The official unveiling of the ‘Beyond the Return’ Pillars took place at the National Theatre on 9th September 2020. ‘Beyond the Return’ is a 10-year project with the theme, ‘A Decade of African Renaissance’ and its foundation is built on the seven core pillars which were unveiled during the event which was filled with a colorful display of dance, music and theatrical performances from the National Theatre’s dance ensemble, dramatic actors and the National Symphony Orchestra. Beyond the Return is the follow-up to last year’s successful ‘Year of Return’ campaign, which commemorated the 400-year anniversary of the first documented ship of enslaved Africans to arrive in Virginia, U.S.A.
CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, is also the Coordinator for the Beyond the Return Steering Committee. In his speech he acknowledged the loss of African American actor Chadwick Boseman, whose unexpected death last month shocked the world. He died after a 4-year battle with colon cancer. The actor played a pivotal role as the lead character in the movie, ‘Black Panther’. The film contributed to changing the narrative of Africa and proving that Black Superheroes and stories of Africa can connect with all audiences. “May I request that we all rise for a minute of silence? One for our ancestors who went through the torturous journey of slavery, two, for our brothers and sisters who have fallen in recent times, especially our brother Chadwick, of Black Panther fame,” said Mr. Agyeman. He also asked that we honour the late Elolo Gharbin, who died recently. He was a Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast and a strong pillar in PANAFEST and Emancipation.
Mr. Agyeman chronicled the beginnings of the Year of Return and stated that this new journey of Beyond the return would have deeper conversations among the global African family. Beyond the Return, will work towards building bridges and creating activities, events and policies that are inclusive and integrate our local community in ways they can connect with our global African diaspora. Most importantly there is work being done to support the diaspora’s needs when it comes to repatriation.
“Each of the 7 pillars being unveiled today touches on the many areas that are key to developing Ghana and providing an environment that supports the diaspora,” said Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture when she delivered her keynote address. She expressed that the Beyond the Return committees are listening and working diligently to address the concerns expressed by the diaspora community, especially when it comes to repatriation. “Ghana is currently developing a homeland return legislation to facilitate various forms of migration and integration into the country for our diasporan kith and kin,” she said. “Ghana as a leader in pan Africanism, through the Homeland Return Act, will offer the opportunity for citizenship to our brothers and sisters.” This is welcome news to all the diasporans who have been asking how they can also become Ghanaian citizens.
The Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo, recognized the significance of the Year of Return, as he officially unveiled the pillars for Beyond the Return. “One cannot speak of Beyond the Return without mentioning the Year of Return in 2019, which was a major landmark campaign targeting the Historical African Community outside our continent,” the Senior Minister said. “Over the next decade, the project seeks to consolidate the gains of the Year of Return and grow tourism in the country, showcase its investment potentials and solidify its diaspora engagement programs to promote the African Renaissance.” The seven pillars unveiled during the event are, Experience Ghana, Invest in Ghana, Diaspora Pathway to Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Brand Ghana, Give Back Ghana and Promote Pan African Heritage & Innovation.
The unveiling of the pillars was a historic event that has kickstarted a new chapter in Ghana’s journey of reconnecting with the global African family.