The Pan African Historical Festival (PANAFEST) is the most celebrated Pan African Festival in the world. Inspired back in 1992, by the late great Pan Africanist Efua Sutherland, PANAFEST has become a landmark festival in Ghana which gives Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora a platform to address the most traumatic interruption that ever occurred in the natural evolution of African societies which among other traumas profoundly eroded the self-confidence and freedom for self-determination of a whole people.
Since 1992 Ghana through PANAFEST has offered all Africans on the continent and in the diaspora, the sacred space to open up a much-needed dialogue in music, dance, theatre and spectacle; in visual art, in debates , conferences and quiet reflection –about the period of enslavement and colonialism and their lasting impact on the past , present and future of Africa and its people.
PANAFEST, originally known as the Pan African Historical Theatre Festival, offers the opportunity for healing the wounds of trauma and celebrating the resilience and achievements of African people. Held Biennially, the festival has over the years developed into the most consistent Pan African Festival of its kind to be held on the African Continent. Due to the sacred sites of memory, poignant ceremonies as well as engaging creativity and debates, PANAFEST has attracted hundreds of thousands of participants especially from the Global African Family.
The PANAFEST Foundation was created in 1996 and incorporated in 2002 to safeguard the brand and essence of the festival and to ensure the mobilization of participation and resources nationally and internationally for its growth. Governed by an International Board of Trustees, the Foundation collaborates with a wide range of Ministries and Agencies of the Government of Ghana particularly those responsible for tourism and culture (Currently the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ghana Tourism Authority and the National Commission on Culture).
PANAFEST also works directly with the traditional leaders and Royal Families, people and institutions of the Central Region particularly the Oguaa and Edina Traditional areas, Central Region Co-ordinating Council and the University of Cape Coast through mechanisms such as the Local Planning Committee. The foundation is grateful to have developed the ability to convene and collaborate with international institutions and governmental agencies across Africa and the African Diaspora.
The PANAFEST Foundation also lends the support of its expertise towards the hosting of Dignitaries at sites of memory, participation in national and international forums the establishment and running of a variety of national initiatives such as the W.E.B. Dubois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture, Emancipation Celebration , The Year of Return and Beyond the Return
The 10-day bi-annual festival consciously utilizes the slave forts and dungeons, slave routes and sacred spaces, traditional and royal ceremonies, colloquiums and workshops and many more activities to confront the effects of enslavement, purging the pain of Diaspora, acknowledging the residual effects of the trade on the Continent and re-uniting both physically and spiritually to forge a positive future for the Pan African family in the contemporary global environment.
Alongside the healing processes, PANAFEST celebrates the strengths and resilience of African culture and achievements of Africans inspire of the transatlantic slave trade and its aftermath. It is designed to help Africans to reconnect with their strengths and thus inspired to eternal vigilance, rededicate themselves to fully assuming the reigns of their own destiny in recognition of the lessons of history.
PANAFEST is structured around experiences and platforms which are designed to constructively raise and examine important if contentious issues, foster healing processes and also celebrate the strengths and resilience of African culture and achievements of Africans. Most importantly, PANAFEST is to be seen as a home and hub for creative Africans across the globe to both show case their work and interact with each other in a meaningful way as this is often very difficult to achieve otherwise.
MISSION & VISION
To establish the truth about the history of Africa and the experience of its people, using the vehicle of African arts and culture. To provide a forum to promote unity between Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora. To affirm the common heritage of African peoples the world over and define Africa’s contribution to world civilization. To encourage regular review of Africa’s development objectives strategies and policies. To mobilize consensus for the formulation and implementation of potential alternative options for development.