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30.07.2005 General News

Veep urges more African support for PANAFEST


Cape Coast, July 30, GNA-The Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, on Saturday called on the "Global African Community" to pool resources to support the biennial organisation of the Pan-African-Historical-Theatre-Festival because "it is the product of the entire African family." The Vice President who was speaking to a large gathering at a grand durbar to highlight the celebration of this year's PANAFEST/Emancipation day, at the Adisadel College park at Cape Coast, noted that although the event is hosted by Ghana, it should be supported by all Africans because, "it is the only event that unites Africans all over the world."

The durbar, was interspersed with traditional performances by cultural troupes, including the 'African Footprint International from Ghana, the Lagos State Arts Council from Nigeria and the Bahamas National Children's Choir. The Omanhene of the Oguaa traditional area, Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, and his counterpart the Omanhene of the Edina traditional area, Nana Kodwo Conduah, VI, and several queenmothers from the Central Region, portrayed the nation's rich traditional heritage and culture, when they processed through the principal streets of the town, dancing regally in their palanquins to the admiration of all.

The theme for the festival is, "The re-emergence of African civilization: Preserving and uniting the African family in the fight against HIV/AIDS." Touching on the main theme for the festival, Vice President Mahama noted that re-emergence could only be realized when Africans accept the full responsibility of mastering their own destiny. He, in this regard, urged Africans not to look down on themselves, but look up to one another with a renewed confidence in each other. "Let us have confidence once again, in our ability to perform our responsibilities as Africans with the highest level of equality and standards of perfection" he declared. He also urged Africans to take 'bold step' to pool resources to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic and was confident that the festival had provided the platform for exchange of ideas and had developed strategies to meet the challenges of the disease with the same courage that "our ancestors fought against slavery."

The Vice President gave a brief history of the festival and underscored the importance of Cape Coast and Elmina as venues for the festival, because of their unique roles as the exit points of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Alhaji Mahama said, the Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City, has initiated a programme dubbed: the 'Joseph Project' to highlight and pay homage to the ancestors of slavery, who achieved excellence in many fields of endeavour. He said the event would be held in June 2007 to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Ghana's independence, adding that, it would re-assure Africans in the Diaspora that they belong to Africa and they must therefore, return to their roots.

Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City, expressed concern over the 'conspiracy' to regard anything African as nasty, ugly or inferior and called on Africans to strive to overcome this perception. He underscored the importance of African unity without which, he said, "there would be no future for the African continent" and in this regard stressed the need to refrain from referring to Africans from the Diaspora as 'obroni' or whites since that tends to offend them.

The Central Regional Minister, Mr Isaac Edumadze described the festival as an event, which brings Africans, and people of African descent together to further strengthen their bond of relationship. He however expressed concern about the way the event was organized this year and echoed the Vice-President's call for support from all Africans to make it more successful in the subsequent years. Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, Paramount Chief of Oguaa Traditional Area, who presided, commended the government for the assisting in the organization of the festival, and the Africans from the Diaspora for their participation.