Ghana: The Indigenous Ghanaian Culture, the Foundation for Ghanaian Creative Artists

It is due to the recognition of the value and importance of the indigenous Ghanaian Culture that led to the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism Culture And the Creative Arts by the government. Every Country or nation on earth is endowed with an indigenous and unique Culture which she must be proud of and maintain; by developing and modifying this unique culture to suit and meet the test of time.

The term or word culture is very broad and has multiple definitions and connotations. However, for the purpose of this article, culture can be simply defined as the sum total way of life of a group of people; this includes the language they speak, the food they eat, the clothes or dress they wear, their beliefs, customs, practices, traditions, worship, religion, their kind of music and dance etc.

Ghana is indeed a country blessed with a rich culture that must be explored and espoused for the benefit of her citizens and the outside world. This onerous task and responsibility lie in the domain of all Ghanaian creative artists such as playwrights, authors, novelist, poets, musicians choreographers, sculptors etc who must see and regard the indigenous Ghanaian Culture as the source or fountain from which all kinds of their creativity will emerge or emanate.

Thus article seeks to address particularly to the fine Ghanaian Creative artists such as playwrights, short story writers, novelists, poets musicians and choreographers. These categories of Ghanaian Creative artists must take the challenge and task to nurture and develop the indigenous Ghanaian Culture by modifying and refining it by their creative works. Their creative works must therefore portray the present appealing and acceptable culture of Ghanaians. This orientation and approach will surely contribute significantly to enhance the image of the country internationally, and also win honor and respect for Ghana, as a country endowed with a rich unique culture of her own.

In essence, every culture on earth is dynamic subject to development modification and refinement for the benefit of its people in their strides and aspiration to attain economic growth, development and prosperity. For instance, the ancient Greek culture of the 5th century B.C which spread to the rest of the world at that period of time, went through a process of evolution and development until it reached its apogee; and consequently, attained the Golden Age and became the precedence or the way shower to the rest of the world in the history of mankind.

William Shakespeare the world famous and evergreen English playwright of all time wrote his plays to project and espouse the English culture by drawing his material from the English culture as a fountain, that was appealing fashionable and acceptable during the 16th and 17th century periods of Elizabethan Creative writing; and for that matter, drama and theatre in England.

Henrik Ibsen, the great Norwegian playwright and father of modern theatre and realism also drew his material from the Norwegian Culture as a source to write his social plays such as A Dollis House, Pillars of Society, An Enemy Of The Other Europeans and to the rest of the world. Thus, both Shakespeare and Ibsen explored their national cultures and espoused them to the test of the world for appreciation and acceptability during their time of writing plays for performance.

Ghanaian creative artists must take a serious note of this truth, and take a cue and stick only to the indigenous Ghanaian culture in their works of creativity. Mohammed Ben Abdallah, the renowned Ghanaian and African playwright and the initiator and advocator of the "Abibigoro" concept in Ghanaian and African playwriting, has succinctly pointed out in his "Bobokyikyi Lament" published in 1987 that the African creative artist (playwright, writer, poet, novelist, choreographer, musician etc) has his source of material from his own culture and need not to look up to Europe or elsewhere for his creative works.

This is the stark truth for all Ghanaian and African Creative artists which they must adhere to in order to develop their ingenuity and creativity to the highest level to benefit their countries and the outside world. It is true that Ghanaian creative astists need financial support and encouragement from the government, benevolent and charitable organization, such as the UNESCO, Ford Foundation, wealthy Ghanaian business men and women to inspire and motivate them to work hard in their professions and creative a lot of quality works for the benefit of the country.

They must therefore team up and co-operate with each other and solicit assistance from government and non-governmental sources such as been mentioned in this presentation. Furthermore, Ghanaian Creative artists must also resort to writing in the various local languages of Ghana such as Akuapin Twi, Asante, Ga, Ewe, Fante, Dangbani, Nzima, Dangbe etc. They must take a cue from Ngugi Wathiogo, (formerly called James Ngugi) the renowned Kenyan and African novelist and playwright who had recently resorted to writing in the Kikuyu language of Kenya besides the English languageto project the Kenyan culture and for that matter, the African culture to the rest of the world.

Other East African writers have also have also began using the Swahili language, which is widely spoken across East Africa to write. This is highly commendable as far as the projection of the African culture is concerned. In the annals of Ghanaian creative writing, the period between 1935 and 1956 was brilliant and vibrant with a good number of local language plays. A good number of plays were written in Akuapem Twi by Emmanuel Osew. These were published in 1935 by the Presbyterian Book Depot in Accra.

The local language plays were so popular that they were reprinted ten times between 1941 and 1947. The market potential of the plays in the local language encouraged a host of playwrights who wrote in Akuapen Twi, Asante Twi, Ewe, Ga and Fante. The mission schools provided ready market which most mission schools before Ghana's Independence used as part of essential text books.

The government invested heavily in building the Bureau of Ghana Languages to encourage more writers and publication in the local languages. In order to develop Ghanaian languages and for that matter, the Ghanaian culture, I suggest that the authority and the administrative set up of Bureau Of Ghana Languages should as matter of urgency devise a comprehensive and workable plan to revive and encourage Ghanaian creative artists to write in the various local languages of Ghana.

The Bureau of Ghana languages should solicit financial assistance and support from the government and international charitable organization like the UNESCO Ford Foundation etc and also from wealthy Ghanaian businessmen and women to enable it to successfully plan and implement an efficient and workable programme to revive creative writing in the local languages such as witnessed in the country between the period 1935 and 1956. This will certainly help significantly in the projection of the indigenous Ghanaian culture to benefit the country in her present ongoing Ghana beyond aid agenda.

In conclusion, I hold the strong view that the indigenous Ghanaian Culture is very rich and appealing; and this is why it must be developed modified and refined. And this great task and responsibility lie in the domain of Ghanaian Creative artists and their kinds of Creativity. The indigenous Ghanaian culture must therefore influence and prevail at all cost in the works of Ghanaian creative artists!

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