Aje’sinda: Reviving the Gbagyi Art of Weaving

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Olawale Ajimotokan writes that Aje’sinda is a new revolution designed to preserve the culture of the Gbagyi people of Ushafa community in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory

In the past, the people of Ushafa were regarded for their creative ability to dye and weave indigenous clothing materials.

But the weaving art is at the risk of going into extinction because of the death of many of the old weavers. Besides, the effect of urbanisation is forcing many of the dye pits to be converted into residential quarters.

Aje’sinda is a conception that seeks to empower the Ushafa women and youth through vocational training on how to weave the indigenous clothing material of the Gbagyi people.

The initiative is a collaboration between Helpline Foundation for the Needy and Ephod Leadership Innovation Initiative.

The duration of the project is four weeks and its aim is to enhance the quality of life of women and youth through increased knowledge and skills.

The project initiators are also hoping to commercialise the Aje’sinda fabric and other cultural products.

In addition they are hoping to build and commission an equipped empowerment that will also serve as an enterprise training centre.

The founder of Helpline Foundation, Dr Jumai Ahmadu said 50 of the participants will be trained for the vocational programme, adding they will contact other communities to identify their needs.

The FCT Minister of state, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, officially flagged off the project.

The minister, who was represented by her Special Assistant on Social Development, Simisola Ayoade, assured that the values of the vocational training will be replicated in all parts of the FCT to reflect the federal government’s vision on job creation.

Aliyu also reiterated the commitment of the FCT Administration to transform all cultural sites in the FCT into tourist destinations.

Nelson Ogohi of Ephod Leadership Initiative, expressed delight that the project saw the light of the day.

Ogohi noted that the Gbagyi people of Ushafa were keen to preserve their culture and enterprise inspite of the pressure of urbanisation and encroachment into their communal lands.

“We resolved to take this up and revive the dying art. One of the things we intend to do for legacy is create an institute where Gbagyi people can claim to be owners. I am absolutely excited about this as it will empower them and lead to wealth creation,” Ogohi declared.

A native of Ushafa, Theohilus Tanko Chigudu described the launch of Aje’sinda as an honour to the people of Ushafa, bearing in mind that the Gbagyi culture is projected to go into extinction in five years

He said the Gbagyi fabric is as old as history of the community and preserving its culture will project the village to the greater world.