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Opinions Sat, 23 Oct 2021

Theme for Damba 2021: Developing Gbewaa Zulya through festivals

Nothing brings people together as festivals do. They play a pivotal role in nation-building; bringing people from every religious, economic, and social background together. If we look at the fascinating journey of human evolution, we understand that human beings do not invent or create something unless it is required.

So it follows that as regards a culture — culture is beneficial when its contribution to the civilization of the people can visibly be seen. Of what benchmarks have we set for the development of Gbewaa Zulya in the past decades of its celebration? If we did, have they been achieved? These are the questions we must be asking ourselves through finding a common ground.

In this year's Damba festival, Gbewaa Zulya must have a roadmap as to how they want to take the kingdom to another level in 3 years time. With that, the next celebration of the Damba festival will be a celebration of where we have gotten to, our challenges, and the way forward. This should be the best way to redefining our culture.

Damba festival must be anchored on developing the people and not just dancing, showcasing our beautifully woven smocks, and eating. It should not just be about getting together and making peace. It has to go beyond that. It has to incorporate better housing and layout of our communities; how to create jobs for the youth which will drive them out of social vices; and how to compete favourably and in peace with other cultures without any hindrance. That should be a beautiful way of celebrating our festivals.

At the Damba festival, we take the opportunity to advise the youth on the nature of peaceful approaches and behaviors in community settings and learn how to develop, refine, and utilize them in community practice.

With the festival, we use the space to inculcate in the youth the need to learn about the culture of others whiles being masters of their own. That knowledge gives you the reasons to appreciate other people, and identify with their highest values. The 2021 Damba Festival must be geared towards realising development roped in peace.

The Damba festival is well appreciated when its celebration is geared towards finding solutions to the pertinent issues affecting us as a people. For example, Damba Festival is beneficially celebrated when it guarantees to reduce the unemployment rate in the communities, wiping away famine, creating social interaction which facilitates the exchange of ideas, enjoyment of each other’s company — thus, the Damba festival becomes worthy of celebrating.

As a Son of Humanity, I posit that everyone can celebrate Damba Festival irrespective of their origin provided your intent is geared towards fostering unity, peace, and development through shared values and ideas.
Columnist: Abdul-Razak Lukman