There’s a little purple circle around the African nations of Ghana and The Ivory Coast on my AncestryDNA profile. Apparently, four percent of my DNA comes from that area, which should come as no surprise; many descendants of African slaves can say the same thing.

And for me, that’s just ONE reason I’m looking forward to learning about this part of myself during Memphis in May 2020, which will spotlight Ghana this year. From a Memphis In May statement:

“We look forward to presenting this leader on the African continent and rising star in the global community to Memphis and the Mid-South in May 2020,” said James L. Holt, president and CEO of Memphis in May International Festival. “Rich in natural resources, exports and culture, this is an exciting time for Memphians to discover and explore Ghana.”

The nation of Ghana is looking forward to the salute from Memphis, too. His Excellency Dr. Baffour Adjei-Bawuah, the Republic of Ghana’s ambassador to the United States visited Memphis in summer of 2018 to meet with festival officials and city leaders and returned with a small delegation for Memphis in May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest this past May, where he served as a guest judge.

“Ghana is proud to have been selected as the Honored Country for Memphis in May 2020,” said Ambassador Adjei-Bawuah. “We are thankful to the City and the organizers for this honor and we are looking forward to bringing Ghana to Memphis and giving the City and her people an experience of a lifetime. Let us look forward to enjoying Ghana’s culture and the African feeling.”  

Another reason I’m excited: Ghana is in the midst of a campaign called “The Year of Return,” inviting African Americans to visit the nation and maybe even relocate there. From what I understand, Ghana is rich with resources and opportunities, and officials there believe that a specific group of people – namely Americans of African descent – are uniquely equipped to help the nation prosper.

The Memphis in May International Festival’s month-long salute to Ghana runs from May 1-31, 2020. Check out the teaser clip above!