If traveling to Africa was ever on your wish list, 2019 is the year you should consider finally making this life-changing trip happen.
In addition to its range of ever-increasing attractions, Ghana has declared 2019 the “Year of Return” and is welcoming African-Americans and others from across the African diaspora to visit the country in remembrance of the 400-year anniversary of the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
It was 1619 when the first Africans arrived on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia after being captured on the West Coast of Africa — a catalyst event, setting off the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the epic, ongoing story of African-Americans as a people. This year, hundreds of the descendants of the Africans who made that perilous journey across the Atlantic Ocean will return to the shores of Ghana, walk through the infamous “Door of No Return” and bring full circle an experience that has been 400 years in the making.
“As Africans in the Diaspora, we must see Africa with our own eyes and touch the soil with our own hands,” said Akbar Muhammad, international lecturer and expert on Africa and international affairs. “These trips and tours represent the reconnection to our homeland. A homeland that, for many years, millions of us had no connection at all. This is an opportunity to do that. However, this year carries a historical weight, and we owe it to ourselves and our ancestors to make this visit home at this particular time.”
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture in Ghana under the leadership of the Hon. Catherine Afeku has dedicated the entire calendar year to programs and events that invite dialogue, promotes opportunity and celebrates the resilience of the African spirit.
Samimah Aziz, founder of Cousin Trips and psychotherapist, wants people to know that travel, and specifically travel to Africa, is an opportunity for healing and restoration.
“This is a trip where you will have fun and create memories, and also a trip where you will also have a deeply profound experience with yourself,” Aziz said. “Travel always invites an opportunity to heal, but this trip to Mother Africa, our ancestral home, activates something deep … on a cellular level. Travel to Africa provides a unique soul changing experience for each traveler.”
In addition to the events and attractions related to Ghana’s history, the country will also host more contemporary events this year, like the music festival Afrochella.
“If there was ever a time to visit Ghana, now is the time,” Aziz said. “Whether you’re looking to find your roots, or whether you’re really to history and art, or even if you’re a music lover and just want to hit the beaches and clubs, Ghana has something for everyone.”