After the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, Ghana had one message for African Americans, ‘return home’. Ghana is symbolic to African Americans. The reason is that top African American icons including Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, and Martin Luther King Jr. either visited or lived in Ghana. However, the question is often how easy it is for African Americans to return to Africa? What are the obstacles that will make it hard for them to so?
During the memorial of George Floyd in Ghana the Minister of tourism, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, re-echoed the government’s message, ‘come home’. The event held at a center dedicated to W.E.B Du Bois, a prominent African American. Oteng-Gyasi said,
The Year of Return
The Ghanaian government declared 2019 a ‘Year of Return’. This was in commemoration of 400 years since the anchoring of an English ship in Jamestown. Consequently, many African Americans visited Ghana including the WWE superstar, Kofi Kingston and TV presenter, Steve Harvey. Riding on the success of the 2019 event, the Ghanaian government declared 2020 ‘Beyond The Return’.
Why African Americans are finding it hard to return home
There are myriads of reasons making it hard for Africans in the diaspora to return home. One of the most critical is that many of them cannot trace their origin. In Africa family lineage is important. It often determines what you can get or how you are treated. Without an origin, one is often treated as a stranger or foreigner—irrespective of their skin color.
Also, it is not as if African Americans can just buy an air ticket and jump into the next available plane back to Africa. They still need a visa which can take a whole lot of time to get. However, one thing that African Americans will enjoy when they move to Africa is the feeling of being free and safe. There will be no more prejudice or discrimination based on skin color.
A good example is Muhammida el-Muhajir who left her digital marketing job in New York City for Accra. Notwithstanding her experience and education, she was made to feel like a second-class citizen. With the rising ethnic violence in various African countries, making a decision to come back home is often tricky. Now tell us, is it better for African Americans to remain in their host countries or to come back home? Why is it such a difficult decision? Leave your answers in the comment box.