Marcus Garvey is probably dancing in his grave. Ghana has helped make his beloved “Back to Africa” movement a reality for over 100 African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans. On November 27, Ghana welcomed 126 new citizens, the biggest commemoration yet of the African country’s “Year of Return,” Quartz Africa reported.
“On behalf of the government and people of Ghana, I congratulate you once again on resuming your identity as Ghanaians,” Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo told his new citizens in a speech during the ceremony Wednesday.
Ghana has been courting descendants of the African Diaspora to return to The Motherland this entire year. With 2019 marking 400 years since the first slave ship arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, they’ve hosted a variety of activities and outreaches aimed at bringing people back home.
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“We recognize our unique position as the location for 75% of the slave dungeons built on the west coast of Africa through which the slaves were transported. That is why we had a responsibility to extend the hand of welcome, back home to Africans in the diaspora,” Akufo-Addo said.
Many of Africa’s descendants are grateful for the warm welcome. A spokesperson for the new citizens, Rabbi Kohain said they were now restored in the land of their ancestors.
“The most valuable possession that was taken away from us was our identity and our connection; it was like severing the umbilical cord… But tonight, our identity, the dignity, the pride that has been absent is restored here,” Kohain said.
Though the historical significance of this year has brought more spotlight to Ghana’s efforts, the country has long championed members of the Diaspora coming home. Ghana passed the Right of Abode law in 2001, which offers any member of the African Diaspora the right to stay in the country indefinitely.