Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Slave trade – Bait for Diasporans
Story: Tim Dzamboe
HE re-enactment of the inhumane transatlantic slave trade which took place 400 years ago has the potential of evoking emotions of affected generations living in the Diasporans for them to embark on annual pilgrimage to their ancestral land.
That was the essence of the “Joseph Project” developed by the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations to serve as a product to capture the pilgrimage for the tourism industry in the country.
The acting Volta Regional Manager of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB), Mr. Charles Obeng, said this when he delivered a lecture to students of selected senior secondary schools in Ho on the “Joseph Project” as a prelude to the Emancipation Day to be celebrated in August, this year.
“With the genetic database map, we hope to be able to establish for every returnee/pilgrim interested in a personal report on his/her antecedents to be able to organize visits to the villages of the ancestors,” be said.
Mr. Obeng said some of the sordid experiences associated with chattel slavery included forced labour and brutal treatment, adding that victims were regarded as property without any rights in which legally they had no personality.
He, however, stated that emancipation started off with the campaign against slavery in the 18th Century until it was internationalized in 1996 with Ghana adopting in 1998.
“Emancipation Day should consciously serve to create and develop a unique sense of unity, co-operation and understanding among Africans the world over, as well as all peoples of conscience,” Mr. Obeng stated.
As part of preparations for this year’s celebration, durbars of chiefs and their people are to be held at Peki and Keta on separate dates in July to herald the Emancipation Day in August.
According to Mr. Obeng, the government intended to use the 50th anniversary of nationhood to inaugurate the ‘Joseph Project’.
“Ghana will use the year to bring together, more closely, people in Ghana and brothers and sisters in the Diaspora and establish herself as the true gateway to the homeland for Africans in the Diaspora,” he declared.
The Head of Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management of the Ho Polytechnic, Madam Paulina Adzoyi, who chaired the function, said the slave trade was dehumanizing and a bitter lesson for Africans.
She, therefore, asked the youth to generate interest in the Emancipation Day activities.
The Daily Graphic - Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - Page: 21