The Agwagwa Festival: A Ghanaian Traditional Cultural Event for Unearthing Young Talents

The Agwagwa Festival is commemorated by the people of Kwahu Obemeng in the Eastern Region of Ghana. It has a long celebration record of hundred and twenty-five years! The whole concept of the event originated from the ingenuity of their early forebears to improvise a pushcart that could travel within the spaces in cocoa farms,…

The Agwagwa Festival is commemorated by the people of Kwahu Obemeng in the Eastern Region of Ghana. It has a long celebration record of hundred and twenty-five years! The whole concept of the event originated from the ingenuity of their early forebears to improvise a pushcart that could travel within the spaces in cocoa farms, transporting coca farmers from one spot to the other in their farms. It was also used by the young ones as a medium for entertainment while riding them after a stressful farming day. The name of the festival 'Agwagwa' was gotten from the sound of the traditional improvised pushcart when it was moved.

The improvised pushcart device was traditionally produced from the big and hard seeds of the local plant called Gyatofoa tree which was very common in the territories of Kwahu Obemeng in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Long flat beams were laid on the big hard seeds from the tree that served as tires for the moving pushcart. When it was sat on, it was pelled manually from the back by others. It could move from top mountains and hills while landing on lower shores. Today, due to advancement in technology, ball bearings that have been well cushioned are used as tires for the pushcart. Interestingly, the youth in the society has been given the freedom to experiment and provide interesting moving pushcarts with diverse designs and with any materials that they could lay their hands on. This has developed into an annual youth competition whenever the Agwagwa festival is commemorated during the first month of every year.

The annual competition has been an avenue for finding talented, creative and brilliant young members in the Eastern Region of Ghana who may not have received any form of formal education as a result of their impoverished state. The festival helps in bringing these genius young ones into the public spotlight so that well-meaning members of the society, philanthropists, funding agencies and youth aid agencies could come to their aid. Many fortunately talented youngsters have gotten such privileges and as such, have had access to formal education to hone their great skills and talents. The excellent and unique designs of the pushcarts produced by the young ones could be further developed into very interesting transportation machines. The festival is a traditional event for grooming young persons who would have wasted their talents because of poverty. Due to the festival, many of these youngsters can now have their wish fulfilled as they become future engineers and product designers for leading engineering firms.

The Agwagwa traditional festival receives very little support from funding agencies and companies. This is because it is not known by many people and agencies due to the poor advertisement and public sensitization. Therefore, the tourism industry, youth development initiatives and groups, funding agencies and well-meaning individuals must seek for ways of supporting the chief and traditional council of Kwahu Obemeng as they effectively plan and celebrate the festival. This all-important support and collaboration would help in using the festival in serving its core function which is to search for young talents and assist them to be great engineers and designers for national and global development.