“Visit Ghana In This ‘Year Of Return’” – President Akufo-Addo To Trinidadians

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The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has extended an invitation to the people of Trinidad and Tobago to visit Ghana in this ‘Year of Return.’

Minister of Culture of Trinidad and Tobago (L) with her counterpart Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi (R)

 

According to President Akufo-Addo, Ghana recognises its unique 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, adding that “we have a responsibility, and we do extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora.

 

2019 marks the 400-year anniversary of the first recorded arrival, in 1619, of the first twenty (20) enslaved Africans in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which was to become part of the United States of America, initiating some of the most barbaric episodes in human history – the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and slavery.

 

The President, therefore, was hopeful that “the year would prove to be a joyful and learning experience all around for all of us, especially in affirming our determination that never again should the African peoples permit themselves to be subjected to such dehumanising conditions, sold into slavery, and have their freedoms curtailed in  order to build up forcibly countries other their own.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 13th June 2019, when he addressed the media after he held bilateral discussions with the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Keith Rowley.

After the launch of the ‘Year of Return’ in Washington D.C., Ghana continued with the December 2018 Full Circle Festival, involving over 70 African American celebrities visiting Ghana to reconnect with their ancestral heritage.

Additionally, the Home Coming and Investment Summit, the African-American Investment Forum, the Pan-African and Emancipation Day Celebrations, the durbar from Jamestown to Jamestown, the Film Festival, and the Full Circle Festival are some of the activities that will be held to commemorate the year-long event.

The commemoration should enable us, in the African Union, to consolidate and strengthen our links with our Sixth Region, i.e. the African Diaspora of the so-called ‘New World’, which have laid somewhat dormant, and make operational and extend the Free Movement Protocol to those in the Diaspora seeking to resettle in Africa,” the President stressed.

Source: Presidency.gov.gh

President Akufo-Addo: ‘The year of return’ for Black Stars AFCON glory

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The leader of the West African nation has tasked the Black Stars to bring home the royal diadem after 37 years of disappointment

Ghana president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the Black Stars to win the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) to honour the nations ‘Year of Return’ slogan.

WWE Champion Kofi Kingston Meets President Nana Akufo-Addo

The four-time champions are hoping to end a 37-year wait for a fifth title at the June 21 to July 19 championship in Egypt where they have been drawn against Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau in Group F.

The president was speaking at a dinner on Thursday as the team prepared to depart for camping in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.

Kofi Kingston Kingston Comes Home 

“Teamwork is at the heart of every success. Without it, you cannot succeed in football, and as it is, in every enterprise,” President Akufo-Addo stated, as published on the Government of Ghana website.

“Teamwork means all of you have to work for each other. Religious, ethnic and other divisions do not advance teamwork.

WWE World Champion Kofi Kingston to visit Ghana after 26yrs

“You are the Black Stars of Ghana and it doesn’t matter whether you’re from Jamestown or Nalerigu or Walewale, you’re the Black Stars of Ghana.

“Helping each other to win is the sort of teamwork I’m talking about.

“So, your slogan, that is [Ghana’s] slogan of the year – ‘The year of return’. This indeed is the year of return.”

Ghana won the Cup of Nations in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982 after which they finished second in 1992, 2010 and 2015.

“You have to respect unreservedly the authority of the coach and the authority of the captain [Andre Ayew],” Akufo-Addo added.

“That is basic rules, non-negotiable rules; if you don’t do it, everybody will be going their separate ways.

“If you do that, you cement the teamwork and you will become a cohesive forceful force.

“It is my intention to come and watch your first match [against Benin] on the 25th of June and if with God’s grace, which I believe He will give us, you make the final, I would come there as well to come and watch you.”

The ‘Year of Return’ is a national campaign urging all Ghanaians in the diaspora to make a trip to Ghana in 2019 to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown, Virginia in the Americas.

Source: Yahoo Sports

WWE Champion Kofi Kingston Finally Makes His Visit to Ghana

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Kofi Kingston arrived in Ghana yesterday to a big celebration at Kotoka International Airport.  Fans and students who couldn’t wait to see the WWE Champion celebrated through song and dance.  Kingston joined in with the crowd dancing to the beat as the Ghana flag was draped over him with cheers from the crowd. Even Kotoka International Airport staff were following him taking selfies as he made his way through after customs.

WWE Champion Kofi Kingston Meets President Nana Akufo-Addo

His mother, Dr. Elizabeth Sarkodie-Mensah, along with other family members were there to meet him and were equally overwhelmed with the big reception and couldn’t believe the crowd waiting for him outside the airport.  This is his first trip back to Ghana since 1993 and he is eager to reconnect with his homeland.  He said that one of his biggest regrets was not coming sooner. Kingston recounted the story of his father, who often travelled to Ghana and brought groups of students with him. He said that as a senior in high school, his priority was to find work rather than make a trip to Ghana.

 

Kofi Kingston Kingston Comes Home 

He said once he was ready to come to Ghana, his hectic schedule has made it challenging to find the time.  At the media press-conference, he said that sometimes things happen for a reason because he believes the stars were all aligned for him to make this journey to Ghana during the “Year of Return”.  It’s an important time for people in the diaspora to come to Ghana.

 

WWE World Champion Kofi Kingston to visit Ghana after 26yrs

He will be spending four days in the country, with time divided between Accra and Kumasi.  His first day was jam-packed with a press conference, interviews with the media and a visit to the Jubilee House to meet President Nana Akufo-Addo.

He’s had an eleven-year career and has proven that with hard work, success is possible. “It was a matter of staying the course…. I’m here as living breathing proof that anything is possible.”  Many who were seeing him for the first time, were surprised at how small he is, relative to the typical athlete in WWE.  He often hears those remarks and said, “I’m not the tallest or the biggest person…but I had dreams and I believed in it.”  His perseverance and level of commitment to living his childhood dream prove that success can be achieved with hard work. “Not many people on the planet can say they are living their dream, I’m doing that.”

Accra / May 30, 2019,/ Written by Ivy Prosper

Kofi Kingston Comes Home

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Kofi Kingston

Ghana is gearing up to give a warm reception to the current World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Champion, Kofi “Kingston”.  He has not been to his homeland of Ghana in 26 years. His arrival this week is going to be bittersweet.  Especially with this year being declared, ‘Year of Return” welcoming all those of African descent to Ghana.

Kingston, who was born, Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah, will be on a four-day visit from Thursday 30th May 2019 to Sunday 2nd June 2019. He will be travelling with a film crew documenting his journey as a world champion, who returns home to his humble beginnings.  His visit will include a trip to Manhyia Palace in Kumasi where he will pay homage to the current Asante King, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.  Kingston’s visit will also include a meeting with President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

His journey through Ghana will also take him through some key tourist sites including the Christianborg Castle (Osu), Bonwire and Ntonso and Lake Bosomtwe. He’ll also make a visit to the Mother and Baby Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

Of course, like most Ghanaians, a visit to your family hometown is in order. Kingston will pay a visit to his paternal hometown Ejisu and to Atwima Techiman, his maternal hometown.  His family members must be so proud and anticipating seeing him after all these years away.  He certainly has made them proud of becoming the first African to ever win the WWE Championship title.

Expect to see him making the rounds on the media circuit in Ghana.  Everyone is excited to see him and welcome him home to Ghana.

For the first time in History and African won the WWE Championship, and he’s from Ghana

The World Wrestling Entertainment Champion, Kofi “Kington” Sarkodie-Mensah comes home to Ghana for the first time in 26 years.

Media Partnerships

CitiTV and Graphic meetings

Since President Nana Akufo-Addo declared 2019 as the ‘Year of Return’ welcoming all those of African descent to make their birthright journey home to Ghana, there’s been a significant amount of positive response from those living in the diaspora.  Just search the hashtag #yearofreturn and you’ll find so many images ope people who have made the trip to Ghana.  Equally, there are several making plans to visit Ghana and celebrate the year of return.  Travellers making the journey visit historical sites, attend events and gain a sense of reconnection with their ancestral roots.

Ask anyone in the diaspora about ‘year of return’ and most have heard about the commemoration of 400 years since the first documented slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia.  But ask a local Ghanaian if they know what ‘year of the return’ is about and you’re often left with blank stares and a lack of knowledge about the entire year.  With the few who are aware, something it’s a single climax event that is yet to come or that they already missed out on.

Speaking to a young man in Labone, who wished to remain nameless, he was asked if he knows about Year of Return. “No I’ve not heard about that,” he said.  I explained to him that Year of Return   When explaining what it is, he said he thought it was a good thing because by all means “the people who come back will feel like they are home.”  He went on to say that he attended the TINA Fest but had no idea it was part of this year of return.

Forming strategic partnerships with local media will be key to getting local Ghanaians engaged in Year of Return Events. 

Getting Ghanaians Involved in ‘Year of Return’ Events

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Accra / May 27, 2019 / Written by Ivy Prosper

In September 2018, President Nana Akufo-Addo declared that 2019 would be ‘The Year of Return; to celebrate the resilience of African people and to mark the 400 years since the first documented ship with enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, USA.  It was an invitation to all those of African descent to make the journey back to the motherland.  The Year of Return Steering Committee was created under the Ghana Tourism Authority to help celebrate and promote the year filled with activities that will attract visitors from around the world.

Since the launch of YOR festivities, there’s been a significant amount of positive response internationally. Just Google search “year of return” online and you’ll find several stories and social media images of people who have made the trip to Ghana.  Equally there are many making plans to visit and celebrate the year of return.  There are so many asking, “How do I move to Ghana?” “How can I travel to Ghana?” “Can I get citizenship in Ghana?”  With all the buzz in the diaspora, the exact opposite is true within Ghana.  Much of the general population is not aware of year of return.

The Year of Return (YOR) Steering Committee, Ghana Tourism Authority and the Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, are committed to forming partnerships with local media so that Ghanaians are informed of activities and can prepare themselves to welcome our brothers and sisters from the diaspora as they make their journey to Ghana.

In speaking to a young man in Labone, who wished to remain nameless, he was asked if he knows about Year of Return. “No, I’ve not heard about that,” he said.  I explained to him the desire of people of African descent to make a journey back to their roots and that the president made the declaration last year in Washington, D.C.  He said he thought it was a good thing for people to come because “By all means the people who come back will feel like they are home.”  In telling him about past YOR events, he admits having attended TINA Fest in January, but he had no idea it was part of the year of return.

 

How Do We Make Ghanaians More Aware?

Mr. Akwasi Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President  and Chairman of the Year of Return Steering Committee and the Vice Chair of the Committee, Mr. Gaddy Laryea together with Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, and Coordinator for the Committee as well as other members of the YOR Steering Committee, recently paid a visit to some media houses.  Their first point of call was the  Graphic Communications Group Limited, where they met with Managing Director, Mr. Ato Afful and his team. Discussions were centred on how they can support promotional efforts through their various media channels.  With platforms like The Mirror, Daily Graphic and Showbiz, reaching the mass population in Ghana, this partnership would most certainly see results.

The team also met with Managing Director of CitiTV, Mr. Samuel Attah-Mensah.  Their goal was to initiate a dialogue about how they can work together to publicise events related to the year of return using radio and television platforms.  It was a positive meeting that left the team feeling confident about engaging the community about how they can also participate in the events throughout the year.  A commitment was made to communicate on both radio and television about upcoming events and show the local population how they can also be involved in the year of return.

To learn more about Year of Return, visit the website at www.yearofreturn.com

 

About Year of Return

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark marketing campaign targeting the African – American and Diaspora Market to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown Virginia. The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) under the Auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is leading the project in collaboration with the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, the Panafest Foundation and the Adinkra Group of USA.

The Year of Return seeks to make Ghana the focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalisation by tracing their ancestry and identity. By this, Ghana becomes the beacon for African people living on the continent and the diaspora.

The United States Congress recently passed an Act H.R. 1242 – 400 Years of African-American which is a historically significant milestone. Ghana’s unique position as the location for 75 per cent of the slave dungeons built on the west coast of Africa and the current President’s policy of making it a national priority to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora cannot be overemphasised.

There are still numerous imposing European forts and castles harbouring harrowing reminders of an intense and complex history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in our land over centuries. This on its own has made Ghana the focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalization by tracing their ancestry and identity.

However, even more, important is the recognition of Ghana as a beacon of hope for African people living on the continent and in the Diaspora. This status was earned not by coincidence but by conscious efforts to validate the struggles, strengths and linkages between African descendants on a Pan-African scale.

Why they are Moving to Africa…

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When Lakeshia Ford decided she was going to pack up her life and her budding career and move from New Jersey to Ghana, her family could not understand why she wanted to make the trek to a country thousands of miles from home. Even more surprising, to some, was Ford’s reason: the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The incident, which set off protests across the United States, was a tipping point for the 30-year-old Ford and her relationship with the country of her birth.

“Mike Brown got shot and it just put this huge distaste in my mouth for, like, the country and the flag and what it means to be American and representing the American flag,” Ford says. “I felt very detached from that identity. I felt very excluded.” While that feeling was certainly shared by many across the country, Ford is part of a small but growing group of black Americans who have become so fed up with racism in the United States that they have decided to move to Africa.

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“I remember a moment. I remember sitting on my bed and visualizing like … a transition,” Ford recalls. “You know that image of Mike Brown with the blood, and he was just [lying] there [in the street]? The animation in my mind was like he rose with that blood and turned into water, and I floated back. Well, I didn’t float back, but basically, I use that blood in the water to get back to Africa.”

Four years later, Ford sits in a trendy hotel bar in Accra, the capital of Ghana, a small coastal nation in West Africa. As dusk settles, she sips water after a long day of work while other patrons laugh and catch up with friends. A communications professional with a background in finance and international relations, Ford once dreamed of serving as a foreign diplomat, but she soured on the idea of representing the United States abroad. Instead, she came here and set up her own business, Ford Communications, a strategic communications and public relations boutique. Ford found a niche servicing Ghana’s booming tech industry.

Lakeshia Ford, a 30-year-old American who moved from the U.S. to Ghana, stands at the bridge overlooking Liberation Road in Accra, Ghana.

The daughter of Jamaican immigrants who moved to the United States in the 1980s, Ford spent her formative years in East Orange, New Jersey. Those years were tough but grounded in the American dream. “I never knew we were poor,” she says. “I had everything that I needed.” She excelled at academics, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and a master’s from American University. Internships took her to places like China, South Africa and Ghana, which she first visited in 2008.

Read Also:

Hundreds of African Americans resettle in Ghana

“I had the time of my life, and I felt more [at] home here than I ever did in the States and Jamaica,” she recalls. “It was just this really weird internal experience that was just like … peace.” She returned in the summer of 2013, during graduate school, to work for the United Nations information centre in Accra, and again in 2014, as a Boren Fellow.

The next year, after her vision following the Michael Brown incident, she decided to try moving to Ghana, despite having no job or prospects lined up — a decision that did not sit well with her family.

“Americans, you know how people think about Africa,” she says. “They think it’s all jungles, people living in trees. It’s so crazy how that narrative has survived.”

Now, Ford works with firms like the financial tech company Mazzuma, which launched a cryptocurrency to make mobile payments easier, and the data mining company Viotech. She works out of a suburban coworking space, and after waking up at 5 a.m. to pray and meditate, she gets her emails done before driving off to meetings. Sometimes she jumps on a motorbike to avoid the snarl of cars that choke the city.

Read Also:

Why the slave bible had full chapters removed

Ford’s move is part of a larger trend of African-Americans and Ghanaian-Americans moving back to the continent and Ghana specifically. Members of the African-American Association of Ghana estimate that about 5,000 African-Americans are currently living in Accra, a sharp increase from about 1,000 a decade ago. The influx of skilled workers is helping to grow several industries in the country, particularly technology.

Young people working at BaseCamp Initiative, a creative co-working space in Accra.

Nestled between the Ivory Coast and Togo, Ghana has long been a refuge for African-Americans seeking to escape America’s ugly side. In 1962, poet, novelist and civil rights activist Maya Angelou moved here with her son, Guy. She lived in Accra and worked at the University of Ghana for three years. She found a tight-knit community of other African-Americans who had fled the United States to evade Jim Crow and racism and were drawn to the new nation headed by president Kwame Nkrumah, who was educated in America.

Read Also:

Panafest in the year of return

Today, Ghana’s capital is bubbling with energy. It is laid-back yet bursting at the seams. Congestion that would test the most patient person is ever-present, yet the people are friendly and peaceful. The city is a mix of cosmopolitan, with impressive architectural offerings like the National Theater, and developing city, with the hustle and bustle of haphazard urban planning. Above all, as one would expect in Ghana, it is a place where black faces are everywhere. The daredevil weaving in and out of traffic on a motorbike: black. The manager in the bank: black. The celebrity on a billboard, trying to persuade you to try her jollof rice: black.

For people like Ford, that blackness, combined with the energy of a booming economy, makes it an attractive place. The country’s gross domestic product grew by 7.4 percent in the third quarter of 2018, and the World Bank projected that the nation would be one of the fastest growing economies that year.

On the tech side, the information technology sector in Ghana grew by double-digits in 2016, outperforming the economy as a whole, according to the Oxford Business Group. The highest rate of mobile penetration in sub-Saharan Africa, and widely available WiFi, contribute to Accra’s appeal as a destination for tech start-ups, luring both African-Americans and Ghanaian-born people who had previously settled in the United States.

Yaa Cuguano, 36, first arrived in the United States at the age of 14. She recalls landing at Kennedy Airport in frigid December weather, wearing a T-shirt and jeans: “My mom’s uncle met us and gave us these windbreaker jackets. It was snowing, and I went right back inside.”

Yaa Cuguano at MPharma headquarters, where she works. Cuguano immigrated to the U.S. with her family as a child, and recently decided to move back to Ghana.

In 2014, after more than 20 years in America, Cuguano moved back to Ghana. Her parents and siblings still live in the United States, but she had tired of the rat race, the explosion of racial issues and the weather. Though Cuguano is a U.S. citizen, her country of birth would provide the consanguinity she needed.

Cugano works at MPharma, an e-health company co-founded by another returned Ghanaian-American, Gregory Rockson, and backed by Silicon Valley venture capital firms. A 2017 report found that African companies received more than $500 million in venture capital, a 53 percent increase from the previous year.

At MPharma’s bungalow-like offices in a suburb of Accra, a hammock sits in the corner of the front yard, and a Maltese-poodle nips at visitors’ heels. Cuguano, who had lived in Washington, Illinois, California and New York, is serene but pointed when she explains the move. Her long, slender hands gesticulate to emphasize.

“So the moment I decided to move to Ghana, it had to do with the Trayvon Martin verdict. I was very affected by that. I was like, ‘What the hell?’ I just saw that things were happening differently than in the America that I had known.”

She says life here is less materialistic. “I feel at peace here,” she says. In the United States, she laments, people “just keep chasing and keep chasing, chasing, chasing.” In Ghana, “I have a lot of work, but I have a lot of time to just think and just be, you know? The way I live here is just very minimal.”

Impact Hub provides co-working space for entrepreneurs, innovators, and creatives in Accra, which has a booming tech scene.

Another major plus is not being judged by her skin colour, as she says she often was in America. She had been a team leader at an educational product firm in New York and has degrees from three universities, but she always felt undermined.

“In America, all the places I worked at, I was always the only black woman in my team,” she says. “In New York, one of the places I worked at, it was a very — I would call it a hostile environment. … It was just very hard to work with them because there always was an objection to everything I said or suggested.”

At MPharma, she is spearheading a product that uses mobile technology to enable patients to access medicine more efficiently. And she doesn’t have to worry about people judging her by her skin colour, because most people look like her.

Paul Miller Owusu, 38, is a tech entrepreneur who moved to Ghana in 2017 after living in the United States since he was a child and working at Silicon Valley companies Yammer, GBox and Chime. Like Cuguano, he says that incidents like the Trayvon Martin case were a catalyst for his move — as was a much more personal interaction with police.

Men fix broken phones in Tiptoe Lane Circle in Accra, a hub where people sell and trade electronics as well as fix broken equipment.

“I think it was three weeks after the Trayvon dismissal,” he recalls. “I was coming home from work in Mountain View, and I was literally around the corner from where Facebook headquarters is, and I was pulled over by a cop. They were looking for a stolen car. The car that I was driving was whiter than the skin colour” — and not at all the colour of the car police were looking for. “I thought it was very bogus.”

He continues: “And at that moment I felt very angry, to put it lightly.” Owusu made the move alone, leaving his young family behind. He still travels back to see them and has not made a decision about whether they will join him in Ghana yet.

Owusu acknowledges that the United States provided him with the building blocks of his success, but he says Ghana has a magnetic pull that allows him to be centred.

“I can unplug from work and not worry about anything,” he says. “In the States, you’re constantly plugged in, so work-life balance is just nonexistent. People will say it, but I think it’s like complete B.S. … Work-life balance in Ghana is really good; there is a lot of freedom in the way I move around.”

Since moving back to Ghana, Owusu has launched multiple companies, including a peer-to-peer and remittance company called SIKA, and raised $4.8 million from a Ghanaian investor for LOGIQUE, a tech accelerator and incubator.

While the gravity of race relations and the pull of a friendlier place have attracted people like Ford, Cuguano and Owusu, Ghana has embarked on a mission to siphon talented individuals.

Paul Miller Owusu, a tech entrepreneur who moved to Ghana in 2017, after living in the U.S. since he was a child. (Photo courtesy Paul Miller Owusu)

Akwasi Akua Ababio, director of diaspora relations for the office of the president, believes the political situation in the West could be a boon for countries like Ghana.

“While it is unfortunate that geopolitics in the West has taken an uncomfortably insular turn, personally I consider it an opportunity to attract the energy, skills, and knowledge of people of African descent to the continent,” he says. “It is time for African nations to put measures in place to attract and sustain people of African descent here on the continent.”

At the beginning of 2019, the Ghanaian government rolled out the red carpet for African-Americans and the diaspora under the banner Year of Return. Throughout the year, there’ll be events marking the abolition of 400 years of the slave trade and encouraging people of African descent from all over the world to come to Ghana to network and invest.

David Hutchful, a software designer and an expert in the Ghanaian tech space, says the industry has grown in the past three decades, attracting highly skilled people and investors. He thinks this development has led to more individuals from the United States moving back.

“When I think about technology in Ghana, when I first came it was very different, but I feel like it is now growing, and we are beginning to carve out an identity for ourselves,” he says.

Left, a phone repair shop at Tiptoe Lane Circle in Accra. Right, Michael, a bartender at Republic Bar in Osu, uses a fast 4G network to make a WhatsApp call during his lunch break.

Hutchful, who has worked in tech in the United States and India, says Ghana’s tech space has grown from one that developed mostly software for government systems to one where a start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem is thriving. Hutchful was born in Ghana and went to school in Zimbabwe and the United States. He thinks the movement of African-Americans and Ghanaian-Americans back to the country bodes well for the continued growth of the tech industry.

“What Africa really needs now are people called links — people who have legs in both places — because there’s a lot of transfer of skills and knowledge and understanding. If I were to think about African-Americans beginning to redefine kind of a new adventure for themselves, I think them serving [as] that link then would be great,” he says.

Ford says she hopes more Africans in the diaspora move back to the continent, or at least travel there.

“Black people need to come to Africa, even if they are visiting,” she says. “I won’t say everybody needs to move back — I don’t think that is a good solution — but it’s a pilgrimage that every black person needs to have.”

Source: narratively.com

Jamaican Reggae Star Gramps Morgan applauds Ghana for ‘Year of Return’

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Alisa Hotel, Accra/ Friday, May 17, 2019/ Written by Ivy Prosper

In the last few years, so many people from the African diaspora have lent their voice, talents and skills to help develop those in Ghana. One person who has made a commitment to helping Ghanaians is Reggae superstar Roy ‘Gramps’ Morgan.  He started his career at age 9 as part of the group, Morgan Heritage with his siblings and has gone on to have a successful solo career with multiple hits and awards. He recently conducted his annual Music Clinic at the Alisa Hotel in Accra.  He was in the country for the Ghana Jamaica Homecoming Festival as part of the Year of Return festivities.  Several local artists were in attendance in hopes of not only hearing Morgan speak but to also take invaluable information to help them develop their careers as artists and musicians.  Upon being introduced to the crowd he took a moment to thank President Nana Akufo-Addo for his vision.  “I want to take this moment to big up the President of Ghana because he has made my dream come true when I hear him declare, and remember 400 years since slavery…..[and] that most nations in Europe and the U.S. took [part] in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and to commemorate this year….he said this will be the year of return!

Gramps Morgan was born into the music business.  His father is well-known reggae artist Denroy Morgan and since he was a young child he’s been surrounded by the music.  With a lifetime of knowledge and experience in the music industry, he spoke from the heart giving words of wisdom to the aspiring artists in attendance. “There is a lot of talent in Ghana,” he said to the crowd.  He spoke about the importance of having a vision, even when talent exists, or Ghana’s industry would fail.  Because of his passion to help the next generation of artists, he’s taken it upon himself to share his expertise in Ghana with his annual music clinic.

Artists in the music industry abroad have had the upper hand for decades because of knowing and understanding the business aspect more so than many artists in Ghana.  Before Morgan spoke, other members of Ghana’s music industry shared their experiences in the business saying that “Many musicians don’t know much about the business aspect of the music industry.” Some don’t even realise that to build their careers in music they need more than a manager. Ras, a respected person in Ghana’s music scene, said, “In the business, we have personal managers, road managers, technical managers and business managers…. these all make the artist.” He wanted them to understand the bigger picture is more than just the music, it’s a complete package.

With Morgan’s ability to spot talent, it’s no surprise that artists wanted to meet him and share their music with him in hopes they can be Ghana’s next superstar.  A few years ago, one artist stuck out to Gramps Morgan on his visit to Ghana.  He was talking to Reggie Rockstone those years ago when he pointed a young man out and declared, “This guy is going to change the face of music in Ghana, this boy has something special.” He was speaking about Stonebwoy, now one of Ghana’s most celebrated artists on a global platform.  Morgan surprised Stonebwoy those years ago when he called him asking, “Please, can you come and tour with me?”  He made Stoneboy the opening act on his tour and said to him, “This is where your life begins internationally.”

There is no denying the power of collaboration and uplifting emerging singers and musicians.  Morgan’s Music Clinic is opening doors for artists in Ghana. His passion for helping is deeply rooted in the connection he feels with the continent. “I feel like it’s my job to build the bridge from the diaspora, to come home…build the bridge from Australia, from the UK, from Europe…because there were Africans that were born there, but they need to have a connection with Africa. This is Africa and it’s time.

Year of Return: WWE World Champion Kofi Kingston to visit Ghana after 26yrs

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Reigning World Wrestling Entertainment Champion, Kofi Kingston has in a Facebook and Instagram post said he will be visiting home after 26 years. In a post that suggests he has heard the call to action in the trending #YearofReturn hashtag ‘Brafie’ #brafie and responding by inviting others to the slogan #LetsGoGhana, Kofi is will be returning home for a 4-day visit beginning May 30 to June 2, 2019 to pay a courtesy call on the President, Nana Akufo Addo and the Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace as well as visit many tourist attractions including Lake Bosomtwi, Christiansborg (Osu) Castle, Bonwire, Ejisu and Komfo Anokye. He will be accompanied by a WWE crew who are shooting a documentary on him as World Champion.

Read the story below as published by WWE.com on Friday, May 9, 2019.

Kofi Kingston is going home. And, of course, he’s got a little extra luggage to take with him this time around.

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The WWE Champion revealed Friday on Instagram that he is planning his first visit to his home country of Ghana, West Africa since 1993 — part of a celebratory “Year of Return” in the wake of winning his first World Championship. A WWE film crew will be documenting the four-day visit, which includes a children’s rally, visits to Kofi’s maternal and paternal hometowns, as well as a courtesy call on the Ghanaian president, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and a visit to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asante Monarch.

Read the full press release below, and stay tuned to WWE’s digital channels for more on Kofi’s homecoming.

 

Journey to becoming World Champion

The New Day’s Kofi Kingston is powered by positivity, and he’s used it to catapult himself, Xavier Woods and Big E to new heights.

Since bursting on the WWE scene in 2007, Kingston has established himself as one of WWE’s premier high-flyers. That, paired with his upbeat attitude, made him a perennial favourite of the WWE Universe as he racked up Intercontinental, the United States and Tag Team Championships. Kingston also cemented his place in WWE history with a series of daredevil moments where he saved himself from elimination in several Royal Rumble Matches.

 

Above: Video of how Kofi Kingston won the title

When he joined forces with Big E and Xavier Woods to form The New Day, though, no one could have guessed that the trio of unicorn horn-wearing, Booty-O-chomping Superstars would achieve the feats that they have in WWE. In fact, the WWE Universe despised them at first but soon grew to love them.

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Hundreds of African Americans resettle in Ghana

As a veteran member of the team, Kingston provides his wealth of knowledge to his younger compadres, and it has paid off. Not only has The New Day become one of the most popular factions in WWE history, but ya boys have held multiple Tag Team Championships between their stints on Raw and SmackDown LIVE, including the longest reign in WWE history – an astonishing 483 days.

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Panafest in the year of return

Kingston’s 11 years of hard work and dedication finally brought him to the dance at WrestleMania 35 where he challenged Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title. With the entire WWE Universe behind him, as well as his New Day brothers and the SmackDown locker room, Kofi beat Bryan to claim WWE’s ultimate prize. It just goes to show what the Power of Positivity can accomplish.

 

Kofi Kingston’s explains his unique Adinkra Tatoos

Kofi Explains his Ghanaian Adinkra Tatoos

 

About Kofi Kingston

Kofi Nahaje Sarkodie-Mensah(born August 14, 1981) is a Ghanaian-American professional wrestler signed to WWE, under the ring name Kofi Kingston, where he performs on the Smack Down brand, and is the current WWE Champion in his first reign. He is the first African-born WWE Champion and is also a member of The New Day along with Big E and Xavier Woods.

After graduating from college, Sarkodie-Mensah decided to pursue a professional wrestling career. He began performing on the New England independent circuit as a Jamaican wrestler by the name of Kofi Nahaje KingstonAfter signing a developmental deal with WWE in 2007, he shortened his ring name to “Kofi Kingston”. Kingston debuted in WWE in 2008 using the same Jamaican character as he did on the independent circuit. In late 2009, he stopped being billed from Jamaica and dropped the accent although he kept his ring name. He then started being billed from his home country of Ghana.

Kingston spent much of his first few years in WWE on the midcard singles scene, during which he became a four-time Intercontinental Champion and a three-time United States Champion. In 2014, Kingston formed The New Day with Big E and Xavier Woods. The trio went on to break the record for the longest Tag Team Championship reign in WWE history when they held the WWE (Raw) Tag Team Championship from August 2015 to December 2016 while defending the titles under the Freebird ruleIn April 2019, Kingston defeated Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 to win the WWE Championship, his first world title in WWE.

He is the first African-born world champion in WWE history as well as its 30th Triple Crown Champion and 20th overall Grand Slam Champion (13th under the current format). In addition, Kingston himself holds the singular record for most days spent as a Tag Team Champion within WWE and is also known for innovative ways of suspending his elimination from Royal Rumble and battle royal matches. With the exception of a few months spent as a heel (villainous character) in 2015 with The New Day, Kingston has been a babyface (heroic character) for almost the entirety of his WWE career.

 

About Year Of Return

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark marketing campaign targeting the African – American and Diaspora Market to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown Virginia. The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) under the Auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is leading the project in collaboration with the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, the Panafest Foundation and the Adinkra Group of USA.

The Year of Return seeks to make Ghana the focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalisation by tracing their ancestry and identity. By this, Ghana becomes the beacon for African people living on the continent and the diaspora.

The United States Congress recently passed an Act H.R. 1242 – 400 Years of African-American which is a historically significant milestone. Ghana’s unique position as the location for 75 per cent of the slave dungeons built on the west coast of Africa and the current President’s policy of making it a national priority to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora cannot be overemphasised.

There are still numerous imposing European forts and castles harbouring harrowing reminders of an intense and complex history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in our land over centuries. This on its own has made Ghana the focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalization by tracing their ancestry and identity.

However, even more, important is the recognition of Ghana as a beacon of hope for African people living on the continent and in the Diaspora. This status was earned not by coincidence but by conscious efforts to validate the struggles, strengths and linkages between African descendants on a Pan-African scale.

France24 Report on Year Of Return: Hundreds of African-Americans resettle in Ghana

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France24 has in a report looked at how Ghana is increasingly becoming home to hundreds of African-Americans especially in light of the on-going ‘Year of Return, Ghana 2019’ campaign. The report looks at the lives of some African-Americans who have settled in Ghans over the years. Read and watch the report below.

Ghana was one of the main West African departure points for the transatlantic slave trade. Today, the government has launched a campaign to reach out to the descendants of those Africans who were forcibly removed from their homelands. It has dubbed 2019 the “year of return“. Several hundred people have already put down roots in Ghana, many of them African-Americans. Our colleagues from France 2 report, with FRANCE 24‘s James Vasina.

This article comes on the heels of other reviews published earlier in the year.

Watch the programme/video report prepared by Patrick Lovett and James Vasina below.

 

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Year Of Return: “Come with an open mind and heart” – Mona Boyd invites Diasporans

Year of Return: African Diaspora in Ghana for Back2Africa Festival

CNN: CNN Travel lists Ghana as place to visit in 2019

 

About Year of return, Ghana 2019

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” 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 arrival of enslaved Africans marked a sordid and sad period, when our kith and kin were forcefully taken away from Africa into years of deprivation, humiliation and torture. While August 2019 marks 400 years since enslaved Africans arrived in the United States, “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019” celebrates 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.

The Ghana Tourism Authority(GTA) under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture is leading the project in collaboration with the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President the PANAFEST Foundation and The Adinkra Group of the USA.

One of the main goals of the Year of Return campaign is to position Ghana as a key travel destination for African Americans and the African Diaspora. In 2019, the events planned throughout the year will serve as a launch pad for a consistent boost in tourism for Ghana in the near and distant years. Beyond tourism, this initiative supports one of the President’s key developmental agendas in Ghana Beyond Aid. We know that tourism can be a leading indicator to business and investment.

We are focused on ensuring that our brothers and sisters have a safe, pleasant and wonderful journey home so they will want to come back, get involved, see the opportunity that exists in Ghana for us to work together and begin to rebuild what has been stolen and lost over the past 400 years.

Year of Return: Youth In Tourism Festival Launched

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The Tourism Society of Ghana (TOSOGHA) in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Year of Return Steering Committee has today launched the Youth in Tourism Festival (YOTOFEST) at the Accra Tourist Information Centre.

The festival will among other things, allow for greater local participation, especially the youth in the year-long commemoration of the Year of Return, Ghana 2019. The Youth in Tourism Festival will include a series of activities comprising, a public lecture and workshop, float, exhibitions, musical jamboree and a tour over a three -day period from July 18 to 20.

CEO, Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman

Coordinator of the Year of Return and CEO, Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman at the launch, was full of praise for TOSOGHA for continuing to reorient the youth on the need to promote domestic tourism through their activities such as the establishment of tourism clubs in both second cycle and tertiary institutions all over the country.

He mentioned that domestic tourism was at the heart of the country’s tourism growth and TOSOGHA remains a key partner to further complementing the efforts of the Authority and other institutions to better strengthen the domestic tourism drive. Agyeman reiterated his outfit’s continuous support for the organization and the Youth in Tourism Festival.

Youth Tourism Ambassador and Executive Director, TOSOGHA, Joseph Amartey

On his part, Youth Tourism Ambassador and Executive Director of TOSOGHA, Joseph Amartey envisages the Festival to be a potential social platform that effectively and efficiently market Ghanaian indigenous culture and heritage values for international patronage through broader youth engagements. “The foremost objective of YOTOFEST is to re – establish the smooth as well as swift patronage of domestic tourism from a more holistic and grassroots approach,” he said.

An important feature of the festival, according to Amartey, “is the creation of ready market for local artifacts and promotion of commercial sale of ‘’made in Ghana ‘’ goods and services internally and for export, hence a platform to promote the See, Eat, Wear, Feel Ghana agenda.”

A section of students at the launch

The launch of the event attracted student membership of TOSOGHA from various institutions within the Greater Accra Region with other high profile persons also in attendance. They included; Akwasi Ababio, Director for Diaspora Affairs at the Presidency and Chairman of the Year of Return Steering Committee, Kwadwo Antwi, CEO, Ghana Tourism Development Company, Bella Ahu, President, Ghana Tourism Federation and Olivia Opoku-Adomah, Director of Research, Statistics and Policy at the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture who represented the Deputy Minister.

Some of the invited guests at the launch

The Tourism Society of Ghana is a youth-led organization with the objective of promoting domestic tourism and imbibing tourism culture among the youth and has over 30,000 members in secondary and tertiary schools across the country.

Click here to view more photos from the launch

Story by: Samuel Obeng Appah