Ghanaians in Columbus, Ohio celebrate culture and community at annual family picnic

With highlife legend Abrantie Amakye Dede and entertainer Kwadwo Nkansah (Lil Win) as special guests, Ghanaians resident in Columbus, Ohio recently marked the 18th GhanaPic, an annual health and wellness community festival.

Under the sustaining leadership of Elder Kwabena Boamah-Acheampong, Ghanapic brings together over 40 organizations – community churches, ethnic and professional associations, businesses, families and friends – to enjoy a day out in the park with music, sports, food, culture as well as health screening, business and civic awareness. GhanaPic collaborates with the Council of Ghanaian Churches in Columbus and the Ghana Council of Ohio to make this event a model of diversity and inclusion.

A highlight of the event is the Parade of Royalty – which showcases the rich heritage of traditional leaders representing some of the ethnic associations. This year the veteran highlife musician, Amakye Dede, who goes by the stool name Okyeredom Amakye Dede I, joined Nana Odeneho Osei Kwabena (Chair of Nananom of Columbus House of chiefs) and the royal entourage in the parade. 

Carrying Nana Amakye Dede’s umbrella (as his ahenkwaa or the chief’s servant) was Kojo Nkansah (Lil Win), who drew a lot of cheers from the crowd for his hilarious facial expressions and crowd-pleasing remarks.

Amongst the distinguished guests in the Parade was the renowned Ghanaian actor David Dontoh, popular known as Ghana-man. Ghana-man and researcher and author Mr Botchway are travelling through the USA to launch the book, “Ghana – Our Heritage” produced by the Ghana State Book Project. The book offers a panoramic view of Ghana’s history and culture and is the first in a series to highlight each of the major tribal groups across Ghana.

Alongside the pageantry, the soccer gala between hosting churches attracted the keenest attention. Soccer Coordinator Agya Ottie Agyeman has created an expectation of sportsmanship that prevails through the day. The final soccer match between All Nations Baptist Church and Ebenezer United Methodist will be played at a future date. 

To crown the ecstatic day, gospel sensation Minister Bernice Acheampong rocked the GhanaPic Family Stage with popular praise tunes that ricocheted throughout the entire Maloney Park.

“We are blessed to have a diverse and close-knitted Ghanaian community in this welcoming city of Columbus, and for the opportunity to celebrate our culture and our people in this grand way each year,” said Elder Boamah-Acheampong. “Our wish is to continue to elevate GhanaPic to a unique festival which will attract Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians from across Ohio and beyond.” 

Currently the largest outdoor event in the African community in Ohio, GhanaPic is recognized as a Columbus Recreation and Park special event. GhanaPic was awarded the Best Community Program by Sky 102.1 FM. Columbus is home to an estimated 25,000 Ghanaian immigrants and their families. 

Ghana’s capital, Accra, has a sister-city relationship with Columbus, which was established in 2015. According to City officials, Accra was selected because it reflects the similarities between it and Columbus for their shared focus as centers for education, business, arts and culture.

This year, which marks 400 years since the end of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, has been declared The Year of Return by Ghana’s president, with the president inviting all people of African ancestry to return home. Many Ghanaians and members of the extended African community are marking the year with a trip to Ghana.

“We’re grateful for the warm welcome America has extended to us,” said Odeneho Nana Osei Kwabena, Twafohene of the Dormaa Traditional Area and the President of the Columbus House of Chiefs. “However, it is important that we do not forget our roots.”

Next year’s picnic is scheduled for the second Saturday of August 2020. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Ghanapicohio@gmail.com

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