As part of Emancipation Day celebrations and the Give Back Ghana program for Beyond the Return, a team from Ghana Tourism Authority and the Beyond the Return Secretariat participated in a tree planting activity in Assin Praso in Ghana’s Central Region. Over 100 trees were planted along the path that leads to a historical site where captured enslaved Africans were taken hundreds of years ago in the height of the slave trade era. The contestants from Ghana’s Most Beautiful Pageant also joined in the day’s activities each planting a tree of her own.
This important exercise is being done across the country with trees being planted in all of Ghana’s 16 regions. This is a way to give back to our environment and to also to build a better Ghana. It also serves as a symbolic gesture for future generations to see the trees we planted today. Manager of Beyond the Return, Annabelle McKenzie and Marketing Manager for Ghana Tourism Authority, Roberta Dawson-Amoah both participated in planting their own trees to help give back to and preserve Ghana’s environment.
CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman, welcomed everyone to the site. He said that every year Ghana celebrates the resilience of the African and the end to chattel slavery through its celebrations of Emancipation Day. He said that this year because of the circumstances we are in, due to the pandemic we are unable to do what normally takes place, which is the re-enactment of captured Africans crossing of the river during the time of slavery. “Beyond that story of what happened here during the slave trade, there are also two significant incidents,” Mr. Agyeman said. “The Yaa Asantewaa War against British colonialism and the Anglo – Asante War. Today we are going to plant trees as our way of celebrating emancipation so that future generations will come and see these trees planted as a symbol of what happened in 2020 when we couldn’t celebrate the way we normally do.”
Over 100 trees were planted in Assin Praso along the path that leads to the historical site where the captured enslaved Africans were buried in mass graves. The contestants from Ghana’s Most Beautiful pageant listened attentively as they learned the history of the grounds that they were planting trees on. Like some Ghanaians, they were learning this history for the first time.
Divisional Chief of Assin Jakai-Assin Praso, Nana Owodo Aseku X, spoke to everyone and recounted the history of Assin Praso along with the significance of the site which is now a popular tourist attraction. He was also joined by other elders in the community including Nana Baffour Adjei X, and Nana Yaw Owusu Aduemi, as they shared stories of history in their community.
Assin Praso was one of the busiest tourist sites last year during the Year of Return. Many people from the diaspora came to see the grounds where Africans were buried in mass graves and the river that was crossed during that time.