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The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Mohammed Awal, says illegal activities along the borders of countries in the sub-region are hampering efforts to develop tourism.
At a durbar of chiefs and people, including Africans in the diaspora, to mark the Pan African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) in Cape Coast last Friday, Dr Awal called on the public to collaborate with security agencies to protect the nation’s borders.
He said security along the coast and borders of the sub-region in recent times had left much to be desired, stressing that the situation did not bode well for tourism development. The relatively smaller but colourful durbar was restricted to the Emintsimadze Palace in Cape Coast with adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols instead of the usually huge durbar held for the event at the Victoria Park.
At the peak of the celebrations, the “Effirim” ceremony — the smearing of white clay — was held to welcome Africans in the Diaspora back home. Dr Awal appealed to the chiefs to support the security agencies to halt activities that could discourage tourists from visiting the country.
“We cannot achieve development without peace. These days, especially in the sub-region, there are a lot of illegal activities; from Burkina Faso to Nigeria, it’s not good,” he said.
He said there was the need for Africans on the continent to collaborate to ensure economic renaissance. He said Ghana was the home of pan Africanism and homeland of African people, and urged people of African descent to actualise their dreams through the opportunities that Ghana offered as a peaceful business and tourist destination.
He said culture was the very existence of the African, and that PANAFEST must be solidified to promote and grow the identity of African people everywhere.
Seek the truth
The Central Regional Minister, Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, urged society to seek the truth of their identities as people of African descent, and to build on their strengths.
She advised the people to keep a focus on building on their capacities through formal education and cultural education while protecting the good attributes of their culture.
The Paramount Chief of Cape Coast, Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, said culture was the backbone of all people, and expressed the hope that the festival would continue to reunite all Africans.
The Chairperson of the International Board of Trustees for the PANAFEST Foundation, Professor Esi Sutherland, said it was essential that important aspects of the African culture such as language, food and fashion were kept for the next generation.
The President of the Central Regional House of Chiefs, Odeefuo Amoakwa Boadu, said PANAFEST was worth celebrating because it remained a conduit for Africans to rediscover themselves, to believe in their heritage and to create a conducive and enabling business environment to attract interested investors.
Dr Reggie Calhoun of the RPA College in Arlington, USA, and a member of the Africans in the Diaspora, expressed the hope that the festival would be a platform for resourceful engagements between Africans in the Diaspora and the continent.