An initiative to unite people of African descent with their ancestries has kicked off in Accra, Ghana’s capital.
Dubbed African Ancestry Family Reunion (AAFR), the initiative is being spearheaded by AfricanAncestry.com, pioneers of genetics ancestry tracing for people of African descent.
The transcontinental program will culturally immerse African Americans in the African countries where they traced their roots using DNA.
The 2020 inaugural host countries include Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Cameroon with additional countries joining each year.
During the event, AfricanAncestry.com will unveil details on the first-of-its-kind initiative for Americans and will be joined by participating African Embassies, business leaders and community groups among others.
Speaking to Face2Face Africa at the launch of the initiative on Thursday, December 27, 2019 in Ghana’s capital, Dr. Gina Paige, co-founder and president of African Ancestry, Inc. said: “We are here to launch African Ancestry Family Reunion and we are very excited. The first thing people wanna do once they find out what country and what people they share ancestry with is travel home and now we have an opportunity to help them do that.
“So these are all-inclusive specially curated birth right journeys just for people who have taken our test to travel home either to Sierra Leon or to Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal or Nigeria.
“This is really a journey, a birthright journey for people to learn the country, learn the history, the cultures, the traditions from the people who lived there that they have distant ancestry connections to.”
Paige further added that tracing ancestry for black people is “not a novelty. It’s a necessity. We didn’t leave here by choice but we are back by choice.”
Earlier this year, at an emotional ceremony at the Cape Coast Castle, one of about 40 slave castles built in the Gold Coast (Ghana), over 70 families discovered their ancestry during the African Ancestry DNA reveal which was arguably the largest ever in the continent.
AfricanAncestry.com used its most comprehensive database of indigenous African genetic sequences in existence to trace their ancestry back to specific present-day African countries and ethnic groups of origin dating back more than 500 years ago – the only company that can do that.
“It is necessary to trace your ancestry… because we are the original victims of identity theft. As black people living outside of Africa, we have no idea where we [are] from. I know I’m from DC. I know my parents came from Virginia but what about before that and before that. Every other group in the world knows where they are from except for us. We get to claim Africa and I always say that’s dope. We get a continent. But it’s a continent with 50-plus countries and we deserve to know so that we can honor that ancestor,” Page told Face2face Africa.
“We exist because of our ancestors who made it through the most horrific experiences over the past 400 years. We owe it to that one person who started our family line to know where they came from and to honor and respect that and to understand that we didn’t come from slavery.
“The transatlantic slave trade was just a period of time on a longer continuum and so as those of us outside of the continent, we need to do a better broader perspective on who we are in this global continuum.”
Cumulatively over a million people, per the AfricanAncestry.com database have found out where they were from.
“That’s a huge impact on small communities and these places that we visit, it’s a huge impact for tourism and it’s a huge impact on this ‘Sankofa’ diaspora movement,” said Diallo Sumbry, President, and CEO of The Adinkra Group, who is also Ghana’s first African-American Tourism Ambassador.