Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture has reiterated the call for Africans to tell their stories from their own perspectives.

She said “Telling our story as black people means we are bridging the gap in creativity between Ghana and the world.”

Mrs Oteng Gyasi made the call at the premiere of the virtual Master Class on the “Return Conversation,” a pivotal part of the “Beyond the Return” project, held via zoom, on the theme, “Black Stories Matter’: Forging Collaborations for the Development of Ghana’s Creative Industry.”

The conversation was organized by the “Beyond the Return” Committee, the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), the Creative Arts Council, and TheBridgeZone.

She said the conversation was the first in a series of conversations between Ghanaians and the African diaspora on topics that came up during last year’s successful “Year of Return” campaign, – building on the success and the feedback gathered last year.

The Minister said Africans from the diaspora looked for ways to collaborate with those at home and that such conversations were relevant to bridge the gap.

She said though the tourism industry had been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic, the impact of “Beyond the Return” was as promising as the “Year of Return,” and that the new initiative would continue to grow Ghana’s tourism industry, showcase Ghana’s investment potential and solidify its diaspora engagement programmes.

“From music to fashion, theatre, film, animation, gaming, visual arts and design, Ghana’s creative industry has a lot of potential, that is why I find the theme for the conversation very appropriate for today’s Master class.”

Mrs Oteng Gyasi said the “Year of Return” Ghana 2019 sparked a global movement and was hopeful that “Beyond the Return” would spark economic growth and development.

She expressed appreciation to international communities, civil society organizations, and corporate bodies who mobilized resources to complement government efforts to make “Beyond the Return” a dream come true and hoped that, after the first conversations, Ghana would see a different kind of Creative Arts Industry.

Mr Akwesi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer, of the GTA, said there was the need for originality in Ghana’s creative arts industry while collaborating with the diaspora to deliver content and narrations that depicted the African story.

He said although there was the need to take cue and lessons from the diaspora on methods and recent technologies in the creative arts industry globally, players and stakeholders in Ghana must do well to emphasize originality.

“Though current discussions are usually based on collaborations, originality remains key because compromising that could dilute the efforts of the African to portray true identities through the daily narrations across the continent, including Ghana.”

The Conversations, which focused on key areas including fashion, art, music, animation/gaming, and film production, featured stakeholders from the USA, who shared information and knowledge on collaborative efforts.

Mr Agyemang said, “These are areas where the industry in Ghana seeks to build on, in ways that can help to reach audiences not only in Africa but beyond the borders of the continent into the global community, harnessing the skills of the industry both in Ghana and the diaspora.”

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