Source: Nii Ashitey - The pomp and pageantry which heralded the Ga Homowo festival at the main hall of the college of North east London, Tottenham on Saturday the 3rd of October 2015 spoke eloquently of the Ga people's rich cultural heritage. Titled GRAND UK HOMOWO FESTIVAL ,The Kolo mashie ensemble which led the Nii mei and Naa mei to the hall was a spectacle to behold.
I personally like the master drummer who was beating the talking drum with such enthusiasm and spirit that was spell bounding not least our women clad in traditional white costume dancing and wailing. The aesthetic and cultural illusion that women weave in African dance is artistic and functional creating vehicles of personal and collective statements that are generational, historical and creative.

The cultural drumming and dancers represents an underlying linguistic text that guides the dancing performance but most meaning comes from the artistic message of the performers. The spontaneity of performance creates an impression of extemporaneity, yet it is not to emphasize the individual and bolster her or his ego but to preserve the community and mediate the audience and the performer interaction.

This year’s Homowo festival took a different look just because of the array of Diaspora Ga mei who were here to represent their various countries .The US was represented , there was Italy, Belgium, France and Holland just to mention a few and others who travelled all the way to celebrate the festival with us. London has become the hub of Homowo for the Gas for obvious reasons and most probably because of the proximity to Ghana and the historical link between Accra and London. 

Royal s and dignitaries, who were present to celebrate the festival with us, include the Ngleshie Mantse,also there was Naa Tsot¬soo Soyoo I of Ngleshie Alata Tra¬di¬tional Area. Her Tra¬di¬tional Title is ‘Amamole Djaase Manye’and Nuumo Gbelenfo III (Gua Wolomo of Osu and numerous others.

In Ga land the occasion of Homowo is a cultural festival because of its significance. The individual communities, as agrarian people, have their days for this august occasion during which assortment of festivities mark the eating of kpokpoi. To the Gas therefore, the day is symbolic of enjoyment after the cultivation season. Nuumo Gbelenfo III (Gua Wolomo of Osu, a special guest at the occasion, captured
its importance vividly when he described the festival, in our tradition, as the culmination of a work cycle and the beginning of another- Afioo Afi.

That perhaps explains why in a traditional Ga setting invitation to the festival is usually thrown open. What this means is that there is abundant food for not just the harvesters but friends and well-wishers alike. No wonder there was so mush to eat at the event on the day.

The main highlight of the festival however was the special dish prepared from ground corn, steamed and mixed with palm oil and eaten with palm nut soup. Prayers for a peaceful and prosperous year were offered followed by a retinue of chiefs with drumming, dancing and singing and sprinkling of the special dish "kpokpoi" and the pouring of libation.

According to oral history, and the accounts differ, the festival which dates back to the 18th century was as a result of an extraordinary famine which struck the Ga land for practically a year .The situation was so bad that Fetish Priests and Priestesses were summoned to pray for rain and harvest. As a result sometime in August there was a tremendous down pour of rain which changed the tide of things. That date was set for merry making and to hoot at hunger.

The rituals that attend the Kpokpoi eating are meant to express the community's appreciation to the gods for making the harvest of farm yields possible. The influence of Christianity notwithstanding, many traditionalists and title holders in some Ga communities never taste the Kpokpoi until the day traditionally set aside for it.

This year the role of La Kpee was minimal because they are looking forward to their anniversary next year. The 25th year of the formation of La Kpee but they intend to have an in house Kpokpoi yeli at their usual venue the Chestnut Centre,280 St Ann’s Road, London N15 5BN. Tottenham on saturday the 10th of October 2015.

The event Coordinator of the the Homowo festival for the evening, Mr. Danny Tawiah deserves a pat on the back for his hard work , in his speech mentioned Mr Abeka Gogo, Mrs Tina Boateng,Mr Albert Johnson and Nii King Quacoo for their contribution to the event. Special thanks also went to the sponsors of the event and participants with the hope to have them on board again next year.

The MC for the occasion was Bishop T who was at his usual best. What can the Gas do without him in the UK

Nii Ashitey


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