Thursday, July 26-Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Joseph Project launched at Paga
By: BENJAMIN GLOVER
THE Chiefs and people of Paga in collaboration with the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) have organized a grand durbar to launch the Joseph Project and Emancipation Day celebrations.
The Joseph Project is an invitation to Africans in the Diaspora to return and reconnect with their ancestors and their relations here in Ghana.
Unlike previous celebrations, this year’s Emancipation Day celebration which was hitherto observed in Assin Manso and Cape Coast has been extended to the northern parts of the country because northern Ghana is considered the place where most of the slaves were captured and sent to the south.
Of all the areas in the north, the Pikworo Slave Camp at Paga-Nania was the most suitable for holding slaves. There are relics of a natural stone tower there that was used for keeping watch and addressing people. Below the tower is an open area which was used as the gathering area and slave market. There is also a dining area where clean water springs from the rocks and bowls have been carved out for food.
Above this are two elevated rocks that slaves used as drums for recreation. At the base of one hill is a cemetery where many slaves who died were buried in mass graves.
In a speech read on his behalf at the durbar, the outgoing Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Boniface Gambila called on Africans to use the memories of the slave trade as a unifying factor for the black race.
“We have a lot of personalities of African descent who have made a mark in the fields of science, education, business, sports, and politics. These persons have made the black race a proud and enviable one and what is left is for them to use their influence to impact positively on the African continent”, he said.
He pleaded with the diasporians not to forsake the continent but emulate the good example of biblical Joseph and contribute their quota to the development of the continent.
The Paramount Chief of the Paga Traditional Area, Pe Charles Awiah Awampaga said the traditional area was delighted to be part of this year’s celebration and pledge the readiness of the chiefs and people of the area to assist Diasporas to settle in the area.
“My traditional Council has reserved enough land for brothers and sisters in the Diaspora who wish to invest in Paga to compensate for the Thousands of people we lost during the slave trade”, he said.
The leader of a nine member team from Nova-Scotia, Canada who were present at the durbar said they were happy to be in Ghana and Paga in particular adding that they feel very excited to be part of the celebrations.
“We are happy to be home and we must always keep connected” he said adding that “we plan to stay for many more days”.
The Upper East Regional Manager of GTB, Ms. Mary M. Agangmikre who chaired the function described this year’s emancipation celebration as very significant because apart from coinciding with the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary, it also marks the 200 years of the abolition of the slavery.
GRAPHIC SHOWBIZ - Thurs., July 26 –Wed. Aug., 1, 2007 Page: 14