The maiden durbar of the Sonyo Deng festival organized by the Vagla Youth Association (VAYA) and the Vagla, safalfa, Choruba and Nomee ( VASCAN) has been held on Saturday, 20th May, 2023 with a call on government to fix the Sonyo road and telecommunication networks.
The three-day annual Deng festival of the people of Sonyo in the Bole District of the Savannah Region this year started from Friday,19th to Sunday, 21st May, 2023 and witnessed with a colourful durbar of the Chiefs and people from some indigenous ethnic groups in the Bole area including the Vagla, Safalba, Choruba Nomee and Gonjas.
The durbar was organised under the theme; “Harnessing Cultural Potentials for tourism development in Savannah Region”.
In a welcome address at the durbar on behalf of the Kanjinwura of Sonyo, the spokesperson for Sonyo Vaglikori, Mr. David Kapori outlined some of the few challenges faced by the people of Sonyo, stating that one of the biggest challenge in the area is the bad nature of the road network from Sonyo to Bole and from Sonyo to Grupe and therefore appealed to government through the Bole District Assembly to do everything possible to work on the road to improve on it’s nature.
He narrated how women in labour struggle to get to Bole whenever they are referred to seek further medical attention considering the nature of the road.
He indicated that they have had several assurances on the construction of the road but none of the assurances has come to a fulfillment and therefore made a passionate appeal that they don’t longer want promises but wants to see a contractor on the road working to improve on the condition of the road.
He also mentioned to the attention of all about the telecommunication network situation in sonyo, explaining that, immediately one steps foot to sonyo, it becomes a challenge for him/her to make calls not to even talk of using data.
He noted that, they are in an IT era where they need to use data to access information and do alot of things but they are unable to do so in sonyo due to the lack of telecommunication network in the area.
He said, a telecommunication mask has been put up in the community for about a year ago but has not been operationalized and urged that the Bole District Assembly does all that it can to operationalize the mask for them to be able to make calls and make use of data whenever the visit Sonyo.
The Savannah Regional Minister, Mr Saeed Muhazu Jibril in an address on his behalf by the sawla-Tuna-Kalba District Chief Executive, Madam Barichisu Losina explained that festivals are occasions that bring people together to celebrate their culture, share their tradition and foster unity for the development of the community and society among others.
He said the beauty of the Deng festival is the multi ethnic nature of it which involves almost all the indigenous tribes in the Bole Traditional Area.
The Minister noted that the Deng festival is also a period for seeking the help of the earth deity ‘Sonyo Kipo’ through the offering of sacrifices and making pledges whiles redeeming old ones and hunting of rabbit known as “woori.”
He stated that, the numerous activities undertaken during the Deng festival is a good avenue to attract tourist all across the globe, a reason he finds the theme of the festival very appropriate and a clarion call to heed to the promotion of their culture and tourism.
He also indicated that, the rabbit hunt is a very integral part of the festival which survives on the wellbeing of the ecosystem and together with the existence of the Mole National park which is the largest ecotourism site in the country should be a good lesson for them to promote ecotourism in the region and to do that means, the environment needs to be promoted and protected from indiscriminate felling of tress, commercial charcoal burning and illegal mining, etc.
The Savannah Regional Minister urged that as leaders in their communities and stakeholders in the development of the region, it should be their collective responsibility to take bold steps towards promoting ecotourism and tourism in general in the savannah region, stating that tourism has become one of the most lucrative industries in the world, with countries competing fiercely to attract visitors from all over the globe.
He also urged that the marketing efforts for the festival be improved to showcase their unique cultural and natural attractions to potential tourists within and outside the country through the use of social media, travel blogs and other online platforms to create awareness and promote their tourism products especially popular festivals like the deng festival.
The DCE for Bole, Madam Veronica Alele Heming reacting on the request made by VAYA in appealing to government to get the sonya road fixed said, she is very much concern about the poor nature of the Bole – Sonyo – Grupe road and therefore putting in all her efforts to get the road constructed.
She said in her capacity, she has done a lot to get the contractor responsible for the construction of the road to get to site but the contractor has sinced not appeared to the site yet and so, she is doing everything possible to changed the contract to a new contractor to take over to get the road done.
She added that, her office will do every thing possible to bring development to Sonyo because that is her home town.
Professor Joshua Alabi who represented the Guest of Honour former President John Dramani Mahama said, the former President would have wished to be part of the celebrations but is currently on a different assignment and has asked him to step in to represent him.
Professor Alabi said John Dramani Mahama is grateful to be part of the occasion and proud to speak on the theme of the festival “Harnessing Cultural Potentials for tourism development in Savannah Region”.
According to Professor Alabi, former President John Dramani Mahama see culture as the life and blood of the nation and the essence that defines identities and shapes it’s future.
He said Savannah Region is blessed with a vibrant culture, customs and festivals that had been passed down throug generations to the people and among these, the Deng festival holds a special place “in our hearts, which marks the celebration of unity and the abundance of harvest of our hard work”; adding “The Deng festival has been a symbol of our collective spirit which bounds us as a community, it is a time to honour our ancestors for natures gifts as well as celebrate our cultural heritage to enhance the local pride of our people”
Professor Joshua Alabi also said, the Deng festival presents a lot of tourism potentials which must be hannes and sustain by careful planning and maintenance of which he will avail himself to the Chiefs, Elders, the organizers and stakeholders to see the way forward.
In attendance at the durbar was a delegation former President John Dramani Mahama led by Professor Joshua who served as the Guest of Honour and the Savannah Region Representative of the Council of State Kpongriwura Alhaji Adams Zakaria who served as Chairman of the durbar. Other dignitaries in attendance included the District Chief Executive’s (DCE’s) for Bole and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, Madam Madam Veronica Alele Heming and Madam Barikisu Losina Watara respectively and the Members of Parliament (MP’s) for Bole-Bamboi and Kintampo North constituencies Hon Alhaji Yussif Sulemana and Hon Joseph Kwame Kumah Jakala respectively.
Source: Padfm.com.gh/Kumatey Gorden/0243531604