See below for Top Report’s “Beyond the Return Communication Plan” in cooperation with Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President.
On 19th August 2021, H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo welcomed Viola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis and an accompanying delegation to the seat of Ghana’s Presidency Jubilee House.
On May 31st through to June 1st, 1921, homes and businesses in Greenwood District, Tulsa, Oklahoma were attacked and destroyed by mobs of white people leaving many of the Black people who had built for themselves a viable community and businesses dead and hospitalized.
This year, 2021 marks the centenary of this unfortunate event. Coincidentally, this centenary feeds into Ghana’s Beyond the Return initiative, an offshoot of the Year of Return 2019 and Ghana has been blessed to have as a part of the memorial of the former and celebration of the latter, the presence of the last two remaining survivors of the Tulsa Race massacre: Viola Fletcher known as ‘Mother Fletcher’ (107 years old) and her younger brother Hughes Van Ellis known as ‘Uncle Redd’ (100 years old). It had been the wish of the duo to visit Africa before they passed and Ghana was their choice for this wish.
Mother Fletcher addressing H.E. the President of Ghana expressed her deep appreciation towards the reception she has received in Ghana. She mentioned it had always been her dream to visit Ghana and said she hopes to make another visit. Her brother, Uncle Redd taking the mic addressed the shared unity of the African continent and the diaspora. Remarking to an applause, he stated “We are one”.
The President welcoming the guests mentioned that Ghana was in the process of drafting a Homeland Return Act which would guide the acquistion of Ghanaian nationality. Referencing the degradation of Black lives in the United States of America the President toasted the resilience of the African peoples which for him has been demonstrated by the prescence of the distinguished on Ghanaian soil.
The President went on to offer to Mother Fletcher and Uncle Redd Ghanaian citizenship and presented with them some Kente fabrics as well as a stool.
The visit of Mother Fletcher and Uncle Redd has been generously supported by the Diaspora Affairs Office and were ushered and received into the Presidency by Director, Akwasi Awua Ababio and his Deputy Nadia Adongo Musah.
The Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President in collaboration with the Diaspora Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI) and the Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), University of Ghana is in the process of finalizing a Diaspora Engagement Policy for Ghana.
The main purpose is to facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship between Ghana and its diaspora population. The process of drafting the policy involves a validation meeting with experts and key stakeholders with technical skills on the diaspora policy.
Please download the Diaspora Engagement Policy here
Link for download:
Please download the Action Plan for Policy change here.
Link for download:
Venue, To be Confirmed
The Director of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio engages a discussion with Hon. Fritz Baffour sharing the rationale, its successes and learnings. See video below:
When it comes to health, men are known not to give it much consideration till they are really sick. Frequent check ups, preventive in nature, go a long way to prevent serious complications in one’s life. And this is the striving of American Rejuvenation Clinic, to bring men closer and to invest in their health.
The campaign to bring an awareness to men’s health is not the only interesting thing about this clinic. The clinic and it story registers as one of the many lesser known success stories of the Year of Return 2019 with the transfer of knowledge, skills and resources by Africans in the Diaspora to Ghana.
American Rejuvenation Clinic, situated in East Legon is founded by Tyrone Jamar. Tyrone, a Hormonal Replacement Therapist originates from Ohio, USA. Tyrone together with his brother now of blessed memory visited Ghana for an extended period during the Year of Return, 2019. Here, he travelled the length and breadth of the country having a much deeper feel of the of the country’s terrains and warmth. Tyrone mentions that during this time, Ghana felt familiar. For him, he felt a sense of belonging. He had discussions with his brother and they decided to set up something in Ghana which later turned out to be the clinic.
American Rejuvenation Clinic offers Preventive Medicine, anti-aging hormonal replacement therapy and testestorone diagnosis for men. The clinic has 26 staff members with facilities which includes a laboratory, two consultation rooms, pharmacy, physiotherapy, stabilization and an emergency centre. In this clinic, men are assured of complete privacy and confidentiality.
The clinic has also embarked on men’s health campaigns outside of its facility having conducted screenings for men in churches, organizations, keep fit clubs and various outlets. It is out of the need to raise awareness about men;s health that American Rejuvenation Clinic has declared the period between June 2021 and June 2022 as a 12 month men’s health awareness campaign. During this period, the clinic intends to partner with various organizations, schools, workspaces, keep fit clubs through screenings to get men to be more concerned about their health.
One can follow this campaign across their media platforms @american_rejuvenation_clinic or contact the clinic via email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be reached via phone (+233) 0 302 955 966 or via whatsapp (+233) 0 548 136 208.
Africa’s Popular Youtuber, Wode Maya honoured an invitation by Director, Diaspora Affairs to the visit the office at Jubilee House. In the meeting, Wode Maya shared his experiences as a Diasporan in China which led him to move back to Ghana and begin to show a different narrative of Africa. For Wode Maya, which means “My Mother” in Mandarin, and also his youtube channel name, sharing these narratives has always been a passion.
This passion Wode Maya explained has inspiration stemming from wanting to see a better and a positive narrative of Africa. Wode Maya, further expressed that he is always humbled by the reception he gets especially by many Africans in the Diaspora, some of whom have made the journey to Africa by watching and engaging with his videos.
Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio responded by congratulating Wode Maya for his good works promoting Ghana and Africa to the world and also by being a conduit through whom many get to experience and engage Ghana and the African continent. He further went to assure Wode Maya of the office’s support toward’s his efforts in engaging the Diaspora.
Mr. Akwasi Awua-Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President gave the keynote address at the grand opening of the African Diaspora Business and Cultural Center in Accra Ghana on Spintex Road as part of activties on Juneteenth Emancipation Day, 2021. The event was hosted by Ministry of the Future and Drodai Company Limited.
In his address, Mr. Ababio made note that the Year of Return was based of the Right of Africans in the DIaspora have to return. The Year of Return, he continued gave birth to Beyond the Return which is an initiative to push the successes of the Year of Return in a more meaningful manner. However, the covid pandemic had been a setback for planned activities.
Mr. Ababio also made the connection between the Return of people in the Diaspora and Ghana’s economic emancipation capsuled in Ghana Beyond Aid agenda. According to Mr. Ababio in his address, The Return of the Diaspora is however not only for Ghana to rely on its Brothers and Sisters for their skills and resources but also to ensure the DIaspora is brought home and re-integrated.
Mr. Ababio further expressed his gratitude for the opening of the African Diaspora Business and Cultural Centre which will help shine light on how Ghana can move forward with the Diaspora.
Watch the full address below:
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.
Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President hosted a High Profile Delegation from eSwatini on 7th June, 2021 in the Auditorium at Jubilee House. The team made up of government officials from eSwatini were led by Ms. Jennifer Neves, Under Secretary – Administration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to learn about Ghana’s strategies towards effective mobilising of the Diaspora.
Welcoming the team to Jubilee House, the Director of Diaspora Affairs Mr. Akwasi Awua-Ababio mentioned the Diaspora was a huge asset and the biggest asset any country has outside of its shores. Thus it was important to effectively strategise to leverage this resource in ways which are mutually beneficial. He further elaborated some ways which Ghana has engaged the Diaspora including the Diaspora Roadshow events and the Homecoming Summit.
Ms. Jennifer Neves also shared the excitement of the team as they were learning a lot in Ghana and mentioned her team was eager to go back home and apply many things they have learnt from Ghana.
In an engaging question and answer session, some issues which arose included how Ghana has been able to manage the trust deficits between home countries and their Diaspora to which Mr. Ababio responded it was important to at all times utilise consultations and stakeholder engagements to allow for the Diaspora to feel included in governance and policy formulation. Moreover, there were discussions around the operations of the Office as well as how to effectively collate a comprehensive database of one’s diaspora.
Deputy-Director, Mad. Nadia Adongo Musah also shared some of the work Diaspora Affairs has done thus far and encouraged the team to push to have their Diaspora champion causes for their Diaspora.