As I stood at the Accra International Airport with thousands of Ghanaians, a handful of Europeans, as well as Black and White – Americans I could only think back to the July day in
1990 after spending a year in a search for a home in Ghana – I ended up moving to this beautiful country.
That was 19 years ago. Little did I think in my wildest dreams that 19 years later I would stand in a crowd of festive people waiting to receive a Black American President to Ghana. In this crowd were more American flags then President Barack Hussein Obama would receive in rallies in America. The drumming, the singing, the picture taking was an unbelievable scene. The Editor of The Final Call Newspaper, Richard Muhammad could not stop clicking his camera.
Even though the thousands of people waiting at this location was not in the location that the President’s plane would pull up into for him to disembark – but to them it made no difference to those that were at the airport – to receive on African soil the first Black American President.
Since I arrived in Ghana from Libya where I was a part of Minister Louis Farrakhan’s delegation to the Africa Union Summit, I could feel the spirit and the enthusiasm as delegations arrived from all over the world to be a witness to history. The leaders in Libya wrestled for three hard days trying to move the African Union towards a United States of Africa. At the time, Minister Louis Farrakhan’s delegation was in Libya there was much talk of Murmmar Qaddafi -Libya’s leader, meeting and greeting President Barack Hussein Obama at the G8 meeting in Italy. The other talk was why did President Barack Hussein Obama choose Ghana as his first stop in Black Africa?
The Ghanaians at the airport were not concerned with the politics of the day, they were only concerned with showing President Barack Hussein Obama that he was welcomed in Ghana and that it was a credit to the people of Ghana that they could host the President of the United States.
As the talks filled the airwaves of Ghana and throughout Africa of why President Barack Hussein Obama did not choose Nigeria – why President Barack Hussein Obama did not choose Kenya the home of his father – why did he not choose South Africa the economic powerhouse of Black Africa? My answer is why not Ghana – the home of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who as the first President of Ghana pushed the idea of a United States of Africa. Ghana is the resting place of W.E.B. Dubois and George Padmore – and most of all Ghana is the home of two of the largest slave dungeons in all of Africa.
His speech to the Parliament of Ghana held at the Accra International Conference Center was not only addressed to Ghana but it was a brilliant speech that was played and addressed to all of Africa and the world. I am glad that former President Clinton, a democrat and former President George Bush, a republican came to Ghana. This shuts the mouth of the Obama attack dogs in America.
The speech was absolutely a great speech heard by millions across the African continent and millions more around the world. But in my opinion the greatest aspect of the 24-hour trip to Ghana was his trip to the Cape Coast slave dungeons.
In my 12-years of living in Ghana, I have been blessed to take thousands of Africans from the Diaspora to Ghana and personally walk them through the dungeons, and watch the tears flow from their eyes as they walked through the history of what took place in these terrible dungeons before our fore parents were shipped to America.
I could picture the Honorable Fritz Bafour giving President Barack Hussein Obama and his family a history of the slave dungeons in his deep, clear baritone voice. Fritz was with me when we took Dionne Warwick and the late great Isaac Hayes through the slave dungeons. When Isaac Hayes emerged from the dungeons, he sat with tears in his eyes and he said these words: “Now I feel complete”. Dionne Warwick sat next to him with her head bowed. These words and the picture of the two of them I will carry to my grave.
I was not in the slave dungeon with President Barack Hussein Obama, Michele and the children however, I do know what I saw and experienced with the thousands of people that I was blessed to take through these dungeons. I can picture Mr. Bafour showing and explaining the male dungeons – and how the European overseers of these facilities built their church over the male dungeons.
I could hear and see Mr. Bafour explaining the condemned cell – for the rebellious would-be-slaves. I could again picture him explaining to Michele and her daughters the separate cells for the female slaves. How has and will this trip affect a very smart and well read President? As I sat in Accra during a live radio show with scholars, lawyers and businessmen we received a report that President Barrack Hussein Obama and his family spent nearly two hours in the slave dungeons.
You can read about the history of the slave dungeons, you can see pictures of them; however, there is nothing like walking through them and hear your guide take you through what he knows of the history. In my lectures and talks around the country and outside of the country, I used the reference of the late director of the CIA William Casey and Bob Woodford’s book “Veil” published in 1987. In the book, Bob Woodford quotes William Casey who loved American History as saying – that he likes to walk through the spots where history took place. It says you get a different feel and sense of history.
The trip to Ghana by President Barack Hussein Obama is one of the greatest blessings for Ghana after 52-years of independence from their colonial master – Now the world wants to see these slave dungeons. This may allow the world to have a different view on those of us whose fore-parents went through this horrific experience, and ask the question; – from being captured; taken to the dungeons; shipped in the holes of ships to the West; put on plantations as slaves for nearly 300 years, and another 100 years of mistreatment because we were ex-slaves and the color of our skin; are many of us carrying the remnants of this in our behavior and actions toward each other and the world today?
Thank you, President Barack Hussein Obama, for making this most important trip to Africa and choosing Ghana as your first stop in Black Africa.
Akbar Muhammad is a Commentator, Analyst, and writer of the column “Africa and the World”.
For comments and questions you can write to Akbar Muhammad at Youth4africa@att.net