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 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.
How We Got Started
In Washington, D.C., in September 2018, Republic Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo declared and formally launched the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” for Africans in the Diaspora, in relation to the quest to unite Africans on the continent with the sixth Region diaspora in and outside the continent: See the video of the announcement on the right side. In his statement the President referred to the extraordinary achievements and contributions of Africans in the Diaspora made to the lives of the Americans and other nations, and that it is important that this symbolic year—400 years later—we commemorate their existence and their sacrifices.
The proclamation formally launched the programme of activities marking the 400-year anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to ‘English North America in 1619”. According to Ron Daniels (USA, 2019) “…the arriving of the Dutch ship ‘White Lion’ marks the opening chapter in one of the most horrific events in human history, the holocaust of African enslavement, the MAAFA via the European slave trade…… and despite fierce resistance, millions of Africans would eventually be captured and taken to ports on the West Coast to face the horrifying experience of being dragged through “DOORS OF NO RETURN” at Elmina Castle on the “Gold Coast”/Ghana and Goree Island in Senegal. Thus, began the creation of the Diaspora as the sons and daughters of Africa were forcibly scattered throughout the Western hemisphere on board of the ships of profit seeking…”
For many Pan Africanists and Activists in Diaspora this “GHANA 2019 YEAR OF RETURN” is one of the most important acts of an African (Union) Head of State to make clear that the Republic of Ghana is serious about the implementation of the African Union African Diaspora Sixth Region Declaration that was adopted on May 25 th , 2012 in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa (https://app.box.com/s/zf8yhcltuc7xwe8l1gadug1g3rpzgxlf); the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action that was adopted by consensus in 2001 by the United Nations.
(https://app.box.com/s/2xjcl1vuz2113qlmbxw8k44g34v3t85y ); the UN Decade for People of African Descent (https://app.box.com/s/xg3ph4scf5l0jfipao9obeq7w66hfaou) that was adopted in 2014 by the United Nations General Assemblée and the realization of the United Nations Permanent Forum for People of African Descent.
Where We Are Now
Follow up to the launching of the Year of Return in Washington the same was organized in The Hague, The Netherlands on April 25 th , 2019 for the African Diaspora living in Europe and in the Dutch speaking countries. Amongst the speakers were: H.E. Ms. Sophia Horner-Sam, Ghana Ambassador to the Netherlands who spoke on behalf of the Republic of Ghana diplomatic missions in Europe; Dr. Doudou Diene, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Former director and Initiator of the UNESCO Slave Route Project who in his Keynote address spoke about The significans of the Year of Return in perspective of the UN Decade for People of African descent; Dr. Barryl A. Biekman, Europe Region Ambassador of the African Diaspora Union spoke about The Year of Return in Perspective of the AU Sixth Region Policy whereby she call for the adoption of a DECADE OF RETURN by the AU. This as a strategy to implement the May 25, 2012 AU Declaration.
Joining many other organizations in the preparation of activities towards the Return of the African Diaspora, the Kumasi Carnival Organization and Coordination Commission actively worked on the renewal of the Kumasi Carnival that for the first time was organized 12 years ago (2007).
The Kumasi Carnival Program is rejuvenated with diverse activities and spiced up with the Global Diaspora cultural heritage and the rich culture of the Ghanaian regions; a Welcome Home Carnival Opening Ceremony; Welcome Home Dubar of Chiefs and Queen Mothers; The Solemn Unveiling of The Memorial Monument of Liberty and Reunification and then finally crowned with The Gala Dinner and Awards show.