Organised by the PANAFEST Foundation in Collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Leaders and People of the Central Region of Ghana

Under the Auspices of the Government of the Republic of Ghana

Date: July 19th to August 1st 2023

Theme: Re-Claiming the African Family: Confronting the Past to face the Challenges of the 21st century


Venues: PANAFEST 2023 is a Hybrid Global African Festival   Main Festival Venue: Cape Coast, Ghana.  See programme for other venues (including Accra, Salaga Assin Manso)


PANAFEST – The Pan African Festival of Arts and Culture radiates from its originating ethos being that historical theatre provides a powerful medium for thrashing out the unspeakable truths and questions about the impact of the enslavement of African people. The power of the arts and ritual to commence the healing process, build bridges and re-envision the future for Africa and her people globally has led to a festival which, after 30 years, encompasses several platforms for self-expression, sharing, dialogue and action.

The main setting for PANAFEST is the twin towns of Cape Coast and Elmina in Ghana where 2 massive fortresses provide a grim reminder of over 600years of European plunder of West African resources, the enslavement of the people and colonialism.  They are a reference point for the terrifying reality of massive alienation within the African family on the one hand, and the soul-soaring recall of the monumental resilience of the ancestors which must inspirit the reunification of the Global African Family.

PANAFEST 2023 follows the 2021 edition held with due caution in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic which addressed its particular impact on Africa and her descendants around the world. That edition of the festival raised issues around Securing the African Family: Our Soul, Our Health, Our Wealth.  It was important to celebrate the courage, resilience and innovation demonstrated by our front liners, scientists, health workers, inventors, artist(e)s, community activists and careers.  Additionally, activities were directed towards safeguarding our spiritual strength, health and wealth, all of which have been breached by the wave of the pandemic.

In 2023, PANAFEST bounces back with the theme “Re-Claiming the African Family: Confronting the Past to face the Challenges of the 21st century.  

The biennium (2021-2023) requires deep reflection as it has seen a number of developments which should be of concern to thinkers and creators in the African space.

The resurgence of powerful voices and action focused on asserting the truth about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the experiences of Africans descendants in Europe and the Americas has led to the exposure of the deep involvement of many institutions and iconic personalities in conducting the slave trade and in profiting across generations from it.  There seems to be a pushback on this exposure represented by the extreme proposals that this information should not be taught in some jurisdictions in the United States of America. Admissions and apologies by some of the institutions and families involved have been made but a number of important questions arise about whether these gestures are sufficient. Demands for restitution of looted art and reparations for centuries of brutal exploitation are examples of the concentration of African energies on Africans and their collective wellbeing around the world. As some young people militate for decoloniality and against misrule on the continent, the call for restorative justice refuses to be suppressed in the African Diaspora exemplified the Caribbean leads in the claims for reparations.

However, more than ever before Africans on the continent are having to wrestle with dispossession of their material resources and a loss of control of the direction of their economies. It would seem that young continental Africans once again have lost the sense of hope and dignity which is their right if they are ever to take ownership of their continent. There seems to have been an unveiling of the vulnerable, underbelly of the lived experience of many Africans. One aspect of this phenomenon is the extent to which an alarming number of young Africans- the largest proportion of the continent’s population are becoming progressively alienated from the continent. Is being African perceived as a barrier to their future well- being? Is there a parting of ways between the generations who experienced the hope of the civil rights movement and the anti-colonial movement on the one hand and those born into the age of the Global Citizen?  

Africans around the world must take a hold of remembering and presenting their lived experience.2023 heralds the 700th anniversary of an age of African ascendency when Mansa Musa of Mali made his famous journey to the Middle East. What are its implications?  This year also heralds the end of the International Decade of People of African Descent. Notwithstanding the formation of the Permanent Commission, a powerful gathering of African descendants, the Decade must have evaluated. What did it achieve?

The challenges of the 21st Century must be confronted to make way for Africans to work together to take advantage of transformational opportunities. Historical excavations of our foundations to guide the quest to make an African future is an essential exercise to under-gird this process.

Participants in PANAFEST 2023 are invited to fearlessly point out the challenges to re-uniting the African Family and very importantly illuminate new paths towards transformations in our time through the stimulating power of drama, visual arts, dance, music and critical thought.  

This is PANAFEST! The 2023 edition of the festival is structured in a hybrid format to bring the African Family together across the world at this complex moment of economic hardship Flagship Activities Are: Wreath Laying Ceremony (Live Streamed); Traditional Akwaaba Ceremonies (Live Streamed); Grand Durbar of Leaders and People (Live Streamed) Bazaar/ Expo; Colloquium. A separate call for papers and panels will be available; Global African International Concerts Reverential night/ Pre-Emancipation Vigil; Emancipation Day Celebration; Naming and Burial Ceremonies ; Exhibitions - Art, Innovations, Cultural Heritage; Performances both intimate and mass (Theatre, Dance, Storytelling,  Poetry, Martial Arts, Music, film);Practitioners’ Workshops; African Children’s World (Children’s day camp and virtual fun learning experience) Youth and Women’s Days Writing competitions; Sport Gala; Tours to significant sites


  1. Individuals: Artists, performers, intellectuals (public, academic, religious), activists, entrepreneurs, tech experts, social media influencers
  2. Cultural institutions, Governmental Agencies, Religious institutions, think tanks


Are you interested in being part of this forward march towards mutual understanding and investment in African resilience? Please submit proposals for participation in the activities listed.

Kindly submit 250-300 word proposal for participation as a panelist at the colloquium relating to the standing theme Re-Uniting the African Family: The African Renaissance and/ or the theme for 2023: “Re-Claiming the African Family: Confronting the Past to face the Challenges of the 21st century”.
Click here for full details
Kindly submit a proposal describing for your performance in theater, drama, music, poetry or art relating to the standing theme Re-Uniting the African Family: The African Renaissance and/ or the theme for 2023: “Re-Claiming the African Family: Confronting the Past to face the Challenges of the 21st century”.
Kindly submit your proposal to secure a spot for your vendor or exhibit your product or organization throughout the Panafest week at our expo/bazaar.

Your proposal should also include a brief bio or organizational profile of not more than 500 words. Maximum number of words for synopsis and bio/profile: 800words. You are encouraged to read the attached detailed program brief. Kindly indicate the format in which you wish to organise your event or make your contribution. 

To help give you a great festival experience, please indicate which of the following categories of events or capacities you are proposing to organise/ participate in:

  • Artist(e)/ speaker/exhibitor (Please underline)
  • Practitioners Workshops
  • Intimate Performance 
  • Large Scale Concert
  • Exhibition
  • Bazaar/ Expo
  • Colloquium (See call for papers)
  • Children’s day camp
  • Community engagement (participation in livelihood, community service and ceremonial activities)
  • Repatriation and burial of ashes of loved ones (request for details)
  • More than one type of event/capacity – (Please specify)

Proposals should reach us by July 10th 2023. Please submit to our supplied below and on our website:

IMPORTANT NOTE: We are unable to provide funding or sponsorship. We shall be happy however to provide letters of endorsement and recommendation to confirmed participants upon request.


The African Family and Friends are very much encouraged to register for the exciting array of activities specially curated for you via the PANAFEST website from 10th February 2023. Regular updates will be provided on our various platforms.


For further information, please consult the official festival


Twitter handle: @PANAFESTgh

Email Address:

Secretariat:  PANAFEST Executive Secretary

Address: P.O. Box 1096, Cape Coast, Ghana

Tel: +233-(0)504521181;+233-(0)244962202; +233-(0)54 631 6418.

Also visit our visit our offices at Heritage House, Chapel Square Cape Coast

And the Accra Tourism Information Centre, Opposite Jubilee House, Accra


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Select from one of the packages below:

  • General Admission
    (includes admission to PANAFEST general events and concerts in Accra and Cape Coast; excludes premier events/activities)


Premier Events/Activities

(General Admission is required)

  • Colloquium
    (Colloquium registration is required)

  • Return Journey Boat Ride
    (Limited Space Available)

  • Awards Ceremony/Dinner

  • Creative Explosive
    (National Theatre)


*For Ghanaian Residents, you can register via this link

Frequently Asked Questionss

1. What are the dates of the event?
19th July - 23rd July in Northern Ghana and 24th July – 2nd August 2023 in Accra and Cape Coast
2. What is PANAFEST?
PANAFEST is a festival that promotes Pan Africanism, through the medium of Arts and Culture.
PANAFEST offers a platform for the African family to discuss the challenges that face Africa and people of African descent at home and abroad. After four hundred years of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism, Africa and its people have suffered the most traumatic interruption of developmental continuity in human history. As such, there has been limited opportunity for sustained dialogue or conversation amongst the scattered ascendants of people of African descent, and their kilt and kin on the continent. PANAFEST has provided a forum and platform, through the medium of arts and culture, for the re-uniting of the African family, over three decades and 15 editions, and is, therefore the most consistent Pan-African festival in Africa.
4. What is the agenda of PANAFEST?
5. What is the cost for PANAFEST?
The $200 registration fee includes admission to PANAFEST general events, activities and concerts in Accra and Cape Coast, but excludes premier events/activities, which have a separate cost.
6. How does one sponsor PANAFEST?
There are various categories of sponsorship that are defined in the Sponsorship section of the website. There is no amount too small or too big. Contact Profesdor Esi Sutherland Addy at +233 24 437 5984; or Eric at +233 24 425 3364.
7. How does one collaborate with PANAFEST?
Contact Rabbi Kohain at +233 24 496 2202
8. Can we pay for just one event?
The PANAFEST General Program has one registration fee. The $200 registration fee includes admission to PANAFEST general events, activities and concerts in Accra and Cape Coast, but excludes premier events/activities, like the Northern Ghana trip, the Colloquium and the Return Journey (Canoe Ride). Premier events and activities can be paid for separately.
9. Is there an Early Bird deadline?
Yes, there is an early bird deadline benefit for those who register before 21st June 2023. Please check website for details.
10. Can I bring my kids?
Yes, PANAFEST 2023 will be scheduling activities for children.
11. What sightseeing tours will be available, as part of PANAFEST?
PANAFEST will begin with a Pre- PANAFEST Pilgrimage to the Northern Region of Ghana, then along the Route of our enslaved ancestors.
That Route includes the following activities:
  • Panel at Tamale on Truths about narratives of Enslavement
  • Atonement Ceremony at Salaga; Bono Manso Camp of enslaved ancestors,
  • Visit to Pikworo Slave Encampment
  • Pra River Crossing at Assin Praso
Other Historical Sightseeing during the PANAFEST Schedule are:
  • W.E.B. DuBois Centre, George Padmore and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial
  • Elmina and Cape Coast Castle/Dungeons
12. Is transportation provided between the PANAFEST events?
Transportation is a personal responsibility for attendees, but special arrangements are made with transport providers to be sensitive to PANAFEST participants.
13. What hotels have partnered with PANAFEST? Are there discounts offered with these participating hotels?
The PANAFEST Secretariat is working hard to convince all hotels in the Central Region to offer 10% discount for all PANAFEST participants. PANAFEST Website ( will post all hotels offering discounts to registered PANAFEST clients.
14. Can I bring a group to Panafest? Are there discounts for large groups?
Please contact Ayisha Kassim at +233 59 669 1525, for more info.
15. What are we to wear to the different programs? Colors, etc.?
Clothing has no restriction technically, but what is recommended is African cultural attire, especially for ceremonies and rituals. During Reverential Night, participants are required to wear white. Chief Palaces, Castle/Dungeons, require respectful conservative wear. Cotton and linen wear are in order, for comfort.
16. How do we get a visa to come to PANAFEST? Is the visa-on-arrival available?
Contact the office at +233 59 669 1525, for current, up-to-date information.