Display of beads by chiefs, queens and teenage girls characterised this year's Ngmayem Festival of the chiefs and people of Manya Krobo in the Eastern Region at Odumase-Krobo, last weekend.
While the chiefs and queens were adorned with the most expensive beads on the neck and wrists, teenage girls, most of whom had recently gone through the Dipo (puberty) rites, this time did not put nudity on display but had almost all their bodies covered with rich ornaments.
The Krobos, one of the Dangme speaking tribes inhabiting parts of the Eastern Region cherish beads to the extent that parents often sold other valuables to acquire and preserve the' ornaments for their children.
The festival which dates as far back as four hundred years was in remembrance of a bumper harvest after years of famine.
And this year, thousands of Manyas from all parts of the country, particularly the hinterland who are engaged in farming activities arrived at Odumase-Krobo a week prior to the durbar.
As early as 8 am on the durbar day, people in merry-making mood, splendidly dressed with beads on most parts of their bodies started arriving at the venue to wait for the divisional and sub-chiefs and queens, some of them were Nene Dome Siako, Chief of Suisi Division, Nene Asada Ahor, Chief of Akuse, Nana Mamle Okleyo, Queen of the paramountcy and a number of Asafoatsemei such as Nene Padi Ahor and Nene Bansansu I who took their seats one after the other.
At the same time, traditional drumming and dancing of Klama, a popular dance mostly performed by Dipo girls was going on while the people waited for the paramount chief, Nene Sackite II.
The arrival of the splendidly dressed Nene Sackite II, who was followed by a large retinue at about 10 a.m., compelled the large crowd to surge forward to catch a glimpse of him.
It was followed by the arrival of the guest speaker, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the Vice President to climax the occasion. The Vice President in his address told the chiefs and people of Manya Krobo, Yilo Krobo and Osu Doku to exercise restraint over their border disputes for the government to find an amicable and a long lasting solution to them, adding that the area could only develop in an atmosphere of peace.
The Vice President who praised Nene Sackite for his able leadership, particularly for inviting investors to the area called on the chiefs and Manya Krobo District Assembly institute measures to address the falling standard of education at basic level ill the area.
Nene Sackite on his part appealed to the government to the area's perennial water problem and to also set up a high court at Odumase Krobo.
The Konor who also announced that a model school to be funded by the Konor's Education Fund would be established in the area to prepare senior secondary students for tertiary institutions, suggested to the education authorities to make Dangme, the local dialect a mandatory subject in schools in the district to sustain the culture of the people.
He also thanked the government for the numerous development projects and initiatives it had provided in the area.
Graphic Showbiz - 2 - 8 November, 2005. Page 9