The designer of Ghana’s National Cathedral, David Adjaye, has said he expects the National Cathedral to embody much more than a place of Christian worship.
The renowned architect said the cathedral has the potential to be a multifaith edifice.
“The building, in thinking about it is not just about making a church. It is really a State space that can celebrate spiritual things and can be multi-faith… it can be absolutely about expressing the spirituality of the nation,” he said on Citi TV’s Face to Face.
“The building also is a place of education. It is about teaching, music, religious studies, about engagement, it’s about a learning centre, it’s about a museum and its really offering another kind of opportunity in the Accra landscape,” Mr. Adjaye said.
President Nana Akufo-Addo cut the sod for the construction of the national cathedral for on March 6, 2017, as part of events that marked Ghana’s 60th-anniversary celebration.
It is envisioned by his administration to serve as a national non-denominational Christian worship centre for the country.
The reception towards the cathedral from Ghanaians has been mixed.
Whilst it has been generally received well by the Christian community, the government faced some criticism over its priorities. The project has even been hit with a lawsuit.
This is despite the government saying private institutions will fund the 5,000 capacity seater project.
An 11-member committee has been tasked to raise funds for the project.
Knighted by the Queen of England for his exceptional services in architecture, Mr. Adjaye said he welcomes the varying opinions on the matter.
“I think that that’s healthy because it means that there is a debate in society about it. But the true merit of what this project will be when it’s built and people see what it does,” he stated.
He also maintained that Ghana stands to gain an immense amount from the execution of the project.
“It will be an extraordinary employment generator. It will lift skills. It will bring new technologies to this country that are not present. It will elevate us in the world stage as an African country that believes in progress and uses its people to deliver that progress.”
Criticism of national cathedral
When President Akufo-Addo cut sod for the construction of the cathedral, critics said the facility is unnecessary considering that Ghana was a secular state.
Others said the government appears to be interfering in religious affairs with the project.
Also, a member of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), James Kwabena Bomfeh, filed a suit at the Supreme Court challenging the decision to build the cathedral, saying that the country as a secular state must not be seen to be getting involved in religious activities such as building a Christian Cathedral and facilitation of Muslim’s pilgrimage to Mecca.
The plan to relocate judges from their Ridge Roundabout residence in Accra to make way for the construction of the 5,000-seater Cathedral brought the project back into focus.
The Coalition of Muslim Organisations, Ghana (COMOG), has also chastised the government for its involvement in religious matters in a secular state.