PRESIDENT John Dramani Mahama has called on Africans and people of African descent to purge themselves of the trauma of the dark ages and slavery on the African continent.
The President urged them to reunite and forge a positive future ahead in the contemporary global environment.
President Mahama made the call at the weekend in a speech read on his behalf by Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Minister of State at the Presidency, at the opening of this year’s Pan African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) in Cape Coast, in the Central Region.
This event, which is the 23rd edition, is on the theme: ‘PANAFEST at the threshold of the decade of the people of African descent’.
President Mahama said, “The strength and resilience of African culture and achievement of Africans, in spite of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its aftermath, should inspire Africans and Africans in the Diaspora to be eternally vigilant by re-dedicating ourselves to fully assume the reigns of our destinies”.
He noted that Africa was currently plagued with human trafficking, brain drain, diseases, poverty, hunger, marginalisation in the global managed economy, the renewed surged of external pursuit of African natural resources and the slow pace of African unification.
He paid tribute to leaders such as Pan-Africanists, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president; W.E. B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Junior, Jomo Kenyatta and Nnamdi Azikiwe, who spearheaded the struggle for the emancipation of the African continent.
He said the international decade for people of African descent should be used for the reinvigoration of the interest of the youth in Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.
President Mahama appealed to corporate institutions to support the organisation of subsequent events, and expressed concern about the level of apathy among residents of Cape Coast during the organisation of PANAFEST over the years.
He urged the Central Regional House of Chiefs, the PANAFEST Foundation, as well other collaborators with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts to ensure that PANAFEST was restored to its former glory.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, said the government would sustain its support for PANAFEST to live up to its objective of offering opportunity for building bridges between people of African descent, and celebrating their knowledge, insight, skills and aspirations.
“The ministry is working with the PANAFEST Foundation and other collaborators to strengthen PANAFEST institutionally to achieve those lofty goals,” she said.
Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said this year’s PANAFEST was being used as the launching pad for the 2017 re-branding and strengthening of the festival, in order to raise its profile.
The Central Regional Minister, Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, indicated that the celebration of PANAFEST had created the platform for Africans and people of African descent to appreciate the truth about their identity as Africans.
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Paramount Chief of the Oguaa traditional area, urged Africans to guard against foreign indoctrination and rather work towards preserving the heritage of Africa.
From David O. Yarboi-Tetteh,Cape Coast