View from Elmina Castle, A slave dungeon and fort in Cape Coast Ghana.
One of the view from the large Elmina Castle wide top windows. Picture (House Of Nzinga)

Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Ghana for work. I wish I was a travel blogger to create tons of vlogs and take incredible pictures and videos to convey the real magic that is Ghana. There is so much to take in that is impossible to convey everything into one blog post. But I’m sure last year your social media were flooded by beautiful pictures of Ghana, while the country was celebrating the Year of Return.

Here is a top 5 about modern and ancient facts you should know about Ghana. Also if this country is on your wish-list, go ahead and visit it, you will absolutely love it.

  1. The Year of return

Last year Ghana successfully launched a campaign aimed at encouraging people of African descent to return home to Ghana. The year of 2019 was chosen because it marks 400 years since the first slaves ships arrived in the city of Jamestown, in Virginia (1619, USA). This anniversary was marked with a series of arts and cultural events that culminated in December with events such as AfroNation and Afrochella among many others high-profile events. The campaign is estimated to have attracted around 1 million visitors and injected 1.9 billion US dollars in the economy (source bbc.com). Unless you’ve been living under a rock, social media were buzzing with content from the Year of return, from the celebrities flocking into Accra, to the public attending and enjoying music events or visiting historic landmarks; Accra gave us all the feels last year.

PS: To continue reaping off the benefits of this hugely successful marketing campaign, and build sustainable results Ghana has launched the campaign Beyond the return.

2. The Door of the No return

Like many West-African coastal countries, Ghana has many historic sites that is a testament of the cruelty of the slavery practice. It is estimated that 75 per cents of these dungeons are situated in West Africa, in countries such as Seengal, Benin, Nigeria among others. I visited the Elmina castle on the Cape Coast Castle and Museum, with an amazing guide and storyteller whose narration plunge you in one of the saddest and most atrocious period of our common history. A very emotional visit but a must see for anyone who want to learn about such an important period of human history.

Entry to one of the Female slaves dungeon . Pictures (House Of Nzinga).

3. Yaa Asantewaa and the battle for the golden stool

Born around 1840 into the Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana, Yaa Asantewaa was another African female leader known as brave and fierce.  Yaa Asantewaa fought the British invaders in the famously named “The golden stool fight” (1900). After British Governor Sir Frederick Hodgson demanded that he owns and seat on the Golden stool, a sacred symbol of the Ashanti empire, Yaa Asantewaa called her people to resist in these words: “If you, the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. I call upon my fellow women. We will fight till the last of us die in those battlefields”. Women occupied prominent roles in the Ashanti culture and were involved in the government and judicial and affairs including deciding when to launch or to stop a war. The Ashanti people fought a long and fierce battle, since the beginning of British led invasions, but unfortunately were defeated in 1902. Yaa AAntewaa and other prominent figures of the empire were deported to the Seychelles where she died.

4. Many celebrities and high profiles personalities in the US and UK diaspora are from Ghana heritage. These includes, Idris Elba, Boris Kodjoe, Kofi Siriboe and Marketing executive Bozoma Saint John. Boris Kodjoe and Bozoma Saint John have been instrumental in using their star power and influence for the Year of Return campaign, by inviting celebrities to join them, at the Essence Full circle festival.

Previously called Gold Coast and under British administration, Ghana get renamed after its independence on 6 March 1957. Kwame Nkrumah is the 1st president of the republic of Ghana. Actual Ghana must not be confused with the ancient empire of Ghana, which was situated further north, in the area of present-day south-eastern Mauritania and Western Mali. Ghana means warriors kings and was the name given to kings in the empire. Before its decline, the Ghana empire was a very wealth kingdom that traded mainly gold and salt.

Have you ever been to Ghana? how was your trip? or perhaps you have visited another dungeon, Door Of No Return in another country. How was your experiences?

The Year Of Return Promo video

Xx, PYM

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