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14.04.2007 General News

Joseph project not meant to replace PANAFEST- Jake


Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, on Thursday reiterated that the 'Joseph project, which is also known as' the 'akwaaba, anyemi' programme, was not meant to replace the celebration of the Pan African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST).

"It is rather aimed at enhancing the two events and is a series of activities aimed at reaching out to our brothers and sisters who were forcibly uprooted from Africa and have been lost to their homeland for more than 400 years".

Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey said this when he launched the celebration of this year's PANAFEST and Emancipation Day at a ceremony at Elmina.

The celebration of the 11-day programme, which starts from Sunday July 22 to Wednesday August 1, would be under the general theme "Re-uniting the African family" and has been spread throughout the 10 regions of the country.

Highlights of the celebration include a Pan African conference to be addressed by eminent African personalities, pilgrimages to the slave routes, markets and the castles, colloquia and a durbar of chiefs.

He said the Joseph project involved a comprehensive education process for both those on the continent and in the Diaspora to ensure that the cultural shocks and conflicts that occurred in the past are minimized.

The minister reiterated that PANAFEST is a festival that portrays the diversity of African arts and culture, as well as seeks to promote unity among all people of African descent, both on the continent and in the Diaspora.

He said Africans "can never have anything for free" and that there was the need for them to continue with the emancipation struggle "until we achieve mental freedom".

The Central Regional Minister, Nana Ato Arthur, said the continent should marshal its human resources, both at home and abroad, to enable it to meet global challenges.

He called on Africans to strive for excellence in all fields of endeavours to show the rest of the world that Africa is capable of managing its own affairs.

Nana Arthur noted that Emancipation Day is also to "re-enforce" the African identity and stressed that "we need to be proud as Africans and preserve our culture and identity.

The Executive Secretary of PANAFEST Foundation, Rabbi Kohain Halevi, said activities have been designed to involve all Ghanaians in the celebration and also added his voice to calls on all to be part of it.

Mrs Esi Sutherland-Addy, board chairman of the Foundation who presided, said although the festival portrays part of "our difficult history" it must be harnessed to the socio-economic advantage of the continent.

Source: GNA