By Bampia James Bundu
Some 35 African-Americans, whose DNA has linked their ancestral roots to Sierra Leone in West Africa are set to visit “the land of their forefathers to meet their tribesmen”.
Ada Anagho Brown, president of Roots to Glory, an organisation that creates such links, said each year thousands of African and Caribbean Americans make the decision to trace their ancestral roots by means of DNA, the science and technology to discover who one really is.
She told a news conference at the national tourist board in Freetown that “once the test is concluded and the results revealed, the urge to travel to their new found home becomes a burning desire”.
Madam Brown, who is visiting Sierra Leone for the first time this week, revealed that they had already identified about 30 to 35 people who had expressed interest to visit their ancestral villages and towns. She said her team had already visited all government officials to sure up the date for their visit which is slated for December 2014, formal.
She said the visit “has a lot of prospect for Sierra Leone as most of the visitors are senior citizens in the USA and are potential investors”. She described Sierra Leone as a country “blessed with abundant historic sites and our visit will consist of visiting various areas known for slave trade, museums, and traditional villages with connections to African-Americans”. She called on Sierra Leoneans to accommodate and treat them like families and loved ones.
Madam Brown revealed that her organization had succeeded in bringing home about 150 African-Americans to Cameroon to visit their ancestral villages and to have had the opportunity to interact with government officials in that country.
In his statement Dr Julius Spencer, Managing Director of Premier Media Consultancy, said to have such visitors coming to Sierra Leone was very much important as it would not only help sell the image of the country but would also create an opportunity for the visitors to acquaint themselves with their ancestors.
He said after the visit of the African-Americans they would help rebrand the image of the country by serving as ambassadors to sell the good image of the country and also encourage investors to come and invest.
(C) Politico 13/03/14