Ghana’s “Year of Return” was in 2019, but it was the events of 2020 that compelled African Americans to leave their country and explore a kinder, gentler place.
In commemoration of the 400 years since the first Africans were brought to the US, Ghana’s president extended an invitation to the global Black diaspora to reflect on the event while celebrating their ancestral roots. For many, it was also an escape from the incessant trauma inflicted on them as Black people living in America.
Atlanta native L. Nzingha Samuel could relate.
“While driving by the Stone Mountain confederate structure in 2020, I saw a protest, and it really reminded me of what the US represents for many Black Americans: tension,” Samuel said. A social entrepreneur, Samuel has been regularly traveling to Ghana for more than 19 years and noticed the marked difference between the two places.
“That summer, I felt like there was more we could do in addition to protesting,” she said. “We are pounding our fist on a door that is opening very slowly when we should just be looking at other entryways already open to us.” It was then she started exploring the possibilities of what Ghana could do for others that it had already done for her for nearly two decades.
“We’re asking the US to validate that Black lives matter, right,” she asked. “If you know, you matter then simply matter. Is there anywhere else on Earth where you matter more than where it all began…Ghana? It’s a country that is run and led by Black people. We are seen there.”
The idea to create a community for Black American expats began when Samuel and her fiancé built their first home in Kumasi, Ghana. Through this, they learned the real estate development process and shared what they knew to their friends in the states. Then, they started to build more homes for them to live in. Now, they’re building a mini-community. “Creating communities around the world is a passion of mine,” Samuel said, who has a background in educational psychology and business. “This intentional community is intersecting with our sister city in Stockbridge, Georgia, whom we’re working with the mayor to develop.”
She now owns more than 10 properties in Ghana and says she joined forces with the honorable Mayor Anthony S. Ford of Stockbridge, GA and Honorable Mayor Christian Adu-Poku of Kumasi to provide tools and supplies to local schools and hospitals around Ghana.
“I love to watch the twinkle in people’s eyes when they feel like they’re in a space where they really matter, and realize, finally, they’re home.”