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July23–August 2

PANAFEST – July 23-August 2, 2024

PANAFEST is celebrated from July 23 to August 2 every year. It is an abbreviation for the Pan African Historical Theater Festival, which takes place every two years in Ghana. Founded on the belief that the arts, and particularly, theater, can be powerful vehicles for communication and healing, it is also built on the premise that people must create new forms of expression and dialogue to inspire the mobilization necessary to move to higher levels of achievement. The event includes Emancipation Day festivities, academic lectures, musical and dance events, and commemoration visits to sites that shaped slavery in the 15th century.

History of PANAFEST

The inspiration came from playwright and pan-Africanist Dr. Mrs. Efua Sutherland’s 1980 paper titled “Proposal for a Historical Drama Festival in Cape Coast.” The paper served as the genesis of PANAFEST, which since its inception in 1991, has grown into a multi-faceted artistic undertaking. Every year, PANAFEST is held on Cape Coast after a series of events, including national playwriting competitions, seminars, and workshops on Pan-Africanism, all over the nation.

As early as 1992, official delegations from countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and South America took part in the event. People from the diaspora are welcome to learn the history of Africa and contribute to the liberation struggles. PANAFEST highlights African culture through art, culture, music, theater, and dance. It is a celebration of African culture and the achievements of Africans despite the transatlantic slave trade and its aftereffects.

PANAFEST was created to enable Africans to reconnect with their strengths and be inspired to eternal vigilance, firmly establishing themselves to assume the reins of their future by understanding the lessons of history. There are critical changes today that make this proudly Ghanaian project an important and relevant venue for members of the African Family to engage in open conversation.

PANAFEST timeline

The Inspiration for PANAFEST

Dr. Mrs. Efua Sutherland writes "Proposal for a Historical Drama Festival in Cape Coast," a paper that serves as the inspiration and basis for PANAFEST.

The PANAFEST Idea Comes to Life

The Pan-African Historical Theater Festival is born and grows into a full-fledged festival.


Cape Coast, Elmina, and Accra host the first PANAFEST from December 12 to 19.

Stevie Wonder at PANAFEST Celebration

More than 4,000 foreign competitors from 32 nations participate in PANAFEST, and Stevie Wonder features as the leading artist.

The Return from Hiatus

After a three-year hiatus, PANAFEST returns for the 1997 edition.


What is the objective of PANAFEST?

It is a pivotal event to reunite Africans on the continent with those in the diaspora. It also encourages contributions to the development of Africa.

Why is PANAFEST important for those in the diaspora?

Africans in the diaspora see it as a spiritual homecoming. They can finally link the circumstances that saw their ancestors in foreign lands.

Why are the castles and forts important?

The event is located in the colonial city of Cape Coast, Ghana, with a backdrop of forts, castles, and dungeons where slaves were kept. This was a point of transit during the Slave Trade.

PANAFEST Activities

  1. Attend PANAFEST

    One of the ways you can enjoy PANAFEST is by taking a trip to Ghana to enjoy the festival in all its glory. Take advantage of the trip to enjoy the sights Ghana has to offer.

  2. Spearhead conversations on social media

    Contribute to the conversation on social media by letting people know about PANAFEST and the important dialogues surrounding Africa. Use the hashtag #PANAFEST to increase the reach and get more people aware.

  3. Sponsor or donate

    Make even more impact by donating money or in-kind gifts such as books and art supplies. You may also volunteer your services and time or sponsor independent events.

5 Facts About PANAFEST

  1. Forum for discussion

    Africa’s continued progress can be discussed and acknowledged through this platform.

  2. Repercussions of slave trade

    PANAFEST is an examination and contemplation of the impacts of slavery over the last five hundred years.

  3. The festival’s themes

    PANAFEST themes have mirrored Africa's progress in politics, society, and economy.

  4. Diverse groups of people

    The event brings together a wide range of people, including politicians, celebrities, and thinkers, as well as business people, investors, and charitable organizations.

  5. African history through art and culture

    In addition to celebrating important worldwide performances and visual talents throughout Africa, PANAFEST promotes education about African history through the arts and culture.


  1. It tackles negative African occurrences

    PANAFEST is a vital platform to tackle critical changes, and a venue for members of the African Society to participate in open conversation. Human trafficking, mass migration, alienation of Africans in a globalized knowledge economy, intensified external exploitation of African natural resources, the slowness of African unification, and other concerns are addressed.

  2. It has many positive aspects

    Some positive aspects include facilitating global conventions, coalitions, and the African aspiration to build multinational firms. Community activities, the use of technology, and the mobilization of African capacity all over the world are also actualized.

  3. A forum to showcase Africa’s potential

    The festival showcases indigenous African culture and the future of Africa. It is a place where people can talk about how Africa is changing and recognize its contributions.


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