Agbamevoza: Agotime Traditional Area Kente Festival

by John Nash

[ view as slideshow ]

Every year, since 1995, the Agotime Kente Festival has taken place in the town of Kpetoe, in Ghana's Volta region, just south of the regional capital of Ho, near the border with Togo. The festival was established to celebrate and promote the Kente weaving industry for all of Agotime, this being one of the areas in Ghana with the largest concentration of weavers, a primary occupation for many men, and a source of cultural pride for its people.

The festival is a week long event, starting usually during the last week of August, but if you intend to go you should check the dates first! sometimes the dates are not chosen until the last minute. The week's events include weaving competitions (for the fastest weavers, and the most innovative designs) Kente exhibitions, firing of musketry, fantastic drumming, dance competitions, and more. And some eloquent speech-making. The culminating event is on Saturday, with a coming together of chiefs, queen mothers and the people of the 37 towns and villages of Agotime. Visitors are very welcome.

The photos below were taken at the 2005 festival, mostly of the procession, winding slowly through the streets of Kpetoe, leading up to the grand durbar. This was easily the most comfortable I have ever felt taking photos of strangers. At the festival everybody was looking their absolute best and were fully expecting to be photographed. In fact on a few occasions when I wasn't snapping, people came up to me and egged me on not to stop taking pictures. So if you are planning to go, bring your camera, follow the procession, you will be made to feel more like part of the credentialed press than the ugly tourist...


photos: John Nash

I traveled to Ghana with Cross Cultural Collaborative and would highly recommend them.