Youth of Mepe advised against violence *As 65th Afenorto festival launched in Accra

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CHIEFS and people of the Mepe Traditional Area in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region have launched the 65th edition of the annual Afenorto festival, with call on the youth in the area not to allow themselves to be used by the political parties and politicians to cause mayhem.

“Our youth to shun politicians who persuade to cause violence. We want the youth to know that we are one people and we should avoid fighting with each other and killing ourselves,” they warned.

They stressed : “As youth do not allow people especially politicians to influence you with money to go and fight. If we fight and killed ourselves no one would come and develop our country for us. There is the need for us to hold our hands in unity to build a strong and vibrant nation.”

They said the nation is gradually approaching an election year and noted that around such periods a lot of unnecessary things happen.

The chairman of the Mepe Development Association (MDA), the body responsible for planning the festival, Mr Kojo Elenu Fabian made the foregoing appeal when he was goveg his welcoming address at the launch of the event in Accra yesterday.

Themed; Building the structures for sustained development, the role the youth, according to them, has been carefully chosen to the youth in the at the forefront of the development and the future of the Mepe.

The occasion also used to launch the Mepe Afenorto festival Magazine which speaks about the historical antecedent of Mepe.

Afenorto, meaning ‘period of rest at home’, is a celebration by the people of Mepe, usually between the months of July and August every year with a commitment to mobilise resources to fund development projects in the area.

It is aimed at renewing the sense of oneness among the people. It also provides unique opportunities for reunions, and bonding with families and the remembrance of ancestors.

Activities lined up for the celebration include an inter-school gala competition, a cultural musical fair,a lighting procession, a clean-up exercise, a vigil at all hunting shrines in the community and a film show.

There will also be a grand durbar of chiefs and people of the Mepe Traditional Area on August 3, this year, a state harvest, and health walk, an inter-clan regatta or canoe racing, health screening, a send-off party and beach jams, among others.

The festival will climax with an inter-denominational thanksgiving church service.

Adressing the gathering Mr Fabianstressed the need for Ghanaians to say “no to violence, no to provocation” and love one another and be ambassadors of peace.

He indicated that the the chiefs and MDA have future plans for the youth development of making sure that they create a better world for them.

“We have plans to create the enabling environment and empower them with education and, equipped the youth with art and skill development in order to make them less dependent and cause them to front their evil activitiess, ” he noted.

Beyond this, the chairman for MDA stressed the youth must strive to preserve their conscience to guide their future.

“The youth to forcefully word off any attempt by the powers that be to misuse theirs talent in a manner that is harmful to the community, he advised.

He stressed that we “must come together and accept that whatever legacy we leave as the elderly would not succeed us in order to have sustained development.”

He assured that the chiefs, people and MDA have made adequate preparations for this year’s annual afenorto festival to peaceful, refreshing and memorable as ever.

He called on all and sundry to come and enjoy every bit of Mepe’s hospitality and rich culture heritage.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who was at the launch, commended the executives of the development association for their efforts to keep the festival alive.

He expressed the hope that the festival would be a rallying point for the professionals from the Mepe Traditional Area to offer their expertise towards the development of the area.

Mr Ablakwa, therefore, called on individuals, corporate institutions and organisations to take advantage of the festival to support the development of the area.

The District Chief Execetive (DCE) of the North Tongu District Assembly, Mr Richard Collins Arku called on the chiefs and people Mepe he area to embrace the peace, saying that it the peace that would pave ways for the socio-economic development.

In 1874, General Sir Garnet Wolseley moved against the armies of the Ashanti Kingdom who were attacking the coastal tribes of the Gold Coast.

Frightened by the magnitude of their forces, the Anlos were said to have chosen to align with the Ashantis, but the soldiers of Mepe fought alongside the British colonial army for the freedom of the people of the coastline, an alliance that won most of the battles which became known as the “Sagrenti War” (i.e. Sir Garnet War).

Mepe celebrated its battle victories by dancing to tunes of “Agbekor” war drums. This became an established tradition, with their forefathers setting a day aside (at the end of July) for the annual commemorations, which eventually became known as “Agbekortu.”

Source: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU

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