The Hogbe Institute, organizers of the annual Anlo Hogbetsotso-Za have postponed this year’s festival due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns.
The festival was to be marked on November 1, 2020.
According to the President of the Anlo Youth Council, Mayor Agbleze, the organizers in assessing the COVID-19 situation noticed that there are still spikes in Coronavirus cases in different parts of the world hence found it prudent to call this year’s celebration off given that the festival draws people from all walks of like together.
He said other ceremonies associated with the festival that do not gather large crowds will, however, be held under strict COVID-19 preventive protocols.
“For our particular circumstances, we don’t have the capacity to deal with COVID-19 so for the festival with huge gathering like the Hogbetsotso-Za, there is no sense in risking anybody’s life. Normally when we have it, natives who are even abroad come home and even those in neighbouring West Africa do come to participate, so we considered it not quite worthy to put people’s lives at risk. But those little traditional activities will take place but will observe the COVID-19 protocols.”
Read full statement below:
The Hogbe Institute has acceded to the postponement of this year’s Anlo Hogbetsotso-Za after consultation with the Local Organising Committee of the annual festival.
The postponement which is due to concerns for public health and safety following the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit the country since early this year also has the support of the Anlo Youth Council, the Congress of Chiefs, and the Anlo Traditional Council.
In accepting recommendations of the Functional Executives of the Hogbe Institute, the Board Chairman, Togbi Agbesi Awusu II, Awadada of Anlo, and the Board of Directors, considered the enormous challenge of enforcing existing Covid-19 protocols put in place by the government to protect the citizenry at Hogbetsotso which attracts tens of thousands of citizens and foreigners.
The Hogbe Institute, therefore, announces for the information of all Anlos, residents and non-residents, festival lovers, and the general public, that this year’s celebration has effectively been cancelled.
Regrettable as it is, the Institute considers it a matter of national interest to pre-empt the opportunity for the virus to be seeded in our fragile ecosystem.
In announcing the decision, The Chief Executive Officer of the Hogbe Institute, Dr. Kwashie Kuwor, said the decision was taken in the best interest of Anlo and arrived at after careful consultations with all stakeholders.
The Hogbe Institute first took over responsibility as the main organizer of the Hogbetsotso Festival in 2018 under the theme “Shoring up our Cultural Capital: Uniting in Commonwealth and Resolve”. This was in a bid to explore Anlo knowledge bodies, values, and virtues embedded in the festival and to ascertain how these knowledge bodies could be harnessed and used holistically, as a tool for economic empowerment and the eradication of poverty.
According to Dr. Kuwor, “Hogbe’za 2019, the second event by the Hogbe Institute, won the prestigious Festival of the Year Award in the Volta Region and 2020 was billed to be a markedly improved and marketable celebration than any in the festival’s history but for the pandemic”.
He expressed gratitude to key sponsors, especially flagship sponsors MTN, who have kept faith with the festival over the years and said: “Next year’s celebration will contribute immensely to the interest of all ”.
Dr Kuwor stressed that “the new organizational and planning structure will bring socio-economic development to Anlo in multiple forms while ensuring accountability and transparency of all activities of the Hogbe Institute”.
He also used the opportunity to encourage all other former organizers of Hogbetsotso-Za to share their rich experience with the institute for the public good.”
He urged patrons of the festival and citizens to support the Institute’s works by contributing their quota while the structures and systems of the festival are strengthened for inclusivity. “Hogbe’za is a unique festival with ownership by all Anlo as a public good”, he concluded.