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!

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

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

Kofi Kingston Presents WWE Title To Asantehene at Manhyia Palace

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Kumasi / June 2, 2019

Kofi Kingston At Manhyia Palace

 

The Akwasidae Festival is an important day for the Ashanti people. Celebrated on a Sunday every six weeks, Chiefdoms from across the Ashanti Region travel to Manhyia Palace. This is the day that the current ruler of the Ashanti Kington, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, sits on the throne in the courtyard of the palace to meet the thousands who have travelled from across the country and the world, to pay homage to him. At this festival, the king holds his durbar and it’s only during this festival when so many people are given permission to shake hands with him.

Kofi Kingston Meets Asantehene

 

Read Also:

WWE Champion Kofi Kingston Finally Makes His Visit to Ghana

Kofi Kingston Meets Otumfour

 

This festival coincided with Kofi Kingston’s visit to Kumasi, his place of birth. The WWE Champion had not travelled back to Ghana since 1993 when he was in the seventh grade. He said that this was the perfect time to come to Ghana during the “Year of Return” when he could connect with his roots and also encourage others in the diaspora to do the same.

 

Kofi Kingston Kingston Comes Home 

The festival was a magnificent display of music, traditional dance and singing. Kingston was led to Manhyia Palace by the chief of his maternal hometown, Atwima Techiman. Atwimahene Nana Antwi Agyei Brembong II, introduced the WWE Champion to Asantehene and the durbar to the resounding sounds of cheers from the chiefs and the crowd.

Kofi Kingston Meets Asantehene

 

WWE World Champion Kofi Kingston to visit Ghana after 26yrs

What an honour it was for him to meet the current ruler of the Kingdom of Ashanti. It’s a privilege many Ghanaians have yet to experience. Kingston showed his respect for the 16th Asantehene, by presenting him with a gift. It was a replica of his championship WWE Belt, which Otumfuo graciously accepted. His attendance at the festival wraps up his 4-day visit to Ghana. After all his experiences, it’s likely he won’t wait another 26 years to visit Ghana.

Written by Ivy Prosper

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