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Moroccans celebrate ‘special towncrier’ who works only during Ramadan

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Moroccans have continued to celebrate a “special towncrier” otherwise known as “Nafar”, who works only during the Ramadan period.

The Nafar, Naoufal Boukhriss, whose seasonal job lasts for one month and ends once Eid al-Fitr is declared, signalling the end of the holy month, is seen as a rare occupation as he “walks the paths and alleys in the early hours of the morning, starting at three am,” alerting faithful to the morning prayers and the Suhoor which is the meal to be taken before commencement of the day’s fasting.

According to Boukhriss who operates in the ancient Moroccan city of Rabat, the “Nafar plays a certain tune with a long trumpet-like instrument to wake people up for the suhoor meal before Muslims start their day of fasting during Ramadan.”

Nafar is the Moroccan way of calling someone who does this job, but the name of this profession differs from country to country. It shares the same name as the instrument in Moroccan Arabic,” he said.

“This craft, once a widespread Ramadan tradition in the past, has become rare today, as it has gradually disappeared with the emergence of technology and new urban areas.

“This (Nafar) is currently only found in the old city. As for the upscale neighborhoods, most of them do not accept the presence of the Nafar, because they say that they have a phone and an alarm clock that they use,” Boukhriss explained.

Local media reports that as a symbol of tradition, Boukhriss usually wears a special set of traditional clothes before he goes on his rounds in the old city.

“He dons a long shirt or ‘Jallaba’, a headpiece or ‘Tarbouch’, leather slippers ‘Belgha’ and white socks.

“While walking through the alleys, Boukhriss plays a special tune that notifies people of the time of suhoor, which is different from the ones they perform inside the mosque.

“Boukhriss considers this work as a reward from God. In return, residents thank him with food, sugar, or a share of money.”

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UK returns Ghana’s royal artefacts looted 150 years ago in ‘loan deal’

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The United Kingdom has returned 32 royal artefacts looted from Ghana’s Asante Kingdom in the 19th Century in a “loan deal” agreed on by the two governments last year.

The artefacts which are mainly golden royal regalia, were looted over 150 years ago from the Asante Palace in Kumasi during the Anglo-Asante Wars, including the infamous Sargrenti War of 1874.

The revered items which were returned to the West African country by the British Museum (BM) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), will however, will be on loan for an initial three years and renewable for another three years.

A statement by the the Asante Palace on Thursday stated that the loan deal is not with the Ghanaian government but with the current traditional ruler of the Ashanti people, Otumfo Osei Tutu II.

The idea behind the loan deal, according to local media, is based on the premise of legal restrictions in the UK which have made it impossible to return the artefacts permanently.

The return of the artefacts also coincides with the silver jubilee anniversary of Asantehene Osei Tutu II, who first started the negotiations in May last year.

“Gold and silver regalia, associated with the Asante royal court, will be displayed at the Palace Museum as part of a long-term loan commitment by the Victoria & Albert and the British Museum,” the Asantehene’s Palace said.

It added that Tutu will receive the gold artefacts which are the symbol of the Asante traditional authority. in specially designed Belgian cases in Kumasi, after which the Manhyia Palace Museum will be closed for three weeks for installation works and encasing.

Many of the items which will be seen in Ghana for the first time in 150 years, include 15 pieces from the British Museum and 17 from the Victoria & Albert Museum and will be on display and open to the public in May.

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American rap icon Ja Rule lands in Ghana for a charity project

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American rap icon, Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr., popularly known as Ja Rule, has landed in Ghana for a charity project that will oversee the construction of a classroom block at the Nuaso Anglican Primary School.

Ja Rule who announced his trip to the West African country via a social media post, said he will touch down in Accra on Wednesday, April 10th, for groundbreaking event “to make an impact on lives in the West African nation.”

The “Mesmerize” rapper explained that the project which is m an initiative of an international NGO, “Pencils of Promise”, is seeking to “bring quality education to kids around the world.”

“Groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a classroom block at Nuaso Anglican Primary School, Ghana,” Ja Rule said, while confirming his trip to Ghana.

On a flyer promoting the trip on his X handle, the American star wrote on Tuesday:

“Building towards the future… Ghana see you tomorrow.”

The post which generated a lot of excitement among fans of the rapper and other social media users in Ghana, saw many welcoming the visit and the initiative.

Joy FM top presenter, Lexis Bill, took to the social media to write:

“Awesome!!!! Ghana loves you 🇬🇭. Ghana is grateful,” while popular TV Presenter, Blaqueboy, also chipped in with: “Love from the motherland, welcome back to this side.”

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