A Gathering in Ghana


The coarse dust of the harmattan wind blew across an expectant crowd in Accra, Ghana. Thousands of Latter-day Saints sat quietly, the air swelling with anticipation. They had worked and prepared, and now they were ready. It was time. The prophet was there.

The excitement of the youth in Ghana had begun months earlier with a request from President Gordon B. Hinckley to get the youth and children involved in the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple, the first temple in West Africa.

For the youth in the Ghana area, getting involved meant hours of rehearsing native dances and songs and then putting them all together to create not only the biggest youth activity ever in Africa but a spectacular cultural event for the prophet.

President Hinckley arrived at the Accra Sports Stadium and found almost 1,000 youth, 700 Primary children, and all the full-time missionaries from the area waiting to perform for him. He was welcomed in English, French, and Twi, and with talking drums.

The missionaries started the show by singing “Called to Serve” (Hymns, no. 249), and then the youth took over. Dressed in traditional costumes, they were organized within their stakes and districts to represent various regions and villages.

Desmond Ahwireng, a youth, played Anansi, a legendary spider from African folklore. Onstage, Anansi went from village to village looking for all the good things in the world so he could keep them for himself, gathering them into a gourd he carried on his head. As he approached each village, the youth in that village sang and danced for him and gave him good things like courage, service, love, music, and family.

At the end of his journey, Anansi found the Accra Ghana Temple. The beauty of the temple convinced the selfish spider that he should not keep all the good things he had collected for himself, so he emptied the contents of his gourd to share them with everyone. Anansi’s good deed was greeted by 700 Primary children, all dressed in white, singing “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301).

The youth in Ghana will remember the dedication of this temple. They, like Anansi, love to see the temple and hope its presence there will move them to share the good they have as they continue to follow the counsel of the prophet.

[photos] Photography by Linda Leeper

[photos] Youth in Ghana sang and danced in native dress to celebrate a new temple and a visit from President Gordon B. Hinckley.

[photos] President Hinckley (top) stands in front of the temple cornerstone. The journeys of Anansi (above), a spider in African folktales, created a setting for some of the onstage celebrations.

Michael and Marged Kirkpatrick recently finished serving as directors of Public Affairs in the Africa West Area. They are members of the Holladay 26th Ward, Salt Lake Holladay Stake.