(Excerpt from a speech delivered by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo in St Vincent)
We are marking a special anniversary this year in Ghana.
400 years ago. that is in 1619 the first recorded arrival of slaves from West Africa took place. They were taken to the Commonwealth of Virginia which subsequently became the United States.
They were part of 20 million Africans that were forcibly kidnapped and abducted in central and western Africa and brought in slave ships, the most perilous journey in history the transatlantic slave trade.
It is important for all of us those of us on the continent and those of you who were brought here that we find a way of testifying, that never again are we going to allow ourselves to be subjected to such dehumanizing experience.
So in order to commemorate that, and to reinforce this commitment that never again will we allow ourselves to be traded like commodities, We have inaugurated what we called The Year of return.
It’s a program I launched in Washington in October 2018, and there are a series of events taking place this year which will commemorate that fundamental experience.
In 1957 when we obtained our independence from the British colonial power. many leaders from the Americas in the Caribbean were present at the celebrations in Accra.
Martin Luther King himself was there, and several leaders across the Caribbean and in North America who came to the event and largely because Ghana on that occasion through our leader pledge itself to a very big project the Pan African project bringing together all the peoples of African descent across the world to forming one important bloc in the world so that we could protect ourselves and also gain the necessary strength to be able to develop in peace.
So ever since then, the Pan African project has been a major part of Ghanaian public policy. And we are saying to ourselves that this year would be which is the return gives us an opportunity to revive and revisit those goals and values.
In the meantime, since the establishment of the African Union which groups together all the 54 states in Africa, the African Union has also designated the African Diaspora as its sixth region. There are five regions on the continent North, South, West, Central, and East, and then the sixth is the African community outside Africa that came here in these impossible circumstances.
So the ceremony in Accra, the events in Accra are going to be an occasion for us to hold hands again and to say that the linkages that we have reasserted our linkages that will not be broken and the linkages that will mean that together you on this side, we on the continent will work together to grow ourselves.
With one clear understanding of the end of the day, black people all over the world are judged by what goes on in Africa.
I’m sure you know, so many times people will tell you, you see what’s going on there, they are doing this and that, all of that is an effort to demoralize you.
At the end of the day, Africa works, you work and we are determined with your support and the arrangement that Africa will work and work and work and work again.