We hope this story of this very resourceful African-American woman will be compelling to many people. At a time Africa is experiencing exodus of its resources, the Imahus Okofu, who had 15 years of human resource management, decided to move to the land of her ancestors. Read the rest in the story below or listen to her video clip.
At 50 years old, Imahus Okofu left New York City for Ghana, West Africa, and never returned.
In the video segment above shot for the BBC in November, Okofu admits that as a native New Yorker, she had never had any desire to visit the continent of Africa, let alone live in one of its countries.
“I didn’t want to be no Africa,” Okofu says.
“The pictures that the media painted of Africa, the only Africa I saw was Tarzan and Jane.. Would you want to come to Africa? I didn’t want to come to Africa at all, because there was nothing good that was told to us about Africa.”
But Okofu, who has now lived in Ghana for 25 years, has seen another side of the continent. the shift came after a trip to Elmina Castle in Cape Coast, where African slaves were held before being transported along the Middle Passage to the Americas.
“[I went into the women’s dungeon], and as I stood there… I remember being terrified,” Okofu exlains. “Gradually, I could feel people touching me, soothing me, saying, “It’s alright. You’re home. Welcome back…” I knew then that Ghana was going to be my home.”
After her experience, Okofu and her husband packed up their belongings, sold what they could sell, and moved to Ghana in 1990. Okofu’s story mirrors that of many African-Americans who have travelled or made the move back to Africa in an effort to better connect with their roots and ancestry. While Okofu emphasises the fact that Africa isn’t perfect, she also insists that life in Africa isn’t as much of a struggle as it was in America.
“I don’t like America,” the expat says. “I love Africa.”
Culled from www.howafrica.com
I think Mrs Okofu’s return to a continent where thousands of people are fleeing because of political oppression, economic backwardness and human rights abuses is a testament of her character. Ghana is a democracy today, a lot of Ghanaians return home after their studies in USA or UK, to contribute to development of their country. Ghanaian diaspora played a huge role to ensure return of democratic rule in their country. Looking at Ghanaian diaspora community they have better education. Their intellectual community or expatriates are not interested in making names for themselves and their families. In the case of The Gambia, majority of our intellectual and business community careless about the needs to bring democracy and rule of law in The Gambia. I have personally known so many Gambian businessmen who could contribute more to bring about change in our country but they are not interested. Gambian people are Their own worst enemy. Majority of businessmen, politicians, senior government officers and intellectuals have their families in USA or UK. The President, Vice President, directors, opposition leaders and most successful Gambians who the poor people in Basse, kartong and farafenni could look up to, have their sons and daughters in USA looking for better life. Now the question is “who is fooling who ?”. If lawyer Darboe, Vice President Njie saidy and dictator jammeh have all their children in USA, then why do we blame the poor children of poor farmers to risk their lives to look for better economic opportunities in Europe? I think Gambian people are not serious about regime or political change and this is why no one wants to sacrifice to bring about the desire change. The only true diaspora Gambians who want to bring desire change are the December 2014 statehouse attackers. These are outstanding citizens who have sacrificed their lives by leaving their well paid job, educational opportunities, veteran benefits and many other benefits, went back to Gambia where thousand of coward military officers, policemen and ignorance intelligence officers left behind their human rights abuses and economic exploitation, to look for selfish economic and political security in the west. Captain Jagne never committed any crime against any Gambian, he has the best job which he proudly love, so did mr faal and real estate developer mr Njie and the rest of their team. These people are the real heroes among the diaspora and Gambian people at large. If our political leaders, businessmen and intellectuals knows are that their children future are truly at stake, I am 100 percent sure that we the Gambian people will do something about current situation. Today as i said ,none of the children of our current political leaders, businessmen and intellectuals are suffering , therefore it is indeed wrong to assume that Gambian political leaders are serious about democratic change. Majority of us are not serious because most of us in diaspora have better future for our children. Who really care for Gambia other than the poor farmers who have no means of survival. Let’s call a spade a spade. It is the same reason that those in The Gambia are not willing to do what is necessary to bring about the change . So the blame game and hypocrisy continue until jammeh is kill or capture.
Hey I forget, how about the children of former regime officials such as Vice President Saihou Sabally and many others. Vice President Sabally is the most unpatriotic and selfish Gambian I have ever known. His children and extended family never involved in our current political predicament while I have seen some who continue to write about current affairs in American politics. These children of past political leaders should know their educational achievement is as a result of poor farmers of kartong, illiassa, Basse and Bwiam. While they can also continue to preach their expertise in Islamic religion, they failed to understand that the roots cause of their education achievement is corrupt money, favors, preferential treatment and nepotism they received while their fathers are in the high offices. So who is fooling who here in this fight ?
Welcome back – the Old Maxs that Bax and I admired! “Call a spade a spade” indeed. Two short points:
This woman’s story is inspirational – but other “home-comers” have left Africa after being fleeced. This in Ghana too. One of my “homeboys” here in London 20 years ago was a Ghanian student by the Mau Mau name of Kimathi Kuenyia. Google him – he is rich and famous now. The home-comers at Shashamane amongst my tribe seem to be thriving but that could be because of the Rasta Ideology.
I taught a Sabally daughter at Marina in 1997 – and tried to explain gently the point about the plight if Gambian farmers you mention. The Kombos Elite is NOT interested in the poor villagers – except when they drive there in their 4x4s to buy their land cheaply or get their votes with false promises. Jammeh’s initial emphasis on the poor farmers was what drew me to support APRC initially.
My front-page in the Observer the day I was arrested was “Agricultural Battalion In 2009” – after interviewing Jammeh and Tamba together. Soon Tamba was jailed – and it appears from Kairo’s story about the detained former Agricultural Minister that the dream of food self-sufficiency is just that: a dream.
Yes, the Kombos Elite have enjoyed it under Jammeh, but that was a plan from the beginning: A man who was renting a compound as late as 1998 – and is now probably the 2nd richest in The Gambia said this: “We had a meeting with the Junta in 1994 and I advised Jammeh to LEAVE THE MIDDLE-CLASS BUSINNESS PEOPLE ALONE. Then this guy and others went on to screw others and become very rich. He screwed The Gambia Government too – last time I heard he owed 10 million to GPA for unpaid Import Duty. That is just one man. No wonder there is no money for schools and hospitals in the Govt’s coffers.
Anyway good comments Maxs – the test is always how much I am provoked to respond! Happy 2016!