History, art and culture melted into a huge cauldron of fanfare in Trondheim, Norway as Ghanaian students were joined by some alumni, friends and students from other countries to mark Ghana’s 58th Independence Anniversary. The week-long celebration was organised by the Ghana Students’ Association at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), popularly called NTNU-GH, with support from the Trondheim Kommune (Trondheim Municipality) through its cultural unit and the SiT: Studentsamskipnaden i Trondheim (Students’ Welfare Society in Trondheim). While SiT supported the celebration with venue for the grand durbar, the Kommune sponsored the celebration with a percentage of the budget.
The celebration started on Monday, March 2, 2015 with visits to two kindergartens: Nissekolen Barnehagene and Moholt Barnehagene, for Ghanaian cultural performances to entertain the pupils and teachers. In the evening of the same day, there was a seminar on relationship, marriage and sex. There were indoor games on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 and an international football gala on Friday, March 6, 2015. The highly-patronised tournament consisted of two groups, with Group A consisting of students from Germany, Brazil, Tanzania and Eritrea. Brazil topped this group with 7 points while Germany placed second with 5 points. Group B consisted of Ghana, Somalia, Italy and Romania. Ghana topped the group with 7 points and Romania placed second with 6 points. In the final match between Ghana and Brazil, Ghana scored Brazil 4:0 to win the trophy.
Saturday, March 7, 2015 was the grand durbar. It was held in the auditorium of the Moholt Activity House. The night witnessed poetry performances by a Malawian student and poet Mag Ngwira and Edzordzi Agbozo, a budding Ghanaian poet. Their poems used diverse metaphors to appraise the significance of independence and the need for pragmatics in Ghana’s developmental efforts. There were dances by a group of Ghanaian students and a group of international students. The international students came from Uganda, Peru, Norway, Ivory Coast and Mexico. They performed the Gota dance. This is a dance that uses the mystical calabash drum of Benin, West Africa. It is now performed for social entertainment.
The Ghanaian group danced Gahu and Bɔbɔbɔ. Gahu (money dance/drum) is a dance of the Ewe people of Togo, Dahome (Benin) and Ghana. It is a popular social dance. Bɔbɔbɔ is also a social dance of the Ewe people. It was created around the 1940s and was instrumental in spreading Kwame Nkrumah’s ideologies. Kafui Marcus Tay, a Ghanaian graduate student and Linda Amoh, a Ghanaian resident in Trondheim also performed Kete which is a dance of the Asante ethnic group performed for the royal court of the Asantehene.
The night was lit with a theatrical performance of Dr. Mohammed Ben Abdallah’s historical drama, “Slaves”. The one-act play shows the daily life of a group of slaves in a slave dungeon (referred to, in the play, as “stone monster”). Diverging from historic reality, the playwright put male and female actors on the stage together as though they had not been kept in separate cells. The group attempted a conspiracy against the slave overseer, a mulatto who was helping the whites in managing the slave trade, and they took a vow not to reveal the secret. One of the slaves, however, spilled the bean and the conspiracy was foiled. Some of the slaves were killed as a result. The play was staged by the NTNU-GH Drama Troup under the direction of Kafui Marcus Tay.
Dr. Jonathan Brindle, a Canadian postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Language and Literature at NTNU who is currently working on aspects of Chakali language and culture, with fieldwork once a year in the Upper West Region of Ghana and also does some amount of work on Waali language in Ghana and Kyitu language in the Ivory Coast shared his experiences in Ghana with the audience. Mark Nartey, another graduate student also spoke on Ghana’s independence and nationhood while Prof. John Kwadwo Osei-Tutu, a Ghanaian Associate Professor in the Department of Historical Studies at NTNU and the patron of NTNU-GH, underscored the need for dialogue by the Ghanaian diaspora on Ghana’s nationhood so as to address some of the challenges facing the country. The president of the group, Michael Mawuli Ogbe appealed to his fellow students to participate in such a discussion that is being organised and hoped that the resolutions arrived at be communicated to the appropriate authorities. The night ended with a dinner consisting mainly of Ghanaian dishes such as banku, omo tuo, kelewele, waakye and their appropriate soups and sauces.
In a letter to the association, H.E. Ms. Edith Hazel, the Ghanaian ambassador in Copenhagen, Denmark, responsible for Norway, Sweden and Iceland; wished the students a happy celebration. Similar messages were sent by the Rector (Vice Chancellor) of NTNU, Professor Gunnar Bovim; the Minister of Education and Research of Norway Mr. Torbjørn Røe Isaksen and the Mayor of Trondheim, Mrs. Rita Ottervik.
The celebration was under the theme: Promoting international practices in private and public services in Ghana: the role of the Ghanaian student abroad.