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Ponyentanga Prepares for a multicultural annual festival

Naa Abdulai Salia (II)

The chief of Ponyentanga, a famous community located in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region, Naa Abdulai Salia (II) declares 28th December this and every year for the climax of a local festival which is still titled, “Ponyentanga CultureFest”. “Upon several consultations with my high chiefs, we agreed to hold an annual competitive cultural festival in order to foster unity and peaceful coexistence among the various tribesmen within the Ponyentanga community. Our culture is dying slowly and as a result, we need its revival for the benefit of the youth and our future generations.” He said.

The Ponyentanga Naa (Naa means chief) made these revelations during a massive community forum held at the Ponyentanga market square on 30th of June, 2019. The occasion was championed by BECAAP Platform, an outfit that supports Cultural and Art Programs.

Mr. Christantus Kavaarpuo CEO of BECAAP

Speaking at the occasion, the CEO of BECAAP; Mr. Christantus Kavaarpuo revealed that the festival would last for three days which starts from 26th to 28th December as captured in this year’s Program.  “There will be a clean-up exercise on 26th of December and other activities. On the 27th of December, there would be football gala, floating and night jams but on the 28th December which shall be the climax of the event, there would be socio-cultural dancing competition, bow and arrow shooting, wrestling and other activities. Awards will be given to students who distinguished themselves in various fields of discourse in the presence of high-profile dignitaries.” The BECAAP boss stated. 

El-twist ‘Dagara’

Another guest and sensitizer was the Upper West popular music gem, El-twist affectionately known by his fans as ‘Dagara’; he educated the members of the entire community on the possible benefits that will culminate from the great feast and urged all hands to support the good fight in bringing the day into a success. “This festival would attract different calibre of people from various places and as a result, businessmen in this community would be the major beneficiaries; pito and pork would be much cherished during the celebration.” He added.

He further enlightened members that this event would also serve as a medium of channelling some developmental challenges of the community to some politicians and Non-profit organizations that may honour their invitation.

Mr. Abudu Hasshim

A word of counsel was nostalgic for members by a representative from the Wa-Nayiri (Wa chief palace), Mr. Abudu Hasshim, who chides all and sundry to desist from unsolicited criticisms that may hinder the objective of the coming festival. “Please, avoid the black mentality of ‘pull me down’ habit and rather welcome this good news which your elders have planned. Avoid bad criticisms and the ‘Black nepotism’ that it’s for this or for that person. It can never yield any development as a people.” He cautioned.

Mr. Hasshim therefore challenged the whole community especially the youth to pledge their support to the Ponyentanga-Naa to be able to officiate this noble festival without any hindrance or negative influence.

However, the Ponyentanga-Naa in a quest for the official name of the festival stated that, he and some elders are still in talks to come out with a suitable traditional name for the festival the ‘CultureFest’.

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WA The Upper West Region of Ghana.

The Upper West Region has a land area of 8,842 square kilometres (3%) of Ghana’s total. The Dagarba, Lobi, Sisala, Vagla and the Wala, all of who speak distinct languages, inhabit this region.

Total population of the region, which comprises five administrative districts – Jirapa-Lambusi, Lawra, Nadawoli, Sissala and Wa, – is 573,873. It is the gateway to Ghana from Burkina Faso, which is a traditional crossroads for the Trans-Saharan trade routes.

An exciting introduction to Ghana, much of the landscape is broad savannah grasslands, dotted with the strange-looking baobab trees, or striking Sahel terrain.

In the villages, with their distinctive round huts, communal activities go on as they have for generations.

The principal border posts from Burkina Faso are found at Hamile, Kapulima. Paga and Kulungugu.

The Upper West Region has a different feeling, as a more traditional region. The capital of the region is Wa which is also the seat of the Wa Naa, Paramount Chief of the Walas. The magnificent palace still stands as stately as it did when it was first built in the 19th century. The uniquely styled traditional village houses of round mud-walled structures connected by walls forming large compounds are well adapted to the demanding climate of this region.

Gbelle Game Reserve, located 17km south of Tumu, is an important sanctuary for endangered species of wildlife, as well as hippos, elephants and bucks. Birdwatchers consider this an important habitat for indigenous and migratory birds.

Although a great deal of development is taking place in these regions, access to outlying areas can be difficult at certain times of the year and during and after heavy rains.

Showcasing tourist attractions in Upper West

The five District Assemblies in Upper West Region in collaboration with the Regional Co-ordinating Council and Ghana Tourists Board would soon come out with a brochure and directory on tourist attractions and sites in the region to facilitate tourism. Godfred Bayong-Tangu, Wa District Chief Executive, who made this known at Wa on Saturday, also said plans were far advanced to publicise such potentials on the Internet to attract tourists and investors.

He was speaking at the inauguration of Upper West branch of International Tourist Club (Ghana), whose members would educate the people on the need to preserve their cultural heritage. Mr Bayong-Tangu called on the business community to build more hotels and guesthouses to promote tourism and other economic activities. He said the Wa District Assembly was in consultation with authorities of Columbus city, U.S.A. to form a twin-city alliance to enhance educational and cultural development of the district.

Gov’t to boost tourism in Upper West Region.

Deputy Director,Abubakari Musah (3rd right) with other dignitaries on the high table.
The government will work closely with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) to explore effective ways of boosting tourism in the Upper West Region.

A Deputy Director of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council (UWRCC), Abubakari Musah who made the remark indicated that the collaboration between the government and GTA will be up-scaled in eliminating infrastructural and logistical challenges facing the tourism sector in the Region.

Mr. Musah was speaking at the Upper West Regional Tourism Awards ceremony for 2016 in Wa when he deputised for the Regional Minister, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani.

Radio Ghana’s Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo says the event was aimed at honouring deserving industry practitioners and other partners who had demonstrated excellence in their work as well as shown commitment towards the development and growth of the tourism sector.

Fourteen awards were up for grab. They included; Tour Guide of the Year, Tourism Oriented Media of the Year, Exemplary Award for Sustainable Eco-Tourism Site of the Year and Two-Star Hotel of the Year.

Mr Musah said tourism in Upper West “is thriving and has registered positive growth over the years.

He pointed out that the smock industry and tourist destinations such as the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary, the Gwollu Slave Defence Wall, the Bone-Setting Clinic, the Wa Naa Palace and other heritage sites continue to attract tourists to Upper West in spite of infrastructural and logistical constraints.

Commenting on the focus of the event “Advancing the Gains of Tourism through Quality Service Delivery”, Mr. Musah stressed the importance of adopting proper measures to consolidate the gains chalked up in the tourism sector in the region in particular and the country as a whole.

The Deputy Director implored the Upper West GTA to step up its roles in supervising, inspecting and licensing of industry players to further raise the bar to meet international best practices.

Mr. Musah announced that improvement works on the Wa Airstrip was progressing steadily and would be completed soon for commercial flights to start operating in Wa.

The Upper West Regional Manager of GTA, Henry Yeleduor challenged players in the tourism sector to be what he termed “ambassadors of service excellence” in their areas of operation through skills transfer and mentoring.

The Chief of Tokali, Naa Walamani Danyagiri who chaired the function regretted that the tourism sector has not been given the needed attention for it to grow saying successive governments have only paid lip-service to the sector.

Tour Guide of the Year award went to Bob Aziz Pelpuo, W93.5 FM emerged the Tourism Oriented Media of the Year with Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary winning the Exemplary Award for Sustainable Eco-Tourism Site of the Year and Nuoyong Empire Hotel grabbing the Two-Star Hotel of the Year title.

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Ponyentanga Prepares for a multicultural annual festival

The chief of Ponyentanga, a famous community located in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region, Naa Abdulai Salia (II) declares 28th...