Thursday, September 20 – 26, 2007
Axim’s best at Kundum
By: KWAME ASIEDU MARFO, Takoradi
THE people of Axim, at the weekend; celebrated their annual Kundum Festival with a colourful durbar of chiefs and people of the various traditional areas in Nzema and Ahantaland.
Kundum is the most popular and significant festival celebrated among the Ahantas and Nzemas of the Western Region of Ghana and the people of Grand Bassam in Cote d’Ivore.
Some of the communities in Ghana which celebrate this festival are Busia, Apatiem, Atuabo, Essikado, Axim, Dixcove, Nsein, Sekondi, Beyin and Princess Town.
The festival is celebrated in the fish season or the harvest of agricultural products of the farm.
Apart from being an agricultural festival, Kundum is also the occasion for the mourning of dead relations and ancestors.
The religious aspect of the Kundum is symbolized by the sacrificial rites which are performed in the course of the festival, especially during the course of the fourth and last week of the four-week celebration.
In his book, the “Kundum-festival of the Nzemas and Ahantas”, Timothy Ansah states that although drumming and dancing and feasting occupy a major part of the celebration, these may be rightly regarded as the embroidery which adorns the central religious theme of the Kundum.
“Traditional belief in, and reverence for supernatural beings-the gods and goddess, demons and the spirits of the ancestors who live in the spirit world and veiled from our view, is the key note of the Kundum festival”, he wrote.
Commencing in Sekondi-Takoradi area in June/July, the Kundum is successively celebrated from one town to the next until it reaches the extreme west in the Nzema area-HALF Assini and beyond—with the River Tano, six miles away and and New Town 18 miles away from Half Assini.
In Cote d’Ivore, across the River Tano, it is celebrated by the Nzema community there in Grand Bassam.
In Beyin the venue for the Kundum dance is in front of Fort Appolonia built by the British in 1750.
Tradition has it that a man by name Anlima introduced the festival from Aboade, a coastal fishing village about three miles east of Sekondi on the Sekondi-Cape Coast truck road.
Anlima had lived at Aboade for many years and had observed and become conversant with the Kundum celebrated there.
He was, therefore very familiar with the paraphernalia he brought with him to Atuabo, the appropriate drums and other percussion instruments for the celebration of the festival.
Another landmark in the area is the Fort Metal Cross at Dixcove, the castle built by the English in 1691 and where the famous chief, Nana Hima Dekyi I was buried.
Nana Dekyi died just before the completion of the castle and was honourably interred there at the courtyard. Since his internment there, sacrificial rites have been performed on his grave each year during the Kundum festival which was celebrated many decades before his enstoolment as Chief.
GRAPHIC SHOWBIZ - Thursday, September 20 – 26, 2007 Page: 14