Recently, there has been a surge in African Americans migrating to West Africa. Their motive is to settle close to their ancestral roots. Most of them have been flocking to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ghana.
Ghana has formulated policies to welcome them home. Since 2000 when Ghana passed the Right of Abode law, the number of African Americans seeking to settle there has been increasing each year. The law grants African Americans a right to live in Ghana indefinitely. This has attracted many African-Americans along with several Caribbeans including Jamaicans, and Cubans (expats, visitors, settlers, etc) to flock the country in the hopes of finding a new home close to where their ancient slave ancestors lived.
Most of them feel that their native country, the United States is not treating them as first-class citizens. The serenity of Ghana’s Atlantic coast where most of them have set up homes, holiday apartments, and other businesses, they already feel at home. They have already blended in with the coastal fishing communities that are characterized by the beautiful beaches and the peace they offer outside of the very busy life in urban centers.
Estimates released in 2014 indicate that around 30,000 African-Americans and other people of the Caribbean origin live in Ghana which itself has a population of more than 26 million. It was the first African country to attain independence and it’s renowned for its tough stance on upholding African patriotism.
Ghana is the first choice destination for home-searching African-Americans due to the fact that most of the 15 million slaves passed through its shores to the Americas where they were subjected to forceful slavery under inhumane conditions. Most returnees have undergone emotional struggles of trying to trace their relatives through DNA testing. But they are also confident that living in Ghana is enough to bring them close to both their spiritual and physical home.
For a long time, Ghana has always encouraged the return of African descendants scattered all over the world to come back home and spur the continent’s economic development. Those who have successfully blended in with the existing communities feel that their new found home makes them feel a lot better than their native countries where they grew up from. They have described Ghana as being peaceful, and hospitable with a blossoming economy. This, they say, is enough for them not to miss their native countries.
For them to settle in successfully, they had to embrace African cultures and lifestyles such as dressing, food and other norms which all they believe will make them feel more African. Others have adopted local names and learning local dialects of communities where they have settled.
Last year, in a bid to promote awareness of the African people, the United Nations General Assembly declared that 2015-2024 will be known as the International Decade for the People of African Descent. A special day was set aside to promote this campaign which is on 25th March.