Cape Coast — Students from nine Senior High Schools across the country on Saturday converged at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Medical School Auditorium to celebrate the historic PANAFEST Youth Day, showcasing their poetry, cultural and fashion prowess, to the amazement of Pan-Africanist heavyweights like Professor James Small, Rabbi Kohain and Dr. Esi Sutherland.
The Ghana National College, a school founded by the great Pan-Africanist, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, gave a good account of themselves as they portrayed their Pan-African spirit through beautiful patriotic songs which they sung.
The celebration was based on the theme: "Focusing on the heirs, empowering the world African Youth".
The nine second cycle schools involved were St Agustine's College, Adisadel College, Mfantsipim School, Ghana National College and Cape Coast Technical Institute.
Others were Fijai SHS, Techiman SHS, Mawuli SHS and Ayensudo Akoma Academy.
Speaking at the function, the Guest Speaker, Dr. Esi Sutherland, a retired educationist and a board member of PANAFEST Foundation, admonished the students who are mostly youth, to refrain from the habit of asking for handouts from their tutors and embrace the culture of reading and research, so as to ask many questions about their field of study.
She also asked them to strive hard to preserve their cultural heritage by studying the various cultural diversities in the country, adding that if they fail to do so, the foreigners would take over and turn round to teach them.
"If you allow someone to take hold of your heritage, that person also takes hold of your future", the retired lecturer told the teeming students, and asked them to preserve the cultural heritage of the country by studying the history of the country very well. She again charged them to start writing about the cultural heritage of Ghana while at school.
She cited examples where the Ewe and Akan languages are being taught in Germany and Florida in the United States of America respectively. The renowned educationist further used the occasion to appeal to the students to brainstorm on how best they could use the knowledge they acquire in school to help Africa and Ghana to further move the continent forward.
Dr. Sutherland expressed gratitude to the youth for stepping in their shoes, as they have taken the mantle of the Panafest, saying their toil has not been in vain, and urged them to keep it up.
The Executive Secretary of the Foundation, Rabbi Kohain Helvi said the PANAFEST Foundation was expected to celebrate its 20 years anniversary by it was cancelled following the untimely death of late President John Evans Atta Mills, two days to the beginning of the celebration of the global event.
According to Rabbi Kohain, the celebration was dedicated to the African Youth because they are currently at the forefront of African economic liberation struggle. He said PANAFEST seeks to bring all Africans over the world together, to enable them know each other.
He commended the participating schools for their will power in joining the crusade of preserving the cultural heritage of Ghana and Africa as a whole.
The Chairman for the occasion, Professor James Small, a retired History Professor at the University of New York, maintained that the focus on the youth was to inculcate into them the spirit of Pan-Africanism so that they would not lose attention on the need to develop Ghana and Africa by harnessing the vast human and natural resources to build a powerful economy in the world.
He advised the youth to refrain from 'jumping out' of Africa to seek greener pastures on other continents immediately they complete tertiary education, adding that such attitude did not augur well for the development of Ghana and Africa in particular.
On his part, Mr. Daniel Richard Essah, the Patron of Mfantsipim School Pan-African Club appealed to any presidential candidate who would win the December 7 election to protect the PANAFEST celebration from being taking away from Ghana to either Nigeria, South Africa or Zimbabwe, because the festival originated from Cape Coast.