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Entertainment of Tuesday, 2 May 2017


2017 Panafest to attract wider global attention – Organisers

Organisers of Panafest say steps have been taken to revamp management strategies to bring the festival to a wider global attention to reach out to unreached members of the African family, particularly the youth and religious bodies.

Launching Panafest@25 scheduled for July 25 to August 2, 2017, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku said Ghana’s independence was very much influenced by Pan African ideals and as a result Ghana has, for

many years, been seen as a beacon for persons of African descent from all over the world. She noted that colours of the national flag build on the inspiration of the greatest Pan African people’s movement in the 20th century - Negro Improvement Association and the Back to Africa Movement led by Marcus Garvey - which projected the reemergence of Africa, its peoples and its civilisations.

She mentioned renowned American Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, music icon Louis Satchmo Armstrong and writer Maya Angelou as among numerous leaders from all over the world who visited Ghana for inspiration to continue with their own struggles.

The Minister noted that several members of the African Diaspora repatriated and continue to repatriate to Ghan, adding the country is privileged to be the land on which esteemed George Padmore and the illustrious W.E.B. and Shirley Graham Dubois are permanently resting.

Afeku said over the past 25 years, Panafest has sought to bring Africa and people of African descent into direct contact to confront together the painful history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and to bridge the gap created by it through the power of the arts and dialogue.

This is buttressed by the annual Emancipation Day shared with nations and communities of the Caribbean and which features solemn ceremonies remembrance and atonement, she added. Afeku announced plans to build on the base of loyal participants, who have been coming to Ghana time and again, to revitalise their spirits and renew their commitment to the rapid transformation of the situation of Africans throughout the world as well as mount a vigorous campaign to attract new participants.

She urged all stakeholders to help develop the great and unique potential of Ghana’s heritage powerful international heritage into a truly thrilling experience which many would want to have again and again.

The Minister stated that in these festivals, history, the present and the future meet in a very vital way.

With a hopeful spirit and based on the incredible resilience and power of the Pan African Culture, she declared Panafest launched.

Panafest Foundation The chairperson of the Board of Panafest Foundation, Prof Esi Sutherland Addy, noted that Ghana’s coast has the doubtful privilege of being dotted with the largest number of forts and edifices through which the resources of the continent and large numbers of its people were plundered. She said these buildings sit in ominous silence enclosing a history which has had a traumatic effect on the communities and the continent which they overlook. “Yet, the chilling truth is that while we are surrounded by the economic, social and cultural legacies of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the break in transmission of the truth about this history has led to the perpetuation of a debilitating lack of self-knowledge and consciousness of the impact of these legacies”, she added.

In her view, the contemporary relevance of the legacies of the slave trade is alive today citing the decision by the Foundation managing Colton Concert Hall in Bristol in England to change the name because Colton was a notorious slave trader as example.

She added that there are numerous global activism such as the trending Black Lives Matter or obvious symptoms of unequal international economic arrangements which are strangling African countries.

According to her, alongside the healing processes, Panafest celebrates the strengths and resilience of African culture and achievements of Africans in spite of the transatlantic slave trade and its aftermath.

Prof Addy said Panafest was, therefore, conceived to adopt the age old vehicle of the arts and the cultural manifestations for purging the pain of Diaspora, acknowledging the residual effects of the trade on the continent on the continent and re-uniting to forge a positive future in the contemporary global environment.

She explained that the festival is a community even which also puts a call to African-descended performers and thinkers to attend the festival She noted that with all caught up in a post-colonial, global environment where a health consciousness of history and heritage must lead to the appreciation of diversity which is so critical for the survival of the globalized world.

This surely is a worthy investment and invited all to join to experience the satisfaction of bringing down debilitating barriers, fulfilling deep-seated human needs for justice and celebrating the courage, resilience and innovation of the human spirit through the experience of African people’s around the world.

Highlights Activities that will take place between July 25 and August 2, 2017, includes wreath laying ceremony at the resting places of W.E.B Dubois, George Padmore and Dr Kwame Nkrumah, welcoming participants from Diaspora into the bosom of traditional clans, a colloquium, grand durbar of kings, queens, and participants, an EXPO, right of atonement on Emancipation Day at Assin Manso.

In addition will be an inter-faith dialogue to throw light on the vital role played by religion during the slave trade and its aftermath.