V&A Festival
V&A Festival

Papa Owusu-Ankomah, says Ghana’s 60th anniversary celebration is an opportunity for Ghanaians to reflect on their past, assess how far they have come as a country, and envision the legacy to bequeath to the next generation.

Mr Owusu-Ankomah, Ghana’s High Commissioner to UK and Republic of Ireland, said Ghana has championed Africa’s unity and integration through the past 60 years and was presently one of the few countries which allowed Africans free entry into the country without issuance of visas.

A press release issued by EMH Global on behalf of the High Commission, said Mr Owusu-Ankomah made the statement at a special event hosted by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London to celebrate Ghana@60, and UNESCO Decade for People of African Descent 2015 – 2024.

The event was held under the theme: “Ghana- A nation in retrospective”, and was aimed at looking retrospectively at Ghana, a nation that over the last 60 years had shaped a modern vision, and established Ghanaians as trend-setting ‘Afropolitans’.

The evening activities helped review and contextualise Ghana’s history, heritage, culture and future.

The V&A Museum founded in 1852 is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects.

He said Ghana has lived up to its trail-blazing credentials and was now globally recognized as an African country that had a stable multi-party constitutional democracy with a vibrant media and a strong and active civil society.

He, however, reminded all that there was still more work to be done, as democracy was work in progress.

Touching on Ghana’s ambition to enjoy the dividends of the democratic enterprise in the form of employment for our youth, increased incomes and improved standards of living, the High Commissioner said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has committed himself to leading Ghana to build a resilient economy that rewards hard work and excellence, and supports innovations which is critical for her development.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah said among other things, the focus, was on adding value to Ghana’s primary products to move the country ‘beyond aid to trade’; premised on a major anti-corruption agenda with a robust enforcement of laws and regulations along with penalties for their breach or non-compliance.

Lord Paul Boateng of Akyem and Wembley, a former UK Labour party politician and former British High Commissioner to South Africa, expressed gratitude to the V&A museum and the event team led by Janet Browne, Programme Manager- African Heritage and Culture at the museum, for putting together an excellent event.

Lord Boateng reminded all present that the V&A museum was filled with rich African cultural artefacts that were forcefully taken from Africa; thereby stripping Africans of their ancestral heritage.

Regardless of this, Lord Boateng maintained that Africans had proud memories of their ancestors and heritage which had caused them to continually produce some of the finest brains who have influenced and continue to influence change across the world.

The festival was attended by people from all walks of life, including Mrs Augusta Owusu-Ankomah, wife of the High Commissioner and representatives of Ghanaian traditional chiefs in London and representatives of the Ghana Christian Council, UK.

The festival featured a rich array of learning activities, music, performances, and artisans, including London based Ghanaian cultural troupe MIISHEJELOI (meaning bringers of happiness), Angus Patterson, Senior Curator of Metalwork whose presentation was on Ashanti Goldweights and Regalia from the Wolseley invasion of Kumasi in 1874, and Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo, Designer, Director and Writer who staged ‘Undoing Africa’, a critical simulation developed in response to Kwame Nkrumah’s 1963 call that ‘We Must Unite Now Or Perish’.

Others are Peter Ashan, Gallery Educator who explored the 18th century ‘man-about-town’ William Ansah Sessarakoo; sold into enslavement in Barbados; James Barnor and Ed Otchere, Photographers who presented a special ‘Ever Young’ pop-up photo salon and recorded oral history; Natalie Fiawoo, Black Cultural Archives Project Co-ordinator who shared a story of kings, family ties & colonial rule in Keta; and Chef Zoe Adjonyah, founder of “Ghana Kitchen”, who shared how she re-discovered her heritage through her grandmother’s recipes.

Source: GNA/Newsghana.com.gh