Oguaa marks Fetu Afahye
Hundreds of people from across the country and beyond joined the chiefs and people of Cape Coast to celebrate this year’s annual Fetu festival over the weekend in spite of the intermittent rains.
Though the ecstatic patrons thronged the Victoria Park durbar ground for an anticipated climax, the rains took some shine off the carefully-planned festival, as some adjustments had to be made to save the guests from being drenched.
The chiefs, in their graceful traditional regalia, had earlier processed in palanquins from the Mfantsipim School junction through the streets of the metropolis before converging on the Victoria Park for the grand durbar.
This year's festival was on the theme, "Celebrating our educational institutions for enhancing the name of Oguaa," and saw the active participation of some of the senior high schools (SHSs) in Cape Coast.
The occasion was graced by dignitaries, including the Central Regional Minister, Justina Marigold Assan; the American Ambassador, Virginia Palmer, and the Chairman of the McDan Group of companies, Daniel McKorley, aka McDan.
There was also a delegation from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by Prof Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang and the two Members of Parliament for the area, Kweku Ricketts Hagan and Kwamena Mintah Nyarku.
In his address, the Omanhen of the Oguaa Traditional Area, Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, underscored the critical role of education to the development of Cape Coast and urged parents to ensure that their children were educated in the renowned schools in the metropolis.
Osabarimba Kwesi Atta said he was worried that while the metropolis was home to many important senior high schools, many indigenes could not access the schools due to truancy, adding that the traditional authorities would not allow truancy to fester.
A retinue of chiefs in a procession through the principle streets of Cape Coast
He attributed the situation partly to the irresponsibility on the part of some parents and parental neglect of children, saying the situation must be corrected.
He urged parents to work harder to raise their children into well-meaning members of society.
*We need to work harder to get our children into the schools,” he stated, saying many children in the metropolis followed tourists around at the expense of their education, and therefore, charged parents to ensure their children were educated.
He charged them to have unity of purpose to ensure children in the area were educated to the highest level.
He also called on all, particularly the youth, to eschew indiscipline and develop character traits of respect and discipline which were critical to the development of the area.
Mr McKorley said Cape Coast still remained a city of great historical significance and a beacon of education.
"Education is not just the transmission of knowledge but a key to unlocking the potential of individuals and communities," adding that his company's McDan Entrepreneurial Challenge was to unlock such potentials and support them to thrive.
He paid glowing tribute to the educational institutions in Cape Coast for nurturing thousands of people who had gone on to contribute immensely to national and international development.
He urged entrepreneurs and businesses to give back to the country.
"We cannot be riding in our luxurious SUVs, living in our plush mansions and enjoying ourselves in our various luxurious communities while we look at the children and helpless people at the market places and on the streets to perish," he stated.
He said the McDan Foundation had pledged GH¢100,000 towards an endowment fund to support education.
He used the occasion to present GH¢20,000 to Emmanuel Kusi, a student of the university of Cape Coast, to start an entrepreneurial venture.
Central Regional Minister
The Central Regional Minister, Justina Marigold Assan, said the Fetu festival was an international festival that boosted the local economy and commended the traditional council for the peaceful environment in which the festival is celebrated.
She said considering the role of education and Cape Coast's role to education development in the country, the President was renovating the Philip Quaque Boys and Philip Quaque Girls schools in the metropolis in line with their historic significance.
She also presented GH¢20,000 to the traditional council from the presidency.
She acknowledged the important role the traditional authorities played in preserving tradition and also as a cultural gatekeeper in ensuring that traditions allowed for the safety, human rights and progress of the people.
The Fetu festival was referred to as “Black Christmas“ by the white colonial masters in the pre-colonial times.
It is held to mark the bumper harvest and to thank the 77 deities of the Oguaa Traditional Area.