The Pan African Heritage Museum of Ghana seeks to retrieve African history

The impression of the artist from the museum

In our series of letters from African writers, media consultant and educator Joseph Warungu writes about plans to build a huge museum in Ghana (so that Africans, not foreigners, can control their history and heritage) to reflect history. and African heritage.

Short gray line presentation

Short gray line presentation

A new migration of Africans is about to happen.

The Masai of Kenya and Tanzania, the Himba of Namibia, the Somalis of the Horn of Africa, the Zulu of South Africa and the Mbenga of the Western Congo Basin – among many other communities – could soon move to a new home in Ghana .

The most significant mass movement of peoples within Africa began more than 4,000 years ago, when huge populations of Bandu speakers left their original homes in South West Africa to settle in other parts of the continent.

The new immigrants will travel in the opposite direction.

Like their predecessors, they will not require a visa or travel documents.

Their relocation is not physical but cultural and spiritual. It is their history, their philosophy, their beliefs and their history that they are going to find a new home.

The new home is located in Pomadze Hills in Winneba. The 10-acre area in central Ghana is located about 60 miles (40 miles) west of the capital, Accra.

It is an attraction, with rolling ground, covered with greenery.

If all goes according to plan, in August next year this site will create an impressive six-story structure – the Pan-African Heritage Museum.

The impression of the artist

Museum founders hope to tackle ‘distortions’ of African history and heritage

The Winneba site, through which “immigrants” will enter their new home in Ghana, is just over an hour’s drive from the Door of No Return to Cape Coast Castle, from which millions of Africans have been forced to flee the continent and to enslave. .

The museum, which is under construction, has one main goal – to edit and tell the history of Africa using African voices, tools and culture.

The great minds behind the play say that this is necessary because for a long time African history has been told by others.

They argue that when someone else tells your story, they say it from their own point of view to look good.

As a result, the museum seeks to acquire African narrative by bridging what its founders say is a gap that has widened between people of African descent for more than 400 years.

It is a museum that seeks to teach, heal and inspire.

The impression of the artist from the museum

The museum will also seek to bridge the gap between people of African descent

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo says the museum will “provide a natural home and resting place for all the looted cultural objects on our continent, housed in foreign museums and returned to us.”

This is the most recent museum built on the continent, after those in Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, and comes at a time when there is a growing acceptance in Europe that artifacts were confiscated from Africa during the colonialism must be returned.

Judging by the recently released digital version, the museum will be an amazing structure that will stand tall and be visible from afar – a monument to Pan-Africanism.

As a passionate Pan-Africanist myself, I went on a tour of the virtual museum.

As you enter, your eyes enjoy beautiful contemporary works of art by great artists of African descent.

The soothing saxophone sounds, accompanied by soft piano notes, make you relax.

As if to say, I am immediately captivated by this wonderful painting by Nigerian artist Doba Afolabi.

The play, entitled Nite Voltron, depicts a passionate musician happily emptying the contents of his lungs into his saxophone.

Take a few virtual steps and look at the Tangled Trickster – a fascinating work by American artist Aisha Tandiwe Bell, who is famous for using mixed media to create myths and rituals.

According to her, the woman portrayed as a swindler “summarizes the modern fragmented, broken identities and our multiple consciences”.

Work of art

The Tangled Trickster is by Aisha Tandiwe Bell

The idea to target our collective African identity and history by utilizing, celebrating and curating African culture in a unique Pan-African museum emerged in 1994.

The man behind it is Kojo Acquah Yankah, a former editor of the Ghanaian Daily Graphic, who previously served as a member of parliament and cabinet minister in the government of the late President Jerry Rawlings.

He tells me that his inspiration came as he attended the celebration of the 375th anniversary of the forced arrival of the first 20 Africans on the coast of Jamestown, Virginia, USA – the birthplace of American slavery.

“More than 5,000 people of African descent from around the world attended the event to celebrate their historical memories,” said Yankah.

“This inspired me to create the Pan African Heritage Museum to unite Africans and people of African descent and to increase the self-confidence of Africans as a people with a rich history and heritage.”

But why this museum when there is so much more in Africa?

“There are less than 2,000 museums on the continent as opposed to more than 30,000 in Europe and the United States,” said the man who also founded the African University College of Communications in Ghana.

“The museum is special because it is the only one that gathers all the African heritage under one roof.”

The main architect of the project is James Inedu-George, a Nigerian famous for capturing the spirit of African cultures and instilling it in his designs.

The symbol chosen for the museum is a horn, a communication tool announcing the rebirth of Africa.

The impression of the artist

The museum will aim to attract visitors from all over the world

The project is funded by donations and is estimated to cost approximately $ 50 million (40 40 million).

But key supporters, including President Akufo-Addo, believe it’s worth the bill.

“It will not only benefit all the peoples of the world, but it will also instill in all of us a deep awareness and understanding of the aims and ideals of Pan-Africanism.”

In addition to artifacts and research material, the museum will also feature a sculpture garden, an herb garden and a venue for festivals, concerts, film exhibitions and exhibitions from all over the African world.

The museum’s innovation and creativity hub will be a place for young people to build on new ideas for the future after touring the premises.

The museum will have a plot of two acres where it will copy a selected number of African kingdoms, ancient and modern.

It will present their history, their art, their culture and learn from the skills, craftsmanship and knowledge of their indigenous peoples that has sustained Africans to this day.

This is where the large influx of African “immigrants” will find a home.

Mr Yankah hopes his vision will redress our distorted legacy.

“Our heritage has been stolen and our self-confidence has been diminished by paralyzing narratives about our past, even our present, so we ignore the wise sayings and knowledge of our indigenous people and eloquently cite foreign sources for our daily lives. ».

Indeed, as the late Nigerian literary giant Chinua Achebe remarked, “Until lions have their own historians, the history of hunting will always glorify the hunter.”

Well, we Africans now have the pen, a brush and a big canvas – it’s time to tell our story.

More letters from Africa:

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