Grammy Award-nominated and multi-platinum rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer, Jidenna arrived in Ghana this week with Birthright AFRICA. Together they have brought 12 young African Americans to Ghana for an opportunity of a lifetime to explore the country under the ‘The Black Highway Birthright Program’. This program gives free educational trips to Africa for young Black people age 13-30 and uses a nationwide search to select the scholars they award. “Out of thousands of applications nationwide, you all are the twelve that were chosen,” Jidenna said to the young people after they were welcomed by the CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman and the Beyond the Return Secretariat. “Right now you guys are here to learn about pre-colonial Africa. You’re here to learn about your history and to learn about the future and the present,” he continued.
“Birthright AFRICA is committed to growth of international travel by the young African diaspora to showcase Ghana’s culture and investment potential while deepening the connection between the gateway to Africa and the global diaspora,” said Walla Elsheikh, CEO and Co-Founder of Birthright AFRICA. ‘The Black Highway Birthright Program’ is a 13-day journey that gives the scholars an opportunity to explore their heritage in New York City and then learn their history, culture and ancestral roots as people of African descent once they arrive in Ghana. Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Beyond the Return Secretariat have endorsed their program as it supports the vision of connecting the diaspora with Ghana. It’s part of the larger vision built off the momentum of the ‘Year of Return’ and now Beyond the Return ‘A decade of African Renaissance.’ “We are very excited with our partnership with Birthright AFRICA, which provides opportunities for people to explore their ancestry in Ghana. This particular cohort with Jidenna is significant as it coincides with our Founders’ Day celebration and the launch of our December in GH activities,’ said Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of GTA.
During their experience the young travellers will visit some of Ghana’s key historic sites including the W.E.B. DuBois Centre, Black Star Square, Cape Coast Dungeons and more. They will also have the opportunity to meet with leaders from both the Ghanaian and diaspora community. It’s important for these young people to learn about the business and investment opportunities on the continent of Africa. They will meet with entrepreneurs from various industries including the arts, technology, cocoa farming, fashion and manufacturing. They will gain first-hand knowledge of the innovation that exists in Africa. Not only is this an educational trip, but it’s also a chance for them to unwind and experience the fun side of Ghana. Jidenna will share some of his favourite places to experience the best food, music, festivals and nightlife happening in Ghana. Jidenna, who is on the Executive Board of Birthright AFRICA says that this program, “is a major step for Black people globally and Black Americans…to start to repair, re-heal and reimagine what our identity is as Black people.”
By: Ivy Prosper