- Philip Tengzu
RHAF holds smock festival to revitalise Dagaaba culture
The Rita Humanitarian Aid Foundation (RHAF) has held the Smock Festival at Daffiama in the Diffiama-Bissie-Issa (DBI) District to drum home the need for the protection of the rich culture of the Dagaaba people.
The event highlighted some pertinent cultural practices of the Dagaaba people which, the foundation said, were going into extinction due to modernisation and civilisation.
It was on the theme: “Sustaining our Culture and Tradition; the quota of current generation”.
Present at the event were Paramount Chief of Daffiama, Naa Dikomwine Domalae, who was the President of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, his divisional chiefs and the Upper West Regional representative of the Council of State.
Others were the Member of Parliament for Lambussie Constituency, the District Chief Executive of Lambussie and political party executives among others.
It was characterised by the cultural dance of some communities in the district, playing of the talking drum as well as the display of smock and smock products.
Addressing the gathering, Madam Rita Yaaloonaa Bayor, the Founder and Executive Director of RHAF, noted that smock was one of the cultural identities of the chief and people of the Dagaaba descent, but that it seemed to be losing its value in recent times.
“The smock is our own heritage. We want to sustain this heritage from extinction. So we want to empower the youth to take weaving of smock very seriously. It will also create employment for them”, she explained.
Madam Bayor added that the event was also to send a reflective signal to the youth that their culture was important and must be upheld.
“We are seeing that the weaving of it (smock) is even going down because of education; people are looking for white colour jobs to the neglect of entrepreneurship.
“We want to empower young people to take entrepreneurship very important and to take the weaving of smock and smock products very important because it is a source of employment”, she explained.
The Executive Director indicated that the foundation would support women to produce shea butter and Dawadawa for national market as well as support young girls in smock weaving apprenticeship.
On his part, Dr. Bright Bakye Yelviel Baligi, the Member of Parliament for Lambussie Constituency, noted that modernity had swallowed the rich culture of the Dagaaba people.
He cited marriage, funeral and burial rights as well as the traditional names of the people as being unique but that modernity was causing it to die off.
Dr. Baligi therefore urged the youth to hold their culture in high esteem in order not to lose it.
Plan International Ghana, Pronet North, the Interior Minister, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, DBI MP, Lambussie MP and DEC, NPP Regional and constituency executives among others donated cash amount to support the foundation.