The Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture fully endorses the milieu of festivals as one of the avenues for propagating our national culture for the development and deepening of its tourism offering.
We celebrate festivals because they help us keep connected to our roots, our culture, our values, our origins and to preserve them. Festivals help people to come together to share in a sense of enjoyment and relaxation of the time needed to bond with family members whom we never really see. Many festivals are more or less religiously centered and thus at festival times, we come together to in joyous thanksgiving to our God and whatever is the source of our faith- gods, ancestral spirits, etc. Food, and consequently agriculture, is so vital to life that festivals are naturally associated with harvest times for optimum celebration of nature’s abundance. They help children to have a good understanding of the meaning, characteristics, and purpose of celebration because they are feted to overfilling at festival time.
WHAT IS DIASPORA? – African Diaspora
A diaspora is a scattered population whose origins lie in a separate geographic locale. In particular, diaspora has come to be referred to as an involuntary mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories. There are accounts of the expulsion of Jews from Israel known as the Jews Diaspora (598 BC) and the fleeing of Greeks after the fall of Constantinople in May 29, 1453.
Another example is the African Diaspora which is as a result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade which took place in sub-Saharan Africa between 1500 and 1870. It is one of the largest diaspora of modern times. During the trans-Atlantic Slave trade between 9.4 to 12 million people from West Africa survived transportation to arrive in America as slaves. This population and their descendants have had major influences on the British, French, Portuguese, Americans and Spanish new world colonies. From the 8th through the 19th centuries an Arab controlled slave trade dispersed millions of Africans to Asia and the islands of the Indian Ocean.
Recently, scholars have distinguished between different kinds of diaspora, based on its causes such as imperialism, trade or labor migrations or by the kind of social coherence within the diaspora community and its ties to the ancestral bonds. Some diaspora community maintain strong political ties with their original homeland; others have ties with communities in the diaspora and lack full integration into host countries. Diasporas often maintain ties to the country of their historic affiliation and influence the policies of the country or communities from where they emigrated. In all cases the term diaspora carries a sense of displacement that the population so described finds itself for whatever reason that separated it from its national territory. Usually its people have hopes of returning to their original homelands at some point in time. Some diaspora maintain a collective memory of their homeland regarding it as their true home to which they would eventually return, being committed to its restoration.
WHY PILOLO – BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE
PILOLO is a game of hide and seek, a game of discovery and in the context of the festival, it seeks to recover what is hidden and bring it to light. Therefore, it’s a game of discovery.
In a bid to encourage some school children of Osu St Barnabas Anglican School see the deeper relevance of the game Pilolo, on the 25th July, 2018, in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, the organizers of the Pilolo African Diaspora Festival had a session with them and tried to help them trace the origins of their names. There are names at Osu such as;
Lutterodt, Braindt, Sonne, Engman, Richter, Hesse, Swaniker, Wulf, Brown, Quist, Reimer, Clerk, Burgerson, Bannerman, Reindorf, Vanderpuije, Schandorf, Cocherine, Fleischer, Steiner, Malm, Cruicshank.
However, the children have no inkling as to why they are so called.
The object of the exercise was to help them discover their ancestry much of which was influenced by their ancestors’ connection to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This is because a lot of children were born as a result of union between the European slave buyers and the local indigenes or the slaves themselves, leaving such foreign names as listed above.
People travel as tourists for all kinds of reasons. Cultural Heritage Tourism or Diaspora Tourism is a branch of Tourism oriented towards travelling to experience the places, artifacts, activities that authentically represents the stories and people of the past of the location where Tourism is occurring. In recent years, culture has been rediscovered as an important marketing tool to attract those travelers with special interest in heritage and arts.
Cultural Heritage Tourism establishes and reinforces identity and helps preserve the cultural heritage with culture as an instrument which facilitates harmony and understanding among people.
The celebration of the festival is borne out of the need to bring about peace and coexistence amongst the people of the Ga states, particularly, indigenes of Osu who have historical connections with the Danish people during the period of slavery. It also seeks to improve on the socio – cultural and the economic empowerment of the inhabitants of Osu thereby fostering their intercultural dialogue or diversity as a people which falls under the mandate of Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, hence its support to the Pilolo celebration.
One of the things any host does is to prepare adequately to entertain and to provide suitable accommodation for their guests. As a Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, we seek to preserve and restore the homes that were left after the slave trade and present them as historical sites that tell a story to our tourists. A picture speaks louder than many words. Restoration and preservation of Heritage Homes is a serious offering on our Tourism menu and we welcome all to come and experience what we once went through as a people.
Meanwhile, the African Diaspora Pilolo Festival celebration is a three (3)-day event and starts from the Friday, the 17th August, 2018 and ends on Sunday, 19th August, 2018.
The events line up are as follows,
Day 1 (10am – 4pm.)
- Re-enactment of slavery / opening of exhibition (Saint Barnabas Anglican School)
- Walk tours of Heritage Sites (Slave Boulevard),
- African Dance Workshop / Rites of Passage Naming Ceremonies (Saint Barnabas Anglican School)
- Art Culture Market.
- Concert/ Night Market (Awusai Tso / Osu Gardens) – 7pm till midnight.
- Educational Workshop on the Trans-African Slave Trade (Saint Barnabas Anglican School) -10:00 am
- Heritage Workshop (Saint Barnabas Anglican School) – 11:30am -12:30pm
- African Dance Workshop
- Concert/ Night Market (Awusai Tso) – 7pm -12am.
- Memorial Service for the departed captives who perished on the voyage (Osu-Presby Church / Osu- Anglican Church) – 9am -12pm.
- Wreath Laying Ceremony (Osu Beach) -1:00 pm,
- Regatta Beach Party (Osu Palm Court Beach) 2pm – 6pm.
The Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture and the organizers of the African Diaspora Pilolo Festival invite all and sundry to join them from August 17 – 19 to celebrate Pilolo – A game of discovery that seeks to bring what is hidden to light.
For clarification contact,
The UNWTO Focal Person / Heritage Homes Restoration Coordinator
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture
+23320 703 6003
CEO / Founder
Rochester New York
+233 24 362 6975 / +1 585 305 5339