The toolkit to communicate climate and environmental action using African traditional cultural values, beliefs and practices will:
- Provide a perspective on the root causes of the environmental crisis in Africa by comparing Western Anthropocentric thought with African primal ideas of conservation that is theocentric.
- Record the testimonies and chronicle the experiences of frontline communities in selected communities in Africa that are responding to the impacts of climate change and climate justice issues with indigenous knowledge and traditional belief systems that are alien to Western cultural beliefs.
- Put together a documentary to highlight African traditional conservational ideas in different cultural settings and contexts as the solution to the climate crisis.
A short documentary has been finalised by Gideon and his team. It shows how traditional beliefs have managed to preserve the Guakoo and the Sunkwa river in Pokuase, a river that otherwise would have disappeared long time ago:
26/07/2018 - African Traditional Ideas Can Help Rehabilitate Ghana’s Environmental Consciousness and Responsibility
"At a time that environmentalists and conservationists are developing narratives for advocacy campaigns to save these natural resources, the government of Ghana overtly puts additional log in the flaming pyre—the construction of the multi million-dollar Pokuase interchange which may deal the river the last blow".
"Tswa Omanye!", the Asafoatse exclaimed, as the ground swallowed the last pint of water he released from the container. "Ehi eha wɔ", we replied, to conclude the opening prayer before the meeting started. The pouring of libation is not alien to Ghanaian tradition and so the call on the Supreme Being to guide and influence the deliberations in the early morning was expected.
My entire Monday evening the previous day was spent figuring out the line of questions to pose to the high profile elder of Asere Clan I’d be engaging the next morning. The Asafoatse of the Pokuase area had arranged a meeting for Tuesday morning so I can discuss the history behind the Gua Koo reserve and the SunkwaRiver in Pokuase as part of my documentary on frontline communities, a collaborative project with the Cambridge Climate Frontline Programme.
When the elder took the baton after the libation, my questions, numbering up to 16 were rendered redundant. I tucked the sheets beneath my note pad unnoticed, readied my pen and listened to him with rapturous attention. The old man distilled the historical antecedents of the Ga people with unrehearsed articulation. His flair for story telling in eloquent Ga language kneaded with occasional stupendous English expressions is probably the rubber stamp on his growing credentials as an authority on Ga history, and the scribe for the Asere Clan. The latter has 45 towns and villages under it with the headquarters as Ayawaso (original pronunciation: Ayi-Wa-So meaning ‘Ayi stopped on Thursday’).
The Gua Koo (Gua Forest) from which Sunkwa flows dates centuries ago. Gua is the name of a principal god of the Ga people who followed them to Ayawaso from ancient Mizraim (present day Egypt). Gua is a thunder and lightning deity who is a fighter, protector and provider for the needy. According to the elder, Gua was instrumental to the repair and sustenance of the people after the Akwamus destroyed Ayawaso in the 17th Century. The forest provided food, water, shelter, medicinal plants and fiber for clothing, that Ayawaso harnessed to crawl back to health. That Gua is a provider and fighter even in modern day Pokuase is a fact—residents testified in the course of my interviews that while nearby water bodies will dry during drought, Sunkwa will continue to flow to serve the town and its surroundings.
The Gua forest reserve at Pokuase stretches from ACP junction eastwards from Achimota
The Sunkwa has its source in the Gua Koo
17/07/2018 - My Cambridge Climate Frontline Diary: Discovering Pokuase
Artistic impression of the Pokuase Interchange. Credit: Citi Newsroom
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