African Americans are returning to Africa more than 400 years after their ancestors left Africa as slaves.
More than 400 years after their ancestors were forced out of Africa as slaves, African-Americans are now traveling back to places like Ghana claiming they desire to either settle on the continent or reestablish a connection to the past.
Since 2019, at least 1,500 African-Americans have relocated to Ghana as a result of a government effort in Ghana. Many African Americans in the diaspora who are descended from Africans started their journeys as a result of the campaign, known as the “Year of Return. At the same time, it had been 400 years since the first Africans who had been sold into slavery had arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. The purpose of “The Year of Return” was also to honor the tenacity of all the transatlantic slave trade victims who were forcibly uprooted and ended up in North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.
Although the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 did slow tourism, African Americans continued to visit West Africa. Touring historical places, like the slave castles in central Ghana, helps visitors rekindle their connection to the continent and serve as a reminder of their history.
Ghana’s government started a program in 2020 that it dubbed “Beyond the Return.” The initiative, “A Decade of African Renaissance — 2020-2030,” is a ten-year endeavor.
According to Clifford Ato Ashun, a senior member of Ghana’s Museums and Monuments Board, the initiative is still having great success. The effort of the African diaspora, particularly to visit Ghana and the slave dungeons, has actually been greatly facilitated by the two initiatives, according to Ashun. Ashun says that there are additional events, such as music festivals, that maintain a high level of interest among Africans living abroad.
The Cape Coast Castle is becoming popular with a large number of African-American tourists. It is the largest remaining structure built around the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was crucial to the development of Christianity, the slave and gold trades, and the first organized educational system.
The tragic tale of how Africans who were dragged across the Atlantic Ocean suffered from torture and harsh treatment at the hands of their European masters is told in the slave dungeons, which housed both male and female detainees. The cannons and mortars that were once employed to defend the castle are still present. A growing collection of artwork and cultural relics, such as ceremonial drums, antique muskets, slave trade shackles, and ancient pottery, may be found in the castle’s history museum.
Hundreds of thousands of slaves passed through the infamous “door of no return” at the ancient fort, never to return to their country of origin. When touring Cape Coast Castle, it is the last stop for visitors. The very same gate is now used for both exiting and returning, however, when visitors enter it this time, they encounter a new sign that reads “door of Return.” It symbolizes that descendants of Africans who were transported during the slave trade are always welcome to return to the motherland, a place they can always call home.