Osabarima Kwasi Atta II, The Omanhene of Oguaa Traditional Area, has called for the support of Ghanaians, particularly the media, to promote the ideals of the Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) and “Emancipation Day”.
He indicated, the need to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage and project Africa’s unique cultural values and norms to attract the desired investment to stimulate economic growth. The festival was introduced in the mid-1980s as a cultural vehicle to bring Africans both home and abroad to work together to overcome barriers that sought to hinder the growth and its people.
Similarly, the commemoration of the Emancipation Day was introduced in Ghana in 1998 and celebrated on August 1, every year, to mark the abolishment of the chattel slavery in the Caribbean. Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum in Cape Coast on Tuesday, Osabarimah Atta said series of exciting activities earmarked to climax the twin celebrations included international and local arts and craft exhibitions, food bazaar, cultural dances and procession by Asafo groups.
In addition, there would be a re-enactment of the crossing of River Prah and a grand durbar of the chiefs and people of Assin Manso, the acclaimed site of the “Ndokonsuo” (Slave River) where the slaves transported from the Northern part of the country were bathed before they were taken to the Cape Coast Castle. Osabarima Atta, who doubles as the co-Chairman of the PANAFEST Foundation, said this year’s celebration would go beyond ceremonial events to put in place systems and structures that would bond all people of black descents.
He said it was imperative for all to be forward-thinking to identify “modern slavery” that included racial and economic exploitation by pooling resources together to help build a better future for the continent. “As Africans it is important that we work together as one people who have been traumatized by slavery and suffered discrimination because of racial differences.
“We should not easily forget our common bond of brotherhood and tragically tear each other apart in the name of differences in political ideologies, ethnicity, colour or race.” Nana Amba Eyiaba I, Krontihemaa of Oguaa Traditional Area, said the Emancipation Day ceremony was in honour of the departed leaders and ancestors whose toil, sacrifice and struggles paved the way for the emancipation of the black man from the shackles of slavery.
The commemoration, according to her, was truly significant to rekindle the flame of unity among black people everywhere and heighten the inter-connected nature of their struggles on the continent, Europe and America. She said people who did not know their history to appreciate and understand the events that had forged their present realities, risk having a bleak future adding; “we cannot hide from the harsh truth of our history.”
Nana Eyiaba charged Ghanaians to rise to the challenges of the time, saying “our destinies are inextricably linked and the strength of our unity is necessary to overcome the tremendous odds and challenges we have to confront.”