African Culture and Wellness Festival – 2019.
The 5th edition of the African Culture and Wellness Festival (ACAWF) took place on Saturday 9th February at Aburi gardens, Eastern Region of Ghana. I have always heard about the festival but was never in Ghana during such time. The festival is also highlighted as part of the Year of Return programmes.
For more information about the Year of Return visit – https://www.yearofreturn.com/
The colourful brochure called ‘Our land our Sovereignty’ detailed directory of local and international services. The main aim of the festival is to promote healthier lifestyles through arts and wellness whilst unifying and developing the community.
Well done Dr Sharita and her team. For more info visit https://go.acawf.com/
Health Walk Challenge
I was told the health walk challenge would start at 5am from Ayi Mensah (Aburi) and I had already told myself – sorry not going to happen. However, I did set my alarm clock for 5am as I had to prepare myself and set off for the long travel to Aburi. When my alarm went off and the cockerel – my thoughts did wonder to all those who braved the early morning rise and walked up the hills with the early morning dew – all for a good cause.
At Madina trotro station I met up with Nannette who just arrived from LA and Kewewa – a beauty blogger. It didn’t take long till we arrived at Aburi Gardens. Entering the beautiful gardens of nature’s treasures, music playing and the tops of white gazebos seen through the greenery in the distance.
We headed to the centre under a gazebo just in time for the aerobics class. I was amongst a sea full of white t-shirt wears representing Chocolate Day. I wasn’t prepared with proper footwear, but the instructor Bea of Bea Fit aerobics was motivating and demonstrated the moves very well – within a min I was sweating – not done any form of exercise in over 5 years. But I really enjoyed outdoor aerobics – even with the sun blazing.
Kemetic Yoga – An Ancient Egyptian system based on physical movement, meditation, controlled postures, self philosophy and healing. I was watching and saw that the movements were intricate and proved quite difficult for the participants. The many benefits included to rejuvenate the mind and body and soul. Keep practicing and stretching in order to improve physical health was wise words by yoga instructor Penny
African combat moves of Capoeira led by Dr Abadele Kambon became a show stopper. An audience stopper as we watched the men demonstrate attack and defence positions whilst moving back and forth in a unique style of dance and acrobats. Whilst watching led to a discussion about the art form and where it originated from Angola, very prominent in Brazil and also memories of watching the film Besouro.
That was the 3 main movement activities during the day – I was disappointed that the African dance didn’t take place as the organisers did not show up – reason not know – but all was not lost- the dj made up for that and it gave me time to see the vendors creations, reflect, catch up with the gist and absorb the African Ancestral wall banners.
I read 26 banners (not sure if I missed any) hanging from trees with quotes from ancestral activists, political poets, freedom fighters and community leaders from around the world that have made an impact in the lives of people and the African nation. These banners were sponsored by African Ancestral Wall.
So much natural juices from Sobola to regular juices such as pineapple, mango, tigernut – spoilt for choice – I was refreshed with a large cup of mint and pineapple blend.
The food and drinks price was very reasonable and there was plenty of snacks of peanut, chocolate, vegan kebabs and pastries ranging from 2 – 5 cedi.
It was great to not have to ask if there was meat in the food and also to see meat eaters trying out the vegan delights – and complimenting the texture and taste. The spring rolls by Loving Hut were very spicy – wasn’t expecting that – I ate 8 – not in one serving.
The ray of colours lined up in a row from the plant based food vendors, scrapping carrots, chopping cabbage, grilling tofu kebabs.
But I opted for the roti, mixed greens and salad for starters which was prepared by Wudasi who co-runs the Black Star credit union and Marcus Mosiah Garvey Foundation (www.themmgf.org)
Food prep talk was very interesting – The presenter had been vegan/vegetarian for 31 years – her main advice:
* make food delicious to eat, not boring and bland
*learn how to blend herbs and don’t be afraid of spices
*be fearless and enjoy the experience
Apparel & Adornments
It was a good idea to give the vendors a spot to promote their goods and services which helped when I went round selecting and buying items. ‘Made in Ghana not China’ – as was the motto throughout the day by Seestah Imahkus. If you didn’t go to the vendors then some came to you – direct selling.
Holistic Health and Wellness
On the opposite side of the delicious All star vegan food court was the Holistic Health and Wellness zone – consisting of a sea of knowledge from a ray of experts in herbs, oil, leaves, medicine, weight loss, therapy, healing, fitness and wellbeing.
Wow – a massage for only 1 cedi per minute by Goddess Touch
There was Diaspora from different parts of the world at the festival – Jamaica, Nigeria, Chicago, LA, New York, Germany and I was surprised by Sis Ayo and Bro Earl from UK/Ethiopia. A lady who had just arrived in Ghana heard about the festival on her flight and decided to attend. There was a few hours to go until the concert which was scheduled to start at 8pm. So plenty of time to relax, reminisce, reason and connect with brothers and sisters. Lots of fun, laughter from great conversations with young and elders who shared stories of African pride, growing up and relationships.
(Sister Ayo and Brother Earl – LOSA)
(Seestah Imahkus of One Africa and Naa Ayorkor, Nwasaa Mpese Asafonye)
Activities for the children were arranged by P’nut butter kids – but we also saw children taking advantage of their surroundings and climbing the low branch trees.
I was disappointed that the vendors and most of the food court had to pack away by 6 – time had flown by and I wished I had packaged a bag of sweet pastries.
I was just telling a friend the other day that it would be nice to go to a reggae jam – then the DJ started playing selection after selection of classic reggae tunes.
There after I put my feet up and rested whilst waiting for the concert to start.
The stage was set, lights beaming, crowd chillin and then Mc King Lagazeeby and Seestah Imahkus Okofo graced the stage to boost the crowd before each unique act.
Baba Rah – Storytelling
Aburi Gye Nyame cultural group – 5 young dancers been together 7yrs
John Christian – singer songwriter raised in the hip hop community since. Sang Urban Butterfly ( you will get your wings and fly) and Victory (strive and be the best and you will be victorious).
Comedy about cleansing and detox.
Afia Khalia– a songwriter and artist who uplifted the audience with 3 songs: Whoa, My Hustle, Abibifahodi.
Oga Chux – a musician and rapper who was influenced by the spirit of Bob Marley, rapped about African unity and conscious paradise.
Gospel singers reminded me of the soulful hiphop group Arrested Development.
JaHWi – well he lit up the stage with his energetic movements and flag bearers – led us through the night until Mutabaruka presence the stage quite late.
Walking bare foot onto the stage – commanding no background music – just pure lyrics of dub poetry – word, sound and power – Mutabaruka from Jamaica was in the house – or should I say garden. He delivered messages about 400 years of enslavement, blood, sweat, tears and survival. The need to be proud of self and Africa in order to move forward and stop mimicking western society. Although lots of serious and real talk he did make me laugh when he made the statement of why do black people live in a small house but buy the largest settee.
Time was 12:40am and time to leave as needed to find way to Mamfe my final resting place for the evening courtesy of Sister Empress and Brother Wayne.
So on reflecting on the whole day – I truly enjoyed the festival, meeting friends, making acquaintances, laughing, dancing, eating, drinking and reminiscing. Took some time to chill on Sunday in the mountains before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Accra.
If you missed the festival, you are going to have to wait until 13th February 2021
bless Sister E