2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans to be brought to presently United States, arriving in the English colony of Virginia.
For alot of these visitors it a major event, some are here to discover their roots and to bond with the natives, others are here to learn more about their ancestors and the pain they had to go through, 400 years ago.
The event which started from july 30th and is expected to last throughout the year has seen The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi speak to the Paliament of Ghana to commemorate the Festivities , she was accompanied by several members of the US House of Representatives and the Congressional Black Caucus.
For the Government of Ghana , 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.
Below are the event line up.