By Akwasi Ampratwum Mensah & Samuel Duodu, Kintampo.
Wangaras from all parts of the country last Saturday converged at the Kintampo Presbyterian School Park for a grand durbar to climax the celebrations of their annual Kurubi festival.
As early as 6 a.m. last Saturday, Wangaras across the country began to arrive at Kintampo, which is the traditional authority of Wangaras and paid homage to their Paramount Chief, Nana Fanyinama III, who is also the President of the Council of Wangara Chiefs in Ghana at his palace in Kintampo.
The celebrants, who were in a joyous mood, sang to hail their King at the palace and later followed him in a procession from the palace amidst brass band music to the durbar ground. The Council of Wangara Chiefs under the leadership of Nana Fanyinama III, revived the celebration of the festival though very ancient, in 1999.
It was a celebration by the Wangaras in honour of their ancestors who were indigenes of Bambaras Madingo and Djula from the ancient kingdoms of Mali and Songhai. They migrated to Kintampo, which happened to be a slave market at that time. After the collapse of Samori’s network and the abolishing of slavery, the enslaved at the Kintampo market were adopted by the Wangaras and together, formed the ancestry nucleus of the present day Wangara communities.
Taking solace in the fertile land, trade route and the natural protective landscape, they became farmers and traders and formed the core of the Gold Coast regiment now Ghana Army in 1852.
In later years, as a result of economic adventures, the Wangaras migrated to many parts of the country to pursue wealth through trading and cash crop farming and also worked in Gold and Diamond Mining establishments, as well as the security services.
The Kurubi Festival begins on the 27th night of the month of Ramadan a period of fasting on the Islamic calendar. The night is regarded as a revelation night among Muslims and the Wangaras as a period when Allah sends blessing to his people.
The festival also portray the pride of female virgins before marriage who dance on a wooden platform, mounted at the durbar grounds to the admiration of the large crowd who had gathered at the park.
A representative of the YabonWura, King of Gonjaland and his elders who are the kinsmen of the Wangaras always grace the grand durbar of chiefs with a large entourage to signify the ties established between his ancestors and the Wangaras.
The National Association of Wangara Communities known as “Benkadi”, which literally means “togetherness brings happiness”, is responsible for the organisation of the annual Kurubi Festival in Kintampo, regarded as the spiritual home of the Wangaras under the leadership of Nana Fanyinama III, President of the Council of Wangara Chiefs who is also Know as the Wangara Wura.
The festival was single-handedly sponsored by Sidalco Limited, an Agro-chemical company and according to Mr David Lamptey, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Osu Klottey in the Greater Accra Region and his wife, Mrs Gifty Lamptey, congratulated the chiefs and people on the celebration and pledged their continuous support of the company to the annual festival.
The Vice-President, Mr John Mahama Dramani who was the guest of honour at the durbar gave the assurance that the Government had put in place many interventions aimed at creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youth in the country.
He, therefore, urged the youth to take advantage of the various interventions, especially the Youth in Agriculture Programme to improve their lot.
Mr Dramani also in a response to an appeal made by the Wangara Wura, Nana Fanyinama to construct the Kintampo town road said the Government would ask the contractor currently working on the Techiman-Kintampo-Tamale road to add their request to it.
Nana Fanyinama said the previous Government had tackled the principal streets in Kintampo and therefore, appealed to the current administration to tackle the road network with dispatch or else in the event of any torrential rains, disaster could strike, which would result in the use of huge government resources on the resettlement of the victims.
The Wangara Wura also appealed to intellectuals and enlightened Wangaras to reach out to their less privileged brothers and sisters through the Benkadi Association and share their thoughts and ideas that could totally transform “our communities to play important roles in nation building”.
Alhaji Collins Dauda, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, for his part urged the people to take part in the national identification exercise by registering when it got to their communities.