To me there is no such thing as a black woman
in Ghana. I’m a woman in Ghana. Living in the US, all of the seats are taken,
all the big brands are there, where here, you have an opportunity to create a seat at
the table. It’s significant to know where you belong
and where you came from. For Angela Matthews and Cindy Meyers this morning marks the start
of a trip they never thought they would make. I think of our grandparents who wish they
could have gone back but we are doing it for them. The sisters are getting ready to travel to
Ghana, in West Africa – for the first time. This group could have visited this country
at anytime but they chose to make the journey this year. Ghana is encouraging more descendants of the
slave trade to retrace their roots. They’ve called 2019 the year of return. It’s 400 years after the first enslaved
Africans arrived in what is now the US. This is Cape Coast Castle. It was one of the most important African bases
for British slave traders during the 18th century. Historians believe at least twelve million
people were shipped from West Africa to plantations in the Americas and the Caribbean. “As we walk down the dungeons, let me say
that this is the real dungeon in Ghana.” I never thought I would make this trip never.
My sister and I are the first generation to make it here and it is just truly amazing,
truly amazing. For Angela and her sister, the trip to the
castle and its dungeons holds a special meaning. They recently took a DNA test and discovered
they have Ghanaian heritage – meaning their ancestors may have been held in these cells.
I’m so grateful to be here and to be here with my ancestors it gives me great joy and
i feel like I’m home. Thank you in gratitude to every ancestor from
my bloodline, thank you for being strong enough to make it. I’m sorry you had to go through
this. You know this place is very saddening to see
how they were treated. So inhumane. I mean who would do that? Why? Money? It’s just
were saddening. Enslaved Africans were pushed through the
‘Door of No Return’ and onto waiting ships. For many it would be the last time they would
see the continent. But being here, taking my shoes off, getting
into the water, the Atlantic Ocean. I felt at peace, I felt home, I felt like all of
my ancestors and we were reunited. It was just a wonderful feeling. For some black Americans Ghana is more than
a holiday destination… This is very busy hustle and bustle, right
down the street is Oxford Street, the main street where people go out… Ghana’s economy is attracting young people
who are searching for more than their identity. My name is Voltaire Xodus, I’m a consultant
and I’m a founder of the company WeUp. I’ve been here five weeks and when I’ve
hit the ground I tried to build my network as much as possible going out to different
spaces and events. You are new in Ghana, you are not really familiar
with the African prints. I’m trying to combine things that you can
wear in Ghana, and wear out there. But why would someone who has never even visited
Ghana before choose to move there? For me being in business, it’s an opportunity
to be a part of creating a city and a country that’s emerging.
So, living in the US all the seats are taken, all the big brands are there and where here
the cement is wet and you have an opportunity to create a seat at the table.
Everybody is born with a gift. The question is how much do you water that seed of potential. But he admits it’s not just about business.
The main differences between my life in Ghana and the US, is the peace. Ghana is a very
peaceful place. That’s where you get comments from your
friends ‘be safe’ – and they actually live in Chicago Illinois.
There is a lot of violence in the city of Chicago. So, the irony is if someone in Chicago
is asking me to be safe in a place that’s peaceful, but that’s partly tied to the
imagery that they are fed every day. This is Lakeshia Ford. Five years ago, she decided to move Ghana
to start a new life -and with it came a new sense of identity.
To me there is no such thing as a black woman in Ghana. I’m a woman in Ghana – we are
all black. I don’t see colour here because I’m a
part of the majority and I think that’s a privilege and a luxury. She was born and brought up in the US and
her move to Ghana was about starting her own business – but it became more than that. This place, as in the African continent, specifically
Ghana, has restauration for people of colour in the diaspora. I want to show people that
this is not just an alternative but a real option to live your life and be successful.
We found two partners that help us with sponsorship… Lakeshia has no plans to move back to the
US and she’s encouraging others to join her.
Any black person that is in the diaspora, a trip needs to be made to the African continent,
there’s almost this undefined closure that happens. You don’t even know you need closure
in a certain light but coming here you get it and there is almost an alignment that happens. Back at the tour group – Angela, Cindy and
the other travellers have also been able to discover a different side to Ghana. The country estimates the number of tourists
wanting to find out about their heritage will increase by up by 40% this year. For Angela, retracing her roots has changed
how she looks at her home country. In this time with all the things that are
going on in our country, with our current president, it’s significant to know where
you belong and where you came from. For me coming back here, reuniting with my
ancestors, makes me feel at home, I have a culture I have a people, I belong. That’s the significance it has for me.