A veteran actor/playwright, Abeiku Sagoe, has disclosed that the creative industry has not recovered from curfews imposed during military regimes.
According to him the curfews actually killed the arts, and as such the industry has been struggling to regain its prominence since.
Speaking at a Graphic Showbiz forum on the creative industry and its representation in the manifestos of political parties, Abeiku Sagoe recalled how theatre groups used to perform at the arts centres to large audiences before the curfews.
“The curfew thing actually killed the arts, as at now, we haven’t fully recovered. The previous NDC government established the Creative Arts Ministry but there were no resources to run it,” he indicated.
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He called for a more harmonised collaboration among tourism, culture and the creative arts since they were closely linked, adding that the existing cultural policy must be used by governments.
“The existing cultural policy indicates that there will be a national lottery, among other initiatives. We need to put in the structures but let’s see what happens with whoever wins the upcoming elections,” he concluded.
The forum was on the theme: “Moving from promises to action, a discussion of party manifestos on the creative industry,” and had a six-member panel drawn from various wings of the creative and tourism industries, including Abeiku Sagoe.
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They were Oswald Okaitei who spoke on Poetry; George Bosompim, Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Academy of Film and Television Arts (Film); Kojo Bentum- Williams, Senior Expert on Communications in Africa at the World Tourism Organisation (Tourism); Rapper, Edem (Music); CEO of Glitz Africa/UNFPA Ambassador, Claudia Lumor (Fashion) and Abeiku Sagoe (Theatre).
For his part, Kojo Bentum-Williams stated that the perennial problem that had bedevilled tourism was lack of funds. “You need about $200,000 to go on a single roadshow and while the tourism levy took some of the problems, the Ghana Tourism Authority will have to be strengthened.
“In the Year of Return, we were not willing to put in money for brand equity. The creative economy is a very wide area, we have a whole lot of people in that space. Can we just put in the structures and build the capacity? Leadership needs bold decisions,” he said.
The forum, which was moderated by Media General/Graphic Showbiz columnist, Francis Doku, was attended by a former Editor of Graphic Showbiz, Nanabanyin Dadson; CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyemang; Chairman of the National Film Authority, David Dontoh, and the Executive Secretary of the authority, Juliet Asante.
Others were President of the Creative Arts Council, Mark Okraku-Mantey; musicians, Amandzeba, Rex Omar, Akosua Agyepong, Bernard Amankwah; poets Nana Asaase and Rhymesonny, culture/tourism advocate, PaJohn Benstifi Dadson, among others.