Ambassador Johanna Svanikier joins other members of the Sankofa Project Steering Commitee at the launch of the Commitee. On her left is Dr. Sonia Couprie and on her right are the Country Director of UNESCO and the Ambassador of France to Ghana, H.E. Anne-Sophie Avé.

1st October 2020

I’m delighted to be here today to tell you about two exciting and important projects the HACSA Foundation is working on with the generous support of the French Embassy Sankofa Grants. The Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa Foundation has a mission to promote and preserve African Heritage and Culture for socioeconomic development, progress and security. We do this through advocacy, education, technology and collaboration. Our work prioritises the empowerment of women, protection of the environment and promotion of the UN SDGs. We began organising our own unique heritage tours 3 years ago and started to develop plans to digitise them for educational outreach purposes and to reach the African diaspora who could not afford to visit and see the sites and monuments associated both with the transatlantic slave trade and with the liberation of Africa. The advent of has COVID-19 fast-tracked our digitisation and we hope to become the best content provider on African heritage and culture not only in Ghana and Africa but in the world.

Our first project, the HACSA Sankofa 1 Project is the development of HACSA virtual heritage tours using cutting edge 3D photography, video film, photographs and narratives. The tour follows sites in Osu and Jamestown which chart the journey from the period of the transatlantic slave trade, to colonialism through to liberation and independence.

The second project the HACSA Sankofa 2 Project is the creation of a documentary film on sites and family histories associated with the transatlantic slave trade. The experienced French Director Juan Gelas, who directed routes d’esclavages will partner with us in this project. We will choose 3 sites and 3 family histories to tell little known stories of this dark period of world history.

I urge the French Embassy to support our advocacy and continuing outreach efforts to bring these amazing projects to the attention of the world. To that effect we shall host a webinar in November as part of the HACSA Sankofa Project where we hope to have panelists from the legal profession, academia, community leadership, policy making and UNESCO to discuss heritage preservation, a legal regulatory framework to support heritage sites and an enabling environment for developing tourism around heritage sites.

In my time in France I organised several visits and cultural events in museums and galleries and bemoaned the wasted opportunities we in Ghana had, to leverage our heritage and culture for socioeconomic development. I am deeply gratified that the tide is turning and that the French are seriously supporting us to build capacity in this very important and significant area for our economy. On behalf of the HACSA Foundation, l wish to thank the French Embassy for its grant support which will enable our exciting and important projects come to life.

Thank you!

Ambassador Johanna Svanikier- President & CEO of HACSA-USA