A grand durbar to climax the Year of Return, Ghana 2019 anniversary celebration by the chiefs and people of Jamestown and its surroundings, was held at Mantse Agbonaa, Jamestown in Accra on Tuesday.
The occasion dubbed, ‘Jamestown to Jamestown’ was the commemoration of the 400 years anniversary of the slave trade movements from Jamestown, Ghana on August 20, 1619 to Jamestown, Virginia, United State of America (USA), where the initial ship carrying enslaved Africans landed.
The durbar was jointly organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Diaspora Affairs of the Presidency.
In attendance to grace the occasion were President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Mr Ismael Ashitey, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mrs Elizabeth Sackey, Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GTA, Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) for Accra, Nii Ngleshie Addy V (Adontenhene), acting President of the Ngleshie Alata Traditional Council and Nii Addotey Otintor II, Sempe Mantse.
Others who observed and celebrated the historical journey event were Mr Derrick Johnson, the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and the head of delegation, Mr Danny Lebern Glover, an American actor and film director and 250 other African Americans from Jamestown, Virginia.
The brothers and sisters from the diaspora were all welcomed and received by President Akufo-Addo after tortuous 400 years’ journey.
Queen mothers, chiefs, elders and members of the traditional councils in Accra and some parts of the country were at the durbar in their regalia, as a symbol of portraying the country’s rich culture and tradition to grace the event.
Cultural appellations by ‘Obonufoi’ and adorning of leaf were all displayed at the event, with members of the Asafo group singing war songs amid drumming and dancing, while others fired musketry throughout.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said the ‘Jamestown to Jamestown’ project was a spiritual and birthright journey that highlighted the resilience of the African spirit, adding that the durbar was to signify the 400 years since the first enslaved Africans landed in Jamestown, Virginia.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said President Akufo-Addo, declaring the Year of Return, had highlighted the country’s strong Pan-African legacy lived by the founding fathers of the country.
She, therefore, wished all in the traveling party a warm welcome and entreated them to carry the historic moment to the other brothers and sisters from the diaspora.
Mr Akwasi Agyeman, the CEO of GTA, said the survival stories and achievements of the African diaspora was worth celebrating by the African, adding that, “We look forward to building on the momentum of the year for a long lasting re-engagement of the African family.”
He said GTA was excited with the collaborative opportunities that the Year of Return has opened up for the Ghanaian business communities and lauded the President for making the Year of Return, Ghana 2019, a successful project.
BY EVANGEL KELVIN AINOO