Ghana is preparing to host the 2011 Kumasi International Black Arts and Cultural festival (KIBAC), an event that looks set to become one of the biggest and most elaborate African-inspired arts and cultural festivals in the world.
Scheduled for November 21-27, it will be held in the Kumasi Ashanti Region at the Centre for National Culture. The theme of the event is “A Celebration of African Culture and Heritage: Balancing Tradition and Participation with Excellence”. It is designed to appeal to the widest possible audience and will feature a series of cultural performances and musical events, along with film and video presentations, wood carving and pottery demonstrations, Batik, tie-dyeing, and Kente demos, art exhibitions and food fairs giving participants the opportunity to enjoy an assortment of delectable African cuisine.
In addition, businesses and sponsors along with artistes and vendors will be invited from all over the world to display, promote and sell their products and artefacts at a 10-day international trade fair to be held at Prempeh Assembly Hall and Jubilee Park. There’ll also be lectures and workshops, a youth leadership forum, a Gospel extravaganza, children’s day, a tourism congress and an African fashion night showcasing the work of top designers from around West Africa. The KIBAC festival will culminate with a Beach Celebration at Lake Bosomtwe where there’ll be loads of music, and a food and craft fair.
The organizers are eager to involve artistes and other participants of African descent from all over the world. They have vowed to embrace the entire African Diaspora and will also invite distinguished speakers “from continental African countries, the Caribbean, the United States, the UK, Canada and Brazil.” Their key message to the Diaspora – “Come home to Kumasi, no matter where you find yourself, to reconnect and feel at home.”
They are collaborating with organizers of sister events such as the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) in Atlanta and Black History Month in the UK. The KIBAC festival was officially launched in Ghana in May 2010 and subsequently in July in Georgia, Atlanta during the 2010 National Black Arts Festival. A UK launch is scheduled for October 27, 2011 in London during the celebration of Black History Month.
The aim of the festival, according to the organizers, is to “promote and share the cultural heritage of people of African descent throughout the global community.”
Located near Lake Bosomtwe, in the Rain Forest Region about 270 km north of Ghana’s capital, Accra, the city of Kumasi was built by King Osei Tutu in the 1680’s to serve as the capital of the Asante State. Hailed as the ‘Garden City’ of West Africa, it comprises about 90 communities with a population of 3 million and covers an area of 254 sq km. Because of its strategic location and political dominance from pre-colonial days, Kumasi has since developed into a major commercial hub and is the nerve centre of all commercial activity in Ghana.
Along with their international supporters, the KIBAC organizers have received the support and blessing of several of Ghana’s high-ranking government officials, a tribal chief and media organizations. They include the mayor of Kumasi, Samuel Sarpong; Ashanti Regional Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Mensah; Director, Centre for National Culture, Ashanti Region, Samuel .F. Adjei; the Ghana High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Prof. Kwaku Danso-Boafo and the Ghana Tourist Board among others.
The KIBAC festival will open with the lighting of the Ashanti Torch which will be paraded throughout the Ashanti region to highlight and increase public awareness of the great Ashanti tradition and history. The lighting of the torch is planned for November 11 – ten days before the start of the main events.
There are also plans to organize an ‘Africa Unite Football Game’ at the Baba Yara Stadium, featuring a match between a top team from Brazil and Ghana as a warm up ahead of World Cup 2014. This will be followed by an ‘Africa Unite Concert’ which will feature top entertainers from around the world.