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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Cane weaving, a job-creating business in Ghana

ACCRA (Xinhua) -- At an intersection of a busy road in Cantonments, a serene suburb of Ghana’s national capital Accra, is a cluster of carpenters, weavers and craftsmen producing various forms of art works using locally-grown materials like cane, rattan, bamboo and sea grass.

That is where Jonas Kusi works as master craftsman and chairman of the Cane Workers Association, comprising more than 80 members.

Kusi studied the art of cane weaving during his elementary school days in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest commercial city, in the 1960s.

He later developed interest in the vocation and has since then acquired experience in the craft, making all sorts of furniture and baskets from cane.

Looking back over 50 years, Kusi is happy to have acquired the skills that have been his source of livelihood and that of his family for many years.

The craftsman believes training young men and women to acquire the necessary skills and expertise to be self-employed is the surest way to go in national development, as it will go a long way to reduce unemployment rates in the country.

“If the government can permit us to visit schools and teach the children the craft every week, I think that will help bridge the gap between education and industry,” he told Xinhua in an interview on Friday.

“I started this vocation when I was in elementary school somewhere in the 1960s. Before I completed school, I knew how to weave a basket before I later learnt how to do the chairs from my uncle. So it will be very helpful if the government allows us to teach these schoolchildren,” he said.

“There are some children who may be academically declined or their parents cannot afford to pay for their higher education but if we are able to train them, it will help secure their future,” said Kusi.

Kwadwo Adomako, a cane weaver of many years repute, said they had opened their vocation to street boys who desired to be trained in the craft.

“If the government supports us with some funds from the national youth employment program, we can also train more of the country’s youth and thus reduce unemployment in Ghana,” said Adomako, who has taught several schoolchildren in Accra on the practical art of cane weaving.

Basketry is one of the various types of arts and crafts that have inundated Accra where many foreigners who visit Ghana have the pleasure of coming face to face with one art and craft piece or another.

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