Halfway across the Atlantic Ocean, the plane carrying Tani Sanchez and her daughter Tani Sylvester on a heritage tour to Ghana crossed paths with a powerful storm. A sharp drop in elevation hurled flight attendants to the floor. Passengers started screaming and crying. “‘Oh my God, I brought my mom! What did I do?’” Sylvester, 40, recalled thinking as the plane shook. “It was the scariest thing that has ever happened in my life.” After a few minutes, the pilot pulled the aircraft to safety above the dark clouds. Looking back, Sylvester sees the moment of terror as a nudge from the past, an invocation of the suffering of millions of Africans who were crammed into the lightless hulls of ships and sent in the opposite direction during the centuries-long transatlantic slave trade. “I think my ancestors were telling me, this wasn’t an easy trip for us,” she said. “They sailed over that same Atlantic Ocean. It was traumatising and scary for months, and I experienced five minutes of trauma and I was freaking out.” The two Tanis are among a growing number of African Americans exploring their ancestral roots in Ghana, which has encouraged people with Ghanaian heritage to return in honour of the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of African slaves to English settlements in what would one day become America. They had set off the previous day from Los Angeles, where Sylvester works for a digital-streaming service. But their family’s journey began nearly two centuries
In a clearing at the turnoff to Assin Manso, a billboard depicts two African slaves in loincloths, their arms and legs in chains. Beside them are the words, “Never Again!” This is “slave river,” where captured Ghanaians submitted to a final bath before being shipped across the Atlantic into slavery centuries ago, never to return to the land of their birth. Today, it is a place of somber homecoming for the descendants of those who spent their lives as someone else’s property. The popularity of the site has swelled this year, 400 years after the trade in Africans to the English colonies of America began. This month’s anniversary of the first Africans to arrive in Virginia has caused a rush of interest in ancestral tourism, with people from the United States, the Caribbean and Europe seeking out their roots in West Africa. “Ten years ago, no one went to the slave river, but this year has been massive,” said Awuracy Butler, who runs a company called Butler Tours. She said business has nearly doubled this year, which has been touted as the Year of Return for the African diaspora tracing their family history. The number of tourists has forced her to hire more vehicles, she said. “Everyone wants to add the slave river to their tour,” she said. The coastal forts where they spent their last days in Ghana in suffocating conditions are also increasingly popular, she said. The increase in tourism has been an economic boon for Ghana, which
Nana Assenso stands at the grave of his uncle, remembering the man he loved but also a past that has haunted his family for generations. His uncle was called Kwame Badu, a name that has been passed on through the family in remembrance of an ancestor with that name who was captured and sold into slavery long, long ago. “Growing up, I was told the story of two of my great-great-grand-uncles Kwame Badu and Kofi Aboagye who were captured and sold into slavery,” says Assenso, 68, the chief of Adidwan, a village in Ghana’s interior. He followed the family tradition and named his youngest son Kwame Badu. This month marks 400 years since the first recorded African slaves arrived in North America to work plantations in English colonies. In the centuries after, European slave traders shipped millions of African men, women and children across the Atlantic Ocean. Many died in horrific conditions on the slave boats, while survivors endured a life of misery and backbreaking farm work. For some of them, the terrible journey began here, deep inside Ghana. Captured by slavers, they were marched along dirt tracks for 200 kilometers (125 miles) to slave castles perched on the Atlantic Coast, where they boarded ships for North America. They never saw their homeland again. From here in Adidwan, the slaves were forced south, passing through the gold-mining town of Obuasi. Kwaku Agyei is a pastor and elder in Obuasi. He tells the story of the slave trade to young workers
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has outdoored the Ghana Beyond Aid document which sets out the national plans and strategies of making the country self-reliant, without any form of external support. The document provides a roadmap to achieve the vision of building an economically independent country prosperous enough not to need aid, and competitive enough to engage with the rest of the world through trade and investment.
It contains strategies on how the country's resources can be harnessed effectively and deployed creatively and efficiently for rapid economic and social transformation. It also suggests how Ghanaians can break from the mentality of dependence and adopt a 'can do' spirit fuelled by love for the country.
President Akufo-Addo outdoored the document, which was developed by a committee chaired by the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, at the May Day (Workers' Day) celebration parade at the Independence Square in Accra.
The Ghana Beyond Aid Committee developed the document in consultation with 30 different institutions in academia, with inputs from the general public, and some Ghanaians in the diaspora.
John Dramani Mahama (JM), as he is colloquially called, is a Christian, born on 29 November 1958, and raised a Presbyterian but now a member of Assemblies of God, living in a multi-faith family consisting of Christians and Muslims; he loves afrobeat music, is a passionate reader and a consummate writer, and has a vivid interest in farming, information and communication technology, and environmental issues.
His book, “My First Coup d’État and Other True Stories From the Lost Decades of Africa”, published in July 2012, has won international praise for describing a world of love, fear, faith, despair, loss, longing, and hope despite all else.
President Buhari has come under serious criticisms, especially from members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who have continued to maintain that Buhari does not have WAEC certificate and so, is not eligible to vie for elective position much less that of the presidency in Nigeria.
Former President John Dramani Mahama is in the flagbearership race of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to lead the party to victory in the 2020 general elections. Mahama will visit Trobu, Amasaman, Domeabra Obom, Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfrom, Weija Gbawe, Anya Sowutuom and Okaikoi North.
Ghanaian activist Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah and the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah said: “Our unity is a great contributor to peace and Africans need to take charge – A new Africa has to be born.” Nkrumah said she wants democracy to translate into “tangible” things: “I want it to eradicate poverty, more sanitation, adequate water for all, reliable power supply. We are thinking of the outcome of democracy and not just the right to exercise the right to vote.”
U.S. First lady Melania Trump laid a wreath at a slave fortress on the coast of Ghana, vowing never to forget the place where Africans were held before being shipped away into further hardship, most across the Atlantic. “It’s really, really touching,” Melania Trump said. “The dungeons that I saw, it’s really something that people should see and experience, and what happened so many years ago — it’s really a tragedy.”