The maiden edition of the ‘Nongre Deaya’ festival has been held in Bolgatanga, with the quest to promote peace and maintain the culture of the Frafra people within the Bolgatanga Municipality.
‘Nongre Deaya’, which is in Gurene (Frafra language), literally means love war dance, is a festival meant to show love within the Frafra communities, and further ensure the indigenous use of their traditional artefacts to showcase the rich culture of the Frafra people.
Prior to a durbar where members from 14 communities within the Municipality, displayed their ‘Deaya’ skills, the traditional war dancers first displayed their skills on the slave trade routes in Bolgatanga to the admiration of residents, especially first-time observers.
Mr Anthony Anabire, the Coordinator of the Nongre Craft and Culture Foundation, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the festival ground, said even though the Foundation was the brain behind the festival, it was entirely owned by the various communities within the Bolgatanga Municipality.
He said the festival was premiered in 2019 at Bukere, a community in the Municipality, and subsequently co-hosted by the Bukere and Daporitidongo communities, “So, as a Foundation, we only found a table to bring the 14 communities together to dialogue and re-engineer the peace and love that Bolgatanga desire.
“We want to say that in Bolgatanga, we have an art, tradition and culture, and we love each other and appreciate one another as a people. The late Naba Martin Abilba once said Bolgatanga is the Geneva of Ghana, so we are portraying the Geneva of Bolgatanga,” he said.
Mr Rex Asanga, the Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) explained that the Deaya was performed in the olden days to honour warriors who distinguished themselves on the battlefield, but was today performed at funerals of elderly men in the Frafra culture.
He said as part of the objectives of the occasion, the organisers intended to preserve the Deaya as their rich cultural heritage, and gave the assurance that the Municipal Assembly would encourage, promote and preserve the culture across the Municipality.
Madam Elizabeth Adongo, the Upper East Regional Director for the Centre for National Culture (CNC) who spoke on the need to promote and maintain the festival, emphasized that the culture of the Frafra people was gradually fading and must be stopped.
“The young ones are now taking up the Western cultures, which will not help us, as a people. With the introduction of the ‘Nongre Deaya,’ the youth will learn and know about their culture,” Madam Adongo said.
The CNC Director used the occasion to call on the government to assist the Centre with construction works on the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) Park in Bolgatanga to host cultural and other activities and further appealed to sons and daughters of Bolgatanga to assist organisers of the festival with traditional costumes for more participation in subsequent years.