Reliable information gathered indicates that some foreigners who sojourn to Ghana in the guise as tourists do not only come to enjoy our natural sites (and our women), but also steal our folkloric arts free of charge.
Have you heard of National Folklore Board before? Well, in case you don’t know, it is a board inaugurated by the government of Ghana to administer, protect, monitor, and register Ghana’s folkloric arts. I spoke to the Director, Mr. A. H. Lemaire, to find out why Ghana is not making huge capital from our folkloric arts like Ananse stories, Adinkra symbols, Kente, etc.
This is what he said: “we don’t respect what we have so foreigners come and take them away. As we speak, I have information that the Adidas Company in America wants to use the designs in Ghana’s ever popular “Fatia fata Nkrumah Kente” for their shoes but they have not come to the National Folkloric Board for the necessary permission or documentations.
I am also aware that Disney World in America is also investing in animation of Kwaku Ananse stories. They (Disney) came to me some time ago and went back but they have since not gotten back to me again. Very sad we don’t appreciate our own.
However, per Ghana’s Copyright Act 2005, Act 690, any non-Ghanaian who uses any of Ghana’s folkloric arts for commercial purposes is supposed to pay royalties to the board on behalf of the President entrust for the people of the Republic of Ghana.
Some few months back, it was reported that CNN credited Azonto to Nigeria. American musician Chris Brown also came to Ghana for RLG’s Hope City Concert in March this year and somehow attributed Azonto to Wizkid. Till date, Ghana as a country has not made any fortunes – I mean monetary gains, from Azonto despite its local and international buzz.
For how long must we sit down for foreigners to come for our creative arts and make humongous monies out of them while we continue to welter in scummy indigence? Most times I feel very ashamed as a Black man, Ghanaian and an African, because we are simply airheaded-personified individuals!
According to Mr. Lemaire, budget allocation to the board is so small that they don’t have the capacity to chase cases of foreigners who take Ghana’s folkloric arts and invest in them for commercial purposes without seeking any permission from Ghana or Ghana gaining anything from them.
Mr. Lemaire has a lot of revelations on Ghana’s folkloric arts thievery by foreigners who came to Ghana in the guise of tourists.
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