I find myself talking about race and belonging on a regular basis. As a British born Ghanaian I am often confronted with questions of identity. I know I’m not the most Ghanian person, my Twi is appalling, my knowledge of Ghanian history is lacking and I cannot cook shito. My family members are quick to remind me that I’m more westernised than Ghanaian. Yet still, ask me where I’m from and I will not hesitate to say Ghana. Recently, I’ve been noticing a real vibe amongst those in London who are second generation Ghanaians like me. Those of us who have been raised here are keen to connect with our Ghanaian heritage. Project 1957 has even been hosting a session called Twi Club for the past year, allowing interested ones to improve their speaking ability.
Last month, the report Second Generation British Ghanaians and ‘Home’ was released. The research was conducted over five months, involved 493 survey respondents, 25 focus groups and 8 informant interviews. Following this report, Future of Ghana held the first British-Ghanian Diaspora Forum, a space in which Ghanaians and the diaspora could engage in a conversation on migration, international development and identity. Future of Ghana is a UK registered charity focused on connecting Ghanaians in Europe and around the world. The company envisions a self-sustaining Ghana where young entrepreneurs are at the very centre of development. Their mission is to unite the Ghanian diaspora and Africans with the global community.
If you have been following my work online and in the pages of Glam Africa Magazine, you know how passionate I am about spaces that facilitate conversations. Until we have an open dialogue about our experiences and share our thoughts within our communities, we cannot get very far.
The night was full of such conversations. Guests included professionals such as Akwasi Awua Ababio, Director of Diaspora Relations Office, Office of the President, His Excellency Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Ghana High Commissioner to UK & Ireland and Lord Dr (Michael) Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE, Global Head of Citizenship for KPMG International.
The event opened up panel discussions on contributing to Ghana’s development even when far from “home.” It looked at how we can support our communities and better the Ghanian diaspora.
The evening had me questioning what it means to be Ghanaian. Who has the right to decide who is Ghanian enough? But more importantly, how do those of us who identify as Ghanian better the future of Ghana?
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