Ancestral hype awaits Obamas in Ghana visit
An ancestral hoopla seems to be in the offing ahead of the Obamas visit to Ghana in August.
The country has a historical site and many Africans from the Diaspora visit it to see where their great-grand parents passed through to America.
For President Barack Obama, this might not give him any food for thought because he has long connected with his forebears in Kenya. It is his wife, Michelle who would be given the opportunity to reflect on what her forebears suffered on their long journey through this former slave post.
Will the Obamas weep at Cape Coast Castle during their visit? Others before them wept when they entered the enclaves of this former slave post, which was the final leg on the long journey to the new world.
It is yet to be seen whether US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle would also shed tears for the people who either died in the castle or during their voyage to the New World, when they pay a visit during their two-day stay in Ghana.
For some, this is where President Obama and his wife would be given their true education of Black history. Historians say, the castle was first constructed with timber in 1653 and named Carolsborg after King Charles X of Spain for the Swedish Africa Company.
About a decade later, the then Swedish Gold Coast was seized by the Danes and then renamed Danish Gold Coast in 1663. A year later, the British conquered the castle and had it rebuilt and it was from there that they administered the colony and later turned it into the seat of government for the British Gold Coast.
Initially, the castle was used to facilitate trade in timber and gold but it later became the point for the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade until its abolishment.
It has since become a historical site and many Africans from the Diaspora visit the castle to see where their great-grand parents passed through to America.
Ghanaians have been buoyed with the visit yet not much sign is around the capital to suggest that any preparation is taking place. It is the people of Cape Coast who seem to be concerned with how to keep the municipality in shape for the Obamas visit.
The Mfantseman municipal chief executive, Mr Henry Kweku Hayfron, has called for a massive clean-up exercise to prepare the municipality for President Obama’s visit to the Cape Coast Castle. Accordingly, he has appealed to owners of undeveloped plots, especially in communities along the Accra/Cape Coast highway, to clear them of weed before the visit.
He told the Ghana News Agency that “my immediate attention is how to improve sanitation in the municipality, especially at Mankessim, a commercial centre before the visit.”
Mr Hayfron said “the US President may not use the road but it is possible some members of his entourage may use it and the possibility of some of them making a stop-over at Mankessim cannot be ruled out.”
As the country waits, expectations in the streets have risen. Accra taxi driver Solomon Antwi told the Nation: “l would not work on the day that President Obama is due to arrive because l want to be part of history to welcome the first Black President of the United States.”