By Abdel Monem Fawzi
fricans are very proud of their local history, but they do not always express how much they value it until it is threatened.
The problem is many African Heritage properties have been looted and are now on permanent display in many museums around the world. We should make use of the Age of Information to advocate strongly for the return of our stolen heritage.
Thus African youth will have the opportunity to reconnect with their history and culture, both at home and abroad.
Our heritage is an important factor in creating sustainable lifestyle and a positive influence on many aspects of the way a community develops. That is why Hon. Kojo Yankah decided to creat and build the African World Heritage Museum.
Professor Kojo served as MP and Minister of State, Republic of Ghana (1993-2000). He was chairman of the Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) 1997-2007. He founded the African University College of Communications (www.aucc.edu.gh) and served as chairman of the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust (2009-2019). He published his tenth book From Jamestown to Jamestown-Letters to an African Child (2019) to tell the story of the African from the slave trade to liberation, with hindsight of rich history.
He conceived the African City Project 2004 with the Pan African Heritage World Museum as a key component. In 2020, he wrote his eleventh book The Pain & Faith in Our Motherland to document the state of the Pan-African world in the coronavirus pandemic.
The design of the museum is shaped like a horn, because the horn is similar to a trumpet which is a musical instrument often used in religious ceremonies. However, in Africa, the horn means much more in our ancient traditions and culture. In Africa, the horn has historically been associated with the cow’s horn, ram’s horn and the elephant’s tusk — all representing great strength, yet great humility. The African horn is usually blown during special ceremonies conveying a message that something or someone great is coming.
The horn serves as a voice imitation of profound messages that cannot be spoken. It can be blown to appease the ancestors and the land, go to war, welcome royalty and dignitaries, to recount history and pass on information, or be a rallying call for a select group of people to come together. This is why we chose the horn as the shape of the museum. This horn will be a beacon to the Pan-African family world-wide, representing the proverbial urgent call to gather ourselves in unity for true reconciliation and liberation.
The museum complex sits on a ten-acre plot located in the Pomadze Hills near Winneba Junction, 45 kilometres on the Accra-Cape Coast road. The city site is one kilometre uphill from the main Accra-Cape Coast highway.
Apart from the six-storey building housing the galleries and artefacts, there will be spaces for a herbal farm, a Palace of African Kingdoms, a Pan-African Heroes Park and a Festival Park.
Musicians Okyeame Kwame and his colleagues, Pat Thomas and Bessa Simons, will start raising funds through concerts to support the African World Heritage Museum.
The rapper said that he and his colleagues who believe in the concept of the project would be raising funds to support it.
“We are organising two events to support the fund-raising project because $50 million is not a small amount,” he said. “We need to realise it and ensure that the project comes to fruition,” he added.
He explained that there would be a fund-raising project at +233 to bring people together to listen to amazing highlife music from him, Pat Thomas, Bessa Simons and other artistes.
He further expressed his delight at the concept and how near they are to its realisation.
“I love my ancestry and my unborn children. And so, when a visionary decides to create an Africa heritage museum to tell the African story, we should support the concept with all our might,” he said.
He also revealed that there would be other musical concerts that would bring artistes from across the globe.
This is to energise us to continue what has already been started: ‘The Year of Return’ and ‘Beyond the Return’.
Many events, he explained, have preceded this project, and this comes in to add to the many moves that Pan-Africanists are making.
“We need to bring everyone together to tell the African story. We need to bring their attention to it so they know who we are and what we stand for as Africans and as Ghanaians,” he stated.
An International Board of Trustees governs the Project, Academic Council and an Executive Council.
They work as a family and collective unit. Registered in Ghana, the US, and the UK as an international NGO, the $50 million museum project is funded through donations, gifts and grants.
The construction of the museum is expected to be completed in December 2022 for commissioning in July 2023.
The good news is I have been chosen as a member to the International Board of Trustees of the Pan-African Heritage. I received this email:
I have the greatest pleasure to officially welcome you to the International Board of Trustees of the Pan African Heritage World Museum. You are nominated and selected first because you believe in our Pan-Africanist vision of building a bridge between Africans on the Continent and those in the Diaspora. Secondly, you have a special skill/talent that has been identified to help move our vision and mission forward. Amongst you are ambassadors, educationists, entrepreneurs, visionaries, technologists, creative artists, environmentalists, and museum educators/curators. You are selected from Egypt, and others from South Africa,Uganda,Senegal, Nigeria, Trinidad/Tobago, Jamaica, USA, UK etc. Africa needs men and women who are committed to this cause to help build Agenda 2063 around the African Union – for us, for the Youth, for future generations of black people everywhere”.
It is never too late, and neither does it hurt, to unlearn and relearn our own history as Africans. We can only be proud of what we own and who we are. ‘Africa Must Unite’ and develop with our story is the way to go.