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Ghana: Hundreds mark PANAFEST, revisit cultural traumas that led to slave trade

Performance at PANAFEST   -  
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Hundreds of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora have converged at Ghana's historic site, Elmina Castle, to celebrate history and relieve cultural traumas that led to the Atlantic slave trade. Called PANAFEST, the celebration was organised by the Upper East Regional office of the Ghana Tourism Authority under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in collaboration with the PANAFEST Secretariat.

"The idea of pan-Africanism is still an idea that is in the formulation to manifestation and maturity and that idea of pan-Africanism of bringing the African people together as one to be empowered of ourselves. It deserves its own rituals and ceremonies that are symbolic of bringing the African spirit together" Rabbi Kohain Halevi, Pan African Festival of Arts and Culture Convener.

The event, which was on the theme: “Reclaiming the African family: confronting the past to face the challenges of the 21st Century”, was interspersed with cultural dance performances by the Sandema War Dancers and the Sakoti Dancers.

"People still ask me how is Ghana doing because this is the hub of all these African slave trade. Even though it is abolished but it is still in the memory of people so they want to see actually where it did happen and this is the place so it’s time for them to come" Nana Kojo Eduakwa, Protocol officer.

Organizers said next year's celebration would start at Pikworo since the region was home to several historical sites, including the regional museum. This was to remind everyone that everything about the slave trade started from Pikworo. official delegations from countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and South America took part in the event.

"It’s not only about suffering even though the suffering still remains. I think what connects us now is the resistance. It is what has remained, because in Brazilian culture they are so many things that come from Africa and that we only realise once we come here"  Luiza Horta, a Brazilian diplomat said.

PANAFEST is celebrated from July 23 to August 2 every year in Ghana.

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