsibilities. It is even described as the ministry with the highest number of agencies, centres and establishments across the country.

Its responsibilities include creating awareness of the traditional values of the country and to generate pride and respect for the nation’s heritage.

It is also to foster national unity among the diverse ethnic groups of Ghana by promoting Cultural interaction and inter-ehnic understanding through programmes that create an enabling environment for national development. In addition, though its required to make the people of Ghana aware of the contemporary relevance of their tradition and cultural heritage and assist local communities to mobilize their cultural resources for human material development.

Though not advanced in age, it is expected of the ministry to chart a new path and direction for the culture (including chieftaincy) sector with the hope of lifting it to greater heights.

The ministry must be seen to be playing very active roles in national issues that promote peace, unity and development. These challenges go with modernizing the sector and its institutions but maintaining their relevance and substance.

Throughout the few years of its existence, it has made some modest gains. The Chieftaincy Act of the Old for instance has been revised to make it more relevant and contemporary.
Many chieftaincy disputes which otherwise could have been burning points have been resolved amicably. It has organized the first ever Ecowas Cultural Carnival and also instituted the Cultural Awareness month to be celebrated every November throughout the country.

The festival meant to compliment the biennial celebration of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) is to create the platform to re-appraise our culture and look at the positive values there in that we can effectively harness for national cohesion, integration and development.

There is no denying the fact that in spite of the isolated cases of conflicts’ in the country our mutual respect for each other embedded in our cultural values as one people over the years has brought us this far. It therefore important for the ministry to be resourced and encouraged to facilitated the process further.

It is hoped the ministry would not over concentrate its programmes and activities on chieftaincy affairs only.

As a young ministry the challenges facing the ministry are quite enormous. Today a lot of Ghanaians, especially the youth are shying away from their culture for various reasons. How do we get them interested to appreciate their culture which is a mark of their identity? The elders (older generation) believe that the moral decadence, indiscipline and abuses in the system today is because of the fact that we have thrown our values to the dogs. Some of the challenges of the sector were vividly captured by the editorial of the Ghanaian Times of Wednesday March, 2009, “who cares about Culture?”

But I believe it is time we begin to care about our culture, not only as drumming and dancing even at a State Functions. But culture in its totality as the foundation for national development. The ministry deserves more governmental budgetary allocation than it is receiving now taking into account its responsibilities and structure.

In addressing the challenges, the issue of public education programmes with the media as important allies need to be emphasized. Again there is the urgent need to pick up the pieces on the Culture Trust Fund which was approved by government since 2004. It is long overdue.

Civil Society group must play active roles in collaboration with the sector ministry to implement the programmes in the Cultural Policy Document. Our chiefs must continue to support the efforts of the ministry in funding lasting solutions to chieftaincy and land disputes which are threats to national security and peace. It maybe worth while to re-visit the idea and policy of the ministry to institute an award scheme to honour chiefs who have distinguished themselves as peace makers and development agents.


*Source:
                 Daily Graphic                         page 7                   Wednesday, April 29, 2009

 
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