As part of the Pan-African Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) and Emancipation Day celebrations, the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) on Wednesday laid wreaths in memory of African heroes who made contributions to pan-Africanism and the development of Africa.
The wreath laying ceremonies took place at the William Edward Burghardt Du Bois Centre, then to the George Padmore Library and finally at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Dr. Ziblim Barri Iddi, said since 1998, Ghana has been the only country in Africa celebrating the Emancipation Day annually.
He explained that the celebration started with a campaign to abolish slave trade, adding that the campaign was successful with the passing of a law to abolish slave trade in 1806 and took effect from January 1, 1808.
The celebration of the Emancipation Day, he said, is a reminder to Africans that all people deserve to have their freedom, treated fairly and be respected.
Dr. Iddi indicated that 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 those days.
He said the ministry seeks to bring out the history of Africa and the experiences of its people, using the vehicle of African culture and a forum to promote unity among Africans on the continent and those in the diaspora.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GTA, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, said the ceremony was a celebration of family reunion and Africa liberation, adding that Ghana would continue to celebrate Emancipation Day to cement 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 Sullivan (US Ambassador to Ghana).
The GTA is coordinating the PANAFEST/Emancipation Day celebrations, as part of the 'Year Return', in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Office of Diaspora Affairs, the PANAFEST Foundation, Media Majique and the Adinklra Group of USA.