- PANAFEST was mooted by the late Efua Sutherland in the mid-1980s as a cultural vehicle for bringing Africans on the continent and in the diaspora together around the issues raised by slavery the remain suppressed. PANAFEST addresses the most traumatic interruption that ever occurred in the natural evolution of African societies, which among other traumas profoundly eroded the self-confidence and freedom for self-determination of a whole people. Ghana’s coastline is dotted with now silent memorials to over 500 years of this most turbulent era in Africa’s history, which the festival consciously makes a site for confronting the effects of enslavement, purging the pain of the diaspora, acknowledging the residual effects of the trade on the African continent and re-uniting to forge a positive future in the contemporary global environment.
Alongside the healing processes, PANAFEST celebrates the strengths and resilience of African culture and achievements of Africans in spite of the transatlantic slave trade and its aftermath. It is designed to help Africans to reconnect with their strengths and thus be inspired to eternal vigilance, rededicate themselves to fully assuming the reigns of their own destiny in recognition of the lessons of history. There are today urgent developments making this proudly Ghanaian initiative a vital and relevant platform that provides members of the African family with the opportunity to engage with each other in forthright communication. Among these are negatives such as human trafficking from the continent, the brain drain, marginalization of Africans in a global knowledge economy, the renewed surge of external pursuit of African natural resources and the slowness of African unification. There are also positive factors including enabling global conventions and coalitions and African initiatives to establish transnational businesses, add value to community initiatives, take advantage of technologies and mobilize the strength of Africans around the globe.
- Emancipation Day is an annual event in Ghana, the Black Star of Africa and the gateway to the Homeland of people of African descent in the Diaspora.
Emancipation was originally celebrated in the Caribbean to commemorate the final abolition of Chattel Slavery in the British colonies on 1st August 1834. Ghana became the first African nation to join in the celebration in 1998 to re-affirm its status as the Gateway to the African Homeland of Diasporans.
Ghana’s claim to the position of gateway to the Homeland is well grounded in the fact that it was a major exit point for slaves on the West Coast in the period that the infamous trade took place.
Currently, about 40 Forts, Castle and lodges used for the Slave trade are in existent in the country, with 3 of them; St. George’s Castle and St. Jago fort, both at Elmina, and Cape Coast Castle, designated by UNESCO as World Heritage sites.
As a complement to these Forts and Castles, we are developing the Slave Route Project, which seeks to rehabilitate, restore and promote the tangible and intangible heritage from the slave trade, is being implemented. This route takes the tourist through communities where resistance was put up against the slave raiders, like Gwollu and Nalerigu with their defensive walls; slave market sites like Saakpili and Salaga, the slave bathing rivers and slave burial grounds at Assin-Manso among others.
- Black history month as known now was originally called the Negro History Week created by Carter .G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, educator, scholar and publisher. It became a month long celebration in 1976.The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, significant players in the abolishment of slavery in the United States.
Black History Month has evolved over the years with other countries joining the celebrations. In the united kingdom, the Month was first celebrated in 1987 through the leadership of Akyaaba Addai-Sebo a Ghanaian who served as coordinator of special projects for the Greater London Council (GLC).
In Canada, it was celebrated in 1995 after a motion by politician Jean Augustine, representing the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore in Ontario, Canada’s House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month and honored Black Canadians.
The celebrations have been marked extensively in Ghana and some parts of Africa. The US Embassy in Accra, Ghana has over the years collaborated with educational institutions, non profits and cultural advancement agencies to mark the celebrations.
- World Tourism Day – this day is observed on the 27th day of September yearly.
- The Ghana Paragliding Festival has become an integral part of the annual Kwahu Easter Festivities. The event rekindled the hither-to dying Kwahu Easter festival and transformed Easter celebration in Ghana into an international event.
The history of the festival goes back to March 2003 when, as the new Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the capitol city Accra, Mr. Jake Tonka Obetsebi-Lamptey visited the Kwahu ridge as part of his familiarization tour of the country, and by chance crossed paths with the festival’s organizer, Walter Neser.
The first Ghana Paragliding Festival, in 2005, was launched by H.E. Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.
The festival was recristined the Kwahu Easter Festival in 2010 through the leadership of the Chief Executive of the Ghana Tourism Authority (Julius Debrah) in partnership with Adom fm (a local fm station and member of the Multimedia Group) and has thence incorporated numerous activities includeing hiking the Odweanoma mountain, walk race (walkerton), telescope viewing from the Mt. Odweanoma Observatory, Jams, Dubar of Chiefs and People of Kwahu, Music Album lunches etc.
Kwahu Paragliding festival attracts both Ghanaians and foreigners alike for 4 days of spectacular aerial fun, ceremony and music. For the last 5 years, tandem paraglider pilots have gathered from around the world to fly local Ghanaian spectators and foreign visitors. The festival is open to solo pilots as well; and boasts consistent flying conditions that begin around mid morning and remain soarable until late in the day. The thermals are consistently large and mild and offer a fantastic opportunity for both newer pilots to gain valuable experience and airtime as well as for seasoned pilots who want to enjoy hours of “stress free” flying.
- The Chale Wote Street Art Festival also known as Chale Wote is an alternative platform that brings art, music, dance and performance out into the streets. The festival targets exchanges between scores of local and international artists and patrons by creating and appreciating art together.
Since 2011, CHALE WOTE has included street painting, graffiti murals, photography, theater, spoken word, interactive art installations, live street performances, extreme sports, film shows, a fashion parade, a music block party, recyclable design workshops and much more. It is the first to be organized in Accra, Ghana and has inspired similar events across the country. There have been four editions so far; the first two ran for one day each, while the 2013 and 2014 edition ran concurrently for two days, the former in September and the latter in August, a week after the Homowo festival of the Ga people at the historical Jamestown, Ghana on the High Street in Accra. The event is produced by Accra [dot] Alt Radio, with support from other local cultural networks like Attukwei Art Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Art Ghana, Dr. Monk, Redd Kat Pictures and the Institut français in Ghana.
Ghana’s towns and cities throb to quality of Ghanaian highlife, hiplife, afro pop, reggae and R&B music throughout the day all week long. Street bars (drinking spots) line up along the streets/ roads sides. These local bars spring to full business when the sun goes down and when patronizers go deep into the night in search of good time. From local drinking bars, cocktail bars to jam-packed nightclubs, Ghana’s nightlife has it all.