The PANAFEST Festival was inspired by and takes its source from a paper written in 1980 entitled “Proposal for a Historical Drama Festival in Cape Coast” by Dr. Mrs. Efua Sutherland, who was a distinguished Ghanaian Dramatist and Pan-Africanist. In 1991 the idea gained root and took shape in an expanded form as the Pan-African Historical Theater Festival (PANAFEST).
Since its inception in 1992, PANAFEST has become a movement after 14 editions over the past 30 years (1992-2022) to Ghana’s cultural heritage tourism industry and also to people of African Descent throughout Africa and its diaspora, especially the Americas, with the shared historical past and reconciling the future through Arts and Culture as well as workshops, seminars, and specialized programing.

In October of 1992, PANAFEST was officially launched and in December of the same year, the national phase of the festival was held in Cape Coast, Ghana after a series of activities which included a national playwriting competition, organized seminars and workshops on Pan-Africanism across the country.
The first Pan-African Historical Theater Festival was held in Cape Coast, Elmina and Accra, Ghana from the 12th to the 19th December, 1992 under the theme “The Re- mergence of African Civilization”. PANAFEST 1992 was officially opened by Flt. Lt. J.J Rawlings, President of Ghana. In his welcome address he indicated that the festival marked the beginning of a festival movement with its “great source of cultural enrichment for all Africans at home and abroad.”