Why a former mayor in Mississipi emigrated to Africa to start multiple businesses

Abu Mubarik Feb 3, 2021 at 09:00am

February 03, 2021 at 09:00 am | Success Story, The Black Agenda

‘I am here in the Motherland’: Ex-Mississippi mayor moves to Africa, starts businesses (Source: Facebook/Anthony Witherspoon)

The Back to Africa Movement may have flopped and rarely gets mentioned in the Black agenda discourse lately. Nonetheless, the movement appears to have taken a micro appeal, where individuals, with little or no prompting, are exploring Africa all by themselves.

African-Americans, people of African descent in the Caribbeans, and Africans in the diaspora at large are making a trip back to the ‘motherland’ on the quiet. And once they have successfully relocated, they take steps to integrate and also participate in the socio-economic activities of their ‘adopted’ countries.

The relocation of people of African origin to the ‘motherland’ maybe adventurous due to the underdevelopment of the continent like discrepancies in social amenities, functioning state institutions among others, many are making it ‘big’ as well as launching successful businesses.

Until December 31, 2020, Anthony Witherspoon was the mayor of Magnolia, a small town in Mississippi. He quit his job to relocate to Tanzania in East Africa and he is launching successful business ventures. “I am here in the Motherland, creating business partnerships and networks with my brothers and sisters,” Witherspoon said, according to Enterprise-Journal.

Witherspoon said he was inspired to move to Africa by a friend of his parents, who spent time teaching in Ghana. “I’ve always had a desire to come back to Africa,” he said.

He is now encouraging other African-Americans to return to Africa as the continent there are so many business opportunities to explore. Indeed, Witherspoon has launched a Youtube channel where he is highlighting the testimonies of people who have repatriated to Africa. 

“The minute you step off the plane into Julius Nyerere International Airport and see the state-of-the-art, world-class airport here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, it will be the beginning of the end of all of the lies that have been fed to you by the Western media about our Mother Africa,” Witherspoon said.

Witherspoon’s businesses in Tanzania include early childhood centers, preschools, private business colleges and Back to Africa Tours. Establishing ‘Back to Africa Tours,’ he said, was inspired by in part Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the Jamaican political activist who proposed that people of African descent return to the continent.

He believes many African-Americans will be better off moving to African than remaining in the USA where they constantly battle with racism, underinvestment in Black talents and lack of cultural representation.

“These are some terrible times in the U.S. right now. These are some hard times in the U.S. right now and I think that we should be thinking that we need to look at where we come from,” he said.

Witherspoon is married to Senator Tammy Witherspoon and they have two children, Anthony II and Amani Witherspoon. Since he moved to Tanzania, his two sons and wife have visited him and according to the former mayor, they extended their stay because they fell in love with the country.

He is seeking to take his ‘Back to Africa’ initiative a notch higher by returning to America to promote Africa tourism. What we want to do now is to help you stop talking about it, stop dreaming, stop procrastinating and come on back to Momma Africa and see what this continent has to offer,” he said. 

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