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!

Photos: Colourful Culture-Rich Durbar climaxes 2019 ‘Year of Return’ Edina Bakatue Festival

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It was a historic grand durbar on Saturday, July 6, climaxing the 2019 ‘Year of Return’ edition of the Edina Bakatue Festival at Elmina. The forecourt of the historic Eliminate Castle played host to this colourful kente-rich durbar graced by the Vice President H.E. Dr. Bawumia.

Omanhene of Edina Traditional Area, Nana Kodwo Conduah VI, and the people of Elmina celebrate Bakatue to symbolise the beginning of the fishing season.

Speaking at the Durbar, the Vice President assured Edinaman that Government will continue to initiate policies and roll out programmes that will make fishing less tedious and more profitable.

He added that the government was working hard to complete the first phase of the ongoing Elmina Heritage Bay project with a reverential garden under that will provide enhanced durbar grounds and promote tourism.

Dr. Bawumia intimated that as part of the broader government agenda to provide fish landing sites along coastal communities, funding for ten such fish landing sites has been secured and works shall begin soon.

 

He listed the ten (10) sites as including: Teshie in the Greater Accra Region, Axim and Dixcove in the Western Region, Elmina, Winneba, Mumford, Senya-Bereku, Fetteh-Gomoah and Moree in the Central Region and Keta in the Volta Region.

He concluded that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will continue to work hard to bring developments to the doorsteps of the people of Elmina.

The Omanhene Nana Kodwo Conduah VI on his part encouraged his people to keep clean environments and use made in Ghana goods to help create jobs.

Present at the Durbar was the MP Hon. Samuel Atta Mills, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority.

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

Ghana Diaspora Celebration & Homecoming Summit Welcomes Diasporans From Around the World

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Ghana continues to be a leader in Africa when it comes to its relationship with the diaspora community. It’s the first country to have a Diaspora Affairs Office in the Presidency designed to focus on the needs of its people living outside the country.  The biennial Ghana Diaspora Celebration and Homecoming Summit, which runs from 3rd – 6th July 2019, had a successful opening day at the Accra International Conference Centre. Many dignitaries and government officials were there to be part the opening day including, Mustapha Hamid, Minister of Information, Barabara Oteng Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Jessica Ayivor, Vice President of the African American Association of Ghana and H.E. Dr. Erieka Bennet, Head of Mission, Diaspora African Forum.  A special Keynote address from President Nana Akufo-Addo was a highlight that served to put a stamp on the importance of this conference.

 

Akufo-Addo said some key things in his address that gave everyone the confidence that he takes this event and the work of the Diaspora Affairs office seriously. “When I’ve visited countries outside our shores, I’ve engaged with members of the Ghanaian community not only to tell them about the progress we made in our country but also to listen to their concerns.” He continued his address saying, “When I was informed the remittances from Ghanaians in the diaspora has increased by nearly 50% from $2.2 Billion USD in 2017, to $3 Billion USD in 2018, it reinforced my decision to continue to engage in this important constituency that continues to support the growth and the progress of our economy.”

Mr. Akwasi Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, has done a great job of engaging with the diaspora.  Known for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet with people from the diaspora, Mr. Ababio is perhaps one of the most accessible people in government.  During his address on the first day of events, he said, that the summit was working towards enhancing the quality of life for Ghanaians both at home and in the diaspora. “We also recognize the strategic role those in the diaspora play in Ghana’s development,” he said. “The [upcoming] sessions will highlight the past and present actions of the diaspora and the future opportunities working together to build Ghana.”

 

Event registrants came from all corners of the globe including, Kenya, Turkey, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Australia, Belgium, the U.K., United States, and Canada. Each expecting to network and build connections with others who have a strong interest in Ghana.  Adjoa Agyeman, a diasporan from Canada said she decided to come to the event because she has returned to Ghana and faced some obstacles. “I wanted to come and see if anyone else is having the same challenges that I am having and also to see if there are any remedies that are being brought up. So far I haven’t gotten a lot of answers, I’m still waiting.  There are some issues that came up, like getting the Ghana card, and I thought it wasn’t resolved. So I am looking forward to the next few days and hoping all of my questions will be answered.”

 

A man from the U.K, who wished to remain nameless, said he was excited about all the things happening in Ghana so he decided to attend the event in hopes of networking and meeting new people. While Karl-Buah Obed, who travelled from Hong Kong spoke about how impressed he is with the Diaspora Affairs Office.  He said that he was happy at how quick Mr. Ababio and his team are to respond to the needs of people like himself from the diaspora. Obed said it’s important to have someone in an office like that who cares about the needs and concerns of people who are transitioning to Ghana.

 

Over the next few days, the conference will feature other keynote speakers and panel discussions tackling some of the concerns of the diaspora.  “The critical role of those living in the diaspora cannot be overstated,” the president said in wrapping up his Keynote address. He stressed that he will continue to have all diaspora matters centralized in the Diaspora Affairs Office where it currently resides.

 

The conference runs until 6th July so it’s not too late to attend if you’re already in Ghana and looking to participate in the activities. Visit the website at www.myghanadiaspora.com for more details on registration and to download the event program.  For more info on the Diaspora Affairs office visit the website, www.ghanaiandiaspora.com or www.yearofreturn.com.

Written by Ivy Prosper

GTA Ladies Club Clean-Up Jamestown in readiness for ‘Year of Return’ Events

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The Ghana Tourism Authority’s Ladies Club has begun activities to create awareness for the ongoing Year of Return, Ghana 2019 celebrations by cleaning up Jamestown in readiness for the Jamestown to Jamestown event.

The exercise, led by the Vice President of the GTA Ladies Club, Mrs. Roberta Okine Fumador had the Accra Metropolitan Assembly workers participating. The clean-up exercise was done along the major streets of Jamestown and the market centres.

The Jamestown to Jamestown event is one of the activities of the ‘Year of Return, Ghana 2019′ calendar. The event will afford members of the African-American community to honour both their African ancestors and the struggle for Black liberation in America with a groundbreaking trek from Jamestown, Virginia to Jamestown, Accra in August.

The sensitization exercise is, therefore, a huge opportunity to promote Ghana, Africa and Africa-American cultural understandings, and also to ensure that we operate in a clean environment.

Mrs. Okine Fumador, who spoke to the media, pleaded with the residents to change their attitudes towards sanitation and actively participate in keeping their environment clean.

She also appealed to the media to embark on an educational campaign on good sanitation practices to curb the menace of indiscriminate disposal of waste.

The Ghana Tourism Authority ladies club has the aim of improving the image of the organization and the welfare of the ladies within GTA. As part of their objective to assist management to achieve the organisation’s goals, the Club organised the clean-up and sensitization exercise to support the ‘Year of Return, Ghana 2019’, a 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 in 1619.

The Club hopes to take on other sensitisation programs in the months ahead.

“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.