Tourism Minister donates to aged entertainers

By: Gifty Owusu-Amoah
Tourism Minister, Barbara Oteng Gyasi(second left), Naa Amanua(third left) and some members of the team
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THE Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, on Thursday, April 9 made donations to some veterans in the creative industry to support them amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

The veterans-Naa Amanua of Wulomei fame, actors Grace Nortey, Grace Omaboe aka Maame Dokono and Emmanuel Armah received bags of rice, cooking oil, tomato paste, tinned fish among others in their respective homes.

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During the presentation, Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi said the gesture was the Ministry's way to reach out to the aged in the industry and create more awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Naa Amanua who was visibly excited to see the team at her home in La expressed her appreciation for the kind gesture.

Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi(left) and Naa Amanua

She mentioned how the Coronavirus pandemic had negatively affected her fortunes especially this Easter holidays because the gigs the Wulomei band had to perform at were all cancelled. 

She advised people to stay at home and also adhere to the precautionary measures prescribed by the health experts to break the spread of the pandemic. 

At her Haasto home, Grace Nortey, who is in her 80s praised the Minister for the thought to visit her in these difficult times but appealed for more of such visits to feel appreciated.

Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Tourism Minister(left) and actress Grace Nortey

She said most times, she felt neglected and not appreciated for her long service to the creative industry thus the donation should not be a one off exercise.

Madam Grace Nortey also called for education on the Coronavirus pandemic in more local languages and not just in English and Twi since people who do not speak the two languages were ignorant of the current happenings.

"Not everyone can speak and understand Akan and English and so it is unfair for the education of this disease to be limited to them.

"I have had to take up the responsibility of educating some of my family members who don't speak both languages.

"And from what I hear on radio or watch on television, many people are at a loss concerning the disease," she stated.

The ever bubbly Grace Omaboe was also excited to receive the team and expressed her gratitude for the just the thought to donate food items to her in these difficult times.

She asked the Minister to extend the gesture to other members of the fraternity who may be going through more difficult times especially at a time when everything has come to a halt due to the pandemic.

She reminisced her old days and called on producers to give her roles since she was most of the time lonely at home.

"Sometimes, I cry so much when I'm alone by myself because I wonder if all the years of sacrifice for the industry was worth it.

"Well, at least, I'm relieved to see this team here today and pray for more of such visits so we can share our experiences and our suggestions for the growth of the industry," she added.

It was an emotional moment at the home of Emmanuel Armah at Adabraka. The actor who shed tears on seeing the team could only make gestures to signal his appreciation for the unexpected visit and donation.

Speaking with the Graphic Showbiz after the presentations, Mrs Oteng Gyasi said she was fulfilled to see these veterans and that the exercise was just part of a bigger package the Ministry was working at in the interest of members in the creative industry.

She encouraged them not to lose hope since the Ministry through the GHc600M stimulus package for Small and Medium Scale Eneterprise(SMEs)and a $40M loan grant from the World Bank, members of the industry will recover from losses made during the pandemic.

"I just want to assure our people that the Ministry is working in their interest and after this crisis is over, the industry will not be on its knees but still make progress,"she stated.

The team that accompanied the minister included senior staff at the Tourism Ministry, Mark Okraku Mantey, Executive Director of the Creative Arts Council, Juliet Asante, Executive Secretary of National Film Authority, Juliet Asante, Socrate Sarfo, Director Creative Arts at National Commission on Culture(NCC) among others.