The ban on fishing activities in the Benya Lagoon in Elmina in the Central Region has been lifted, paving the way for the celebration of this year’s Bakatue Festival.
There was the performance of various traditional rites at the banks of the lagoon, including the casting of a net three times by local priests before the ban was eventually lifted last Tuesday.
Plenty fish were caught in the process and presented to a visibly elated Omahen of the Edina Traditional Area, Nana Kodwo Conduah VI, to signify a bumper fishing season.
The event was witnessed by hundreds of people from far and wide, including a delegation from Aneho in Togo who are believed to have roots in Elmina.
There was also a display by the fisherfolk, mostly women groups, on canoes in their traditional colourful tekua – headgear, and a regatta which added excitement to the occasion.
The week-long Bakatue festival, which is on the theme: “Eat what we grow, and grow what we eat,” would be climaxed on Saturday, July 8, 2023.
Some of the activities mapped out for the celebration include an all-colours carnival and a state dance.
This year’s festival is significant as it marks the 25th anniversary celebration of Nana Conduah as the Paramount Chief of the area.
Bakatue means “the opening of the lagoon” in Fante.
It is celebrated to invoke a deity, Nana Benya’s continuous protection on the state and its people.
According to history, the founder of Amankwakrom, which became the Edina State, Kwa Amankwa, migrated from the Savannah-based Walata Empire, settled at Techiman for some time before moving to Eguafo near Elmina.
In his search for drinking water, he accidentally discovered a small stream and exclaimed “Be-enya,” meaning “I have found or got it”.
Kwa Amankwa is said to have later erected a hut near the lagoon where emigrants stopped over to refresh themselves.
After his discovery of the lagoon, Kwa Amankwa was said to have bowed and worshipped in solemnity, leading to the god of the Benya Lagoon self-manifesting itself and lived with him for eight days, after which a covenant was concluded between him and the deity.
The festival date is, therefore, said to be the celebration of the meeting that was agreed upon by Amankwa and the deity.
The Municipal Chief Executive of the Komenda-Edina Eguafo Abrem Municipality, Solomon Ebo Appiah, advised the people to rise above partisan politics and work in unity for the development of the area.
He said it was only through peace and harmony that businesses and tourists would be attracted to the municipality for its accelerated growth to improve on the lot of the people.