As part of the year of return celebration in Ghana, the Ghana Tourism Authority will mark the 13th edition of PANAFEST 2019 and Emancipation day celebration to remember centuries of slavery and bondage of the black people.
This year’s theme “Beyond 400 years: Reaching across continents into the future” is slated from the 24th of July to the 2nd of August 2019.
In a briefing on both upcoming programs, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman said, “we are having this year’s PANAFEST and emancipation day with renewed hope because of the numbers coming back to their homeland and the involvement of the media.”
According to him, the Tourism Ministry is working on direct flights from the Caribbean to Ghana and 50 percent cut on Visa fees to help Africans in the diaspora come to their homeland.
“Ghana has always been the leading light for Pan-Africanism and there’s the need to bring everyone on board,” he said.
Activities marking this year’s event include a wreath-laying ceremony to honour illustrious sons of Pan-Africanism- Dr. William Edward Burkhardt Du Bois, George Padmore, and Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
There will also be a re-enactment of the crossing of the river Prah at Assin Praso where captured slaves were not returned, as well as grand durbars and reverential nights at various places, a retracing of the slave route in Ghana among others.
Other activities include, the Ghana World Music festival, international variety performances, theatre performances, dance, and music workshop, travel to the central region to explore the various attractions and a reverential night which will follow the declaration of emancipation at mid-night by the minister for tourism, arts, and culture.
In her address, Esi Sutherland said the Panafest and emancipation day celebration focuses on essentially bringing out stories and creating dialogues through the arts and culture.
On female-focused events, she said there will be women’s day activities which will include small focused group discussions to enable women ask questions and express what they feel. There will be performances by various women groups.
In her valedictory message, Madam Esi Sutherland urged the need for Ghanaians and Africans to be supportive of each other and welcoming.
“Our hope is to reach out to the global African family” she noted.
Emancipation Day commemorates the significant date of 1st August. It is on this date in 1834 that slavery and the slave trade was formally abolished in most of the European Colonies. Ghana was the first African country to celebrate Emancipation Day, beginning in 1998.