At a time when it feels like Ghanaian culture is being eroded by the adoption of Western lifestyles, there was renewed hope for its survival at Sanegbaa 2019, the International Mother Language Day Festival which came off last Thursday, at the Bureau of Languages in Accra.
An initiative of UNESCO International, Sanegbaa (a Ga word which translates as conversation), which honoured some deserving creative arts personalities for their contribution to preserving and promoting Ghanaian mother language through the arts, was a celebration of rich Ghanaian culture and tradition.
The event started off with discussions on the way forward for Ghana’s culture with resource persons such as Dr Clement Appah (Institute of Linguistics—University of Ghana), Nana Fredua-Agyeman Ofori-Atta (Board Chairman, National Theatre of Ghana), Prof. Abdulai Salifu Asuro (Board Chairman, National Folklore Board of Ghana) and renowned director Kwaw Ansah speaking on various topics.
Kwaw Ansah encouraged the youth to embrace who they are saying: “When you travel outside Ghana, the only thing that can tell that you are from Ghana is your language but today schools do not even teach our local languages and parents have resorted to speaking foreign languages with their children.
Why are we doing away with what makes us who we are and embracing another?” he asked.
The event was spiced up with traditional games such as ludo, oware, ampe, among others, which patrons excitedly participated in.
The participants included students from Labone Senior High School and Accra High School.
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They had a lot of fun and those who spoke to the Daily Graphic said they were excited about the experience.
The Guest Speaker was the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Catherine Afeku, who said she was happy about the programme and called for more of such initiatives.
“I’m really elated with what I have seen, the display of some our cultural dances such as Agbadza identify who we are.
We should also be proud of our local languages and not shy away from them because a lost culture is a lost identity and I’m hopeful Sanegbaa has come so stay and will address them,” she said.
Veteran actress Grace Omaboe, Musician Amandzeba and late actor Kofi Yirenkyi were honoured for their respective roles in promoting local languages at the event.