Tourism Minister rallies Diaspora engagement to promote PANAFEST

Cape Coast, Mrs Catherine Afeku, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, has rallied the engagement of Ghanaians and Africans in the Diaspora to promote the ideals of the Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) and Emancipation Day to the rest of the world.

This, she said, would awaken the euphoria behind PANAFEST and project Africa’s unique cultural values and norms to attract the desired investment to stimulate economic growth and development on the continent.

Mrs Afeku made the call at a durbar to climax the celebration of this year’s PANAFEST which was held under the theme: “The power of Pan African culture” at Cape Coast over the weekend.

PANAFEST was introduced in the mid-1980s as a cultural tool for bringing Africans in the continent and the Diasporas to work together for emancipation.

Similarly, the commemoration of the Emancipation Day was introduced into Ghana in 1998 and celebrated on August 1, every year, to mark the abolished chattel slavery in the Caribbean.

The festival, she said, was truly significant to rekindle the flame of unity among black people everywhere and heightened the inter-connected nature of their struggles on the continent, Europe and America.

She said PANAFEST played an important role in bridging the gaps of mental slavery and economic empowerment by creating the resilience of Panafricanism.

Mrs Afeku urged the youth to take advantage of the advancement of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to advertise and promote the festival on the various social media platforms.

She appealed to traditional leaders to play active roles in creating the awareness among the youth to realise their identity as Africans and behave as such.

She also urged Africans in the Diaspora especially those of Ghanaian decent to come home and establish businesses in their motherland to economically support the nation.

Mrs Afeku commended the participants of the festival for their contribution towards rekindling the spirit of unity among Africans, especially those in the Diaspora.

Professor Esi Sutherland Addy, Chairperson of PANAFEST, said the celebration of PANAFEST allowed Africans from the Diaspora to visit and interact with their families and explained that the festival was held in the Central Region due to its castles and forts.

She said the history of the colonial domination on the African continent need not to be ignored due to the loss of material, human and cultural resources from the continent.

Prof Addy said the festival should not be viewed as a mere celebration but a platform that allowed brothers and sisters from the Diaspora to exchange ideas and build a knowledge base for the development of the African society.

Osabarima Kwasi Atta II, the Omanhen of Oguaa Traditional Area, said Africa needed to take concrete action in terms of the emancipation of the continent.

Africa, he said, should be free from mental and physical degradation and expressed the hope that Africans from the Diaspora would resolve and put up concrete programmes to would help the continent to chart a new course.

Source: Ghana News Agency