National German Cultural Festival Ends

Some of the students performing at the festival


It was a lively atmosphere at the premises of Goethe Institut Ghana  at Cantonments in Accra last Friday, December 8, as enthusiastic young German language learners from schools in Greater Accra, Central and Ashanti regions gathered to compete  at this year’s National German Cultural Festival.

The event, which was the 12th edition, aimed at students learning German to exhibit their grasp of the language on stage through drama, songs, rap, dance and poetry. It witnessed students competing in three categories: Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.

The Director of Goethe Institut Ghana, Mrs. Heike Friesel, said before the students got into action with their various presentations, she urged them to do their best and have fun since the hectic preparation toward the programme indicated that everyone was going to have a nice time celebrating the German language.

That was exactly what happened as the competitors from the different schools showcased their creative abilities in German. A panel of judges awarded marks based on elements like pronunciation, appropriate use of space on the stage and overall creativity.

The Theme for this year’s National German Cultural Festival was Multilingualism. Mrs. Eva Maria Asante, Head of the Language Department of Goethe Institut Ghana, said it was a good topic to talk about because Ghana is a country with many languages.

“I realise that some of our students often refer to their languages as dialects, and I always wonder why do they say that. In my opinion, they are wrong in saying that because I know a dialect is a variation of a language.

“In Ghana, there is Akan but you have Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi, Fante and other variations. Those are what I would consider as dialects, but there are many languages here such as Twi, Ga, Ewe and Dagbani. They are not dialects. That was why we thought multilingualism was an important topic to discuss,” Mrs. Asante said.

Interestingly, some of the schools made presentations that embraced German as well as languages like Ga, French, Hausa and Ewe.

The School of Translators won the top prize in the Beginners and Advanced categories.

Goethe Institut Ghana won the first place in the intermediate category. There were prizes comprising games and books for the first three placements in each of the categories.

Apart from the competition, there were lots of games for the students to play, face painting, one-on-one conversation setups and a stand to advise those who may want to study in Germany in the future.

According to Mrs. Asante, it was important for the students to realise that one didn’t always have to sit in front of a book to learn German. To her, learners could learn through a variety of activities, and the festival was a clear example of that.

By George Clifford Owusu