CNN recently named Ghana as the number four place to visit in the world for 2019. It’s no surprise to some because Ghana has been all the buzz the last few years in the continent of Africa. More and more people are looking to the country as a destination. In 2016, The New York Times called Ghana’s capital, Accra, the capital of cool. Nestled in the heart of West Africa, along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana is often referred to as the ‘gateway to Africa’. Known for their football (soccer) team, The Black Stars, the bold and brilliant colours of kente fabric, being the world’s second largest supplier of cocoa (used in chocolate) and of course, as the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence.
With the rise of Afrobeats music and some of the hippest dance moves, many in the diaspora have been looking to Ghana as a hotspot for travel, especially during the month of December. This has spread to the African-American community in particular as celebrities like Boris Kodjoe, who has Ghanaian paternal roots, travel to Ghana often and talk about the country in a positive light.
This year is sure to see a spike in tourism because the government of Ghana declared the year 2019 as ‘The Year of Return’ to commemorate the 400 year anniversary since the first documented enslaved African arrived in Virginia, USA. They have invited all those in the diaspora to return to the motherland.
Ghana was buzzing with energy during the last four weeks of 2018. As the country prepared to enter a new year, social media displayed the parties, attractions and the vibrant people who travelled to the country to celebrate the season and experience what Ghana has to offer.
Boris Kodjoe, Bozoma Saint John, Nicole Ari Parker and Patrick Kodjoe, invited nearly 100 of their celebrity friends to join them for what was dubbed, The Full Circle Festival. Endorsed by the Ghana government, their group travelled through Ghana catching the sites and visiting historical places like the Cape Coast Castle where enslaved Africans were held hundreds of years ago.
Everyone from Naomi Campbell to Idris Elba, Ozwald Boateng to Jidenna, the Greater Accra region was buzzing. People from abroad were sending me messages asking, “What’s happening in Ghana that all these celebrities are over there?” One thing is for certain, their presence has intrigued many blacks in the diaspora who may not have had Ghana on their radar.
Michael Jai White, who recently did a DNA test and learned his ancestry is linked to Ghana, was enstooled as a King in Akwamu. He was honoured and there were so many emotions on that day as he went through the ceremony. Bozoma Saint John was also given a stool as Queen. This honorary title is one that has brought attention to Ghana and White’s fans had mostly positive reactions to his new title.
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It was an incredibly high honor to be enstooled (crowned) a king of Akwamu in Ghana. I am now a Ohene (King) with the title of Nana Akoto lll, Odopon “The Tree With Strong Roots That Does Not Fear The Storm”. I was not expecting this as you can probably tell by the look on my face but I am truly proud to be a part of the Akwamu of Ghana. My wife @iamgillianwhite is now a Ohemaa (Queen) Queen Mother. It’s fitting because we both had our DNA tests done and both of our African ancestry is primarily West African/Ghanaian. I have come back home to the land my ancestors were taken from…and I will continue to represent and bring awareness to this beautiful land and rich culture.Awkabaa! 🇬🇭🤴🏾👸🏽🙏🏾 #yearofthereturn #AfricanKing #Ohene #Ghana #Africa #fullcirclefestival #michaeljaiwhite 😂🤴🏾👸🏽👑👑
Ghana’s government wants to use this year as an opportunity to reconnect with those who have been displaced, by no fault of their own, through the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Some are criticizing it as a ploy to get more tourism, either way, Ghana has become the hot-spot on the continent with all this conversation about bridging the gap between Africans and those in the diaspora.
The country is one of the safest on the continent of Africa, has friendly people and a diversity in culture. A visit to Ghana is a good introduction to the continent of Africa. Especially for those who want to explore some of the historical roots of slavery. There are also opportunities to experience other aspects of culture with various festivals happening throughout the year. Ghana’s history is not only about slavery, there are so many other things to learn about and partake in on a visit.
For more info about the Year of Return, visit the website at http://www.yearofreturn.com.
Learn more about Ghana by reading Your Essential Guide on Moving to Ghana.