Dr. Kofi Effah writes: The Ankos Masqueraders Festival in Sekondi Takoradi – How do Ghanaians get the most of our ingenuity

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Dr. Kofi Effah writes: The Ankos Masqueraders Festival in Sekondi Takoradi – How do Ghanaians get the most of our ingenuity

I am a Sekondi boy domiciled in the Volta Region for two decades. I am actually more than a Sekondi boy. When your parents are teachers and are transf

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I am a Sekondi boy domiciled in the Volta Region for two decades. I am actually more than a Sekondi boy. When your parents are teachers and are transferred across the country when you are a child, you gain exposure.

So I was born in Winneba, schooled in Koforidua, Kumasi (then Accra)… In 1990, my father was transferred from Kumasi where he was headmaster of a secondary school to be District Director of Education in Mpohor Wassa East in the Western Region.

We stayed in Sekondi till he retired as Western Regional Director of Education in 1999. My mother is still in Inchaban.

I saw the masqueraders every Christmas in Sekondi. In the 1990s it wasn’t as popular as today. About a decade ago, it moved to a completely different level. People travel from across the country for the Ankos festival of masqueraders in Sekondi Takoradi, the Twin City of Ghana. It is massive!

There are over 20 masquerade groups with colourful outfits to identify them. In large processions through Sekondi Takoradi from December 24 to 26, the Twin City becomes vibrant, maybe rivalled only by the Kwahu Easter. The hotels make money. Food vendors make money. Tailors make money sewing these special outfits of the masquerade groups.

This year I am informed that an adult sized outfit cost between GHS 345 and GHS 425 (about USD 33). The masquerade groups get new outfits every year! The outfit this year will be outmoded next year… Then they have the footwear, and special ‘wands.’

People save for this occasion. For many women, it is more important than saving for cervical precancer screening or breast cancer screening (which cost less), but this is for another time. In a country polarised by politics, anything that brings groups together like this is heartwarming.

The Ankos festival is an opportunity for an ‘economic boom,’ but has the most been made of it? How can the Ankos festival be positioned to give maximum benefits to Sekondi Takoradi, Ghana and Ghanaians?

1. Can the leaders of the masquerade groups come together, have a discussion with a Ghanaian textile company to produce the materials for the outfits locally?

2. Can the same be done for the footwear – a local company producing them?

3. With the attraction of indigenes and tourists to Sekondi Takoradi during this period, how does the Twin City leverage on this to bring development to the place?

4. If the three questions above are addressed well, can this be promoted nationally?

The benefits to individuals, communities and the country must be clear. We need people who think about a bigger picture. It should not only be about ‘enjoyment’ and ‘profligate spending’ but we must look at developing our communities and country in happiness.

I am grateful to Ms. Nelly Oparebea, a nurse in Takoradi (and alumna of the CCPTC) who belongs to the Supreme Masqueraders Society, for some insights and the attached picture and short videos.

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