Accra – The United Nations system in Ghana last Friday held a Cultural Night of musical performances as part of the 68th United Nations celebrations in the country. The event, which was attended by the diplomatic community, private sector representatives, students and staff of the UN, was the first of its kind to be organised by the UN system. The aim was to portray strategies, through cultural expressions, vulnerable groups adopt to strengthen their resilience and social cohesion. This comes about as the UN recognises the role of culture for sustainable development as an important policy and strategic issue at international and national levels (Resolutions 65/166 and 66/208 on Culture and Development).
Interspersed by brief solidarity messages from the UN, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts as well as Becca the audience of over 300 were mesmerised by performances from two cultural troupes from the Ampain refugees camp in the Western region and Fetentaa refugee camp in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. Cladded in colourful and authentic African costume, the Manh Boya and Wazzi cultural troupes exhibited such talented and exquisite display of cultural dance and storytelling depicting the circumstances that led to their becoming Ivorian refugees in Ghana and the role of the UN in their sustenance as refugees.
The Ghana Dance Ensemble, a national cultural troupe also showed their mastery of cultural dance when they took the stage and left the audience asking for more. The Cultural Workers, as their name denotes, pulled together pieces of African musical instruments to give the audience a prolific rhythm of authentic African music. The climax of the event of nearly 3 hours, was the jazz performance by Steve Bedi, one of Ghana’s young and finest talented saxophonists. Demonstrating his passion for playing the saxophone and having full control of the audience, both the young and the old could not help but rise to the moment as they danced and cheered for more at the end of Steve’s display leaving him with no option but to render yet another thrilling jazzy version of Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love and R2Bees’ Wo Be Do Me A Do Me Preko.
Joined by all the performers, Steve Bedi led the audience to sing “We are the World”, a moment to show that the United Nations is us and for everybody.
The crowd asked for more of such events to be organised. Hence, we look forward to yet another people-focused, fun and educative performers to mark UN Days ahead.
Here are some comments:
“…I would like to express my most sincere appreciation for the superb organization of the cultural event on 08 Nov 2013. The event itself was mind-blowing, with wonderful performers that were both tremendously skillful and passionate…” (Veton, UNHCR); “… The team did a superb job – getting this together – and the talented refugees were amazing as well as the other performers. It shows what we can achieve as a team… I also am proud to be a member of the UN in Ghana.” (UN Resident Coordinator); “…this year we have changed the tone of advocacy and showed that the UN can be truly interactive and is approachable. No matter how formidable the task we can entertain in the delivery of the message!” (Sharon, UNHCR) “…Thank you for letting me be a part of this event” (Mr. Attipoe Director F&A at the National Commission on Culture representing the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts)