Wreath laying ceremonies kick-start 2021 PANAFEST and Emancipation Day

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In keeping to the format of PANAFEST and Emancipation Day commemorations, wreaths have been laid on the tombs of three iconic Pan-Africanists and freedom fighters in Accra.

They are W.E.B Du Bois, George Padmore and Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah. At the George Padmore Library, a perpetual flame was lighted to symbolize the continued struggle for absolute liberation and independence of the Black race.

Lighting of the perpetual flame at the George Padmore Library

The themes of the celebrations are ‘Securing The African Family: Our Health, Our Wealth, Our Soul,’ for PANAFEST and “Reclaiming Our Right to Weave Our Own Narrative’ as the theme for Emancipation day.

Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey reflecting on the themes said, “It is imperative for us as Africans to use this period to come together, to reflect on the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade and use this moment as a springboard to regain our right to write our own narrative.”

Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey

He called for deeper collaborations between diasporans and Ghanaians within the creative arts, stating that “the youths of this country must rise above the past and use our creative talents to build a new narrative for Africa.”

He also impressed upon Blacks to go beyond anything that seeks to tear them apart.

“The stalwarts and heroes we honour today, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, George Padmore, Fredrick Douglas, Nelson Mandela soared above petty differences and sought the greater good of the bigger African family.
It is therefore ironic for a people who have been traumatized by slavery and suffered discrimination because of racial differences should easily forget their common bond of brotherhood and tragically tear each other apart.

A Traditional Authority laying wreath at the Kwame Nkrumah Park

However, it is important that we as Africans have a common mind and strength to support each other and also change our narrative,” Okraku Mantey maintained.

CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman PANAFEST and Emancipation Day are celebrated to acknowledge ongoing emancipation struggle and the resilience of the African.

“We do this to celebrate the resilience of the African spirit, because we went through this and we survived and we survived to produce presidents for the United States, we survived to produce world champions in athletics, we survived to produce musical icons, and we survived to create several inventions and we have survived to tell the story to the next generation.

Akwasi Agyeman is CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority

We do this to call out and acknowledge our brothers and sisters who are here and in the diaspora making strides and still flying high the flag of Africa, that our spirit will never die, that the story will never be told the way they wanted it, and that we will tell our own stories and create our own narratives,” he stressed.

The ceremonies brought together members of the diaspora community in Ghana, Diplomatic Corps, Traditional Authorities, Public Officials, tourism, creative arts industry players and the media.

A cross section of patrons at the ceremony at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park

Activities of this year’s PANAFEST and Emancipation Day are spread across venues that bear significance to the country’s history with slavery and emancipation struggle. They include Cape Coast, Elmina, Assin Manso, Assin Praso and Pikoro in the Northern Region.

Story by: Samuel Obeng Appah

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