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Ghanaian President Nana Akufo Addo calls 2019 ‘the Year of Return’’. How attainable?

19.01.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
In the year 2018, many African heads of states made strong declarations and promises to meet up with the aspirations of Africans. Among them was Ghanaian President Nana Akufo Addo, who with enthusiasm declared the year 2019 as “The Year of Return”. Remembering the hideous days of slave trade and enslavement of Africans, President Akufo Addo said: ‘’The time has come for people of African descent to make the journey back home.’

The memories of the transatlantic slave trade remain fresh in the minds of Africans. Many countries in Africa, especially in West Africa (Ghana, Sierra Leone), suffered those grave consequences of the slave trade which culminated only in 1888 when Brazil finally abolished the inhumane trade.

The nation of then Pan Africanist and independent champion Kwame Nkrumah was one of the nations that felt the tremors of Slavery. Many Ghanaians were victims of the vicious activity perpetrated by European nations.

As per statistics, about 17 million Africans (women and men) had been grabbed from Africa and transported to plantations across the Americas. As confirmed by UNESCO, these statistics did not include those who died en route.

President Nana Akufo’s Declaration

The leadership of Ghana (a nation that has always been noted for its quest to see African slaves reunite with their origins) in 2018, made a clarion call to all Africans trapped by slave trade in the diaspora to return home. President Nana Akufo Addo made the call on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly in New York.  First of its kind by an African country championed by Ghana, August 2019, will mark four hundred years (400) of the arrival of first enslaved Africans to the United States. While officiating the launch of the ‘’Year Of Return’ in 2018, President Nana Akufo said ‘’ together on both sides of the Atlantic, we would work together to make sure that never again would we allow a hand full of people with superior technology, to walk into Africa, seize our people and sell them into slavery.’’ The president said Ghana has opened its doors to any African who wants to return.

Transatlantic Slave Trade

The bitter history of the African People dates back to the era of the transatlantic slave trade.  From the 16th to the 19th Century, millions of Africans (about 10 -12 million) were trapped and shipped to the Americas to work as slaves.  This form of trade by batter entailed the importation of wine, clothes, arms among other things to Africa in exchange for Africans as slaves to serve abroad. Read more on transatlantic slave trade https://www.britannica.com/topic/transatlantic-slave-trade.

A historic milestone

Even though many people remain sceptical as to how attainable the ‘Return Program” is, many Africans in the diaspora who survived the hideous trade expressed optimism and anxiety of returning to their roots.  Speaking during the launch last year, one of them said: ‘’we want to be able to give to our ancestors the worthy honour that they deserve to their resilience of producing the greatest generations of Africans that ever existed, our mission is to remember what they have done, to remember their sacrifice, but also be worthy of their sacrifice, to produce and manifest the generation of Africans that can manage our own affairs and reality and that can also be the masters of our own destiny.’’

Article from AFRIC Editorial.

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