Tourism Minister rallies Diaspora engagement to promote PANAFEST

Afedzi Abdullah/Grace Darko, GNA

Cape Coast, July 30, GNA – 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.


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