News & Events
PANAFEST 2017 launched in Accra
Published on 2017-05-05

The 2017 Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) and Emancipation Day has been launched with a call on African artists and media practitioners to take advantage of the occasion and properly showcase the good things on the continent.

The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Afeku, who made the call, said Africa had many rich cultures and good things which were not showcased properly to the rest of the world, leaving that to Europeans who had little knowledge about the continent.

“Use your platforms, stages, airwaves, classrooms and artistic works to properly sell Africa and Ghana to the rest of the world during this year’s PANAFEST and Emancipation Day,” she said.


This year’s PANAFEST and Emancipation Day will take place between August 25 and July 2, with activities such as wreath laying, welcoming of Africans in the diaspora, durbar of chiefs and queenmothers, an expo and interfaith dialogue to highlight the roles played by religion during the slave trade.

The occasion would also be used to commemorate the 25th anniversary of PANAFEST.

PANAFEST aims, among others, at establishing the truth about the history and contribution of Africa and its people through the richness of its arts and culture while developing a framework for the identification and analysis of issues and needs central to Africa’s development.

It also provides a forum to promote unity between Africans on the continent and in the diaspora. It reaffirms the common heritage of African people over the world and their contributions to world civilisation.


Mrs Afeku said the ministry would be collaborating with the PANAFEST Foundation and all other stakeholders involved in the celebration to make this year’s occasion a memorable one. 

“We are particularly developing experiences at sites throughout Ghana which were involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade so that a fuller story would be told so that the process of awareness, reconciliation and celebration developed over the last 25 years might have a broader impact throughout the country,” she said.

The Chairperson of PANAFEST, Prof. Esi Sutherland Addy, said PANAFEST had been conceived to adopt the age-old vehicle of the arts and cultural manifestations for purging the pain of the diaspora, acknowledging the residual effects of the trade on the continent and reuniting to forge a positive future in the contemporary global environment.   

“The festival is a community event and also puts out a call to African-descended performers and thinkers to attend the festival,” she said. 

Slave trade in contemporary times 

Prof. Addy indicated that slave trade still existed in contemporary times in various parts of the world, an indication that Africans ought to fight to help end the practice in any form.

“Today, there are a lot of institutions and mercantile families in various parts of the world whose wealth and legacies could be traced to the benefits from the slave trade.”

“There are numerous forms of global activism such as the trending Black Lives Matter or obvious symptoms of unequal international economic arrangements which are strangling African countries today,” she said.