’Church must maintain African identity for worship’

LEGENDARY composer, writer, educationist and historian, Walter Komla Blege has renewed his call on the church to maintain a firm stance to protect the unique cultural identity of the black man through music and their form of worship, before the future generations become slaves to alien culture.

“The black man must be proud of his status as a black man and worship God as a black man,” insisted the presbyter.

He was speaking at a choral music exposition held at the Dela Cathedral in Ho by the Evangelical Presbyterian (E.P.) Church, Ghana, during the weekend to celebrate his work.

Defending his posture on African exposition, Presbyter Blege cited the example of the Scandinavian countries which used to worship trees before Christianity spread from Palestine to their domain, and revealed that after accepting Christianity they then brought their trees into the chapel and decorated them with candles which the world now celebrated as Christmas trees.

Furthermore, Presbyter Blege, a founding President of the E.P. University College, Ho, noted that other European countries that used to worship the sun god on Sunday then chose to worship Christ on Sunday.

The festival for the goddess of love, he said, was now being celebrated as Easter.

“They seized what used to be pagan celebrations and turned them into Christian celebrations for Christianity to suit their culture,” explained Presbyter Blege, who is also a former Director of the National Academy of Music, Winneba.

“So, if the Europeans could cloak Christianity with their culture, why then do we Africans throw away our God-given culture in the name of Christianity?” he sought to know.

Presbyter Blege, also a Deputy Secretary for Education under Provisional National Revolutionary Council, pointed out that the folkloric music of the black man was a true reflection of his culture, for which reason   gabada, akpi,  agbadza,  golo  and  totoeme which were popular drumming and dancing performances among the Ewes, for instance, should be readily evident and accessible during worship in church.

Presbyter Blege, 89, expressed gratitude to the E.P. Church for the honour done him and said that, “I have happily witnessed my grand funeral in my life time.”

Earlier, Rev Dr E.A.K. Amey, Clerk of the General Assembly of the E.P. Church, Ghana said it was only proper to honour patriots of the land while they were alive, rather than paying tributes to them at their funerals.

A citation presented to the renowned musician described him as an active and dedicated steward of the E.P. Church, Ghana; having served the church and the nation over the years in many capacities with qualities of distinction as a Presbyter, Musician, Educationist, Public Servant and Astute Leader.

Inscribed on the citation was: “You found the first ever African Music Choir christened DUMEDEFOR in 1981.

“The performances of this group characterised with exposition of African lyrics in Music, Dancing and Drama known as OPERA, joggled the entire fraternity of the E.P. Church, Ghana as well as the nation and the global community with extreme excitement and ecstasy.” 

Pix: Mrs Vida Dzobo, wife of former Moderator of the E.P. Church, Ghana, Rev Professor N.K. Dzobo, and Rev Dr Amey jointly presenting the citation to Presbyter Blege while the Acting Moderator of the General Assembly of the church, Rev Kofi Amoako looks on.


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