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Chale Wote: An International Festival in the Making


If you were on Twitter this past weekend and following tweets from Ghana, my bet is you saw one or two photos, vines, tweets or retweets from Chale Wote 2013. Chale Wote is a street arts festival organized annually in Jamestown, Accra and brings art, music, dance & performance out into the streets & public spaces.

When Edward and I talked about attending Chale Wote 2013, I didn’t know what to expect. Haven missed the last two, I was full of expectations and it didn’t disappointment. I was totally blown away! The art, installations, music, level of detail kept a smile on my face.

Day 1 was fun–packed with all the murals going up on the walls. It was really amazing that from the Old Kings Way to Ga Mashie Development Agency (GAMADA), there was art everywhere; on the walls,on the streets and on the gleeful faces. The installations were fascinating and it was even more refreshing to see the children of Jamestown help with the murals and other activities. Nii Thompson’s art stole the show for me and got me thinking and taken the conversation beyond the two days. By looking at the the pictures below, can you guess what story the artist is trying to tell?

Chale Wote 3


Highlight of day 2 for me was the Talk Party series with Blogging Ghana. In the words of my cousin, “I didn’t just have fun, I got educated.” The panel moderated by Kobina Graham was as real as it can get. The honesty in their submissions and the knowledge shared is worth sharing with others. Mae-Ling Lokko even went ahead to suggest a pocket park which she built had failed and she had taken lessons from it. That is not something we hear often at events.

I cannot forget the street boxing on Day 2. I kept nodding and saying to myself; so, this is how old world champions Azumah Nelson & Ike Quartey started. It really brought out the crowd and the young lads had the thirst to be the street champions.

Not even the rain on Sunday could stop Chale Wote. It actually added to the fun bringing back memories of when we used to play in the rain growing up. That make it a lot more fun for me. I never get to walk in the rain as much as I would like to.

Like all other events, Chale Wote has a lot of room for improvement. ACCRA [dot] ALT, organizers of Chale Wote can look at providing (more) trash bins. Although a company was contracted to clean up, I think having trash bins all over would be a better option.

Just as Seton Nicholas on the Talk Party panel remarked, we shouldn’t be surprised to see people from the sub-region and beyond jump on planes and buses to come see Chale Wote in the coming. I can’t wait for what the organizers got coming next year. Chale Wote is indeed an international festival in the making.

Check out BloggingGhana’s images from the event and see you at Chale Wote 2014.

Art by Julian Nicco-Annan

Art by Julian Nicco-Annan

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