Telling the Ghanaian story through culture

Stakeholder institutions in the Arts and Culture industry have been urged to utilise the prolific and unique cultural troupes across the country to promote the Ghanaian cultural heritage.

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Kaduna state cultural troupe performs during the 40th anniversary of Nigeria's National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in Abuja, capital of Nigeria,Sept. 3, 2015. The celebration which was held here on Thursday was aimed at showcasing the economic value of Nigeria's cultural industries. (Xinhua/Dare Sholarin)
Kaduna state cultural troupe performs during the 40th anniversary of Nigeria's National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in Abuja, capital of Nigeria,Sept. 3, 2015. The celebration which was held here on Thursday was aimed at showcasing the economic value of Nigeria's cultural industries. (Xinhua/Dare Sholarin)

Mr John Kuubeterzie, the Founder and Director of AFRIMUDA, a Cape Coast based-cultural troupe, said this when he gave a lecture on the topic ”Reshaping the Image of Private Cultural Troupes, a case study of AFRIMUDA Foundation”, as part of activities to mark its first anniversary.

AFRIMUDA, an acronym of African Music and Dance, was established in 2013, and officially launched in 2015, with the aim of helping vulnerable youth in the Cape Coast Metropolis to acquire some entrepreneurial skills to cope with the complementary challenges through arts and culture.

It has four main entrepreneurial training areas; batik tie and dye production, sewing and fashion design, video and graphic design technology and sound and music production technology.

Mr Kuubeterzie, said the cultural troupes were supposed to be important sources of information for the rising number of music and dance students, who needed to research into Ghanaian music and dance.

However, he noted, institutions such as the Centre for National Culture (CNC), the Ghana Education Service, as well as the research institutions, particularly the Departments of Music and Dance, had not made much for their maximum utilisation.

He said it was imperative for such institutions to effectively collaborate with the cultural troupes to give music students and interested individuals practical experience and also make them realise the prospects of music and dance.

Lack of such collaborations, he said, had compelled many first class students of music and dance to venture into other disciplines because they could not create anything substantial for themselves in the cultural setting outside the University.

Mr Kuubeterzie also observed that though activities of the cultural troupes complemented the efforts of chiefs in promoting culture, chieftaincy institutions did not show much interest towards developing the industry but often stigmatised them.

He said the Arts and Culture industry had been marginalised for too long, saying: “In this contemporary time it is incumbent on all Ghanaians to appreciate the work of the performing arts industry.

“We need to look ahead of time and be proactive, gone are the days when people attributed alcoholism and promiscuity to the performing arts industry, but today, it is a big profession.
“People go to the university to study to become musicians and professional dancers, artistes in theatre art, lecturers at the University and to head big institutions”.

Mr Kuubeterzie said AFRIMUDA Foundation had embarked on musical tours both at the national and international levels to showcase and promote the cultural heritage of Ghana through performances and workshops with just a year in existence.

He said the Foundation, through its strategic programmes, had given hope and confidence to the otherwise “hopeless” in the society as a result of the opportunities gained from the international exposure.

A principal research assistant at the Department of Music and Dance of the University of Cape Coast, Mr Amos Asare, said the Department had introduced new music programmes, which he believed would be a stepping stone for its students to fit into the cultural setting outside the university.

He also expressed worry about how performing arts had been relegated to the background and the erroneous perception that had been formed about those in the industry.

He, however, expressed optimism, saying the future of the industry was still bright, and urged those in the industry to develop a business mindset to be able to succeed in it.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

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