Eastern Region marks PANAFEST, Emancipation Day - Youth urged to tell African story

BY: Pacome Emmanuel Damalie
Mr Frederick Adjei-Rudolph — Eastern Regional  Manager of Ghana Tourism Authority
Mr Frederick Adjei-Rudolph — Eastern Regional Manager of Ghana Tourism Authority

The Eastern Regional Manager of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Mr Fredrick Adjei-Rudolph, has urged the youth not to shy away from Africa’s history but propagate it to advance the good image of Ghana and Africa.

He said it would be an error for Africans to allow the West to tell Africa’s story, as the West did not have the experiential knowledge of what the history was.

"This is the time to reclaim our rights as Africans and tell our own story; we must weave our own narrative and tell our African stories as Africans. The West cannot tell our story for us; we must tell our own story,” he said.

At a media engagement last Friday to commemorate this year's Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) and Emancipation Day in the Eastern Region, Mr Adjei-Rudolph explained that the stories told about Ghana and Africa had the ability to drive the tourism industry of the Eastern Region and the country at large to become the number one contributor to Ghana's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as targeted by the GTA, as they encourage international and domestic tourists to visit historical places.

Health security, appeal

Mr Adjei-Rudolph said the PANAFEST and Emancipation Day was being marked on two different themes aimed at telling Africa’s different stories in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world.

PANAFEST, which has as its theme: "Securing the African Family: Our Health, Our Wealth and Our Soul", focused on the security of Ghana and Africa against the raging COVID-19 that has entered its third wave across the world.

 Emancipation Day was on the theme: "Reclaiming Our Right to Weave Our Own Narrative", to tell the African history to the world.

He said the themes were "even more appropriate at these very difficult times when the whole world is bedeviled with the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic".

He added that the celebration represented the time to secure the African continent from global politics that had characterised the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

"This is the time to secure the African continent from the global politics that has characterised the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. We must secure our health needs as Africans; we must secure our wealth needs as Africans and secure our soul as Africans," he said.

The Eastern Regional Director of the GTA appealed to the youth not to continue dwelling on the past but leverage it to build a better Ghana and Africa.

"As youth and new generation of Africa, we cannot continue to just dwell on the past but leverage it and look forward to building an Africa better that we found it. We have the responsibility to aspire to build an Africa of love, equality and, most especially, security for ourselves and generations unborn," he said.

Honour, background

This year's PANAFEST and Emancipation Day honoured the memories of heroes such as Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Dr Edward Burghart Du Bois, Dr George Padmore and other great ancestors who have built on Pan-African ideals and the liberation of the African continent.

PANAFEST has been a biennial celebration in Ghana for Africans and people of African descent since 1992 to promote and enhance unity, Pan-Africanism and the development of the African continent.

It has been celebrated over the years to mark the strength and resilience of African culture and the achievements of Africans, in spite of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade and its aftermath.

It was designed to help Africans to reconnect with their strengths and thus get inspired to eternal vigilance, rededicate themselves to fully assume the reins of their own destiny in recognition of the lessons of history.   

Emancipation Day, on the other hand, has been a national and annual event to commemorate the resilience and liberation of African people in the Diaspora against enslavement and the violation of their human rights.

It was originally celebrated in the Caribbean to commemorate the final abolition of chattel slavery in the British colonies on August 1, 1834.

However, it has been on Ghana’s tourism calendar since 1998 when it became the first African country to re-affirm its status as the gateway to the homeland of Africans in the Diaspora.