Saturday, March 10, 2007.
KENTE WOULD HAVE DONE THE TRICK
Radio & TV
Review by: KEN MARTEY
TUESDAY, the 6th of March, 2007 will forever be remembered not just because it marked the Golden Jubilee of Ghana’s Independence from colonial rule, but also because of the milling crowds that thronged the independence Square in Accra, which was the venue of the historic celebration.
According to the team of commentators who covered the event for Ghana Television, there had never been such a mammoth crowd for a function at the Independence Square.
Perhaps, it is only the crowd that turned up at the square during the visit of President Clinton of the USA some years back that comes anywhere near the golden jubilee crowd.
According to radio and TV reports virtually all the stands that had not been reserved at the nicely refurbished square, were fully occupied by 6.45 a.m. for a function that was billed to start at 9 a.m. That gives you a fair idea of the rush to be part of the golden jubilee crowd. The weather was comparably much cooler than usual because of the strong breeze from the Atlantic Ocean just behind the square.
According to Radio and TV reports and commentaries there were much fewer school children on parade for the march past. This is because of an innovation that was introduced into this year’s celebration. A group of over 800 schools in the Greater Accra Area put up a splendid gymnastic display that looked quite impressive even on TV.
All the boys (i.e. the Flag Boys) were brandishing red, yellow or green flags while the girls (referred to as the “Cane Girls”) were each holding a flower-decorated cane of about one metre in length. And they used the flags and the flower-bedecked canes to make various gymnastic formations that were a delight to watch.
As part of the function at the Independence Square, military aircraft (including the ones that were recently received from China in exchange for Ghana’s ailing presidential jet) was on display at given times, either making special flight formations or displaying in flight the national flag or the Ghana@50 flag. At one point during the function, the military fired a 21-gun salute in honour of the Head of State.
Does it mean everything went on fine? Not quite. Many viewers who watched the function on GTV were unhappy that for a function like this, our President was in a white-man’s suit rather than in a Ghana-man’s rich kente cloth with beautiful designs.
It was an opportunity for our President to display our kente to the outside world through the video camera lenses of the hundreds of international media-men who were at the function. For instance, if he had been in Kente cloth, the OBD-TV of the UK who were showing the function live to viewers in the UK, would have thus advertised our kente cloth to the outside world.
President Olusegum Obasanjo of Nigeria, who was the guest of honour for the function, displayed a white and blue Nigerian “agbada” and a cap to match. Whenever he gets the opportunity, President Obasanjo displays the “agbada” to the outside world. So, it would have been good if President Kufuor had also worn one of his very rich kente cloths for our golden jubilee celebration. Many viewers shared this view.
Other viewers also felt that the 22 or so Heads of State who were at the function were not properly displayed. As soon as their vehicles brought them to the function and they got down from their vehicles, that was about all.
A Ghanaian from London who was here for the function, said it would have been nice if after all the invited heads of state had taken their seats, at least the President and his Vice had gone round purposely to give each of them a warm welcome-handshake.
This would have been captured on TV for both Ghanaian and foreign viewers to see at close quarters the African heads of state present.
And, by the way, who brought the three or four voodooists or jujumen to come and frighten us as they inserted apparently sharp cutlasses into their eyes without a drop of blood etc?
It was very frightening indeed, and personally I think they had no place at such a function showing “Ghana @ 50”. Congratulations to all Ghanaians who helped to make the function quite a success.
THE SPECTATOR - Saturday, March 10, 2007 Page: 21