Ghana’s ‘Year of Return’ Urges Descendants Of Slaves To Come Home
By Stephanie Ogbogu
Ghana is pulling out all the stops for 2019. In an effort to reach Africans in the diaspora, Ghana has created a campaign to make it easier for them to return to the Motherland.
2019 marks 400 years since the first Africans were ripped from their families and forced into slavery. 77 million African people shipped off to the Caribbean and the Americas. The majority of those people came from West African countries, then known as the Gold Coast. Ghana is now calling its people home to visit, and hopefully, to live.
The initiative, known as ‘Year of Return, Ghana 2019,’ is headed by the Office of the Diaspora and backed by the Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo. For the year of 2019, there will be a series of events, festivals and more welcoming and encouraging those on their spiritual birth-right journey.
‘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. It was announced in September 2018 but officially kicked off in December 2018 at Ghana’s Full Circle Festival. Boris Kodjoe, Michael Jai White, Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Anderson, and Jidenna were just a few of the Hollywood stars who attended. In July 2019, a Pan-African festival of arts and culture will take place countrywide and a ceremony of ‘healing and atonement’ will take place on Emancipation Day in August.
As part of a year-long campaign 200 African-American and African-Caribbean people who live in Ghana will be granted citizenship. Visa fees have also been reduced from $150 to $75. The goal is to make it easier for those in the diaspora to travel to Ghana. They’re even partnering with airlines.