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Wiki Loves Folklore 2023 in Ghana organized by Global Open Initiative Foundation, Moore and Gurene Wikimedia Communities in Collaboration with Dagbani Wikimedians User Group

March 16, 2023

Wiki Loves Folklore (WLF) is an annual international photographic competition held every February and lasting a month, organized worldwide by various Wikimedia communities and affiliates across the globe. During this event, participants take pictures of folk cultures and intangible heritage materials in their regions and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. The event aims to document folklore traditions worldwide and encourage people to capture images of their folk culture and upload them onto Wikimedia Commons under a free license, which can then be re-used not only in Wikipedia but everywhere by everyone.

On March 18, 2023, some members of the Moore Wikimedia Community and Dagbani Wikimedians User Group embarked on a Wiki Loves Folklore 2023 photo walk to capture the various folklore activities in the Tolon District of Northern Ghana. The first stop was Yoggu, a community in the Tolon district, where they met the Chief of the community, Alhaji Adam Iddrisu. The Chief took them through some historical journeys of blacksmithing as well as the history behind the local warriors called “Sapahinima.” The group learned from him that blacksmithing was one of the primary activities in the community.

The members visited a blacksmith´s centre in the community, learning about their work and the tools they created using metal. They also visited Mba Achiri's house, where they observed the production of gunpowder and tested it for efficiency. This experience provided a deeper understanding of cultural heritage activities in the area. Wikimedians also learned about the community's history and folk cultures. They learned about Yoggu's birthplace of blacksmithing, which originated in Gambaga. The chief, Alhaji Adam Iddrisu, shared the community's traditions and practices, providing insight into local folk activities. The Wikimedians also learned about Faamuru, the chief of Dagbon blacksmiths, who possesses the unique ability to sit on a naked flame of fire without being burned. This skill has helped keep the traditional craft alive in Dagbon.

The Wikimedians visited the chief blacksmith, Sonaa, and were amazed by his intricate metalwork, which showcased the skill of creating tools and objects like rings, hoes, and knives. The Wikimedians captured images of Sonaa's metalwork, documenting and preserving the community's cultural heritage. The event, Tuhiŋmambuɣu, involved female children from the community singing the song Tuhimambugu, showcasing the rich cultural heritage within the community. The Wikimedians were grateful for the opportunity to witness this traditional event and share their experiences and images on Wikimedia Commons. By sharing their experiences and images through Wikipedia, they hope to promote a deeper appreciation for the diverse cultural traditions in Northern Ghana.

The group also visited Gbanjong, where pottery remains handmade. The women in the community expertly moulded clay into a variety of objects, leaving the Wikimedians in awe of their talent and accuracy. To maintain the community's distinct identity and to increase awareness through channels like Wikipedia, it is essential to preserve its cultural heritage. The group expressed their gratitude to the locals for their cordial welcome and for allowing them to benefit from their expertise. They recognized the value of cross-cultural interaction and the necessity of recording and preserving it for future generations.

The group documented various features of the Tolon District's cultural heritage throughout the day, including blacksmithing, gunpowder production, pottery production, traditional dances, and other cultural activities.

The Gurene Wikimedia Community in Perspective

On March 18, 2023, a team of 13 participants visited Bolgatanga, Ghana, to participate in the annual Wiki Loves Folklore 2023 campaign. The team explored the region, visiting Sombrungu, Bongo, and Zuarungu villages. Sombrungu, known for its unique architectural design and mud and thatch roofing, showcased the locals' preservation of traditions. Bongo, known for its artistic and musical talent, captured images of the locals playing instruments and singing traditional songs. Zuarungu, known for its skilled craftsmen, showcased the locals' skill and creativity in weaving baskets, mats, and other traditional crafts.

The team visited the Ghana-Burkina Faso border to capture images of the vibrant trade activity between the two countries. The region is a melting pot of different cultures, languages, and traditions, and the team captured vibrant scenes. They returned to Bolgatanga exhausted but fulfilled, documenting the essence of the region and its culture. The images captured will be shared on Wikimedia Commons as part of the Wiki Loves Folklore 2023 campaign, allowing everyone to learn about and appreciate the region's culture and traditions. The team's accomplishments and fulfilment as Wikimedians contribute to the preservation and sharing of cultural heritage knowledge.

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