Generations ago their ancestors were sold into slavery, now some Americans of African descent are choosing to return to the lands of their forefathers. Nancy Kacungira has been finding out why.

The Akoma Academy in Cape Coast, Ghana, is unapologetically African.

From the brightly coloured African-print uniforms sported by the students to the posters of the continent’s icons on the walls – everywhere you look, you see a piece of African heritage.

But the school’s owner was born and raised in Detroit in the United States.

Chekesha Aidoo – who was born Priscilla Davis – grew up in a family of educators.

For a long time though, she knew very little about the continent she now lives in.

“There wasn’t anything about Africa taught to me in school or on TV except for Tarzan… and I was told that was incorrect!” she says with a laugh.

But when she was 14 years old, a class trip to the continent was announced at her school; something clicked and she became excited.

She ran home and told her mother who, equally enthused, joined the trip as a chaperone. They travelled to Ghana, and their hearts never left.

Ms Aidoo still tears up when she thinks about the day they first set foot on African soil.

‘I felt free in Africa’

“This was 42 years ago but I still remember. I was so taken by the energy. I actually got down on my knees and kissed the ground.

“Even the air in my lungs was right. It was like I was home”.

She did go back to the US, but her mother stayed in Ghana, and eventually founded the Akoma Academy.

After years of working and raising a family in the US, Ms Aidoo decided to stop shuttling between Africa and America and move to Ghana permanently.

She helped her mother run the school, and when her mother passed away, she took over.

Although she does miss the rest of her family who are still in Detroit, moving back there is not an option for her.

Ghana is ‘much less stressful’

“In America everybody keeps to themselves and they’re afraid to get involved in anybody’s issues. I would be so alone there,” she tells me.

“Here, I’m enclosed in this warm community bubble. I wouldn’t want to leave that.”

There are lots of other things she loves about living in Ghana.

The food is cleaner, she has financial freedom, and it is generally less stressful, she says.

She also feels that she is making a real contribution to the community.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login