Saturday, August 4, 2007
‘Akwaaba Anyemi’ evokes emotions
From: DAVID YARBOI-TETTEH, Elmina
AN emotional ceremony coupled with rich Ghanaian cultural heritage heralded the launch of the “Joseph Project” at the Elmina Castle Park here in the Central Region on Wednesday.
A procession of chiefs amidst horn blowing, drumming and dancing as well as the firing of musketry was held as a prelude to the durbar which attracted participants from the Diaspora and other African nationals.
The Joseph Project, also known as “Akwaaba Anyemi” instituted by the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations is the country’s invitation to Africans in the Diaspora to return home to reconnect with the land of their ancestors.
Taking its roots from the Biblical Joseph, it recognizes the role that many Africans had played and risen above their captivity with examples of the best of the human spirit and what man could achieve in life through determination.
Participants at the beginning of the programme wore red or black bands to mourn the departed souls of those who died through slavery.
A ram was slaughtered to signify spiritual cleansing at the Elmina Castle, one of the venues where the ancestors suffered various forms of brutalities and humiliation before being taken through the gate of “no return” to the new found world.
The Winneba Youth Choir sang the South African anthem “Nkosi Sikele Africa” to demonstrate the unity among the African people after Africans from the Diaspora had passed through the gate of return which was symbolically created as part of the project.
The hit song “Welcome Home” by the Osibisa Band was played after the participants had washed their hands in water with hyesop as part of the healing rituals.
The process was to heal the descendants of the fore-fathers from the pain and atrocities suffered.
As part of the programme, descendants of three immortal Josephs comprising Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Garvey, descendant of Harriet Tub man and wife of Robert “Bob” Nestor Marley, Rita Marley were enrobed.
Harriet Tub man was credited as the most famous leader of the Underground Railroad to aid slaves escaping to free states or Canada. Marcus Garvey dedicated his life to the cause of correcting the injustices that blacks were subject whiles Bob Marley used music to fight against oppression of the black race.
Dr. Julius Garvey in an address on behalf of people from the Diaspora said the inhumanity to man associated with slavery was incalculable and stressed the need to avoid such an issue from happening again.
He stated the need for African and their brothers from the Diaspora to reflect on the effect of slavery and learn from it.
He further reiterated the need for Africans to unite since it was only through that they could counter the negative forces existing in the world.
TIMES WEEKEND - Saturday, August 4, 2007 Page: 11