Cultural Heritage of Ghana – CAN 2008
Do you know that a nation without culture is like a man without a soul? And is a man without a soul as good as a dead baby? And a stillborn baby is that entity that could not take the first breath of life at birth? Is that first breath of life the soul that is part of the Almighty Creator himself, without whom no human being can survive?
Perhaps the Holy Bible will help to better illustrate the point I am trying to make here. Just open the Bible, (King James Version) and look at Genesis Chapter 2:7. It says: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. .”
On Sunday, January 20, 2008, the 26th MTN Africa Cup of Nations, dubbed Ghana 2008, kicked off in the capital city of Accra. The tournament would be held in four cities namely Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi and Tamale till 10 February 2008. The aim of this article is to try to review the Grand Opening Ceremony of the event where Ghanaian culture was planted like a blooming rose. it will flourish in the center of the earth for humanity to contemplate, enjoy and appreciate. It was fantastic and “extraordinary” as the French will say. Similarly, that cultural pomp that heralded the event was the breath of life infused into the veins of the games as the living soul to make Ghana CAN 2008 a living tournament.
First of all, Ghana and indeed Africa should be proud that there are citizens of the continent whose creativity goes beyond imagination. For the person or group of people who sat, stood or moved and through attunement and meditation received inspiration from the Supreme Creator and were able to transform their visualization into the realization of what was shown in the newly renovated Ohene Djan. Stadium to be witnessed by more than 4 billion people around the world, deserves the acclaim. In fact, one would have wished that by the end of the show, at least the directors and coordinators of the entire episode would have come to the center of the stadium to thunderous, endless applause and cheers. They did fantastically well! Bravo to all the artists and their directors.
I don’t know them per se. But I learned that some of the cultural gurus in whose fertile wombs she nurtured and gave birth to the baby included Prof. F. Nii Yartey, Prof. Ancu, Prof. Martin Owusu, Prof. Kofi Ansah, and many, many others. May Jesus bless you all. Let them know that his reward is guaranteed in heaven! But those of them who want their payment instantly may have to kick the bucket anyway. Allow me to award the title of Professor to all who participated in that historic inaugural ceremony. And if anyone dares to summon me before any legal court in the country, due to the saga of the chair, I will soberly plead for clemency, leniency and mercy. Period! I don’t want nonsense!
For the benefit of non-Ghanaians, who enjoyed the beauty of the cultural pageantry but might not have grasped the real significance of the drama’s denouement, here is the gist of what transpired that day. First of all, it is important to know that there are ten administrative regions in Ghana. And each region is endowed with a magnificent unique cultural heritage in terms of music, dance, song, festivals, cuisines, drumming, and artifacts. There is no cultural or religious discrimination in Ghana. Therefore, whenever there is a national event, traditional priests, Christian priests and Muslim priests are all invited to pray to God for the success of the event. Whether you call God, or Mawu or Nyankupong or Allah, He or She is the same Supreme Creator of everything.
Likewise, every time a national event is held in the country and a cultural show is organized, dances and songs from the ten regions of the country are staged. For example, when the Ministry of National Guidance and Information organized the National Guidance Awareness Program where the Five Pillars were officially launched in August last year at the Accra International Conference Center, young children from all ten regions of the country performed cultural dances. of their respective regions. This is what has made Ghana a unique land of cultural diversity in unity.
Thus, the gigantic cultural show staged at the Ghana CAN 2008 opening ceremony was an excellent representation of Ghana’s culture from all ten regions, as well as a symbolic representation of the 16 African countries participating in a memorable tournament in the country.
Firstly, the helicopter that flew the Ghanaian national flag over the stadium symbolizes that we are all Ghanaians before any other ethnic consideration. The colorful fireworks represent the modern form of our tradition of gun salutes when a big national event is about to take off. The three majestic ladies wrapped in a precious kente, who sang the National Anthem represent the trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit whose presence must be recognized before any national event.
The more than one hundred traditional horn blowers carrying the brightly colored elephant tusks, was the pinnacle of creativity of the creators who conceptualized the ceremony. So far this author wonders where they got all the numerous giant elephant tusks from. Unless they are some contrived plastic improvisation, I would imagine there would be no more elephants in Bole National Park in Bole in the northern region or in another reserved forest in Ghana. The wonder is the creativity that went into creating that traditional musical instrument used by traditional horn blowers in Ghana. The symbol is what can be found in the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra.
The cultural significance of the traditional horn blast is that; in the palaces of chiefs or kings in Ghana, it heralds the beginning of an event of great importance. The horns are used to announce the takeoff of an event. Like talking drums, horns serve as a traditional communication tool to send messages to people in towns and villages. So the hundred trumpets at the opening ceremony symbolically announced to Africa and the rest of the world that the 26th edition of the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations was about to kick off in Ghana, so everyone should be alert and ready. to embrace the event. And the trumpets arose from the four corners of the stadium symbolizing the four cardinal points of the earth, namely East, West, South and North. And by providence, Ghana itself is situated in the center of the earth. Once again, symbolically, Ghana through the opening ceremony was radiating Light, Life and Love to all corners of the world.
Another mind-blowing aspect of the opening ceremony was the acrobatic display by the Ghanaian youth. In addition to various magical formations, there was the African Map with Madagascar created by humans with human bodies. The design was amazing when seen on the TV screen. As for the various national dances that are performed, the less said the better. We witnessed dances ranging from Adowa, Atsiagbekor, Dambai, Kente, Borborbor, Kpanlogo just to mention a few. They were performed with artistic finesse in fantastically colorful marching costumes. It was just great!
The last cultural aspect of the opening ceremony that cannot be left out of this review was the parade of national flags of the different countries participating in the tournament. Many people did not notice this aspect of the ceremony. I remember when I pointed out the flags to the spectators around where I was sitting near the scoreboard in the stadium, they marveled. Once again, the creativity that went into creating those flags was unparalleled.
The national flags of the participating teams, including Ghana, Angola, Benin, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Egypt, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, South Africa, Senegal, Sudan and Zambia, were transformed into colorful umbrellas, held up with reverence for the parade as is done in the solemn procession of a grand durbar of kings and queen mothers in Ghana. The scene was really moving!
If not for nothing, Ghana has used its rich culture through the opening ceremony of the 26th Ghana CAN 2008 to project the beauty of African culture to the blue paradise. I suggest that the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) adopt and adapt the opening ceremony on DVD and CD in any modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as African Cultural Heritage for the cultural advancement of mankind for the glory of the CREATOR.