Agortime Kente Festival re-emerges from COVID-19

Ghana’s only festival dedicated to celebrating the Kente, a traditional woven fabric of African identity, has reemerged following a five-year break induced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kente Festival of the People of Kpetoe in the Volta Region’s Agortime-Ziope District was last held in 2019 before being suspended over the global pandemic.

Known originators of the renowned fabric and a major production hub, the people of Kpetoe consider the annual festival instituted in 1995 a symbol of unity, and also a platform to showcase their wealth of industry to the world.

Nene Akoto Sah VI, Chief Warlord, said at the launch of the popular festival in Ho on Saturday, that the reemergence deserved patronage and support, especially as the area looked to enhance its outlook as the main production hub for the fabric.

‘The patterns reveal a wealth of information about our history, cultural practices, philosophy and belief and it is important to participate and witness. Let us unite and welcome the tradition that exem
plifies our peace and unity,’ the traditional ruler said.

This year’s festival is on the theme: ‘Repositioning the Kente Heritage for Inclusive Development.’

Several traditional rulers from the area were present and the unique textile was worn by all in a prelude to the weeklong festival scheduled for the month of August.

The festival is always drenched in the fabric’s countless designs and colours, and stakeholders hope to use the event to draw cooperation towards retaining the competitiveness of the industry in the area amidst heightened competition from foreign mass production.

Mr. Elvis Ativoe, a leading member of the planning committee, said low tourist traffic affected the promotion as a production enclave, and that it was important to harness the festival for the rejuvenation of identity.

He said master weavers should work together on enhancing the appeal of the fabric taking into consideration market demands, and called for a ‘shift’ from the solely traditional and cultural outlook for the cloth
to one of modern design trends and client preferences.

Mr. Charles Agbeve, Member of Parliament for the area, said marketing and other sectors of industry were identified as lacking and promised needed training and support, particularly to the youth.

Mr Divine Bosson, Municipal Chief Executive for Ho, who graced the launch, said the festival’s theme spoke to the collective responsibility of ensuring the unique heritage was shared by all.

He said the celebration should spurn the industry to contribute to the economic viability of the Volta Region and the nation at large and remain a provider of employable skills for several youth.

The launch was chaired by Mr. Cephas Afenuvor, a local entrepreneur, who said the business community in the area would support the industry through promotions, especially within the hospitality industry.

Beginning August 4, highlights of the festival would include a weaving competition, a reenactment of the ancestral migration, and special events for women and children.

The com
munity exists beyond the nation’s boundaries into the Republic of Togo, and activities would be spread across the two countries.

The grand durbar is slated for Saturday, August 11 at the GRA Park in Kpetoe.

Source: Ghana News Agency