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Some Harsh Realities

For many, Ghana is that beacon of respite on the African continent, where the weary might escape the throes of their existing realities in the West, however, for those of us who have heeded the full extent of the invitation implied by Mr. Rawling’s speech and the present Joseph Project, we have we have come to terms with a different reality once our visas expired.  The extent of our welcome generally ends after the 3 months allowed for our visit.  From that time on, an African born in the Diaspora must validate his or her stay.  There are several categories that one might fall under, whether it be student, employee or investor; American, European or Diplomat, but there are no provisions for Repatriates.  As mentioned, the Ministry of Tourism has incorporated Diasporian Affairs into its title, but this is not to say that that office hears our concerns or renders remedy to our grievances.  There is no existing extension of the government that caters to the needs of Repatriates, nor are there any provisions made to assist us in our transition.  Instead, we must apply to one of the above categories and make the best of what we have.  As with any group of migrants, there are a few who have the strength and the wherewithal to land on their feet and hit the ground running, but the bulk of us come with our families, babies, and elders in tow, needing a little more assistance in the transition.   No consideration is made for the way we were expelled from our land, depleted by our oppressors and are now starting over, with our meager life savings, faced with all kinds of uncertainties. Instead, we are thrust into the sea, refugees, expected to swim with the sharks.

For this reason many have repatriated only to have their dreams shattered.  Greater than 75% of those who have embarked upon their voyage home, to Africa, via Ghana, have left, more spent than they arrived and totally disenchanted by their experience.  Of those that have endured the harsh realities, we have bore down and sought deep within ourselves for the drive to survive.  Half of us have persevered, thanks to our youthfulness, determination and support from outside, while the other half have suffered destitute conditions, with no means of strength in a country already overwhelmed by its own problems. 

The fact is, you are welcome.  Akwaaba! Ghana sincerely extends her hands to curious Africans born in the Diaspora, willing and able to tour Ghana, just don’t expect any more than that.  Repatriates must realize that they are returning to a neo-colonial state.  Black operated, white owned. This is not the Ghana of Nkrumah. Your thinking must be modified prior to your arrival, to ensure your successful repatriation.  Each individual should design a plan that will sustain you and your dependents for 3-5 years.  This notion of coming home to retire in paradise must be replaced with a ‘lace-up-your-boots’ mentality.  As Repatriates, we have our work cut out for us.  Not only do we have to learn how to survive in an entirely different matrix, but we must erect the necessary institutions that will ensure our children and succeeding Repatriates aren’t subjected to existing harsh conditions.  Schools, ‘alternative’ healing centers and safe dwellings for our elderly are our primary concerns.  It rest upon our shoulders to provide these institutions for ourselves, reflective of the standards we have learned while exposed to vast information and examples in the West.  This work of Nation-building will only be realized by the cooperative efforts of Africans throughout the globe.  Our collective economic strength is sufficient to address the needs of existing Repatriates and prepare for the ever increasing flocks of Africans relocating to the continent.  For those planning to repatriate, please find a sponsor(s) from among your friends and family, that can individually or collectively put together a stipend to assist in your initial years.  For those who recognize the necessity of repatriation, but are not immediately prepared to do so, please sponsor a Repatriate.

Many will read this and resign themselves to the lesser fate of their oppressors, rather than take this road laden with challenges unspeakable.  That is an unfortunate consequence, but that I am willing to risk if it will better prepare those steadfast and unwavering Repatriates with the information necessary to ready your mind, body and soul for this reality.  For those determined to claim their birthright, I trust you will deposit this information in the banks of your mind, where it will be invested wisely, yielding a more resilient, more indomitable force, as is necessary for us, as Repatriates, to become, less we become extinct.  In the words of Fidel Castro, “Patra o Muerte, Venceremos” (Motherland or Death, We Shall Win.)