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More and More African Americans Find Their African Ancestry

During President Barack Obama's visit to Ghana, he is likely to tour the Castle at Elmina on the Atlantic coast of Ghana. There, he will find the infamous "Door of No Return" through which thousands of African slaves passed in chains to be sold in the New World. 

The president's visit is likely to encourage the increasing number of African Americans who are turning more and more to the use of DNA to trace their African roots. 

"I first started hearing about it when I saw Oprah Winfrey and the other celebrities testing their ancestries. And I've had the intense desire to know because previously I could point to Africa and say somewhere over there that's where I'm from," said Veronica Henry of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Henry, founder of the website www.myafricandiaspora.com said tracing her African ancestry to the Mende people of Sierra Leone has brought her closer to Africa and its peoples.

"One of the first things that I recognized is that now I have some place to go, now I have somebody to call, now I have a country that I can become involved with," Henry said.

After tracing her ancestry, Henry said she began to do extensive research about Sierra and the language and culture of the Mende people.

She said she has already submitted application for dual Sierra Leone citizenship.

Henry said she was thrilled about President Obama's visit to Africa and hoped it would spur more African Americans interest in the continent.

"I'm excited that he's bringing focus to Africa, and also I'm pleased that he picked Ghana. I hope that he will help bring more focus for people around the world, particularly African Americans to look back at Africa, to think about where they may be from," Henry said.

She said she started www.myafricandiaspora.com website because after tracing her own ancestry she realized that there were other Africans in the Diaspora who wanted to establish their own connections with Africa.

"We realized that we wanted to help foster that connection that we made by reaching out to people in Sierra Leone…so we decided the best way to do that was to use technology. And by creating www.myafricandiaspora.com we use that as a central point to provide news and information about people in the African Diaspora," Henry said.

Henry said she has learned the Mende language in other to make herself a wholesome part of the Sierra Leone society.

She said she plans to get involved economically and socially in Sierra Leone.


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