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From Ghana Self Cover Supplement in the Western Africa World Edition
Now in production!.
Additional Text from this edition



Yukon xperience: airhwy@smartt.com
Africa On Air. TravelTalk Radio is a popular source of information on Africa Tourism personalities, on of the most recent being Julius Debrah, Executive Director of the Ghana Tourist Board. This interview is timely, with West Africa on the agenda for this year's Africa Travel Association Congress. Ghana will be promiment in our Western Africa World Edition to be launched for that occasion. Listen to Interview

One of the most impressive facets of Ghana Tourism in my mind was the variety and creativity we encountered during our Grand Tour of Ghana with Yao Dridze, This top professional guide is a Ghanaian we will long remember and never forget. He made our drive from Accra to the Volta region and Kumasi a wonderful learning experience, mile after mile, town after town. The Kente cloth industry is a key part of Ghana fashion, you see it everywhere from my simple cloth hat (that never wears out and I've worn around the world) to the head-to-toe designs that one sees at ceremonial events and gala evenings. The photos above are as follows: Left- the making of Kente Cloth, from local roadside family enterprises to the factories near Kumasi. On this page are items made of wood, cars, trailer trucks, ceremonial stools and even unusual coffins to celebrate an ancestor's rite of passage. Imagine! We saw everything from A pink Cadillac Convertible to a Coca Cola bottle. Another family cottage industry is palm oil processing - a product of 1001 uses, so practical and readily available. Beadmaking is an art that earns a living for thousands of families - and we discovered that there were towns where the mainstay of commerce was the baking and selling of delicious breads. More of the following pages of this World Edition.

 Ghana Ashanti Coronation Ceremonies
Story and Photos by the late Eunice Rawlings

As a prelude to the 1999 Congress in Ghana, four of us from the ATA SoCal Chapter planned a tour to the Ashanti Kingdom. Arriving in Ghana, we were met by Alfred of Expert Travel & Tours who asked us "How would you like to attend the Enstoolment of the new King of the Ashanti?" Jet lag was instantly replaced by anticipation! We arrived in Kumasi on the eve of the Coronation. The official name of the ceremony is an Enstoolment. The Golden Stool is the great symbol one might say "soul" of the Ashanti nation, and each Asantehene is placed on the stool as a culmination of the enstoolment ceremonies.

Editor's note: Two ATA members from the USA, Elyse White and Freddye Henderson, were enstooled in the last two years. Photos: Above (left to right): Ellen Posell, ATA SoCal Board member, Screenwriter Avery Williams, Marlene Davis & Eunice Rawlings, ATA SoCal Board members.

 Asantehene Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, passed away in February 1999 and the nation went into deep mourning. He had ruled his nation for 29 years. Now, in May, here we were in Kumasi as history was being made. The morning ceremony was staged in the main square amidst a huge crush of happy Ghanaians, on the street, on balconies and on rooftops. Miraculously, Alfred managed to arrange for us to sit in the VIP seats along with the Ashanti chiefs, their ladies, Papal representatives in their red and white regalia and government officials from around the world.

Coronation: The atmosphere was electric with dancing, singing and the rhythmic throbbing of the drums that finally reached a crescendo when the chosen one, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was carried into the square in his palanquin. Surrounded by his entourage and dripping in gold, the soon to be enstooled Asantehene was most definitely regal. The effect was pure magic. When these proceedings were over we were swept down the main street in a tide of happy citizens . We had a great time dancing, talking and celebrating with them. In the afternoon the Asantehene and all the Ashanti chiefs were introduced to the population at large. Alfred found us a perch in the press-box that commanded a great view of the huge athletic stadium. It was filled with joyous admirers from the bleachers to the edge of the running track where each chiefdom was its own little village.

Festivals of Ghana

Centuries of old traditions of the people of Ghana and the diversity of the distinct ethnic groups have created a rich culture that has become a lasting legacy of modern Ghana, To the people of Ghana the traditions of their ancestors are still an important part of their daily life. Traditional chiefs have historical authority over tribal and family matters. They are also custodians of land belonging to their respective clans or groups.

Important events such as child naming, puberty initiations, marriage and death are marked by rites and rituals at family gatherings, while seasonal festivals bring a whole people or clan together in spectacular fashion. A common feature is the belief in life after death and in the nearness of ancestors. Festivals also recall past evens and create new seasons with confidence and hope. The events have in recent times become occasions for development of projects for and by the communities.

Ghana's diverse culture is depicted through its many exciting festivals which are held throughout the year. These festivals reflect the rich diversity of history and culture of tribal life in the various traditional groupings in the country. Many festivals are climaxed by thrilling durbars of chiefs and people. with tribal leaders and queen-mothers riding in decorated palanquins, shaded by traditional umbrellas, and supported by drummers and warriors discharging ancient muskets and cheered by people.

Thousand of people including foreigners from all walks of life travel all over the country to witness these festivals which are celebrated almost every week throughout the year. Indeed festivals of Ghana have the effects of creating in the people a feeling of pride in their cultural heritage and spiritual affinity

When at a festival, try and visit a home. The famous hospitality of the Ghanaian, the warm friendliness and sincerity as well as the distinctive charm of the Ghanaian housewife are best experienced on festive occasions by a guest in a Ghanaian home.

Festival Aboakyer, Winneba, Ghana

Neenyi Ghartey VII

Effutu Oma Odefe and President Effutu Traditional Council

The story of the Festival

The Effutus are Guans. They settled here between 1200 and 1300 CE. It is recorded that their deity Penkye Otu provided guidance and protection during their journey. Their origin is traced to Timbuktu.

As a religious obligation to the deity they gave it a human sacrifice annually. They initially used family members (male) and later slaves

Civilization made it imperative for a change and on consultation it chose a Leopard. Eventually the decision fell on the Deer as the former was too dangerous to obtain live. The use of the deer made the propitiation of the deity a public event as the local militia was re-formed and developed to undertake the task for an Ayekoo nsa. This how the Aboakyer festival was developed.

King Bondzie Abe II (1515-1560) initiated the Asafo from the local militia, he established Tuafo, previously called Akomfor, and was further improved by his successor, King Bondzie Essiedu (d.1619) who established Dentsefo and appointed the first ever sub-chief, the Tufuhen to liaise between the two companies. Since then inter-asafo rivalry has been a constant character of the Aboakyer festival.

Akomfor, Apagyafo and Kyriremfo are the divisions of the Tuafo, asafo company. Dentsefo have Nkyirbafo, Petufo and Asomfo. The Supi is he head of each asafo. They are supported by the Asfohen and Kobae.

Colors used by the asfo companies as well as musical instruments are distinct. Tuafo dress in black, green blue, violet and white while their counterparts use red, yellow, pink and the universal black. Tuafo use the dawur-tsa, the three-in-one gong and the rattle while he Dentsefo use the bell and two-in-gong gong, the dawur-ta

For protection and victory for the hunt, the asfo invoke their gods and parade one each through the principal streets on Friday afternoon,

When they depart to the hunting grounds the King also takes position at the outskirts of town to wait for the catch. This is the Durbar grounds and when the first catch is brought he accepts it with libation and steps on it three times to present it to the deity. The gallant Asafomen then parade the catch through town and have it tied customarily at Abosomba to be carried to the shrine.

The day's proceedings end with a procession of the chiefs and asafo from the outskirts of town to the palace. Tuafo perform the Akosuadontoba dance and Dentsefo the Owombir

Sunday is the day for the sacrifice and in the afternoon the deity and other gods are brought out to feast. The first catch is slaughtered and parts of the meat with yam and red oil is used to prepare a special meal Mpotroba, for the deity. All others ass the ceremony are also served with this meal. The left over meat is shared among the royal family members and those from the allied shrine house.

This is the feast of the custodian of the Efutu Paramount black stool; Fenkye Out. To end the ceremony ge cannon shaped god; Akwa Tubu is cast to predict the life.

expectations of the ensuing year - Ebisatir. The markings are from btwima, white clay, millet, charcoal and salt. When it falls on white clay it predicts Peace and blessing. Salt for good fishing, red clay for war and calamities, millet for good harvest and charcoal for rain.

Today there are other side attractions to this historic and religious festival.

Fun games of sporting nature are organized to entertain guests who stay throughout the week long festival.

The marathon competition is a talent hunting event designed to unearth long distant runners among our youth. To many it is all fun to participate in this event.

The people of Winneba love football, having contributed a few national heroes in the past. As the town prepares to be represented in the first division league competition it is fit that a gala match series projects the ability of the local team.

Finally is the very entertaining Regatta and Tug-of-war event which explores the prowess of our fishermen at sea.

The brightly colored Kente or Adinkra cloth generally worn gave way to black woven damask, the official dress for special ceremonies. The women all wore black with touches of deep red. The effect was as dramatic as it was elegant! Deafening explosions emanating from a series of well placed pipe bombs and ancient muskets made clouds of smoke that heralded the arrival of the procession of chiefs in their palanquins shaded by brightly covered, richly decorated umbrellas. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II made his entry and the procession slowly snaked its way across the Stadium for all the world ~ our world at that moment, to embrace. The four of us, Marlene Davis, Ellen Posell, Avery Williams and I, all agreed that this had been one of the most memorable days of our lives.

Ghana: Thanks for the Memories

Years before I flew with Ghana Airways, or even set foot in West Africa, I had met many Ghanaians and found them to be one of the most outgoing, friendly races of people on the planet. Like many frequent travelers, I heard people say that "Ghana was the smile on the face of Africa." This was confirmed by two weeks in the country at the historic ATA-WTO World Congress in Accra. We were impressed by President Rawling's message, and the way Accra has prepared for the new millennium with an infrastructure of wide highways, overpasses and boulevards. We saw buildings, stadia and convention facilities that any developed nation would be proud of. The sights we saw and folks we met would fill volumes; the village of Koforidua at the Durbar ceremonies; the magnificent Cape Coast (a future Mecca for retirees); the Kakum National Forest, with its 6 swinging bridges. Historic Kumasi with its king's palace and Kente cloth weavers was unforgettable . Small wonder we kept running out of film for the camera..


Discover Ghana and get to know its people 
There is a place on the western coast of the African. continent; its sandy shores washed clean by the Atlantic Ocean, its land rich in gold, diamonds cocoa, manganese and bauxite; inhabited by the friendliest, most open hearted people you'll find any where on earth. Its tropical rain-forest, blends with river valleys and dry Savannah plains, to create 250,000 square km of paradise for the lovers and watchers of nature's wonders. It's no accident that Ghana was once known as the 'Gold Coast,' a name bestowed on it by Portuguese traders who landed there in 1472. The legendary gold deposits of Ashante remain the world's richest and largest. A desire to control this great wealth saw a fierce struggle by European nations for the heart and soul of this land. This period shaped unique traditions, unknown in any other part of Africa. Ghana, for years, has enjoyed a peaceful political environment, with one of Africa's most pragmatic governments. It moves into the new millennium inspired by the legacy of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the nation's founder and foremost leader of Pan Africanism. His remains are in a mausoleum not far from the sun baked beaches of Accra, Ghana's capital.

The country's tourist offerings are awesome. First and foremost, the people - over 70 per cent of whom have functional skills in English, official language of government and commerce. Ghanaians have a very special way of delivering a most assuring and comforting welcome. "Akwaaba", the traditional greeting, is very polite and courteous. Friendly smiles and an open invitation await you each step of the way, as you travel the length and breadth of this splendid land. A high premium is placed on security of life and property, thereby giving Ghana one of the world's lowest crime rates. Over 90 ethnic groups, each having a distinctive festival, means you could attend a cultural extravaganza virtually every week. A deep spiritual connectedness lies behind the color, pomp and pageantry of August's Homowo festival by the Gas, September's Fetu Afahye by the Fantes, Aboakyir Festival by the Efutus, Hogbetsotso by the Anlos, Odwira by the Akwapims, and Dambai by the Dagombas.

Elmina and Cape Coast castles: Scattered along Ghana's Atlantic Coast are 26 historic stone and concrete structures, built over 400 years ago by the Europeans . Originally intended as trading posts, they ended up as slave dungeons for millions of Africans, captured and forced into slavery. Many dungeons have been restored to their original form, as testimonials to the drama and tragedy of human encounter. The slave castles of Elmina (above) and Cape Coast, are two recently designated as World Heritage monuments. Together with the Dubois Memorial Center for Pan African Culture in Accra, they crystallize the African experience of slavery, partition, colonialism, racism and the struggle for independence, emancipation and human rights.

Home Away From Home: Over 600 hotels provide courteous service that reflects the near legendary hospitality and traditions of Ghanaians. Government incentives have fueled a boom in privately owned tourist infrastructure. About 40 per cent of the country's hotel capacity is in Accra, which also has most of the 3 to 5 star hotels. The Labadi Beach Hotel, Golden Tulip, Novotel and Wangara are popular choices. Shangri La in Accra, Sanaa Lodge and the Savoy, all in Cape Coast, are known for their superior guest service. Most hotels are located within sights of picturesque beachheads and landscapes, or flush in the center of the host city's business and commercial distinct. Novotel, an outstanding five star hotel of sheer luxury, is minutes away from the Accra International Conference Center, National Theater, Ghana Stock Exchange, Bank of Ghana, Government Ministries Complex and the historic 'Makola Market,' which offers a distinctively African experience in the art of trade by higgling and haggling.

Sunshine, Beaches and Greenery: Close to 600 km of unspoiled sun drenched beaches, shaded by tall coconut trees, await the traveler who desires to soak in the sun of tropical Africa. Ghana is a beach lover's paradise, with 12 hours of bright sunshine all year round. Sports fishing from indigenous canoes, or visiting historic castles along the coast by boat, (especially on clear moonlit nights) is a trip into wonderland. Few places in the world can compare with the beauty of Ghana's natural environment. The Mole Game Reserve in Northern Ghana provides a thrilling encounter with rare, exotic birds, bush cows, reptiles, baboons, hippopotamus, elephants, antelopes and the lion, king of the jungle, The Kakum National Park has Africa's only canopy walkway, (fourth highest in the world) that enables the more adventurous to enjoy the panoramic view of indigenous flora and fauna as they literally walk among tree tops reaching heights of over 40 meters. Then there's the Aburi Botanical Gardens, tucked away in the cool mountains of Akuapem, near Accra. Built over 100 years ago, Aburi's well-kept plant reserve provides a soothing venue for research and relaxation. A visit to Boti Waterfalls, framed by a rainbow after each rainfall, and the Wli and Kintampo, provides a sobering appreciation nature's wonders.

Seventeen million people, whose home is this land of legends and traditions, live by a remarkable cultural code of conduct. Alongside growing modernization and a sensible governmental approach to development, many ancient African traditions and crafts flourish. To find this land is to find natural beauty, century old trades, like goldsmithing, advanced indigenous political systems, colorful festivals, and a fusion of vibrant music and dance, drawn from over 90 ethnic groups. Ghana is a melting pot, where many African ethnic cultures have mixed with numerous European influences, to produce a fascinating assortment of the best traditions of hospitality and architectural legacy.

A Taste of West Africa: Restaurant dining provides a comforting serving of typical American, Continental or oriental cuisine for the discriminating traveler and equally delicious assortment of local courses for the bold and adventurous. The Golden Tulip Hotel is especially famous for its variety of foods especially made for special occasions; New Year's Day Brunch, Mothers and Valentine Days Dinner - and believe it or not, Balkan Festival Dinner, when Hungarian and Rumanian delicacies are served.