Dear Culture

“Go Back to Africa” — A Joyous Return to Pan-Africanism

Episode 77

Read the full transcript here

The Motherland is calling — are you ready to answer? This week on the Dear Culture Podcast, our hosts, theGrio Social Media Director Shana Pinnock and theGrio Managing Editor Gerren Keith Gaynor dig deep into a growing conversation about Black Americans returning to Africa.

“The movement is about this collective understanding that people who are from Africa — whether you are a part of the West Indies, in the United States or on the continent, that we all have a collective struggle against European colonization and imperialism and that we are stronger together,” said Gaynor. 

Back in 2019, Ghana’s president, Nana Akfuo-Addo, launched “Year of Return, 2019,” an initiative to unite and encourage Africans across the diaspora to invest and settle in Ghana and the continent at large. 

Two young modern fashionable, attractive, tall and slim african muslim womans in hijab or turban head scarf and coat posed with mobile phones.

Just last month, the Biden administration launched the Prosper Africa Build Together campaign, which requests $80 million from Congress to build trade and investment between the U.S. and continental Africa. 

“This is the time, more than ever, for Black people across the diaspora to unite and maybe that does look like us leaving America,” said Gaynor. “But I would say, more realistically, it starts with us having conversations together and understanding that our plights are similar, that we are stronger together and it’s important for Black business owners to do business in Africa.”

But is pan-Africanism the ultimate answer to toppling white supremacy?

While Pinnock said she too longs for unity across the diaspora, she also recognizes that true unity requires the dismantling of global white supremacy and oppressive systems that further marginalize us. 

Children watch bridesmaids as they check their phones at a traditional marriage ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe Saturday, March 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

“I don’t know if it’s possible for pan-Africanism and capitalism to survive in the same breath,” said Pinnock, adding that the unity required to connect across to the diaspora supersedes ethnicity alone. 

“Understand that if we’re saying us as a collective can be stronger and greater together, do recognize that includes our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, please understand that includes our disabled brothers and sisters—it’s everybody. If it’s not all of us then it’s none of us.” 

To hear the whole incredible conversation, tune into the Dear Culture podcast. 

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