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

 

Year of Return: Miss Heritage Global Pageant launched as part of preparation to host the World

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The Miss Heritage Global pageant is not like any other beauty pageant.  According to Mudzithe Phiri, Business Development Manager of Miss Heritage Global, it’s an international event that is bringing together culture ambassadors from around the world.  This pageant is an opportunity for the contestants to share the culture of their home country while learning about others and to experience the culture of other beauty queens through interacting with them.

 

Miss Heritage Global was previously held in Zimbabwe and South Africa.  When asked why the move to Ghana Phiri said, “Because Ghana is one of the countries on the continent that has managed to keep its culture intact. When you come to Ghana you immediately see that the local culture has been brought into the new century with all the modern cultures that have been brought from the rest of the world, but Ghana’s culture still stands through. You see the pride in the people,” she said.  “We wanted a country that would really give the contestants an African experience…and with this year being the ‘Year of Return’ in Ghana, it was a great time to make the move.

The official launch took place at the Ghana Tourism Authority Headquarters on 10thJuly 2019, and the MC for the event was Nana Amperibea Boadu, from the Year of Return Secretariat, which is located at the Accra Tourist Information Centre.  Present for the media launch were key partners in supporting the upcoming event in Ghana.  Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Coordinator for Year of Return, Mr. Akwasi Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President and Chairman for Year of Return, Mr. Kwadwo Antwi, CEO of Ghana Tourist Development Company, and Diallo Sumbry, Founder The Adinkra Group and Member of the Year of Return Steering Committee were all at the high table to lend their voices to the exciting event and what it means for Ghana and Year of Return.

 

There will be 55 contestants representing different countries from around the world.  They arrive in Ghana on 10thof August and the main event takes place on 20thAugust at the Accra International Conference Centre.  This gives the ladies a 10-day experience in Ghana and puts pressure on our own Eugenia Abotsi, Miss Heritage Global Ghana 2019, to be the perfect host of her home country.  “I’m excited because I get to share the culture of Ghana with the entire world,” she said. “I’m excited because if I’m able to sell Ghana well to the other contestants it means that when they go back to their various countries, they can continue to sell Ghana to others.”

When Agyeman gave his closing remarks he spoke of how having the pageant in Ghana during this year of return was the perfect time. “Our arms are wide open to everybody to return to Ghana,” he said. “Ghana is the centre of the world and so the centre represents the coming together of different people of different races and different tribes as one people. That is what we are about.”  He thanked the media and bloggers for being there to share the event with the masses. JoyPrime will be airing the competition on its channel. Nana Yaa Sarpong, Channel Manager was there and pledged the commitment they will make to promote the pageant on their TV station along with some of their partner radio stations with Multimedia.

Miss Heritage Global was founded in 2013 for the purpose of promoting the preservation of our global heritage and to create an environment of culture sharing to inspire tolerance as more communities are becoming diverse around the world.  This year’s event is in partnership with Ghana Tourism Authority and The Ministry of Tourism Art & Culture.  The main event takes place on 20thAugust and will also feature performances from some of Africa’s biggest entertainers.  For more information and the full list of participants visit www.missheritage.organd follow all their social media platforms @missheritageglobal.

Written by Ivy Prosper

Ghana reduces visa fees on arrival for ‘The Year of Return’

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The government of Ghana has reduced visa fees on arrival for “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019”. The fee is reduced to $75 from the initial $150. The move is to allow for many people living in the Diaspora to participate in the various activities for the programme.

 

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Owiredu, made the revelation while speaking to the Diplomatic Corps on the programme in Accra.

He said, “Our Missions’ abroad are liaising with Ghanaians associations, airlines, etc to work and make it relatively easy and convenient for those travelling to Ghana to participate in the programmes of “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019.”

“The Government of Ghana is also in the process of working to have visa agreements with some countries such as those in the Caribbean where the Diaspora total number is quite significant. This year, for instance, the government of Ghana and Jamaica established a visa-free agreement where nationals of each of the two countries do not need a visa to travel to the countries,” he stressed.

The deputy minister further noted that in line with President Akufo-Addo’s vision of a “Ghana Beyond Aid”, the engagement of the Diaspora remained a major development programme of the government.

“With its democratic credentials, rule of law and the stability of the country, Ghana intended to serve as a pacesetter for welcoming their own back to their roots and to provide for assimilating them into the Ghanaian society in particular and African societies in general,” he said.

 

The year-long event which commenced at the beginning of this year is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia.

 

The program also aims at celebrating the cumulative resilience of all the victims of the Trans-Atlantic slave Trade who were scattered and displaced through the world in North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

Source: myjoyonline

#yearofreturn #ghana #letsgoghana #brafie #ghana2019 #visitghana #diaspora #Africa #yearofreturn2019 #travel #accra #african #travelnoire #culture #theyearofreturn

Year of Return: Virgin-islands Senators Open the Floor to Culture

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Friday, V.I. senators celebrated the Year of Return, Ghana 2019; the International Decade of People of African Descent; and V. I. Emancipation and Freedom Week.

Bills the Senate had passed recognizing the importance of the culture and heritage of the Virgin Islands were read, but it was song, dance and poetry that brought Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall on St. Thomas alive during the morning celebration that ran into the afternoon. Viewers of the performances on its live broadcast on Facebook said the performances brought tears to their eyes.

The Ulla F. Muller Elementary School Bamboula Dancers accompanied by drummers danced in the Senate Chamber and brought comments on Facebook about how beautiful the performance was. So did the dance performance by Earth Mamas Pan African Dance Company. The third dance performance was by Empresses Addaliah and Atiyah Potter.

The program was tied together with a sober theme. It commemorated the men, the women and the children who were yanked from their West African homes and sold into slavery so a profit-crazed minority could make larger profits. A PBS video was played, “Why Did Europeans Enslave Africans?

The video illustrated how slavery was about making a profit for slave owners and how slavery evolved into racism.

Assata Afua, director Black Power Theater, relates her experience of Ghana. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)Assata Afua, director Black Power Theater, relates her experience of Ghana. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)
Assata Afua, director Black Power Theater, relates her experience of Ghana. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)

Jackson told some of the story of Virgin Islander’s ancestors.

“They fought, they were thrown overboard, they were eaten by sharks, they gave birth, they died,” he said. Most Virgin Islanders have the blood of the survivors “running in our veins,” he said.

The connection between Ghana and the Virgin Islands’ past and present families was emphasized

Empresses Addaliah and Atiyah Potter made up the third dance performance. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)
Empresses Addaliah and Atiyah Potter made up the third dance performance. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, Legislature of the Virgin Islands)

From Ghana, Alex Quaison-Sackey spoke about the connection. He is related to the first black African to serve as president of the United Nations General Assembly. Virgin Islander Myron Allick, representing the Sackey Family, spoke of that family’s connection to Ghana. He proposed an exchange program between Ghana and the Virgin Islands – 25 Virgin Islanders going to Ghana and 25 students from Ghana coming to the Virgin Islands. He suggested Carlsberg Brewery, which brews Elephant, a popular beer for Virgin Islanders, as a sponsor for the exchange.

Assata Afua, director of Black Power Theater, recounted her visit to Ghana and said when she returned, “I came back to St. Thomas my shoulders back a little further and my head a little higher.”

The first slave ship arrived in Jamestown in 1619. Jackson said that the settlers of Jamestown had stopped in the Virgin Islands on their way to settle Jamestown in 1607. He said. “The Virgin Islands are linked to this story, a world story.”

A Dutch ship named Desire delivered the 20 enslaved Africans to Jamestown. Some historians estimated that more than 7 million slaves were taken from Africa in the following century.

Jahwed David read a poem recalling the words of Maya Angelo “I am the hope and dream of slaves.”

Behind the speakers in the Senate Chambers was a large portrait of Edward Wilmot Blyden, widely known as the father of Pan-Africanism. He was born on Saint Thomas in 1832. He migrated back to Africa where he became a political figure.

Emancipation Day – July 3 – commemorates the day in 1848 when 9,000 enslaved Africans on St. Croix demanded their freedom, forcing Gov. Peter von Scholten to declare, “All unfree in the Danish West Indies are from today emancipated.”

Source: St. John Virgin Islands

What You Need to Know Before Arriving in Accra for ‘Year of Return’

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Written by Ivy Prosper

You’ve booked your trip to Accra. Now the countdown begins.  As you prepare to travel to Ghana there are a few things you will need to know for your arrival.  If this is your first time coming to Ghana or even landing on the continent of Africa, you’re in for quite an experience.  

 

The city of Accra if a vibrant, eclectic mix of people from diverse backgrounds.  As the capital city of Ghana, it’s much like many other major metropolitan centres in that people from small towns and communities across the country move there in hopes of greener pastures.  The result is the hustle and bustle of a big city that’s crowded and often choked with traffic at peak times of the day. 

Airport City- Accra

 

Because of the diversity in its people, there are various cultural practices people maintain from their communities even though they are in Accra.  The city is historically the dwelling place for people of the Ga tribe. Their language, Ga, is spoken by many in Accra, especially in Accra Central and Jamestown.  However because of the migration of many people from the Akan tribes (this includes Ashanti, Akuapem, Akwamu, Akyem, Fante) into Greater Accra, the Twi language, has become a dominant one spoken by many people in Greater Accra.  In fact, that language has become so commonplace that it’s spoken by some even in regions where it’s not the native language.    

Despite the many groups in Greater Accra, because English is the official language of Ghana, nearly everyone speaks it, so as a tourist you will be able to manage.  Although you will frequently come across those who speak a local slang often called ‘Pidgeon English’. This is spoken widely in Ghana and you’ll also find it in Nigeria.  

 

Cultural Nuances

Anytime you travel to a new country, there are a few things you need to know.  Ghana isn’t much different. So here are some important things to note for your stay in Ghana.

Akwaaba – This means ‘Welcome’ in the Akan language.  It’s commonly used across Ghana as a welcome greeting.  As a visitor, you will often hear people say this to you when you visit places for the first time.  

 

Thank You – Thank You in the Akan language is ‘Medaase’. This is one of Ghana’s most common words used to show appreciation. 

The Use of Left Hand – In Ghanaian Culture, giving and receiving items is done only with the right hand.  For example is you are making a purchase, you are expected to hand the money using your right hand to the individual.  When using your left, you will hear an apology. “Sorry for left,” is commonly said when someone hands you something with a left hand. 

 

The reason is that culturally it’s believed the left hand is unclean since it’s supposed to be used to clean up after visiting ‘nature’s call’.  So using the left is considered disrespectful by many. 

PleaseThe word “please” is used quite often in Ghana.  It may come across as over-gratification when you hear it so often, but in Ghana it’s considered respectful to use ‘please’ in many scenarios.  It’s often, “Yes, please” or “No, please” when answering questions.  

Occasionally it’s used in conversation when addressing someone to show a sign of respect. 

 

The Writer: Ivy Prosper Photo Credit: @AdomiStudios

 

These are just a few things you’ll need in preparation for your trip to Accra, Ghana.  Pay attention to cultural cues and if you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask. Ghanaians are quite friendly and open to conversation with travellers.  Enjoy your stay!