Targeting to attract people of the African origin to visit their continent of origin, Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo has designated the year 2019 as the “Year of Return” to commemorate the resilience of Africans forced into slavery and to encourage their descendants to come home.
“We know of the extraordinary achievements and contributions Africans in the Diaspora made to the lives of the Americans, and it is important that this symbolic year, 400 years later, we commemorate their existence and their sacrifices,” President Nana said earlier in September last year.
His timing was based on the first recorded landing of a ship carrying Africans in Virginia, US, in August 1619 according to historians.
The Ghanaian president proclaimed 2019 as the “Year of Return” for all Diaspora descendants of Africans who were captured and transported into the Americas as slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Titled, “Year of Return, Ghana 2019”, the proclamation was read in September last year at a ceremony held at the United States National Press Club in Washington DC to formally launch a program of activities marking the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to English North America in 1619.
The Year of Return seeks to make Ghana the focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalization by tracing their ancestry and identity. By this, Ghana becomes the beacon for African people living on the continent and the Diaspora.
The Proclamation recognizes Ghana’s unique position as the location for 75 percent of the slave dungeons built on the west coast of Africa and the current President’s policy making it a national priority to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the Diaspora.