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US Speaker , Black Congressional Caucus observe 400th anniversary of slavery at Cape Coast

The paramount chief of the Edina Traditional Area, Nana Kojo Conduah VI, has asked Africans in the diaspora to put the sordid past behind them and forge new partnership with their kith and kin back home to develop the continent.

“We know our forebears did the abominable to you but we must also bear in mind that there is nothing we can do about what happened in the past. Our generation need to forgive each other and forge ahead as people of one race and develop our continent,” he emphasised.

Nana Conduah VI made the appeal during a mini durbar organised in honour of the US Congressional delegates as part of their tour of the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles.

The delegation led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ms Nancy Patricia Pelosi included 12 members of the Black Congressional Caucus.

The tour is to offer the delegation, especially members of the black Caucus opportunity to pay their respects at the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles, as well as the “door of no return” now “the door of return”.

It was also to afford them the opportunity to observe the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved African Landing in America.

Members of the delegation were made to go through the symbolic “last bath” which originally should have taken place at Assin Manso after which they were decorated with a garland of traditional leafs *nyenyena* to welcome them back to the motherland.

In a solemn, appeal, Nana Conduah VI  asked for reconciliation between people of African descent in the diaspora and their brothers on the continent.

He said there was no denying the fact that our forebears equally participated in committing such heinous crimes against their own, however, what was needed now was the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Nana Conduah VI said the time had come for Africans in the diaspora to turn back to help develop Africa and said, Ghana was ready to offer the leadership as it had done all over the years.

“It is important to emphasise that it was the hard work of our forebears that has made America what it is now. As a result, it is important that you here use this occasion to urge fellow African Americans to retrace the steps back home and come and help rebuild their continent,” he added.

The paramount chief said, he was ready to lead a delegation to offer apologies on behalf of our forebears for the atrocities committed and asked for the necessary support to make it a reality.

On her part, Congress Member and Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Karen Bass, expressed her gratitude on behalf of the delegation.

She explained that the purpose of the visit to the castles, was to retrace their steps and see at first-hand what actually took place.

“We want to see what happened to our ancestors as they embarked on the treacherous join to endure 250 years of enslavement in the Americas,” she said.

Madam Bass noted that the visit was also to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first slaves who landed in the Americas which would be followed by a similar commemorative ceremony at the House of Representation in the US.

The delegation subsequently laid wreaths at the entrance of the slave dungeons after which they were each decorated with beautifully kente woven sash of the “year of return” by the Minister of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi.

BY CLIFF EKUFUL, ELMINA

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