The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), in collaboration with the PANAFEST Foundation and the private sector is set to commence this year’s PANAFEST and Emancipation Day celebrations from July 24 to August 22, 2019.

The celebration would be held under the theme: “Beyond 400 years, reaching across continents into the future”.

Mr Akwesi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer, GTA, said PANAFEST 2019 offers a renewed hope with the increasing number of people wanting to come down to Ghana.

He said some 27 years ago the celebration of PANAFEST started in Ghana, and has become a legacy project for Ghana’s claim to be the Pan African giant of the world.

He said “PANAFEST and emancipation activities put on the table the fact that our fore fathers through the various leaders have never shied away from Ghana’s leading role in the Pan African movement.

Mr Agyemang said right from independence through to the PANAFEST establishment, Ghana has always been the leading light for Pan Africanism.

“Being the ‘Year of Return,’ PANAFEST and emancipation has special meaning. Apart from the intrinsic value of this whole period of the ‘Year of Return, there are other several benefits that Ghana is gaining out of it,” he said.

He said the celebration over the years has been a Public Private Partnership commending all including the chiefs and people of the country for collaborating to ensure that the celebration is always successful.

Professor Esi Sutherland-Addy, Chairman of the PANAFEST planning committee, said PANAFEST was established to use drama and the arts to get the story told and also to create dialogue.

She said this was the 13th edition of PANAFEST and we still realize that the dialogue expected to go on between Ghanaians and Africans in the diaspora was not going on as it was supposed to be.

“There is something missing that has to be fixed,” she said, adding that it is important to know each other and realize that we are trying to develop our continent and everybody must get on board.

She said the theme for this year’s celebration is appropriate as it would reflects on the idea of standing on history to move into the future and understanding why we want to go into the future.

Prof Sutherland-Addy said the week long activities are scheduled to be held in Accra, Cape Coast, Assin Praso, Assin Manso and Anomabo.

She said the programmes lined-up for this year’s celebration include the Prah river crossing, pre- PANAFEST slave route pilgrimage and atonement ceremonies, wreath laying ceremony, masquerade competition, visit to Kakum National Park, and a return journey to Cape Coast.

Others include the Akwaba ceremony, opening of One Africa Walls of Remembrance Museum, and Expo Bazaar, PANAFEST strong man contest, variety performance night, grand durbar of Chiefs, International variety and performance night.

The rest are, interfaith dialogue, cooking competition, opening of Bisa Abrewa museum, gospel spiritual night, theatre performances, opening of colloquium, redemption march, reverential night and declaration of emancipation, Emancipation Day ceremony, Africa diaspora business summit, and the Ghana world music festival.

She urged the public to participate in all this activities, saying it was not only meant for people from the diaspora but every Ghanaian, both young and old.

Source: GNA