After leaving his home country Ghana in 1993 to the United States, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) performer Kofi Kingston has returned to the West African country on a four-day visit.
Born Kofi Nahaje Sarkodie-Mensah in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, the current WWE Champion arrived in Ghana’s capital Accra on Thursday to a warm welcome from fans and members of the government’s 2019 Year of Return Steering Committee.
His stay in Ghana, which is being captured by a WWE documentary film crew, has been described as historic by the government which says it would put a positive spotlight on the country as it celebrates the Year of Return of the Diaspora.
Kofi Kingston met President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday night and would visit the Ashanti King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi and some tourist sites in the region including Lake Bosomtwe, Bonwire and Ntonso.
He would also visit his paternal and maternal hometowns in Ejisu and Atwima Techiman respectively, as well as the Mother and Baby Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, the Christiansborg Castle in Osu and finally hold a Children’s Rally in Accra, said the Year of Return Steering Committee in a statement.
The 37-year-old professional wrestler’s mother, Dr Elizabeth Sarkodie-Mensah, has affirmed to local media ahead of her son’s visit in an interview that he is a true Ghanaian and not Jamaican as he earlier presented himself during his 2008 debut in the WWE.
He stopped being billed as a Jamaican wrestler in late 2009 and later started being billed as a wrestler from Ghana. This earned him the title of being the first African-born performer in WWE history.
Kofi Kingston made history at WWE’s biggest annual calendar event Wrestlemania 35 in April and defeated Daniel Bryan in a very feisty, entertaining and roller-coaster encounter with his signature Trouble in Paradise move to clinch the highly coveted WWE Championship.
Kingston was joined in the celebrations by his two sons and his fellow New Day teammates Big E and Xavier Woods who were ringside to support him during the fight.
“It’s so emotional. Like, you work so hard to get here and sometimes you work as hard as you can and things aren’t going your way, you know? And you don’t know if the hard work is going to pay off. It’s paying off right now. It just feels surreal. It feels like a legitimate dream – I feel like I’m in a dream, and I don’t want to wake up,” Kingston said about his win in a post-match interview.
His historic win was also widely celebrated and hailed by Ghanaians on social media. The wrestler has tattoos of Ghanaian Adinkra symbols along his spine with a set of eagle wings around the spine of his scapula.