Ghana thought ‘Year of Return’ would attract 500K people but numbers multiplied
Published on: December 14, 2019 04:55 (EAT)
Samuel L. Jackson, Boris Kodjoe, Steve Harvey, Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Jidenna. Nicole Ari Parker. These are some of the renowned personalities who have been to Ghana and in recognition of the need to find their African roots, the Year of Return was birthed. Those behind the campaign had hoped that it would attract 500,000 people but months later, they realized that they had underestimated the wide uptake. ”The Ghana Tourism Authority reports that there have already been 750,000 foreign visitors in 2019 and that number is expected to top 1M before the year ends,” Forbes magazine said. One of the visitors was Koshie Mills; a mother of three who gave birth to her sons in Ghana but raised them in the United Kingdom. The children had not had any experience in the country and Mills decided to take them back home for ‘Year of Return’. Her sons: Kofi Siriboye, Kwesi Boakye and Kwame Boateng, are already accomplished actors having starred in Hollywood hits produced by big names such as Tyler Perry. It goes without saying that the trip to their homeland was news for days and the subject of buzz in Ghana. The American magazine Essence also covered the visit, attracting global attention. Since their inaugural month visit, Mills and her sons have returned to Ghana several times, bringing even more people. The number of people visiting the country has also multiplied to the hundred of thousands in what Mills calls ‘healing.’ Ghana has a rich and not so pleasant history, being a major slave driving route in past centuries: there are four castles and 23 slave forts visible along the coastline. To Mills, it is important for slave descendants to visit the sites as it could start a process of healing for many atrocious deeds committed. According to Mills; who is also Ghana’s ambassador for film, art and culture, other African countries can also initiate such programs along the lines of historical injustices. Not just to boost their tourism but to initiate a healing process.