You are in Ghana. You are trying to find and create home. There is a plethora of hotels and lodgings yet you need a place to stay, and not just any place, a family and network of people to hold and support you while you transition and try to make Ghana home. This is where Palace Afrika places itself. Situated at Oyarifa, on the highway towards the Aburi mountains and about 40minutes away from Kotoka International Airport, Palace Afrika is a family lodge created by Prince Agbemble to facilitate that integral process of Diasporan connection and re-integration to Ghana.
When one gets to Palace Afrika, one is drawn into the lodge by the bright colours adorning the walls. A network of plants carefully planted and placed in pots adds to the rich colourful tapestry of the space. A testament to Afrikan cultures also is depicted in the bas-relief sculptures emanating from the walls. Living spaces sit on either side of the facility allowing for a courtyard space which hosts the central kitchen and a communal eating space serving as its spine. It is here, Prince invites people to come host their events in the spirit of ubuntu. Should one decide to stay, the lodge has rooms designed for various needs. There are apartments in the lodge should one come as a group. The apartments hosts two bedrooms with toilets and baths, a living area and a kitchen. Single rooms with toilets and baths are also featured as well as a studio apartment and a gym. One will be amazed how a single plot of land is able to host all these which stand in testament to Prince’s creativity.
In a country where many would feel the need to leave to seek greener pastures, Prince is always keen to share his story which is quite the opposite. Having spent a copious amount of time outside the shores of Ghana, Prince decided to return and create something in Ghana, his land of birth. He expresses quite gleefully “Many people think I made my money outside. No, I made my money here” meaning Ghana. Prince upon returning to Ghana managed a few gyms in Accra as well as trained a few personal clients. It is from this venture he made his money to create Palace Afrika which now seeks to help others who move find their foot in the country. For Prince, he wants to see more of Diaspora returnees move out of Accra and create opportunities in other areas other than the capital.
The Director of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Akwasi Awua-Ababio honoured an invitation by Prince and met with him, musician Zakisha Brown and a few sisters from the Diaspora in the lodge over a delightful vegan meal prepared by Chef Imara at the lodge. In hearty conversations, Mr. Ababio amongst many other things expressed his gratitude to Prince for creating such a space to support the Diaspora. Other returnees who had stayed and were staying at the lodge expressed similar sentiments about how homey and helpful staying at the lodge has been.
To sum up, let me quote Nana Patrice Lumumba’s words which is emboldened on the wall of one of the bedrooms in Palace Afrika. It says “Afrikan unity and solidarity are no longer dreams. They must be expressed in Decisions” and Palace Afrika is such a spatial family decision created by us and for us.