MINISTRY OF CHIEFTAINCY & CULTURE
GEARS UP FOR NAFAC 2010
By: NELSON KOFI AKATEY- Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture
Once again, it is time to celebrate the Arts and Culture. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, the biennale celebration of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) comes off at Tamale, the Northern Regional Capital in November. The theme for this year’s celebration if NAFAC: Promoting Unity, Technology and Wealth Creation for a Better
Ghana: The role of the youth in nation Building. The celebration of NAFAC 2010 comes off on the heels of the government’s agenda of empowering and investing in the youth to achieve the Better Ghana agenda programme.
This year’s NAFAC was to have come off in 2009, but had to postpone to 2010 because of circumstances beyond the control of the Ministry. However, the good news is that the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture is working feverishly towards making this year’s event a unique and a memorable one. The Sector Minister Hon. Alexander Asum-Ahensah has since launched the event and also inaugurated the National Planning Committee and the Regional Planning Committee at Tamale. The National and Regional Planning Committee have since embarked upon series of activities to ensure a successful celebration.
NAFAC simply stands for the National festival of Arts and Culture. As indicated earlier, it is a biennale event which is celebrated every two years for the period of ten days at one of the regional capitals selected to host the event for that year — this year (2010) the event is at Tamale, in the month of November. The history of NAFAC dates back to the 1960s when industry players in the field of Arts and Culture, our history and our heritage. This was to give meaning to the idea that a nation’s arts and culture play a significant role in its development.
One of the most unique developments of the festival soon after it was established in Kumasi was that it attracted a national character. Today, NAFAC has become one of the most celebrated national events bringing together the entire ethnic groups in the country. The records indicates that the 1975 edition of the festival held in Accra from 21st October to 7th November served as the preparatory ground work from the second world Black and African festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in Lagos, Nigeria.
One of the objectives of celebrating the National Festival of Arts and Culture is to create a common platform to honour our Heroes who have contributed significantly to the promotion of the Arts and Culture, and foster national unity and Pride.
Again, the celebration serves as a national platform for celebrating our unity in cultural diversity. NAFAC has become one of our central pillars for showcasing the potentials in the tourism industry. Notwithstanding the challenges over years, however, NAFAC has played a pivotal role in fostering national unity, pride and consciousness among Ghanaians.
The celebration of each festival at the national level is always preceded by celebrations at the district and regional levels. Though the national festival is not conducted on competitive basis, the regional delegations at the national event marked their regional days with a lot of competitive spirit to show off their best. The regions have always bused NAFAC to project their tourism potentials to attract investment.
The celebration of each festival goes with the adoption of a theme which becomes the focus of the event for that year from the district to the national level. In 1978, the theme for the festival at Tamale was “Towards National Understanding”. The Brong Ahafo Regional capital, Sunyani hosted the festival in 1980 under the theme — “Culture for Nation Building”. Two years later, in 1982, the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua hosted NAFAC. The theme then was “Towards Creative National Culture”; the records indicate that after 1982 Celebration, there was a break for ten years.
The celebration resumed in 1992 with pomp and pageantry at Kumasi under the theme, “National Unity in Cultural Diversity: The Foundation of a Proud and Progressive Ghana. The other events were as follows:
1996 at Cape Coast on the theme “Culture, the Environment and Development”.
o 1998 at Bolgatanga — “The Challenges of Culture Preservation: The Strengthening of our National Identity in the next Millennium”.
o The year 2000 at Ho under the theme “Sustaining a Culture of Peace, Unity and Development in a New Millennium.
o The year 2002 (celebrated in 2006) on the theme — A vehicle for Wealth Creation”.
o NAFAC 2007 in Kumasi — “50 years of Cultural Integration and National Development” was the theme. Indeed one can say without any reservation that NAFAC has come a long way in celebrating the arts and culture, promoting national unity and pride and enhancing the tourism potentials in the country.
This year the celebration of NAFAC come with a difference. For the first time, the festival will focus on job creation through the medium of the tarts and Culture. The idea is to tap the various potentials in the industry to generate employment and create wealth. As indicated by the sector Minister, Alexander Asum—Ahensah during the inauguration of the Regional Planning Committee at Ho, NAFAC 2010 and subsequent events will focus on development of skill training. Already there are thousands of people in the Arts and Culture Sector who are gainfully employed. The NAFAC programme would be to re-structure the sector so as to make it move attractive especially to the youth. This would go a long way to offer more employment, reduce poverty, and create wealth.
Again NAFAC 2010 and indeed subsequent events would seek to honour creative groups and regions which have distinguish themselves and have contributed significantly to the promotion and development of the Arts and Culture with particular reference job and wealth creation.
NAFAC 2010 will undoubtedly add to the glorious achievements the festival has chalked over the years. Some of the programmes outlined for this year’s festival include lectures, colloquium, exhibition performances and durbars to mark regional days. The colloquium would provide a holistic interaction of all relevant stakeholders to brain storm, on the relevance of our cultural values, practices and usage to national development.
The major challenge which the organization of NAFAC has always laced has been the mobilization of enough resources for the ten day fair. Most times, government budgetary allocation to celebrate the event falls short of expectation due to other constraints. It is in the light of the above challenge that the Ministry for Chieftaincy and Culture during the launch of the festival appealed to corporate bodies to support the Ministry. Indeed, we all have a role to play to ensure a successful event.
NAFAC is the only festival platform with brings all Ghanaians together at the same time for a period of ten days to engage in intellectual discourse, promote our rich Culture and Arts, and re-establish our bonds of friendship. The Ministry is also adopting measures to restructure NAFAC to make it more relevant to the realities of the day.
As November approaches, let us all join hands to make NAFAC 2010 a successful event in Tamale, for as the saying goes the strength of nation lies in its unity.
HOSPITALITY&TOURISM GUIDE Page: 4 Monday, August 13, 2010