Primarily known as The Pan African Historical Theatre Project, this is a cultural fest that takes place in Ghana, West Africa every two years since its inception in 1992.
This festival is organized biennially for the people of Africa and African descendants and aims to promote unity, Pan-Africanism along with the political, social and economic development of the nation itself.
Panafest boasts of being the most prestigious and cultural event that takes place in the African continent. It attracts a wide, versatile assembly of people including eminent celebrities, politicians, business tycoons, investors and tourists.
This is an international fest and attracts participants and visitors from African, Caribbean, South American countries as well as from Europe and the United States. The panafest tour has the duration of ten days and will take place from 24th July to 2nd August in the year 2019.
Objectives And Celebration
This fest was started in the mid 1980’s to bring together the Africans of the continent and the diaspora over the crucial issue of slavery and oppression. It’s a celebration commemorating the effects of 500 years of slave trade and the resulting African colonies. Based on the theories of Pan-Africanism by W.E.B Du Bois’, this festival involves Emancipation Day events, musical and dance performances, informative lectures and visits to historical coastal forts and cities on the Atlantic which played a crucial part in the advancement of slavery at the starting of the 15th century.
The objective of this fest is to portray the truth about Africa’s history and the hardships faced by the Africans through the medium of African art and culture. The soul of Panafest is all about freedom from enslavement and self-identification as natives of Africa with emancipation being the core element. Panafest talks about the most traumatic incident which took place during the formation of African societies that had caused immense erosion of the freedom and self-confidence of thousands of Africans.
This festival thus commemorates the 500 years of the most turbulent era in the history of Africa spent in enslavement and re-uniting Africans to create a positive future in the Global environment. The main goal is to celebrate the strengths and tenacity levels of African forefathers and the achievements of the African culture overcoming drawbacks like slave trade. Events occurring during this festival include works of art, drama, music, poetry as well as sight-seeing of the durbar of the chiefs and slave dungeons.
Panafest starts and ends in the capital city, Accra. It includes a pilgrimage that allows the participants to visit the places that played a crucial role in the slave trade period. Fortified prisons are visited where fellow innocent human beings were sold as chattel property. Visiting these sites helps to understand the pain and sufferings that were undertaken by millions of African slaves.
- Cape Coast – Dutch, Portuguese and British colonialists used this site to develop the slave trade. At present times, it houses the Panafest theatre.
- Elimna – This site was first founded by the Portuguese to be used as a fort and port city to export gold. It became the first place in Africa where the Europeans settled and later was transformed into an important hub for shipping slaves all over the world.
- Assin Praso – This fortified castle which now lies in ruins was used as a halting point for the slaves to take “rest” on their journey to the final place in Africa prior to being sold abroad.
- Assin Manso – This is an UNESCO World Heritage site which was a massive monument of horror to the slaves. Here they were bathed, dressed and redistributed to the ships for their oncoming sale abroad.