President Obama Visits Ghana and Cape Coast Castle
President Obama has made a visit to Ghana and the Cape Coast Castle, and delivered what analysts are calling the 'most challenging speech' by a US leader in Africa for decades.
Obama said that Africa could not continue to blame the West for all that has happened there, and used the destruction of Zimbabwe as an example. Obama stated that he wanted to make fresh partnerships, but only with counties with stable governments.
"No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery," he said. "That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end."
He implied that if governments want continued help from Western nations, they must give way to 'strong institutions'.
"We have a responsibility to support those who act responsibly and to isolate those who don't," he told the country's parliament from a podium draped in traditional yellow and green kente cloth.
Basically, the future of Africa is up to the African people themselves.
He stated in his speech that too much of Africa has followed Kenya's lead, where rigged elections and corruption are rampant once again. There were indeed some questions as to why Obama chose to visit Ghana and not Kenya in the first place.
Obama claimed that he wants more trade with Africa, better health programs, and to help with matters such as climate change.
Before returning home, the President and his family visited Cape Coast Castle, previously used as a seat of the British colonial administration and a slave fort.
BBC reporter Komla Dumor visited the fort previously and describes the experience of what it means to go there.
The castle was built in the 17th century and was once a place where thousands of African slaves were kept in severe inhuman conditions, chained together, naked, starving and held underground to await their turn on ships that would take them to a life of slavery and servitude.
There is one window high up in the wall that provides the only light for the slaves while they were waiting in their holding room for their slave ship to arrive.
Two centuries after the first major attempt to end the slave trade, another visitor with an African father and a white American mother will stand close to where I am and perhaps battle with the same emotions.
The visit of President Obama caused much excitement in the country and his visit to a place where so many Africans suffered might be seen to give new hope to those around the world that change is perhaps on the horizon.
Ghana was the first country in Africa to gain independence from British rule in 1957, and a journey to Ghana is a spiritual quest for many African Americans.
At independence, Kwame Nkrumah declared that this was "Our chance to show the world that... the black man can manage his own affairs."
They are still struggling to do that though, but Obama's visit today may provide some hope for change.