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Regional News Mon, 26 Nov 2007

Ghanaians urged not to associate culture with witchcraft

Koforidua Nov. 26, GNA - Mr Francis Kingsley Obeng, Eastern Regional Director of the Centre For National Culture (CNC), on Monday urged Ghanaians not to associate the country's rich culture with juju, witchcraft, ritual murder, idol-worship and obsolete customary practices or only as drumming and dancing.

He said culture was the totality of the way of life of a people and manifested in food, clothing, textiles, religion, language, shelter, visual and performing arts, science and technology, oral and written literature.

Mr Obeng who was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Region's fifth Cultural Week in Koforidua expressed concern that Ghanaians were gradually losing their identity as a people and stressed that: "We should develop the habit of accepting what is in our environment." The three-day festival, being celebrated on the theme: "Cultural Re-Awakening and Internal Tourism for Ghana's Development", was aimed at encouraging Ghanaians to appreciate the arts and culture by patronizing goods produced in Ghana and also sensitising and educating people on the cultural and tourism potentials in the region and Ghana in general. The Regional Director expressed his gratitude to the government for voting 1.8 billion cedis for the reactivation of the regional cultural centre project and also for earmarking two billion cedis for the continuation of the project next year.

Mr Ofosu Asamoah, Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, entreated the CNC to develop programmes that would do away with negative cultural practices that hamper the progress of the nation. "Culture, as a development tool, must be used to address the spread of HIV/AIDS by taking a second look at puberty rites (Dipo and Bragoro) positively to curb the spread of the disease".

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Mr Asamoah encouraged traditional medicine practitioners to upgrade their mode of packaging in order to break the myth that surrounded the production of herbal medicine. Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Minister for Chieftaincy and Culture, in a speech read on his behalf called on chiefs and other traditional office-holders to partner the Ministry to identify "our hitherto valuable and enduring cultural practices and refine them to enhance tourism".

"Similarly, those ones which are outmoded should be discarded completely", he advised.

Mr Boafo called for the preservation of watershed areas, which contain exotic flora and fauna for tourist to visit adding, "that could be made possible by employing the use of existing statutory provisions to acquire areas as national parks and forest reserves".

Source: GNA
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