14th March is Ghana Culture Day. The Day was instituted in 2012 at the official launch of the Ghana Culture Forum.
The Ghana Culture Forum, as a network of activists, practitioners and organisations in the Cultural Sector, has decided to focus on the reality and prospects of the Cultural Sector in a Challenged Economy during the coming year.
Perhaps at a time when our national economy is pressed on all sides to develop in the direction of a people centred, innovation-driven strategy, it is important to give serious attention to the cultural economy. In addition to the need to move forward deliberately and with a sense of urgency on establishing the cultural economy, it is obvious that no development process which seeks the engagement of the people of this country can make any headway without evoking those essential elements which are beginning to elude us such as a profound love of this country and a sense of hope and optimism for its future.
The members of the Ghana Culture Forum have the creativity, talent and drive to evoke these intangibles and re-introduce them into the social, political and economic life of Ghana. The cultural sector is indeed more important than ever when the economy is so challenged.
While the Forum champions and cherishes the principle that cultural practitioners and activists must be able to work independently to create their best work, they should also be able to work free of worry about basic needs. We salute practitioners of the creative arts and other cultural domains who are forging ahead with their talents, industrial prowess and business sense to bring Ghanaians to appreciate their culture. However, it is heart-rending to see so many potentially viable projects stunted because of a lack of small amounts of funding or patronage. We call upon all citizens of this country especially those in control of substantial financial resources to patronise the wide range of creative input and products of the Creative Sector.
It is in this regard that the Forum must convey the dismay of its membership and affiliates at the fact that after a collaborative process resulting in a budgetary allocation of three million Ghana cedis in 2013, not one pesewa of that money was released by government to support the Creative Arts Sector.
It is our expectation that the various public statements on support to the sector by the government cannot have been in vain and that there will be some releases in good faith to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of cultural practitioners in this country do not become cynical about the Government’s commitment to the sector.
The Forum is further alarmed at the persistent weakness of institutions which are expected to form the backbone of state administration of the Cultural Sector. Many key institutions have not had their boards reconstituted in years and are suffering from a highly depleted and disoriented staff. We call for the immediate reconstitution of these boards especially the National Commission on Culture. It is our expectation that membership will be selected with a view to ensuring that the sector takes a giant, leap forward in the quest to strengthen its capacity to play its role in preserving and conserving our heritage and promoting a creative future for the country in the immediate term.
The Forum also invites financial bodies to turn their attention to businesses comprising the cultural economy. This is not a call for charity but a call for investments with the potential for short term yield and a strong social impact as well as a powerful tendency for upliftment of the spirit.
The Forum is committed to promoting quality and innovation and accountability among its members to give Ghanaians and the world true value and worth. We are pleased to note that many media houses are dedicating more time in the month of March to evoking important matters related to the culture of this country. We call on all to join us in the coming year to make Ghanaian culture visible, audible, palpable and viable.
Let us also acknowledge with respect, personalities who have elevated the creative arts and joined the ancestors over the past year, represented by writer, Professor Kofi Awoonor, actor and producer, Eric Asante and musician Ronnie Quainoo Coaches. Long may they live through their works.
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE GHANA CULTURE FORUM
BY: CO-CONVENERS: Esi Sutherland-Addy and Akunu Dake.
14th March 2014.
For any enquiries on this Press Release, kindly contact:
1. Professor Esi Sutherland-Addy, Chairperson/Convenor of the GCF.
2. Akunu Dake, Vice Chairperson/Convenor of the GCF Cell: 0244 693 827
3. PaJohn Dadson, Member, Functional Executive Committee & Team Leader, Media and Publicity, GCF Cell: 0244697046, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org