African Saints Celebrate New Temple, Old Culture
March 2004

“African Saints Celebrate New Temple, Old Culture,” Ensign, Mar. 2004, 75–76

African Saints Celebrate New Temple, Old Culture

Latter-day Saint youth, children, and missionaries in Ghana and throughout west Africa combined their creative efforts to celebrate the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple (see accompanying story) and to honor President Gordon B. Hinckley’s visit to their country on 10 January 2004.

At the direction of President Hinckley, and after much work and planning, the LDS youth of Ghana performed a special cultural “folklorica” called “A Day of Celebration.” Almost 2,000 youth sang and danced in this the largest Church youth activity ever held in Africa.

Youth, Primary children, and missionaries came to the Accra Sports Stadium from all over Ghana to perform. In the audience were President Hinckley and his wife, Marjorie; Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; members of the Africa West Area Presidency and their wives; the Ga Tribal Council; Church members; and other spectators.

Based on the folktales and dances of west Africa, the storyline of the celebration followed a folk character named Kwaku Anansi, a spider whose stories are sometimes used to teach values to children. Desmond Ahwireng played the legendary spider, weaving together the different dance numbers of the youth.

In the show, Anansi searched from village to village for all the good things in the world to keep for himself. As he approached the various villages on stage, each stake and district sang and danced and gave him something good, like courage, love, or family. At the end of his journey, when Anansi saw the Accra Ghana Temple, its beauty convinced him that he should share the good things he had collected with the world.

Anansi’s good deed was rewarded by about 800 Primary children, all dressed in white, entering the stage to sing “I Love to See the Temple” (Children’s Songbook, 95). They were followed by the entire cast singing “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301).

Members attend one of three dedicatory sessions for the Accra Ghana Temple, held on 11 January 2004. (Photograph by Linda Leeper.)

Young Latter-day Saints performed during a cultural celebration held the day before the temple dedication. (Photograph by Linda Leeper.)