Everybody is an African and I mean that literally. Yes everybody has some “Africa” in them. Africa is the motherland and the ancestral home of every living man. To some of the numerous people of African descent living around the world, Africa is more than just a "motherland". Africa is "home" and home is where the heart is. Many are beginning to see our beloved continent for what it truly is. The continent of many colors and the continent of life itself. Many are reconnecting with their roots. Many are relocating to Africa. Many have already relocated and many more are planning on doing so. For those planning to relocate to Africa, there are many countries to choose from. It all comes down to personal choice. However, in this article, I will focus on Ghana.
Ghana is often in the top 3 of African countries people would greatly love to relocate to. There are several Jamaicans, several Trinidadians, etc. living in Ghana today. Even Rita Marley the wife of the late King of Reggae Bob Marley, is permanently living in Ghana today. Not just people from the Caribbean. African-Americans are also moving to Ghana in their numbers. Many African-Americans have relocated permanently with their families, started businesses and are enjoying life in Ghana. So the question is, why Ghana? Why not any other African country? As I mentioned earlier on, it all comes down to personal choices.
For African-Americans planning to relocate however, there is no better place than Ghana and there are several reasons why. Let's begin with the immigration process. Ghana's “Right of Abode” program, allows people of African descent to easily gain permanent residency in Ghana. In other words, you don’t need to file numerous paper works and wait a long time to gain permanent residency status in Ghana. Also, Ghana is one of the most peaceful democratic countries in Africa today. In other words, your fundamental human rights are protected in Ghana. There is freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association, etc. Another major reason is that, Ghana is an Anglophone (English-speaking) country with English as the official language. In other words, although there are several native languages spoken in Ghana today, English is the primary language used in schools, governmental offices, and in the mainstream media. This means an African-American can easily interact/communicate with most people (especially the literate) in Ghana. Ghana is a "middle income country" which means, Ghana lies between rich and poor (Not very poor and not very rich). The economy is perfect for starting new businesses. You can easily start and grow a profitable business in Ghana. Ghanaians are very friendly and "cultured" people. In other words, you don’t need to worry about whether the people will like you or not. Just treat people with respect and you will be welcomed anywhere you go in Ghana. Initially, you may face some minor issues due to "culture shock" and things like that but once you get used to it, there is no better place than Ghana.
Some Ghanaians may refer to you as “Obroni” in Ghana. Obroni is just an Akan word for “Whiteman”. Sometimes some African-Americans living in Ghana find this term offensive and I understand why. However, Ghanaians use this term not in that negative sense. Although the term “Obroni” may sound racial, it is not often used in that sense. For example, my kid Nephew who was born in America, was referred to as “Obroni” when he visited Ghana not long ago with his parents. He was referred to as “Obroni” mostly because he spoke only English and couldn’t understand the native language. However, once you start picking up the culture, this “Obroni” term gradually disappears.
There are some simple things you can do to avoid this term on the streets. For example, you can use your “first” Ghanaian name instead of your “first” English name during casual conversations. Someone may ask, what is my “first” Ghanaian name? Most Ghanaian tribes have naming systems that make it very easy for everybody to get one. The Akans (the most dominant ethnic group which includes the Ashantis, Fantis, Akyems, Bonos,etc.) have a special naming system based on the days of the week. When you go to Ghana, you will hear names like Kofi, Kojo, Ama, etc. Those are “first” Akan names and almost every Akan has one. All you need to do is to pull a calendar and check the day of the week you were born. A male child born on Monday is Kwadwo (or Kojo) and Adwoa (pronounced ‘Ajoa’) for females. A male child born on Tuesday is Kwabena (pronounced ‘quabina’) and Abena (pronounced ‘abina’) for females. For Wednesday, Kwaku (pronounced ‘quaku’) for males and Akua (pronounced ‘aquia’) for females. For Thursday, Yaw (pronounced ‘yao’) for males and Yaa for females. For Friday, Kofi for males and Afia for females. For Saturday, Kwame (pronounced ‘quami’) for Males and Ama for females. And for Sunday, Kwasi (pronounced ‘quasi’) for males and Akosua (shortened ‘Akos’) for females.
The former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is a Ghanaian and from the the name "Kofi", we can instantly tell he was born on Friday. Another interesting thing to note. In Akan, "nnan" means "four" and "Annan" means "fourth". In other words, Kofi Annan was born on Friday and he was the fourth born of his parents. So as you can see, from just the name, we can tell a lot about a person in Africa. There are so many Kofis, Amas, etc. in Ghana and with your “first” Akan name, you can easily blend in.