PROFESSOR ESI SUTHERLAND-ADDY
Scholar. Pan Africanist Humanitarian Activist and former Deputy Minister
On behalf of the International Board of Trustees of the PANAFEST Foundation, I bid you a warm welcome.
PANAFEST – The Pan African Festival of Arts and Culture originated as The Pan African Historical Theatre Festival. It is a landmark biennial festival which is celebrated in the spirit of “Re-Uniting the African Family: Pan Africanism and the African Renaissance.” Celebrated since 1992, the festival addresses 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. The festival consciously makes the most prominent European edifices, through which the slave trade was conducted, as sites around which activities aimed at confronting the effects of enslavement are undertaken. These activities are aimed at purging the pain of Diaspora, acknowledging the residual effects of the trade on the Continent and re-uniting to forge a positive future in the contemporary global environment. Alongside the healing processes, PANAFEST celebrates the strengths and resilience of African culture and achievements of Africans. It is designed to help Africans to reconnect with their strengths.
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 of African culture and achievements of Africans. We define Africans as inclusive of all African Descendants World-Wide. Most importantly, PANAFEST is to be seen as a home and hub for creative Africans across the globe to both showcase their work and interact with each other in a meaningful way as this is often very difficult to achieve otherwise.
Heritage revival, the acknowledgement of self must address the many silences, erasures of the African story from the global narrative, and the huge intergenerational gaps in transmission. We are honoured to offer PANAFEST as a hub where African thinkers, creatives and innovators will fearlessly confront our contradictions and courageously set out to build back our societies and institutions across continents. Equally importantly, PANAFEST is offered as a home base for creatives and thinkers to share and impact each other with their work and skills in love, strength and security symbolised by the Adinkra symbol Eban – The Fence.
Re-uniting the African family, Pan Africanism and the African Renaissance can only be sustained through the intentional building of strong institutions. PANAFEST was first celebrated in 1992. Surely it is an institution which has been in consistent operation but very much needs to be owned and supported by the African Family.
We would like to give you the opportunity to contribute resources, time and skills to building an even more flourishing festival that you can be proud and feel a part of. We believe that it is well within the means of the Global African Family to raise the core funding and professional networks to make PANAFEST a truly sustainable and going concern. Look out for information on ways in which to make your contribution. the PANAFEST Trust Fund.
PANAFEST strives to continue to offer the reassuring staples such as the Return Boat Ride, Akwaaba Ceremony, Reverential Night and Colloquium. These together with the Expo, Days dedicated to Women, Youth and the Interfaith Dialogue, as well as the rites of atonement and the Grand Durbar of Traditional Rulers are designed to commemorate our resilience. Contemporary creations illuminate new paths towards transformational unity in our time through drama, visual arts, dance, music and critical thought. Come to the most consistently celebrated Pan African Festival of Arts and Culture and experience the joy of Re-affirmation.