AS Black History Month in the UK draws to a close this October, the UK branch of the Pan African Heritage World Museum (PAHW) is hosting a virtual conference that will take a critical look at the need for the history of black people to be narrated from their own perspectives rather than from Western perceptions.
‘Focusing our minds on Black History Month, nothing moves me more than the celebration of black excellence portrayed in African culture and heritage,’ Elaine Bannerman, organiser of the PAHW in the UK, told Africa Briefing.
‘The celebration of Africanness manifests a celebration not only of cultural excellence but also intellectual and academic excellence.
‘This is why the Pan African Heritage World event, Reclaiming the Narrative, is particularly exciting for me she added.’
The PAHW Museum, spearheaded by a former Ghanaian government minister, Kojo Yankah is a mega project based in Ghana that officially took off on September 21.
‘The Pan African Heritage World project will tell our own history, celebrate our own true culture and provide a pilgrimage for all humanity who desire healing from long periods of mental slavery to untruths and distortions,’ said Yankah during the virtual launch.
The UK event will see five speakers tackle wide-ranging issues covering language; culture; art; and the return of stolen African artefacts nestling in Western museums.
Although the aim of PAHW is to change the historical narrative of black people all over the world, the project will also focus on the present and future development of black people through economic independence and using technology to enhance this development.
The importance of entrepreneurship in shaping Africa’s development will be addressed by Dr Alioune Gueye from Senegal.
‘Entrepreneurship and innovation have recently taken pole position on the world stage in economic development,’ said Bannerman.
‘This presentation will place entrepreneurship at the vanguard of Africa’s development.’
Music, which has always played a crucial role in uplifting the spirits of black people in times of oppression, will feature the Kora – a 16th-century West African string instrument – and an Akan bass flute.
The flute was featured by the African Symphonic Orchestra, the Ha Orchestra, which performed at the European Conference on African Studies at the University of Edinburgh in June 2019
The Ha Orchestra was established by Ghanaian Dr Gameli Trodzro, Lecturer and Researcher at the Scottish university, who will make a presentation titled: ‘Excavating our languages and the arts to retrieving our cultural heritage’
The museum project is moving apace according to Yankah.
He explained: ‘We estimate that construction on the site will start before the end of this year, for the museum to be completed in two years.’
African American actress Kron Moore and Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie have been appointed ambassadors of the PAHW Museum.
Moore said: ‘I am deeply excited about this opportunity and I will do all I can to help the project realise its vision,’ adding that it was a ‘great initiative’.
In welcoming Moore, Yankah said: ‘We are delighted to have Kron Moore join the mission. ‘It furthers the optimism we have that the project will come to life in 2023.’
Reclaiming the Narrative: A virtual conference to celebrate Black History Month in the UK. Friday, October 30 from 6.30-8pm. Register on Eventbrite.