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28.07.2009 Regional News

PANAFEST 2009 opens in Cape Coast

By David Alan Painstil Cape Coast - Ghanaian Chronicle
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President John Evans Atta Mills on Saturday called on the African Union (AU) to renew its commitment to the celebration of the Pan African Historical Theatre Festival (Panafest), to accelerate the unification of Africans in the Diaspora, and those on the continent.

He said, “We call on the AU to renew its pledge of support for the festival, and ensure its sustainability in pursuit of using culture as a means of unifying the African Continent.”

In a speech read on his behalf by Mike Alex Hammah, Minister of Transportation, at the opening of the Panafest and Emancipation Day celebrations at Cape Coast, President Mills said Panafest and Emancipation should bind Africans together to develop the continent.

He said it was high time the AU restored the Panafest, and made it play a leading role in uniting African family.

He appealed to the AU to give Africans in the Diaspora a forum at AU summits to enable them take part in decision making at the summit.

The Central Regional Minister, Ama Benyiwa Doe, said Panafest was a prerequisite for African unity, and that the Central Region had a role to play in the celebration of the festival, owing to the numerous traces of slave trade routes there.

She charged Africans in the Diaspora to invest in the coastal stretch of the region, which was suitable for the construction of holiday resorts.

The Executive Secretary of Panafest, Rabbi Kohain Nathanya Halevi, commended President Mills for nominating a minister to represent him at the opening of the programme.

He said the visit of the US President, Barack Obama, had opened a new chapter in Ghana's history, and that the visit was not a mere coincidence, but rather divine providence.

A representative of the Africans in the Diaspora, Nana Dr. Kofi Amoah II, who was enstooled at Assin Manso, said Africans in the Diaspora were now awakened, and would not sleep again.

He said despite the fact that they were taken away, they could not take away the African values in them, and called for forgiveness for those who perpetuated such heinous crimes against their fellow humans.

He said Africans in the Diaspora would do all they could to develop Africa through the technology they had acquired in the Diaspora, stressing that better things were yet to come for Africa to rise again.

There was cultural display by the Sololo Acrobatic Group, Free Spree from Moree and Fre Tsetse Group from the USA among others.

A prayer by Rev. Dr. Hill, from the USA, was so powerful and it that caught the attention and admiration of many.

The Chronicle observed that the gradual loss of momentum by Panafest was due to the fact that it had been celebrated in bits and pieces in other parts of the country recently.

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