The “Year of Return” was initiative in Ghana that started in 2019. It had a significant impact on black culture globally – more so on members of the diaspora. As a member of the diaspora by way of the Caribbean (Dominica) it was a blessing for me.
Even though the majority of the press was aimed at US citizens – I was still impressed and wanted to go. (Unfortunately work and personal life got in the way)
Commemoration: The “Year of Return” was declared by the Ghanaian government to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the United States in 1619.
Promotional Campaign: Ghana made an extensive promotional campaign to attract people of African descent from around the world to visit the country. The campaign aimed to encourage individuals to connect with their African heritage, experience Ghanaian culture, and engage in activities that showcase the country’s history and heritage.
Diaspora Engagement: The initiative sought to foster stronger ties between Ghana and the diaspora worldwide with an emphasis on promoting investment, trade, and cultural exchange.
High-Profile Events: Throughout 2019, Ghana hosted various events, conferences, and cultural festivals to celebrate it. These events brought together people from the diaspora, celebrities, scholars, and tourists from different parts of the world.
Increased Tourism: This led to a surge in tourism to Ghana, especially black people from the diaspora around the world. With many returning every December since and bringing people with them. Many black people saw it as an opportunity to reconnect with their roots and experience African culture firsthand.
Boost in Ghana’s Economy: The influx of tourists and visitors contributed significantly to Ghana’s economy, generating revenue through tourism, hospitality and related industries.
Cultural Exchange: The initiative facilitated a cultural exchange between Ghana and people from the diaspora. Tourists had the chance to learn about Ghana’s history, traditions, and heritage. Alongside this Ghanaians had the opportunity to engage with their global counterparts.
Strengthening Pan-African Connections: The “Year of Return” and “Beyond the Return” encouraged discussions around Pan-Africanism and the importance of maintaining strong ties between people of African descent worldwide.
Inspiration for Other African Countries: Ghana’s successful campaign served as inspiration for other African nations. These other countries started launching similar initiatives to promote tourism and foster connections with their diaspora communities.
Long-Term Impact: While the “Year of Return” was a specific year-long campaign, its effects continued beyond 2019. Many visitors who came to Ghana during the initiative developed lasting connections with the country. Some even relocated, invested, or started businesses in Ghana. Also this opened up for a follow-up initiative to take place; “Beyond the Return”.
All of this lead to me being in Ghana today and I am beyond excited. My dad and I said back in 2019 when he fought cancer’s butt he and I would go to Ghana. This was shortly after his terminal diagnosis and so this trip is beyond special to me. My dad did not make it here to Ghana with me but he is here in spirit.
I cannot wait to share with you my adventures and amazing moments as it has been AMAZING so far.
Love and Hugs,