Minister calls for strengthening of PANAFEST/Emancipation structures
Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Minister of Tourism, on Saturday called for the strengthening of PANAFEST and Emancipation structures, to attract more people to participate in the celebrations of the events.
She said this would also ensure that the programme survived in the face of competition from other African countries, adding “Ghana has been very sincere in the quest to bridge the gap between the two halves of the Atlantic”.
Mrs. Azumah-Mensah was speaking at a durbar of chiefs and people of Assin Manso in the Central Region, to climax the celebration of this year’s Emancipation Day.
The ceremony, which was attended by Ghanaians from different backgrounds and people from other countries including the Caribbean, USA and Nigeria, was under the theme: “Emancipation, Our Heritage, Our Strengthen, Uniting the African Family, Communicating African Reality.”
Mrs. Azumah-Mensah observed that the celebration of the two events brought together Africans through the arts and theatre, created awareness and brotherliness among Africans and people of the African decent with respect to their common values, culture and languages.
The minister said that the eventual rise of Africans would be a force to reckon with, which according to her was aptly epitomised by the shinning example of U.S President Barack Obama.
Mrs. Azumah-Mensah said: “It is obvious that with determination, a people can rise and take their destiny into their hands and do what is expected of them for their survival and freedom. Ghana is ever ready to act as the catalyst for the rise of the African on the world stage.”
She said that hardships slaves went through in the past were still with Africans in the form of hunger, poverty, illiteracy and diseases and called for “a new African with a new spirit and a new approach to solving problems.”
Madam Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Central Regional Minister, in a speech read on her behalf, called on Africans to use the celebrations of the two events to remove misconceptions people have about the continent and to emancipate themselves politically, socially and economically.
She urged the PANAFEST Foundation to remain committed to the aims upon which the two events were initiated to establish the truth about the history of Africans.
Professor Verene Shepherd, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, said the participation of Africans in the Diaspora in the celebrations of PANAFEST and Emancipation have destabilised the “door of no return” and that many of them were ready to return home to help with the development of Africa.
The Lecture, who is also the former board chairman of the Jamaican National Heritage Trust, said the time had come for Africans to free themselves from mental slavery, which can be done only if the people would be confident in whatever they do.
Barima Kwame Nkyi XII, Omanhen of the Assin Apimanim Traditional Area, said Assin Manso has played a significant role in the celebration of Emancipation Day.
He called on government to construct a hospital, roads, technical school and to build hostels in the town to attract more tourists to the area.
Barima Nkyi urged government to revive the rural housing and SSNIT flats projects in the rural, to help address the country’s accommodation problem.
Three wreaths were laid on behalf of the chiefs, government of Ghana and a delegation of Africans in the Diaspora.