As Ghana commemorates the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans being brought to Jamestown, Virginia from the shores of West Africa, the call for the African Diaspora to return to the Motherland has been amplified.
None so more than in Ghana, where, since the beginning of 2019, the country has embarked on an ambitious campaign to get the African Diaspora to travel to the motherland. Several have heeded the call; among them celebrities such as Samuel L. Jackson, Deborah Cox, Steve Harvey and Colin Kaepernick making the journey home.
Celebrate Christmas and the New Year
It is expected to culminate in December, when Accra will become the epicentre of the ‘Black’ world, with several celebrities and a plethora of travellers expected to descend upon the city to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.
And of course, anywhere there’s a party and festivities, expect Jamaicans to be involved.
On December 24, the only Jamaican party approved by the Ghanaian government as part of the Year of Return – PinexGinja (Pine and Ginja) is set to make an encore in Accra. Last year, the party was held in Accra and was one of the top events of the period, with Okay Africa listing it as a go-to party for December 2018.
Year of Return
This year, the organisers aim to capture the essence of the Year of Return and connections facilitated by technology and social media in their event.
Founder Mark Beckford, a Jamaican, who is now based in Washington D.C., says bringing the different cultures, Jamaican and Ghanaian, together is important to the mission of the party.
“Anyone who has been to Ghana and Jamaica knows that there is a genetic connection between the two countries. Of course, there is the trade, but there is also the strong cultural bonds that tie us in music, in language, in food and in art. At PinexGinja, we’re bringing all of that together and to further deepen the connection between the cultures,” he said.
Making and deepening connections perfectly explains how the party was brought together.
Beckford and co-founders Lakeshia Ford and Femi Kayode, all from different walks of life, in their own way, learned about the direct cultural ties between Jamaica and Ghana and saw the necessity for one experience that could pull together both cultures.
“While the roots started in Ghana, it went to Jamaica, blossomed and bloomed.”— Mark Beckford
Proper ‘bashment’ party
After continuous discussions, PineXGinja was born last year. PineXGinja II will be a proper ‘bashment’ party in Accra, Ghana, on December 24.
“We want this event to be a connection for people to understand that while the roots started in Ghana, it went to Jamaica, blossomed and bloomed and now you can take part of the fruit of that tree directly in Ghana,” Mark said.
There will also be interactive art installations that interpret and reflect Jamaican and Ghanaian culture.
“I have been coming to Ghana since 2008 and living here for four years, and I can tell you that this is something Ghana will love. I think the different backgrounds of the people on our team ensures that we are bringing a fresh but relatable experience to Ghana. I want people to dream. When people step in the doors at PineXGinja, they will be taken into another world,” Ford said, adding that she sees the event as a movement that encourages people to travel to Africa.