Africans from the Diaspora arrive in Cotonou

Cotonou- Benin (PANA) -- A group of Africans from the Diaspora arrived Friday morning in Cotonou, Benin's business capital, where they were received by His Majesty Onikoyi, king of Africans in the Diaspora and local political leaders.
The descendants of African slaves have come to participate in the "Memorial Afrika" pilgrimage to commemorate the 150th anniversary since 100 Guedeloupians made a request to return to their continent of origin.
The group, including officials from voluntary organisations for the return to the sacred land, will stay in Benin until 26 August, to prepare the arrival of other Africans in the Diaspora willing to return to the land of their ancestors.
According to the visitors, this pilgrimage would serve as a bridge that may enable young Africans from the Diaspora to "come and train, exchange, work, live and build Africa, so as to prove to others that Africans also are capable of building their continent and going back to live there".
Authorities in Benin have spared no effort to give the pilgrims a warm welcome.
The Ouidah community (a former slave trading centre), has been mobilised, according to the head of their urban district, Bonaventure N'Vekounou, to welcome the guests.
A "Diaspora House" has been prepared to that effect.
King Onikoyi reminded the visitors that their brothers who remained in Africa had not forgotten them, adding that they could stay in Benin if they no longer wanted to return to Guadeloupe after the pilgrimage.
Father Elijah Adanbah, ambassador and pioneer of the Guadeloupian blacks' back-to-Africa movement, recalled that "Benin is the gateway for the massive return which will enable us to rebuild this family which is indispensable to the well-being of mankind".
The pilgrims will stay in Ouidah, Dassa, Porto-Novo and Savalou and tour all Benin's 12 districts before returning to Cotonou on 23 August to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the request made by 100 black Guadeloupians to return to Africa.

10 august 2001 13:04:00




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