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General News of Saturday, 25 July 2009

Source: GNA

Use PANAFEST to enhance development in Africa - MCE

Elmina, July 25, GNA - Reverend Mrs Veronica Essuman Nelson, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem, on Friday called on Africans to form partnership with their brothers in the Diaspora for the development of the continent. Rev. Mrs Nelson made the call at a welcome ceremony for participants from the Diaspora dubbed, "Experiencing the Return, Healing and Reconciliation," at the forecourt of the Elmina Castle. This forms part of activities to mark this year's PANAFEST and Emancipation day celebrations under the themes, "Uniting the African family: Communicating the African Reality," and "Emancipation, our Heritage, Our Strength," respectively. Rev. Nelson said the festival should be used by Africans in the Diaspora to trace their roots and learn more about the continent and urged them to turn the tragedy of slavery into something positive and meaningful.

She said the municipal assembly and chiefs were ready to make land available for investors, adding that they could venture into areas such as fish and fruits processing, estate development, salt mining and tourism. Reverend Dr Marlene Garland-Hill, a renowned African-American Evangelist who traced her ancestral roots to Ghana, said participating in the festival meant "home-coming, healing and reconciliation". She said the slave trade might have separated them from their motherland but with the festival, most of those in the Diaspora would get to know more about their cultural values. She said everything would be done to encourage more people to participate in the next PANAFEST.

The Akwaaba rites were performed by Nana Kwesi Tandoh IV, Co-chairman of the Local Planning Committee on behalf of Nana Kodwo Condua VI, Omanhene of Edina Traditional Area. Symbolically, the participants were served with water and mashed yam with boiled eggs as recognition to their ancestral land. A ram was also slaughtered to pacify the gods and three wreaths laid by representatives of the chiefs, government and those from the Diaspora in memory of the slave ancestors.

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