Shoulder to shoulder festival go-ers flow through High Street in Jamestown, bordering the Gulf of Guinea. The breeze coming from the Gulf refreshes the air that is often overtaken by the smell of fish, freshly caught from the fisherman who live on the coast. The colonial town is in need of a restore, and for the week, it got just that. From August 18 -21, Chalewote came to Jamestown for its 6th annual takeover. This year the festival embodied the Spirit Robot theme, igniting conversation about how technology, much like art, is a world within a world, where its expressions and underlining messages can tackle the complexities of life. The festival showcased art, music, dance and performance as the many facets to Ghanian and African culture.
“Chalewote” is an interpretation of “Man, let’s go” in Ga language.
This loose, typically brightly coloured tunic known as a dashiki has its roots in West Africa, where it is commonly worn by men. I was swooning over this young lady who styled her dashiki as a dress so I copped one for myself at Makola Market in Accra’s fashion district.
This festival goer replicated Anas Aremeyaw Anas’s most well-known disguise— a fringed curtain-like face covering. Anas is an investigative journalist who remains anonymous except to a few. In such a way, he’s been able to go deep undercover, using prosthetics as a disguise, to as he says “name, shame, and jail” people who are involved in corruption. Where the government doesn’t step in, Anas immerses himself in dangerous situations to get secret video footage of the “bad guys.” His work is highly respected by most Ghanians and I was fortunate enough to have been welcomed into his secret office of Tiger Eye Private Investigations to see some behind-the-scenes as well as chat with him (which will be posted soon). In the meantime, read more about his work here.
The flag of Ghana crafted with coins was hung on scaffolding in front of the James Fort Prison, but the night before it was ripped down. A little boy is armed with a stick, protecting the piece of art from the children who were trying to steal the coins.
There is no area in the world that has more boxing schools in such close proximity than Jamestown. The fights started sporadically on the street throughout the day. I was walking along, looking for my friend who I lost in the crowd of people when I was pushed into a circle formation. I found my way to the front and watched the fight start in the clearing.
The “selfie” stick.
“Land of Fire”- The name of the open aired structure speaks for itself. Local singers and rappers displayed their talents and had the crowd moving into the night.