The ancient kingdom of Dagbon came alive at Yendi, the traditional capital of the kingdom, as almost all the leadership of the kingdoms in the region gathered at the Gbewaa Palace to celebrate the time-tested Damba festival.
The event was made more colourful by the presence of President John Dramani Mahama, who is also a son of the north.
Since 2002, the kingdom has battled chieftaincy crisis, which led to the death of the late Overlord of the kingdom, Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani.
This year’s celebration is a significant step on an important journey to find lasting solutions and peace to the Dagbon traditional area and to the entire region as a whole.
This year’s Damba saw the unification of all the people of the north with a common purpose, and also witnessed Andanis welcoming their brothers Abudus with whom they share relations with to the Gbewaa Palace, where they together pacified the ancestors for the strength, courage and unity.
Damba festival, which has its roots from the Islamic religion, is celebrated by Mole Dagomba and the people of Gonjaland to signify the birth of the Holy prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH), who was born in the Islamic lunar month of Rabiul –Awal which is the traditional month of Damba.
Damba celebration starts on the 10th day of the month of Damba with the “Somo” damba with the Naa (kings), damba on the 17th day and on the 18th of the day they celebrate the Bielkulsi, which is the climax of the celebration.
This year’s Damba threw the Yendi township into frenzy with the celebrants pouring onto the streets in their traditional attire and singing and dancing to traditional songs.
There was an admirable display of tradition and culture, with His Royal Highness Kampakuya-naa Abdulai Andani in his splendid traditional regalia sitting in state and enjoying the appellations, drums and the splendid display of the traditional musketry from the traditional warriors of the kingdom.
President Mahama paid glowing tributes to the chiefs and people of the north and called on the people to embrace peace, which would be a catalyst in bringing development to the area.
He noted that the protracted conflict of Dagbon, which does not only affect Dagombas but all the descendants of the north, is hampering development. “All persons of northern heritage have been affected by the Dagbon chieftaincy dispute and this is making some people believe we are warmongers and people who hate peace,” he noted.
President Mahama also made a passionate appeal to the duty bearers in Dagbon to help maintain and improve the gains made so far in uniting the feuding gates, to ensure Dagbon reclaims its lost glory and to put Dagbon back to its enviable place anytime the traditional roll call is conducted.
“Focus on the compromise that will sustain peace to make Dagbon attractive to investors; carry on and sustain your rich cultural heritage; live together peacefully, successfully and make Damba a central event to attract investors.”
The President, who was enskinned by the Dagbon Traditional Area, as Zoo-Maligu Naa for his support and commitment to the development of the area, also promised to upgrade the Yendi Hospital to serve as a referral centre for the Eastern Corridor.
The chiefs and warriors displayed their spiritual powers as the ‘ziem,’ a war song, and appellations were being played.
Politicians and prominent people were all there for the celebration and it was a bit difficult making up some key personalities as they were dressed beautifully in their traditional attires, with talismans all around them.
It is a strong and factual belief that whenever the traditional ‘ziem’ is being played, every Dagomba feels a sense of bravery and warriors and chiefs are usually seen trembling with the desire to conquer and subdue the enemies of the kingdom.
The youth were exceedingly delighted and prayed that peace would be made and they will once again see themselves as one people with a common destiny.
The government delegation included Regional Minister Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna; His deputy, Alhaj A.B.A. Fuseini; the MP for Tamale South, Alhaj Haruna Iddrisu; the MP for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini; the MP for Mion, Dr Yakubu Alhassan; and the MCE of Tamale, Abdul Hanan Gundaadow.
Source: The Finder
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