As part of the PANAFEST/Emancipation Day 2019 celebrations, the Ministry of Tourism and its agencies and partners on 24th July 2019 laid wreaths in memory of Pan African pioneers who made contributions to the development of Africa.
The wreath-laying ceremony, one of the major events of the PANAFEST/Emancipation day 2019, was held in honour of Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, George Padmore, the most prominent political activist of his generation of black intellectuals and a Pan-Africanist and Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s First President.
Wreaths were laid at three historical sites namely, the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre, the George Padmore Library and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra.
In his address, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Ziblim Barri Iddi, said, Ghana has been the only country in Africa to celebrate PANAFEST/Emancipation Day annually since 1998 with the hope to bring unity among Africans on the continent and the diaspora.
Dr. Barri Iddi said, this year’s theme, ‘Beyond 400 years: reaching across Continents into the future” was appropriate for the commemoration in remembrance of the horrors of the slave trade and slavery as well as the individuals who fought against the atrocities of slavery.
Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, opined that the ceremony was a celebration of family reunion and Africa liberation, and also, Ghana will continue to celebrate PANAFEST/Emancipation day to strengthen its Pan-African legacy and celebrate its pioneers in Pan-Africanism.
There were solidarity messages from Mr. Akwasi Awuah Ababio, Director, Diaspora Affairs; Professor Esi Sutherland Addy, PANAFEST Secretariat; Mrs. Gail Nikoi, President, African American Association of Ghana; and Mrs. Stephanie S Suellivan, US Ambassador to Ghana.
The guest speaker of the ceremony, Dr Thomas Mensah, Engineer, Inventor, and a Diasporan, in his speech, urged all African including the diaspora to come together and help develop Africa. He again advised African to believe in themselves, ‘good things come in black too’, he quoted.
He said, “Africans would create their own Disney World which would be situated at the African Amusement Park in Ghana as a tourist attraction, “It would retrace the path that was taken by the slaves and rekindling the memories in grand style celebrating the ‘Freedom of Blacks’”.
The Ghana Tourism Authority is organizing the PANAFEST/Emancipation Day 2019 celebrations, as part of the ‘Year of Return, Ghana 2019’, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Office of Diaspora Affairs, the PANAFEST Foundation, Ghana Tourism Development Company, Media Majique and the Adinkra Group of USA.
PANAFEST/Emancipation Day is a cultural vehicle for bringing Africans on the continent and in the diaspora together to promote understanding peace and unity among all Africans.
By Darlyn Asiedua