The year 2019 marks the 400th year since the first slave ship anchored in Jamestown, Virginia in America. Ghana’s president Akuffo-Addo has declared 2019 the “Year of Return”, the wording capturing the reverse imagery of the dreadful “door of no return”, the final point of exit before slaves were loaded onto ships in Ghana and headed for the Americas which now reads differently “door of return”. This indicates that President Akuffo-Addo and for that matter the spirit of Africa is moving past symbolism and taking steps to concretize what many have dreamed about for many years, welcoming home and uniting the African family.
I want to first and foremost reiterate Madiba’s (Nelson Mandela) words in his long walk to freedom, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison”. Africans are being called back to gather again as Africans not out of bitterness or hatred for their current places of citizenship and abode but out of a sense of community, being a part of the AFRICAN pride. The call is to gather again as the people of Africa, a single community, a shared story and a shared future.
As ideas take shape, plans advance and offers of right of abode are extended, it should be worth noting that the events of the past, over 400 years should be referenced ONLY to tell the story of Africa but not to DEFINE its people. When slaves were taken from the continent in general and Ghana in particular, they were in shackles and loaded on ships with no rights to determine what space they fitted in and how their destiny was defined, however, today many return in airplanes and not slave ships, with choices of how to travel, where to live, what to do with their lives. This is a sign that times have changed, society has moved on, the past is HISTORY, the future is PROMISE.
What brings definition and purpose to this era are the freedoms, the opportunity, the common humanity, the ideas, the exciting future that this gathering brings. It reunites not only the African to Africa but the American to Africa as well, it re-unites the rest of world to Africa for opportunity, for growth, for development and above all for peace and stability as we understand our common humanity and work together for our shared future. It is very exciting that the African is returning, and she is returning to and with knowledge, technology, innovation, reforms, development, trade, peace, justice.
THIS return is the ENGINE for growth not only for Africa but also for the rest of the world. The WEALTH of Africa is waiting.
Kudos to president Akuffo-Addo of Ghana for LEADING this effort, it is the perfect time to dream again. This is a return to re-create and re-shape the Africa of the future. The perfect time for repositioning.
Rise Africa, RISE.
January 6, 2019