Celebrities, travel influencers and the like have all joined in this new momentous movement commissioned in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Authority, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President the PANAFEST Foundation and The Adinkra Group of the USA. In association with each other, the organizations strive to create an advocacy program around travel to Ghana. The Year Of Return urges descendants from Africa to make the journey back to the motherland in an aim to bridge the gap between the painful history of the past to a hopeful present and future. 2019 marks the 400 year anniversary of the North American slave trade, which enslaved millions of Africa’s people. Some were willingly sold, while others were captured and forced to make the dreaded trip through the Middle Passage.
In an effort to help build the bonds between Africans, African Americans as well as those that were taken elsewhere as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trades, Ghana has created a number of activities to help celebrate the coming together of all people under the African Diaspora. Blacks from all over the world have embarked on the trip back to Ghana under the guide of the Year of Return. To help inspire your travel plans, here are some gorgeous photos that will arouse your interest to initiate your own year of return.
Boris Kodjoe’s father is from Ghana and in an effort to get other celebrities and the overall African American population to make the pilgrimage, too, he and his wife Nicole ari Parker commissioned an excursion through their inaugural Full Circle Festival.
To help document their beautiful and powerful journey, Boris and Nicole posted impactful images on Instagram to allow others to share in their experiences. We have taken a sample of those images and included them below — so you could follow along, too.
Boris and Nicole arrive in Ghana, fashionably, in their travel attire. Nicole captioned this photo with the Ghanaian expression for welcome, “Akwaaba!!!”
One way to help foster togetherness is through shared transportation. Here is a photo of Nicole ari Parker on the van ready to embark on their day trip.
Taking Time To Bask In All Of Ghana’s Glory!
Boris takes a moment to ponder the wondrous and transformative moments that came together to create the Full Circle Festival. He is pictured in front of giant bamboo at the Kakum National Park.
All This Majestic Power, All In One Place
Nicole ari Parker takes a moment to take in the majestic energy of the Kakum National Park.
“We Have A 400-Year Responsibility To Strive For Greatness In Everything We Do.”
The festival came full circle with a baptism on the Labadi Beach. You can see the transformation in the video as you scroll to the right in the below post on Boris’s page.
A Moment To Take In The Beauty
Nicole ari Parker pauses to soak up the splendor of the country and its beautiful people.
Grand and Statuesque!
“When it dawns on you the real adventure has begun….”
Full Circle Of Healing And Celebration!
A night of celebration in the wake of healing. All the Full Circle Festival attendees came together to dance all night long and bring in the New Year!
Shining Bright Like Diamonds!
Taking time to capture the moment, these beautiful majestic queens are glowing in the Motherland!
“We Stand Unbroken”
As a moment of realization surged through the air, the attendees took to the beach to show that through it all they stand unbroken.
And Still We Rise!
Bringing in the New Year in Ghana was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to connect with the roots that created us all. The caption of this video says it all.
“Happy New Year to All
We jump for the ancestors so they might hear us…
We raise our arms in exaltation so they know we hear them…
Jan 1, 2019″
It’s A Family Thing!
With all the history, tradition and powerful transformations, the Kodjoes made sure to share it all with their children. With their faces beaming, this trip is indeed an example of why every family should take the journey together.
To show that even the lay person should join in the movement, we found a well known travel influencer, Oneika Raymond, also a correspondent for the Travel Channel, NBC New York and CTV Canada, who made a similar trip to the Motherland. She not only shared her outstanding photos from her week-long tour, but she also created a bit of a travel guide through her own journey through Ghana.
We have gathered some of her most gorgeous photos to share in her Ghanian travel experience. The vivid colors, the outstanding images, all combined together, create a one-of-a-kind sentiment that will make you want to book your flight right away. Below find stills of Raymond and her friends as they journey through Ghana’s most vibrant locations.
Up First, The Makoia Market!
“I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me.”Kwame Nkrumah 🇬🇭
“Out of the cacophony of sounds in the market his voice found my ears. The statement was simple, declarative, effective. “My sister.” The deep voice was as steady as his gaze; his broad shoulders and strong features commanded attention. Tall, dark, handsome, and confident: brother had mad swag and I was here for it.”
The Adanwomase Kente Cloth And Tourism Village!
Here Oneika learned how to create vibrant kente cloth fabrics, and even had the opportunity to try her hand at weaving, as well. Anyone who travels to this village can take in the beauty and learn the history and design behind kente cloth. When planning a visit to Ghana, Raymond definitely recommends this to be a stop on your tour.
The Cape Coast!
Part of the caption in this brightly colored post includes the phrase “Wakanda’s Next Top Models!” And it was resounded all around the internet.
The Sobering Cape Coast Castle.
“Visiting Ghana’s Cape Coast as a person of African descent is both upsetting and perplexing.
To learn of the inhumane treatment suffered by enslaved blacks here is a punch to the gut.
And yet, one cannot ignore the beauty of the surroundings: the long stretches of golden beaches peppered with fishing boats, the palm trees and blue skies that seem to go on forever.
I had to force myself to remember that it was on these very same beaches that enslaved blacks were sold, corralled, abused, and transported to the Americas.
And that, of the hundreds of thousands that made the journey, around a quarter perished.
The atrocities of the Transatlantic Slave Trade may be long gone, but they are never forgotten. What a sobering experience to come here and see the place where it all began…or ended, depending on how you look at it.”
And with that solemn moment, we move on to our next travel influencer who simply named her brand Rachel Travels (which has been featured on publications like USA Today and Lonely Planet). She recently took a trip to Ghana for her version of the “Year of Return” and wound up getting invited to attend a traditional royal Ghanian wedding. Rachel used the opportunity to extend her trip and experience the momentous celebration first-hand. On her blog and social media accounts, Rachel shared her tips for traveling through Ghana. While there, she toured the countryside and participated in a heavy and emotional tour of the “slave castles.” These are some of her photos documenting her trip, please see them below.
This photo shows the lush greenery and palm trees along the countryside of Kumasi.
A Regal Pose At The Royal Senchi Hotel
Coined the first luxury resort in Ghana with a 4-star rating, The Royal Senchi Hotel in Akosombo is considered to be one of the best in West Africa. To put things in perspective, Boris Kodjoe and the celebrities attending the Full Circle Festival stayed at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel Accra Hotel which is a 5-star resort in the city centre business district. The Royal Senchi Hotel has a different feel with its location on the beach.
A Celebration Of Love And Life!
Being invited to a wedding is always an honor, but to be asked to attend a royal Ghanaian wedding, that is a true privilege. While on her journey in Ghana, Rachel had the great pleasure while on her trip. Not wanting to let this life experience pass her by, she gracefully accepted and extended her travel plans.
Fresh Coconuts Of Plenty!
“GHANA TRAVEL TIP: One of the best ways to stay hydrated in Ghana (and in life!) is to drink fresh coconut water. In Ghana, they’re about GHC3 ($0.62) and very plentiful.”
“The Door Of No Return”
An emotional journey through the door that leads to the Middle Passage, located in Cape Coast Castle, Central, Ghana.
“For years, I’d been hearing how intensely you feel the heaviness of visiting “slave castles” in Western Africa.
As a woman who can’t exactly say, “where I came from”, it was emotional for me to see, feel, smell, and touch the very place where my Ancestors may have left this African soil to be distributed around the world as property.
And while the experience was eerie, I also felt a sense of pride!
I AM a descendant of some of the strongest, most resilient people that have ever walked this planet.
People that have sailed for months in the some of the worst conditions imaginable – and still made it.
As the old saying goes, it’s important to know where you’ve come from, to understand where you’re going.”
The Cape Coast!
With all the emotions and the heaviness in the air on the Cape Coast, it is important to remember the pain but to look forward to the future. The “Year of Return” strives to bridge that gap, allowing descendants of Africa, from all over the globe, to experience Ghana, the history and its vibrant future.
Each person’s experience in Ghana is unique and different. No matter where you go, who you meet or how you create your itinerary, the powerful journey is something everyone should take.