The 6th Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST 2003) was on Thursday launched at Elmina with a call on the organisers of the festival to ensure that ''it is well preserved, properly packaged, professionally promoted and intensively marketed worldwide.''
PANAFEST is a cultural event organised annually in Ghana and is dedicated to the enhancement of ideals of Pan-Africanism and development of the African continent.
The festival, which is scheduled for July 23 to August 5 would take place in Cape Coast, Elmina, Assin Manso, all in the Central Region and Accra under the theme: "Uniting the Africa Family; dialogue on traditional African system in the 21st Century globalisation".
More than 5,000 international participants from 40 countries are expected to attend this year's festival.
Activities lined up for the festival include, colloquium, conference of traditional African rulers, bazaars/trade exposition, musical concert and youth and women forums.
Launching the festival, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, Mr Abubakar Siddique Boniface, commended the organisers of the festival that had already been launched in the USA, South Africa and yet to be launched in the UK, Nigeria and Cuba. Mr Abubakar said the festival was an opportunity for Ghana to market its potentials and called on Ghanaians to bury their differences that might affect the organisation of the event.
He said since there was the tendency for other Africans and blacks in the Diaspora to organise similar festivals, it was imperative for Ghanaians to resolve to do all they could to maintain whatever unique advantages they had over the others to keep and develop PANAFEST in Ghana.
"We can only face the challenge if the PANAFEST FOUNDATION remains resolute and stay steadfastly committed to the ideals of the originators of the festival."
Mr Kojo Yankah, Chairman of the International Board of the PANAFEST Foundation, announced that all was set for the smooth take off of the festival.
He said arrangement has been made with the Ghana Airways to offer six flights on a 30 percent discount for people attending the festival.
He appealed to the government to sponsor groups in the country that would be performing during festival, saying that, PANAFEST 'is not a profit-making venture'.
Rabbi Kohain Nhalevi, Executive Secretary of PANAFEST, said the festival was more than an event but a movement that was bringing people from the African descent to showcase their traditional wealth.
He said this year's festival would be taken to most regions in the country and urged the public to show interest and participate.