What started as a controversial dream of the 19th century African activist Marcus Mossiah Garvey, who led the call for African Americans to leave America for the motherland, is turning into a national policy in some African nations as Namibia and Zimbabwe prepare to open their arms in welcome to any Diaspora African willing to come home.
Marcus Garvey established the first U.S. chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1917 in Harlem, and began publishing the Negro World newspaper. By the year 1919 he and his associates started Black Star Shipping Line under Universal Negro Improvement Association that grew up to 4 million members whose aim is to ferry black Americans home to the motherland.
His black star line though infiltrated by the federal agents of USA made successful trips to Panama, Jamaica, Costa Rica ,Cuba among others in a quest to unify and connect people of African Descent worldwide. Garveyism as a philosophy have inspired so many pan African movements across the globe, though he never visited Africa because the colonial government of that time banned him from visiting their states.
Recent developments in modern day Africa is affirming his position, as few African Governments have started adjusting their migration policies to ensure Africans of Diaspora descent finds a permanent place to call home in Africa.
In the year 2019 before the advent of Covid , the Ghana Government initiated ‘ The Year of Return ‘a major landmark marketing campaign targeting the African – American and Diaspora Market to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown Virginia. The Year of Return project became a record-breaking Year which brought 1.1 million visitors to Ghana and $3.3 billion in tourism revenues same year. Regardless of the commercial success the initiative satisfied the nostalgic feeling of some African’s in Diaspora for the motherland .
Today the Namibian Govt is taking it a step further and is working on developing a policy that will grant Diaspora African’s residence rights was revealed by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (Mirco) Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah during a courtesy visit by a former African Union representative to the United States, Arikana Chihombori-Quao, recently.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the drafting of the policy is progressing well, and she wishes to present it to Cabinet for approval before the next financial year.
“The central element of this policy is rooted in the idea of how we as a country can link up with Africans in the diaspora, and how we discover one another as part of our contribution to the Africa we want, particularly now that we are starting to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” she noted.
The minister is of the belief that through that instrument, there will be a strong link between Africans on the continent and those in the diaspora. “We are almost done executing the policy,” she added.
Nandi-Ndaitwah’s statement came at a time when African immigrants and descendants of the formerly-enslaved through the African Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI) came knocking at their doors in a quest to return home (to Africa), seek investment opportunities, and build “the Africa we want”.
The ADDI delegation, led by its founder Chihombori-Quao, visited Namibia last month to establish an ADDI presence in the country. The institute is designed to mobilise all people of African descent to unite, invest and participate in the building of a better Africa.