Barbara Oteng Gyasi
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in collaboration with Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and PANAFEST Foundation has launched the 2021 edition of the Pan African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) in Accra.
The event, which is under the theme, “Securing the African Family: Our Soul, Our Health, Our Wealth”, is aimed at attracting thousands of expatriates from across the globe to partake in the historical festival.
Activities for the festival include “the Return Journey – a symbolic boat ride from the Cape Coast slave dungeons to Elmina, the Akwaaba Ceremony and Reverential Night.
There will also be a grand durbar and opening ceremony and the Pan African Colloquium, an Inter-Faith Dialogue, Expo Bazaar, performances from locals and guests and workshops for artistes as well as exhibitions.
Launching the event via zoom, the Tourism Minister, Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, said the ministry, together with the GTA and the PANAFEST Foundation, were committed to creating the awareness that Ghana was still a place to return to.
She said the importance of PANAFEST was to create a vital and relevant platform for members of the African family to engage each other in forthright conversation.
“As we launch the 2021 edition of PANAFEST, we are honouring our heroes – Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Edward Burghart Du Bois and other great ancestors who have built on the Pan-African ideals,” she said.
She mentioned that the “Year of Return 2019”, was celebrated to cumulate the resilience of all the victims of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the next decade, 2020 – 2030, would see the rolling out of the “Beyond the Return” programme to further strengthen the bond with our Kith and Kin in the diaspora.
Professor Esi Sutherland, Chairperson of the International Board of Trustees, PANAFEST Foundation, said PANAFEST 2021 was planned to bring the African Family together to review the dynamics of The Return or the Sankofa Principle and explore it as an impetus for the future.
The idea was to generate a review of the true value of collectively reviewing the past with an agenda for creating a vision of the future we would all like to see.
She mentioned that PANAFEST 2021 was designed as a stimulating creative space for recollecting and sharing the multiple facets of the African experience of the pandemic and of western racist hegemony.
According to her, “It is expected that activities at the festival will demonstrate beyond doubt that the African family needs to reassess and secure and own its history but also set itself up to be vigilant.”
Mr Akwesi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer GTA, assured that the GTA would continue to support PANAFEST and all of its partners even in this difficult time of Covid-19.
He said one thing that came out was the resilience of the African spirit and its beliefs moving from 2019 to 2020, there were lessons that were learnt, and to be taken to 2021.
By George Clifford Owusu