Akufo-Addo deserves to be praised for “Year of Return” initiative – Ablakwa

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Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, has commended President Akufo-Addo for implementing the ‘Year of Return” initiative, ABC News can report.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, December 3, Mr. Ablakwa said Ghana has attracted considerable interest and high-level visits from Africans in the diaspora since the President made the declaration.

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”Mr. Speaker, it is most appropriate to commend our President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for declaring in September, 2018 that this year – 2019, shall be observed as the: “Year of Return, Ghana 2019.” It is trite knowledge that 2019 marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia in the United States of America” the North Tongue MP told the House.

”Since this proclamation, it is fair to note that Ghana has attracted considerable interest and high-level visits from Africans in the diaspora, perhaps taken such Pan-African pilgrimages to the next level since President Jerry John Rawlings institutionalized the PANAFEST celebrations in 1992,” Okudzeto Ablakwa extolled.

Mr. Ablakwa was also full of commendation for President Akufo-Addo for conferring Ghanaian citizenship on 126 Africans in the diaspora. He noted that the country has done very little to take advantage of the provisions of the constitution that permits diasporans to be given such honour.

”Mr. Speaker, kindly permit me to also highlight the conferment of citizenship on 126 Africans in the diaspora by the President last week. The House will recall that last year I made a statement urging the State to make greater use of this provision in our laws,”

”Since the days of the exceptional intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois and that great poet Maya Angelou were granted citizenship, it remains my humble view that we have not made impressive effort to leverage this opportunity even though I acknowledge that in 2016 President John Dramani Mahama granted citizenship to 30 Africans in the diaspora,” he said.

In September 2018 in Washington, D.C, President Akufo-Addo declared and formally launched the ‘Year of Return Ghana 2019’ for Africans in the diaspora, giving fresh impetus to the quest to unite Africans on the continent with their brothers and sisters in the diaspora.

A number of African Americans, including Steve Harvey, Boris Kodjoe, Michael Jai White, Anthony Anderson, Idris Elba, Jidenna, Samuel L Jackson and Deborah Cox have already visited Ghana as part of the initiative.

Source: ABCNewsgh.com

Year Of Return: President Akufo-Addo Confers Ghanaian Citizenship On 126 Diasporans

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Citizenship

 

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday, 27th November 2019, conferred Ghanaian citizenship on 126 Diasporans, who have lived in Ghana for many years.

Speaking after the conferment ceremony, President Akufo-Addo stated that “I am glad you have decided to make Ghana your home, and thereby, join several generations of Diasporans, who committed their lives to us.”

 

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He noted that several persons, including the likes of George Padmore, Bob Marley’s widow, Rita, Maya Angelou, and W.E.B du Bois all found homes in Ghana, with the latter buried in the country.

With the ceremony being part of the series of activities commemorating the ‘Year of Return’, the President stated that Ghana recognizes her position as the location for 75 per cent of the slave dungeons built on the West coast of Africa, through which the slaves were transported.

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“That is why we had a responsibility to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora. Many have responded to this call, and the ‘Year of Return’ has so far proven to be a joyful and learning experience all round for all of us,” he said.

To the 126 Diasporans, the President urged them to respect and abide by the laws of Ghana and live in accordance with the tenets of Ghana’s Constitution.

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“You have the responsibility of preserving and promoting the image of a country whose reputation, amongst the comity of nations, is, today, high. You are citizens of a country that is regarded as one of the most stable on the continent, a beacon of democracy, governed by the rule of law and respect for individual liberties, human rights and the principles of democratic accountability, as a result of the commendable acts and deeds of past and present generations of your fellow Ghanaians,” he said.

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The President continued, “In all your actions, I urge you to guard jealously our country’s image. It is a charge, I am confident, you will uphold. In doing so, I suggest that to facilitate the process of re-integration, you learn at least one Ghanaian language of your choice – Akan, Ewe, Ga, Dagbani, Hausa, or Nzema, amongst others.”

President Akufo-Addo urged them also to be engaged fully in the realization of the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.

“Simply put, I just want us to be self-confident, and accept that we shall never reach the level of development we aspire to by relying on aid or external assistance, no matter how generous. It is a mindset that I wish us to discard, a mindset of dependency and living on handouts,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo, in concluding, paid tribute to the late Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, Jake to others, who, as Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Relations under the Government of the 2nd President of the 4th Republic, the outstanding Ghanaian statesman, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, championed the cause for the return of descendants of the slave trade to their homes of origin.

“He instituted the “Joseph Project”, whose aim was to reconcile and unite the African peoples, on the continent and in the Diaspora, and to release their energies to help build Africa and the Caribbean. This ceremony would be a happy moment for him,” he added.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Visits Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum

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On her second day in Ghana, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, visited the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum.  Her delegation, along with Samia Nkrumah, Chairperson of the CPP political party and daughter of Kwame Nkrumah, Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator for Year of Return, took an early morning tour to pay respect to one of the greatest Pan-African leaders.

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Mottley expressed how truly honoured she was that Samia Nkrumah had chosen to join them this morning on their tour.  “All of my adult life, I know of the name and work of Kwame Nkrumah and he has been an inspiration for all who have believed that justice is possible,” she said after the tour. Together with her team, they toured the grounds and visited the museum and burial site of Kwame Nkrumah and his wife Fathia Nkrumah, who was buried near him.

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Prime Minister Mottley expressed her idea that education and equity go hand in hand when it comes to affecting civilization and allowing us to be the best we can be. It was evident that her experience so far has been impactful on her.  “That I have this opportunity not just to visit Ghana, but to come and pay homage and respects on behalf of Barbadian people…to the memory and legacy of Dr. Kwame Nkruman is a matter of great pride for me,” she said.

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She is expected to participate in the Dumba Festival in Tamale later.

Photos: Year Of Return Kumasi Carnival Held

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Over the weekend the maiden Global African Diaspora Kumasi Carnival 2019 was held in Kumasi. There was so much energy and the connection between the Caribbean Diaspora and local Ghanaians was strong. Powerful words were spoken by many about staying connected.


Supporting the event was Miss Trinidad & Tobago UK who said for her “Ghana feels like home”.

This is the first, and organisers hope to continue it as an annual event and celebration that attracts travellers every year.

A group from Suriname was there and made some strong statements about coming back home to Ghana and wanting to be embraced by Ghana.

Just before the procession began, the Suriname group wanted to express themselves.

It carnival procession ended with Street Fair and a variety show in the evening.

Year of Return: Full Circle Festival to bring 500 stars to Ghana

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The 2019/2020 edition of the annual Full Circle Festival is set to see some five hundred (500) people tour and experience Ghana from December 2019 to January 2020.

The 2019 Full Circle Festival is in partnership with Essence Ventures thus dubbed Essence Full Circle Festival. It will take place in Accra in December and complete the Year of Return commemoration – marking 400 years since the first enslaved Africans, mostly Ghanaian arrived in Jamestown Virginia as part of the transatlantic slave trade.

ALL ABOUT ESSENCE FULL CIRCLE FESTIVAL

The specially-curated, week-long immersion will enable engagement between U.S.-based cultural influencers and business executives with Ghanaian and regional leaders and communities, including explorations of history, cuisine, music, fashion, beaches, nightlife, commerce and more.

In an interview (video) on Hot 97 online with Ebro, Boris Kodjoe described how the festival began with his family and later grew to one-hundred and twenty people, mostly Hollywood stars in 2019. Boris added that the festival was in 2019 seeking to bring about 500 people to experience Ghana. He also touched on the Importance of returning to Africa and how the Full Circle Festival was going to touch all corners of the African continent.

 

ESSENCE Ventures in an article published on their website also outline how they are taking another major step towards supporting cultural ownership and economic collaboration through the launch of the ESSENCE Full Circle Festival.

They outline the focus of the festival on a three-part mission to:

(i) support cultural ownership and economic collaboration among Africans on the continent and people of African descent in the Diaspora;

(ii) connect Black communities globally for the exchange of ideas and shared objectives that leads to cultural monetization and community reinvestment;

(iii) facilitate the learning and discovery of the many facets of Africa’s beauty, excellence and opportunity globally.

For Essence, their partnership in the annual ESSENCE Full Circle Festival is to create an experience that “will focus on showcasing African nations increasingly as global destinations by highlighting their critical roles as ancestral, spiritual, cultural and commercial epicentres.”

“This partnership recognizes Ghana’s role as a beacon for people of African descent in this Year of Return,” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019, is a conscious effort to cement our pan-African legacy. Throughout the Year, the Tourism Authority has worked with several partner organizations to welcome home our brothers and sisters from the Diaspora. The Essence Full Circle Festival is a welcome addition to the activities and will hopefully become one of the legacies of the year which celebrates African resilience.”

The 2019 ESSENCE Full Circle Festival will include the first-ever ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum: Africa, which will convene entrepreneurs, executives, entertainers and government officials to discuss how new opportunities for economic development and cultural exchange can be created.

“In furthering our mission to serve Black women deeply across the globe, ESSENCE is honoured to answer the call to ‘Return’ with the creation of the ESSENCE Full Circle Festival, beginning with Ghana and subsequently extending across the continent,” said Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc. “We are grateful to be able to use the power of our platforms and the influence of our networks to positively impact narratives about Africa, as well as positively impact the people of Africa and the Diaspora through cultural and economic exchange.”

 

Also Watch: Jidenna Talks New Music, African History, Polyamory

 

 

 

About 2018 Full Circle

The inaugural Full Circle Festival also included the participation of President Akufo-Addo and took place in Accra in December 2018, led by Full Circle Festival, LLC partners Boris Kodjoe, Patrick Kodjoe, Bozoma Saint John – all of Ghanaian descent – and Nicole Ari Parker. More than 120 invited guests including business executives, influencers, and celebrities from the United States travelled to Ghana for cultural engagement and ancestral reconnection, resulting in nearly 10,000 positive social media posts and half a billion media and social impressions, as well as an estimated economic impact of more than $70 million in tourism revenue.

 

 

Source: essence.com

‘Go to Ghana’ – Hollywood star Danny Glover advocates ahead of Year of Return trip

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As if it is as a sequel to the call made by Steve Harvey last week “This is home”, Danny Glover returns to Ghana 47 years after the first visit and encourages all people of African origin to “Go to Ghana” in this year of return.

The American actor, film director, and political activist known as Danny Lebern Glover is headed home as part of a large group of African Americans coming home to visit Ghana for the year of return. The group is here for the Jamestown to Jamestown event taking place tomorrow at Jamestown Accra marking the exact day 400years ago since the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown Virginia on August 20, 1619.

 

Danny Glover is known for his lead role as Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film series. He also has leading roles in the films The Color Purple, To Sleep with Anger, Predator 2, Angels in the Outfield and Operation Dumbo Drop. Join us…

Program

Arrival – 8am @ Airport

Durbar – 3pm at Jamestown

 

#Akwaaba
#yearofreturn #visitGhana #diaspora #africanculture #culture #travelnoire #heritage #tourism #steveharvey #Accra #travel #travelAfrica #history #heritage #dubois #400yearson #blackhistory #africanhistory #excellence

Year of Return: Danny Glover and NAACP President head to Ghana for ‘Jamestown to Jamestown’

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American actor, film director, and political activist, Danny Glover is expected to arrive in Ghana with National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as part of the Jamestown to Jamestown’ event to commemorate Ghana’s Year of Return.

Steve Harvey ‘Comes Home’ for Year of Return

To commemorate the 400-year anniversary of the first enslaved Africans’ arrival in the United States, NAACP leaders, activists and entertainers will travel from Jamestown, Virginia, to Jamestown, Accra, as a part of Ghana’s “Year of Return” initiative.

“Jamestown to Jamestown represents one of the most powerful moments in the history of the Black Experience,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “We are now able to actualize the healing and collective unity so many generations have worked to achieve in ways which bring power to our communities in America, Africa and throughout our Diaspora.”

Read Also – Deborah Cox Visits Ghana for Tear of Return, World Music festival 

The trip, which kicks off on Aug. 18 in Washington, D.C., is open to the public. Participants will travel via bus to Jamestown, Virginia, for a prayer vigil and candle-lighting ceremony that marks the African “Maafa,” a term that describes the suffering embedded in the past four centuries related to enslavement. Participants will then travel back to D.C. for a special gathering at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, designed by Ghanaian architect Sir David Adjaye, prior to departing to Ghana on a direct flight for seven to 10 days of rich cultural, spiritual and cathartic experiences.

PROGRAM

Sunday

Day 1: Aug. 18, 2019

The Arrival

We begin our trip in the Nation’s Capitol – Washington, DC as the meeting point where we will take a bus ride to Jamestown Virginia (Colonial National Park) for a prayer vigil and candle lighting ceremony marking the 400 year anniversary of the first enslaved Africans arrival and honoring the memory of all those stolen from Africa over 400 year ago.

Monday

Day 2: Aug. 19, 2019

Our History

Our morning starts with a special visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture designed by Ghanian architect Sir David Adjaye on the National Mall before departing to Ghana.

In the afternoon we depart from Washington Dulles International Airport to Kotoka International Airport in Ghana, West Africa on a direct flight with South African Airways at 5:40 pm.

Tuesday

Day 3: Aug. 20, 2019

Akwaaba (Welcome)

We arrive at 8:30 am into Kotoka International Airport’s new International Terminal. After a warm cultural welcome, we check in our hotels and prepare for the evening’s activities.

In the late afternoon, we move to Jamestown, Accra to be welcomed by local chiefs, politicians, community leaders and the traditional council of Jamestown. We end with an ancestral healing ceremony at the ocean.

Wednesday

Day 4: Aug. 21, 2019

Business, Development & Investment Summit

Join leading government, NGO, and private sector leaders for workshops, discussions, presentations, panels, and networking for a full day of learning about business, development, and investment in Ghana. End the day with a special networking happy hour hosted by one of Ghana’s leading CEOs.

*Individuals not participating in the summit have the option of group day tours or self-guided tours.

Thursday

Day 5: Aug. 22, 2019

Business, Development & Investment Summit

Close out the the final day of the summit with a half day of business networking, closing panel discussion, and presentation on active capital investment projects in Ghana. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with leaders in the banking industry, as well as leading private sector and non-profit CEO’s.

Friday

Day 6: Aug. 23, 2019

Cape Coast Castle / African Ancestry Reveal

After breakfast, we depart Accra for Cape Coast in the Central Region driving through several fishing villages and coconut tree lined beaches.

Prior to touring Cape Coast Castle, we pay a courtesy call visit to the local tradition Council of Cape Coast. Participants will complete a comprehensive tour of the Cape Coast Castle slave dungeons, and the West African Heritage Museum. After walking through the Door of Return we begin the African Ancestry reveal.

End the evening with the Resilience Beach party at Coconut Grove Beach Resort.


Saturday

Day 7: Aug. 24, 2019

Assin Manso / Last Bath Slave River

Attendees will visit Assin Manso Last Bath Slave River, the burial site of the two former slaves exhumed from New York and Jamaica interred in Ghana on Emancipation Day in 1998. The Slave River was where the enslaved Africans had their last bath before their trek to the coast for shipment to the western world never to be returned.

Extended stay participants will move on to Kumasi and others will return to the hotel for their final night.


EXTENDED TRIP OPTION TO KUMASI


Sunday

Day 8: Aug. 25, 2019

Departure

Attendees who complete their journey today will head back to Accra to visit the Arts Centre for gift shopping, farewell photos at Independence Square and a final meal before departure

Kumasi

Kumasi is home of the great Ashanti Kingdom. Extended stay participants will attend the Akwaside Festival at Manhiya Palace, the seat of the Asantehene – King of the the Ashanti people. Akwasidae is a festival held every 42 days to honor personal and community ancestors. This is an opportunity to experience traditional Ghanian culture in all its splendor, color, grace, strength, and vibrancy.


Monday

Day 9: Aug. 26, 2019

Kumasi Craft Villages

After breakfast we visit a few Ashanti crafts villages. Bonwire is famous for Kente cloth production. Observe weavers exhibit their skills in producing the clothe and try your hand at it. Ntonso, noted for its indigenous artisans whose expertise lies in Adinkra textiles printing using traditional symbols that express the spiritual, moral, political and socio-cultural philosophies of the Akan people. Ahwiaa – the woodcarver’s village specializing in woodcarving such as the Ashanti stools, fertility dolls and walking sticks.

After Lunch, we return to Accra.


Tuesday

Day 10: Aug. 27, 2019

Accra City Tour

After breakfast go on a city tour of Accra visiting the vibrant open air Makola Market offering fresh farm produce, clothes, electronics, and other goods. Continue through Old Accra visiting Independence Arch, and Black Star Square, Accra’s ceremonial grounds.

After lunch visit W.E.B. Dubois Centre for Pan Africanism and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, burial place of the first President of Ghana..

Source: Ameyaw Debrah

2019 Ghana World Music Festival with Deborah Cox slated for August 2-4 at Fantasy Dome

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The year 2019 marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown Virginia. Taking this as a milestone to celebrate African resilience and also call African in the diaspora home, the Year of Return Steering committee supported by Joy Prime and Hitz 103.9 FM, brings to you the Ghana World Music Festival.

This event, expected to take place on August 3rd and 4th at the Fantasy Dome in La, Accra will treat patrons to a weekend of incredible global music from 7pm each day.

The first annual Ghana World Music Festival is a celebration of the power of the Ghanaian music and the sounds of the diaspora. Music is more than entertainment, its empowerment and unifier of people, helped birth Ghana World Music Festival.

The festival will feature music and artistes from Ghana, across the African Continent, the Caribbean and the US.

A rich myriad of genres will be on display from Jazz, R&B, Reggae, Highlife and Afrobeat. The festival will serve as an anchor event to Panafest 2019 while continuing to support the mission of the Year of Return Initiative.

On the bill to perform is Ghanaian reggae and dancehall artiste, Samini; Jamaican reggae band, Third World; Canadian Grammy award-winning RnB songstress, Deborah Cox; Jamaican Jazz and reggae artiste, Ernie Smith; Jazz artiste, Irvin Mayfield and many more.

Grab your early bird ticket for GH₵ 50 now till Thursday, August 1.

Regular GH₵ 80, VIP GH₵ 150 and VVIP GH₵ 450.

Ticket outlets:

PINKBURRY ……….Labone, Spintex,  East Legon

NYONYO ESSENTIALS…..American house, East Legon

MY CELLPHONE REPAIRS…..A&C Mall, East Legon

NALLEM CLOTHING……Accra Mall, West Hills Mall, Osu Mall, Junction Mall, Achimota Retail Centre.

 

Log onto http://ghanawmf.com/ for more details.

 

 

2019 Ghana World Music Festival Is A Celebration Of The Music Of Our Diaspora

The first annual Ghana World Music Festival 2019 is a celebration of the power of the Ghanaian music and the sounds of the diaspora. Music is more than entertainment, its empowerment and unifier of people and with this spirit, the Ghana World Music Festival was conceived.

The festival will feature music and artists from Ghana, across the African Continent, the Caribbean and the US. A rich myriad of genres will be on display from Jazz, R&B, Reggae, Highlife and Afrobeat. The festival will serve as an anchor event to Panafest 2019 while continuing to support the mission of the Year of Return Initiative.

Nkrumah, Padmore and Du Bois, Honoured in PANAFEST Wreath-Laying Ceremony

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PANAFEST & Emancipation officially opened with a wreath-laying ceremony remembering three important pioneers in the Pan African movement; George Padmore, W.E.B. DuBois and Kwame Nkrumah. All three were passionate about uniting the global African family and were responsible for laying a foundation that made a positive change for people of African descent.

PANAFEST & Emancipation are deeply rooted in celebrating the African family and teaching the knowledge and heritage of our people. The events are taking place from 24th July – 2nd August at locations in Accra and Cape Coast. This year’s theme is ‘Beyond 400 Years: Reaching Across Continents into the Future.’ The first day’s events began at the W.E.B DuBois Centre for Pan-African Culture in Cantonments, Accra with a ceremony that included the laying of wreaths on his grave. Everyone then moved to the George Padmore Library where Padmore’s remains have been laid to rest to also perform a ceremony laying wreaths in his honour. At this location, an eternal flame was lit. “May our commitment to the cause of Africa and to the upliftment of its people everywhere on the continent and the Americas wherever the black race should find himself never die by the lighting of this flame,” said Ben Anane-Nsiah, Product Development Manager at Ghana Tourism Authority.

The final part of the program was at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra Central. Dignitaries and notable people from the diaspora were in attendance including Stephanie S. Sullivan, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Akwasi Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Claudia Turbay Quintero, Ambassador, Embassy of Columbia, and Dr. Thomas Mensah, Chemical Engineer and Inventor, and H.E. Dr. Erieka Bennett, Head of Mission Diaspora African Forum, are just a few of the key attendees at the event.

A.J. Johnson, an Actress and Motivational Coach from the U.S. participated in the events with laying a wreath in honour of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. She said she couldn’t believe that she only came to Ghana for the first time just over 6 months ago and now here she was participating in a significant event. She was honoured to be asked to lay a wreath in memoriam of Nkrumah.

Steven Golding, President of UNIA Jamaica, delivered a compelling speech at Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. He spoke of how Jamaicans positively received President Nana Akufo-Addo on his recent trip to Jamaica, “We look forward to the day when all African nations will welcome home with open arms the sons and daughters of those who were ripped from this continent hundreds of years ago, because as Peter Tosh said no matter where we come from as long as we are black we are Africans.”

Dr. Thomas Mensah, Chemical Engineer, Inventor and holder of 14 U.S. patents gave his keynote address just before the crowd moved towards the wreath-laying at Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. His passion for uplifting Black people globally resonated in all he said. His motto, “The Right Stuff Comes in Black Too” is meant to inspire us to believe in the possibility of success when we believe in ourselves and learn to work together. It’s about breaking the negative stereotypes about Africa and black people worldwide.

This is just the beginning of many events scheduled over the coming week for PANAFEST & Emancipation. For more information on upcoming activities, visit the website www.panafestghana.org.

Connecting Jamaican and Ghanaian Identities Through the ‘Joseph, A Quest for Identity’ Film

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With so many stories being told about the history, heritage and culture of both Africa and the  Caribbean, we’re continually learning more about the personal stories of connection between African and Caribbean people.  It’s only fitting that during this, the Year of Return, a movie is being filmed in Ghana and Jamaica that explores this reality.

 

‘Joseph, A Quest for Identity’ is a movie that explores the life of a Jamaican man who has Ghanaian roots through his grandfather.  He has spent his life in Jamaica with no real connection to his roots in Ghana. He never really considered exploring his roots because after all, he sees himself as Jamaican and not an African.  However, through a series of life twists and turns, he ends up making the life-changing trip across the Atlantic to Ghana. Where he finds himself on a journey of self-discovery.

The movie has already filmed scenes in Jamaica and is currently in production with the scenes in Ghana.  The production crew has filmed in both the Central Region, Greater Accra and Kumasi to capture the arrival of Joseph in Ghana and all his experiences learning about his history and the importance of developing a real connection to his long lost family.

 

A team from Ghana Tourism Authority and Year of Return visited the cast and crew on set while they were filming in the Haatso area of Greater Accra.  Many were already acquainted with Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority after his recent trip to Jamaica with President Nana Akufo-Addo on his tour of the Caribbean islands. The trip was an effort to re-establish relationships with the people in the global African diaspora communities.  This is a concerted effort by the president as part of Ghana’s Year of Return initiative, inviting people to return to Ghana.

 

 

The Year of Return commemorates the 400 years since the first documented ship of enslaved Africans arrived in the United States at Jamestown, Virginia.  But it’s also known that enslaved Africans made arrivals in the Caribbean islands. There are still communities today in countries like Jamaica that have practices, cuisine and even dialects used that are the reminders of West African heritage.

Marietta Carter-Narcisse, is the Producer of the film and she said this film is so important. “We have so many stories to tell and we have to tell them through our own mind’s eye.”  Often times African and Caribbean people have had their stories told by outsiders and it’s important that we start creating more films, theatre productions and television shows that speak from our perspective. Films like, ‘Joseph, A Quest for Identity’ also draw attention to the fact that many of us don’t even know each other.  “I think it’s so important [the film] because this is our motherland and we don’t know each other…It’s so important for us to really understand why we do what we do. And so Joseph [the movie] was an opportunity for us to really bridge that gap of identity for all of us. Especially now with the ‘Year of Return here in Ghana 2019 and 2020 in Barbados.  I think it’s critical that we understand [each other].”

 

There are many misconceptions by Ghanaians about people from Jamaica.  The same holds true about Ghanaians, many of them don’t know much about Jamaicans or people from other Caribbean Islands. “I’ve met people in Ghana who think Barbados is in Jamaica! But it’s an island on itself.  In fact, it’s the closest to Ghana geographically and many enslaved Africans also ended up there…It’s as though our history has been erased, there needs for education to teach Ghanaians more about Caribbeans,” Carter-Narcisse said.

 

The movie has a diverse mixture of actors and crew from all over the globe and it contributes to a story being told that truly represents the global community.  Ghana’s own Harold Amenyah is one of the actors in the film along with Jamaican born Stogie Kenyatta and Alison Hinds, one of Barbados’ best known Soca Artists. Amenyah plays the character of Nii, a friend of Joseph’s from Ghana.  As Joseph’s friend, he takes him around Ghana showing him the culture and traditions of the country.

Amenyah said the film is going to give Jamaicans and people in the Caribbean a sense of belonging.  He explained that his character shows Joseph the things that give Ghanaians an identity and he soon sees things in Ghana that connect his forefathers with things he can also identify with as a Jamaican. “People who are going to watch this movie in the diaspora are going to realize how much of similarity and how connected we are because all they see and hear is what the media tells them. Now because of this film, they are going to get a chance and the opportunity to see for real…some of these things that they have just heard about,”  Amenyah said.

 

 

Award-winning Director Marcia Weekes who is the director of this movie said the idea for the film was inspired by the story of a woman in Jamaica who had the bones of her ancestors exhumed and brought to Ghana for burial.  The connection between Ghana and Jamaica continues to be strong and often discussed. ‘The Year of Return, Ghana 2019’ has played a significant role in bringing together people from the African diaspora.  It also recognizes the resilience people of African descent and embraces all who have the desire to connect with their African roots.

 

The crew has filmed in different cities in Ghana, including Cape Coast, Accra and Kumasi

during the Akwasidae Festival. Amenyah believes this movie is going to make an impact.  “The footage that we are getting [while filming] will rack their brains and make them feel that, yeah, there is definitely a place called home for them somewhere here in Ghana.  It’s going to give Jamaicans a sense of identity and make them know that indeed they are connected to Ghana, not just by hearsay, and that is going to be evidenced through the film.”

Written by Ivy Prosper