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This Saturday, the 12th of October at the National House of Chiefs in Manhyia, Mas Africa, the official organizers of the Year of Return Kumasi Carnival, launched the carnival and its associated events in grand style.
The event which began at 5.30 pm was graced by the likes of Barima Asumatu Sakyi, the director of Kumasi Cultural center, the Regional Commander of the Scouts and his scouts, the HAD Foundation alongside a cross section of Ghanaians and media partners. Also, in attendance was the chair for the Ghana Caribbean Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Susan Alfred who manages and is responsible for all the activities surrounding the Year of Return carnival in Kumasi.
The director of the Kumasi Cultural Centre, Mr. Barima Asumatu Sakyi welcomed all guests to the launch and shared a bit on their interest in having a successful event. This was followed by the purpose of gathering by Dr. Susan Alfred. Mr. Clement Graham, the editor of Wellbeing Magazine and a returnee, shared the history of carnival, what it meant to him, the fascinating and colourful way it records history and the economic benefits, job creation, revenue to hotels and other service providers and the obvious inflow of foreign exchange.
Mr. John Michael Appiah-Acheampong, a director of Mas Africa and also the project manager of the Year of Return activities in Kumasi then gave an overview of the activities to expect for the period from 29th October to the 2nd of November.
He also said there were several groups flying in from all over the world to Kumasi, some for the first time and others to be part of this spiritual journey to reconnect and feel that sense of belonging. We will also have some local groups including the Winneba masqueraders and Swedru masqueraders joining the procession on the 1st of November. All other groups interested in participating can still reach out and be a part of this.
The show stopper was the unveiling of the lead costumes for the 2019 Kumasi Carnival, led by the ever spectacular “Asase Yaa” costume. It was indeed beautiful to watch. The costumes designers are Ms Barbara Nyarko and Melissa Simon Hartman who are designers from the Nottinghill Carnival, UK.
Barbara Nyarko also a director of MAS Africa explained to the audience her inspiration for the costumes.
According to her, the vision and plan for Mas Africa is to enhance the Creative Arts Industry, to train and empower individuals to design, model and make costumes that can be exported to other carnivals around the world.
She plans to start them early by bringing in her team from the UK to work with schools right from the basic level to teach them to research the history of communities and use that as a guide to create costumes that tell a story; as well as to train organizations with the needed skill set. This, she believes will help boost the tourism industry and rake in funds to boost our economy as a nation.
If you want to see and experience a blend of the rich Ashanti culture and the spirit of carnival, then you need to be in Kumasi on Friday the 1st of November, 2019.
Schedule of Activities
On Tuesday, 29th of October, there will be a Welcome cocktail event.
Wednesday 30th October, Durbar of Chiefs at Manhyia and first day of Business Forum at Prempeh College hall, to be facilitated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Thursday 31st of October, Day 2 of Business Forum
Friday 1st of November, Carnival Procession through the city and a concert
Saturday 2nd November, tour of Kumasi then Dinner and Awards Ceremony.