Panafest refers to an important cultural event which has been held bienially in Ghana since the year 1992. The name of the festival with the use of the term ‘pan’ itself suggests its intent. The main aim of Panafest, since its inception has been of promoting Pan Africanism and and the development of the African continent.
If we turn the pages of history, Africans have had a strong history of slavery and racism associated with them. A concept mooted by the late Efua Sutherland in the mid-1980s, essentially, the aim of Panafest was to celebrate the achievements and resilience of African culture through various modes of communication such as theatre, drama, music, and poetry. An international event, Panafest was designed to help Africans to reconnect with their strengths, despite the slave trade and its aftermath.
The location of Panafest being Ghana is of significance because Ghana was the first African colony to gain its independence from the British in 1957. The theme of Panafest 2013 was ‘Re-uniting the African family; Pan Africanism and the African Renaissance’, around which most of the talks, workshops and performative events revolved.
• Dates: Usually from end of July to the beginning of August
• Location: Cape Coast, Elmina, Assin Manso and Accra
In and Around the Festival
Numerous workshops, concerts, live performances, plays, dances etc. characterize this festival of Panafest, which is held to commemorate the African spirit of resilience and help develop an understanding about the Africans through local performances. One of the best events is a candlelit Emancipation Vigil to honour African slaves. Other highlights include the viewing of ‘durbar’ of Chiefs.
An important highlight of Panafest is Emancipation Day celebrations. On this date in 1834, slavery and slave trade was formally abolished. The year 2013 marked the 175th anniversary of full legal emancipation.
As far as accommodation is concerned, visitors are suggested that since Accra is the location where a major part of the Panafest events happen, they should opt for accommodation in Accra itself. However, tourists can also opt to stay at Cape Coast, Elmina, Assin Manso. Panafest attracts tourists from all over the world. So, it is highly recommended that visitors book their accommodation beforehand to avoid any kind of last minute glitch.
Tips for your Trip
• Ghana remains warm more or less throughout the year. So carry light cotton clothes.
• Ensure that you carry a pair of good sport shoes so that you’re comfortably on your feet.
• Carry a mosquito repellant to prevent yourself from diseases such as dengue and malaria.
• Carry a bottle of water at all times and keep sipping on it to keep yourself hydrated.
• Ensure that you take adequate rest and sleep so that you enjoy the festival thoroughly on all days.
To get a glimpse of African culture and diversity, soak yourselves in the African colour and flavor by planning a vacation to Ghana during Panfest. We suggest that ,it would certainly be an experience worth remembering!