Atlanta lives up to the social media hype

Atlanta lives up to the social media hype

In an eruption of vibrant colors, infectious rhythms, jubilant celebrations, and fundraisings to support projects in Eweland, the much-awaited Convention of the Council of Ewes In North America, CEANA, has lived up to the hype and proved that so far, Atlanta is the best host yet. It was held from August 30 through Monday, September 4, 2023, at the Marriot Hotel, 4711 Best Road, College Park, Georgia. The annual extravaganza, which attracts thousands of Ewes from many different American States, Canada, and across the globe, kicked off brilliantly with Old School Music on Thursday, August 31, 2023. A drama and authentic traditional performances followed this on Friday, September 1. Saturday’s Dinner dance was excellent; Fundraising activities interspersed it. Sunday morning church service, Picnic, and Toli night were the other highlights that closed the curtain on the exposition of great Ewe cultural heritage and traditions this year.

The event was attended by an estimated one thousand guests and delegates and watched by hundreds of thousands worldwide on social media outlets such as CEANA’s YouTube/Facebook, YouTube, and other media platforms. Members of all the twenty constituent Associations of CEANA were in attendance. Notable among the dignitaries was the Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament, Rt. Honorable Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, with the stool name Togbui Awudome Nutepeworla I, who chaired the Convention; Togbe Agbelom, Chief of Salo in the Volta Region who also doubles as Nana Ofei Asmani I, Nkosuohene of Akwamu Traditional; Beatrice Jones-Mensah Tayui, CEO of Cybele Energy Ltd, a leading Sub-Saharan African Oil and Gas Exploration, Production company. Others are Dr. Archibald Letsa, Volta Regional Minister; Professor Lydia Aziato,Vice Chancellor, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana; Ghanaian model and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss Universe Ghana in 2020, Ms. Chelsea Tayui.

Doris Azuma, who has been attending CEANA for the past 20 years except during the COVID-19 Pandemic, adjudged this year’s Convention as the best in recent memory. First-time attendee Margaret Agbesi, who lives in Maryland, USA, promised to attend the next event in Denver. The Ewe Association of Colorado will host the 2024 convention.

CEANA serves as a uniting force, bringing together diverse Ewe communities across the USA and Canada to revel in their shared cultural heritage’s beauty and showcase their unique traditions, food, dance, and music. It is the primary fundraising platform to support various CEANA projects in Ghana, Togo, and Benin. Some recent projects by CEANA include three school classroom blocks and offices for the chiefs and people of Dawou in Togo, the construction of a footbridge at Agodoe in the Volta Region of Ghana, Nurses’ quarters, and many others.

The festival had fascinating cultural dancing and parades of chiefs and queenmothers in rich traditional Kente fabrics, adding to the spectacle and providing onlookers with a visual feast of great Ewe culture and heritage.

The president of CEANA, Dr. Tsatsu E. Nyamadi, addressed the festival, thanking all patrons, sponsors, and vendors for their support and called on the Ewe communities to be united and support the development projects of CEANA.

“Thirty (30) years of existence of an organization like ours is to be commended and celebrated. It

is also a wonderful occasion that reminds us all about the toils, sacrifices, and achievements of

the organization from the beginning up till today. Commemorating CEANA’s anniversary can

boost our morale, open new doors and avenues, and allow us to reflect on the past,” Dr. Nyamadi reminded the audience.

He noted that CEANA’s journey started on July 3, 1993, with four Ewe Associations. The four Associations present on that fateful day were the Ewe Association of Georgia (Atlanta), Milenovisi Harborbor (Chicago), United Volta Association (New York), and Volta Club (Washington DC). Thirty years later, he proudly said, we can all boast of 20 strong affiliate associations of CEANA.

The chairman of the 2023 CEANA Convention, Rt. Honorable Mr. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin said that empowering the youth in agriculture via innovation and entrepreneurship requires a holistic approach that addresses the modernization of agriculture, education, access to resources, policy support, and cultural attitudes. By providing the necessary tools, knowledge, and opportunities, young people can become active contributors to a sustainable agricultural sector in Africa. He further said, “I am impressed by the goals of CEANA – unity, peace, and prosperity for your members and also for your countries. Your projects in Ghana, Togo, and Benin strike me. You deserve commendation for your chosen path, and I salute you for that, particularly as you celebrate your 30th anniversary. Let’s also congratulate all the award winners for this evening. Ayekoo na mi kataa! I wish you even greater success in the years ahead. I thank you for your attention”.

The Keynote speaker, Mrs. Beatrice Tayui, captivated CEANA delegates and the audience when she spoke on “Empowering our Youth Towards Innovative Entrepreneurship in Transformational Agriculture.” She started by commending CEANA for projects the organization has undertaken in Ghana, Togo, and Benin. “We are all proud that CEANA has built clinics, a footbridge, schools, nurses quarters, and many others, but you are not benefiting from the movers and shakers who are one of our own. It means CEANA should be marketed differently to accrue all the benefits from the sons and daughters of Eweland and others”, she advised. She empowered the audience by saying, “We are all leaders in various capacities, but we need humility and integrity to achieve our goals. We must share some of the tenets of leadership with the youth to enable them to grow positively”. Mrs. Tayui encouraged Ewe communities and others to give when she said, “Giving is magical, but helping is not only magical but Godly.” She asked the audience to identify needy families and help them. “A hundred or two hundred dollars can change lives,” she stated.

She concluded, “I am going to join hands with the Rt. Honorable Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, to donate a match of Ten Thousand dollars.” The donation generated a rousing applause from attendees.

The Ewe Association of Metropolitan Chicago used the occasion to present its newly crowned Queen mother and sub-queens to the CEANA fraternity. They are Mama Nunyati I (Deborah Ameyedowo). Her right and left-hand Sub-Queenmothers are Mama Sedudzi I (Empress Mawusi Kudjawu) and Mama Semekor I (Rita Fiadzoe-Tawiah), respectively.

“It’s an honor to be chosen Queenmother of our community with lots of responsibility,” Mama Nunyati said. One of her predecessors, Mama Awushie Adjaho I, expressed the hope that the new Queenmother and her sub-queens will strive to unite our Women and ensure that peace prevails.

CEANA has become an essential platform for harnessing the resources of Ewes in the diaspora to support development projects in Ghana, Togo, and Benin. Still, more importantly, it allows rekindling relations, as narrated by Mrs. Agbedefu and her husband, Mr. Michael Agbedefu. CEANA brought them together in 2019 after 23 years of graduation from high school in Ghana. A year later, they married after they met again, regardless of the COVID-19 Pandemic. They have a three-month-old daughter, Kokui Agbedefu, who may grow up and follow in her dad and mom’s footsteps by helping families back home, reconnecting with a lost friend, and starting a family of her own.

As the last notes of Jazz and Toli night conclude the official program of CEANA 2023, the spirit of unity and celebration will continue to resonate in the hearts of all fortunate enough to participate in this remarkable event.


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