Costa Rican Vice President, UN Under-Secretary-General affirmed citizens of Akwamuman

Akwamufie, April 22, GNA-Akwamufie glowed in culture and tradition on Thursday when Costa Rican Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr and Dr Natalia Kanem, UN Under-Secretary General, paid a courtesy call on Akwamuhene Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III.

Their visit to the historic town tucked away on the banks of the Volta River, dubbed: “The Return Mission” was to advance and promote the rights of People of African Descent.

Madam Barr, Costa Rica’s first Black Vice-President, is the Champion of the rights of the People of African Descent in Latin America whereas Dr Kanem, an Afro-descendant herself, also the Executive Director, United Nations Population FUND (UNFPA), is the UN Secretary-General’s Champion to further the agenda of people of African heritage.

H. E. Epsy Campbell Barr, Vice President of Costa Rica and Odeneho Akoto display a citation in her honour

Odeneho Akoto in August last year led a delegation from Ghana to mark the first International Day for People of African Descent in Costa Rica. The Observance, spearheaded by the United Nations, aimed at promoting the contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.

As part of the Return Mission, a grand durbar was held at the Bogyawe Palace at Akwamufie in the Eastern Region on Thursday, April 21, 2022 in honour of the two dignitaries and to mark their triumphant return to their motherland -the origin of their African ancestors.

The colourful gathering was awash with various shapes and types of Kente clothing, smock, and other elegant African apparel. The Atitrew Culture Group treated the gathering to scintillating cultural dance and music.

Dr Natalia Kanem, UN Under-Secretary General

Dr Kanem arrived at the durbar grounds wearing red traditional war regalia and a hand-woven traditional helmet.

Madam Barr, who was beaming with smiles, wore a straight dress made from a traditional fabric and draped in colourful Kente scarves.

The two dignitaries were given a hero’s welcome at Akwamufie as the gathering cheered their arrival with singing, dancing, and appellations.

To signify their full acceptance as citizens of the Akwamu State, Odeneho Akoto conferred on Dr Kanem and Madam Barr traditional names, which were affirmed at the durbar.

Dr Kanem was renamed Obaatanpa Adwoa Okyerebea, which means “bearer of the sacred pot.” Madam Barr on the other hand, would henceforth be recognised as Nana Hemea Yaa Boamah Afrakoma (Daughter of the guiding beacon) in the Akwamu State.

Odeneho Akoto explained that the affirmations of the names “are a powerful reinstatement of your true identity.”

“They are also a call to action, carrying a great responsibility to represent your heritage with dignity and purpose while being a visible part of helping to develop your people here at home and across the world,” he said.

Dr Natalia Kanem and Nana Ansah Kwaw

Dr Kanem expressed profound gratitude to the Chiefs and people of Akwamu for the “magnificent reception.”

She said the surest way to ensure a healthy equal and prosperous future for African people and People of African Descent was to invest especially in the future of young girls in Africa to achieve their full potential in life.

“This is the Return Mission. This is the reunification mission, and indeed it is wonderful to be with you, to reconnect with our African roots to experience the rich culture, the beautiful music, the art, the dance, the customs and the other expressions of identify and creativity that uplift the spirit and unite us all,” she said.

Dr Natalia Kanem shares her appreciation for the royal honour she received

Madam Barr called for continuous collaboration and partnership between Africans and the People of African Descent to change the narrative and propel the development of the continent.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent to ensure their full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights as well as their full and equal participation in all aspects of society.

The theme for the International Decade is, “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development.”