How strange that exactly a year previous I was in Kwahu but still scheduled to miss Easter. Last year I was paying respects to the Obommenghene (Chief of Obommeng – my hometown).
I was gutted, then, to be missing Easter which came mid-April instead, but this year, just as I had said I was on the Ridge joining in the festival I have grown up hearing so much about. Yayy for achieved goals!
I would fully recommend going to the Kwahu Easter festival if you find yourself in Ghana on the Easter weekend; simply because I would like more tourism dollars to be spent outside of Accra. That being said the truly conservative person may find Kwahu Easter by night as not their cup of tea. There are children roaming the streets at 3am, watching and emulating scenes that should only be found on tv post-watershed (for those of us who grew up with the institution of a 9pm watershed on TV). If you’ve been looking for Magaluf in West Africa, allow me to introduce you to Kwahu.
I sadly didn’t get pictures of the festivities because there are thieves everywhere and they have no shame. They pickpocketed my cousin when we were heading home and then 5 minutes later we saw another attempt on a man standing next to me. My sister and I called him out on it and he just behaved confused. He had not been successful so it was hard for us to prove that he hadn’t just accidentally bumped into the guy, but that had been his intention – to mug the guy – and that really ruined the experience for me.
With exception of the paragliding, Kwahu Easter is not an experience it’s just a doing. You just do it. You just buy alcohol, you just get drunk, you just stand at a stage, you just watch some artist. For some, you just meet a guy, you just sleep with him… in the shadows of an alleyway. If I’m to be there next year, I’ve gotta have some sort of experience to buy into. The Ghana Tourism Authority really needs to think out of the box, because right now if feels like a convention for kubolors from Taifa, Tema and Nima and the fairytale of the big home retreat for Kwahu people seems lost.
Upon experiencing this on my first two days in Ghana I did more to maximise my time with family and fix things at the family house. For those who don’t know and may be challenging my focus on family in the midst of a carnival, the Kwahu Easter retreat started because Kwahu people being natural businesspeople always chasing money and Christmas being the best time of year to make money meant that Kwahu people didn’t get the family time that the rest of the country got because they didn’t rest in trying to make that buck, so they chose Easter time which was a bit of a down-time, to go back home and account for their year, catch up with family set the coming year’s agenda and all that jazz. Eventually, because we Kwahu people know how to throw a good party when we get together – given how much money we’ve made in the year that we return with – the rest of the country started following the homecomers to participate and enjoy the festivities. And now it is both an awesome annual festival and an off-putting gathering of alcohol-induced revellers at the same time.
It must be experienced, but if the GTA doesn’t do anything extraordinary, maybe experience it just the once.