March 5, 2018

Why are some African-Americans moving to Africa?

We look at why a new wave of black Americans are choosing to move to the continent.

In recent years, thousands of African-Americans have made the decision to “return home” to the African continent. But why?

Many say they want to escape the racial pressure pot of the United States, while some want to connect to the land of their ancestors. For others, countries like Ghana wooed them with an easy immigration process and the promise of a better life.

"I want people to understand that they have options and alternatives. Most black people in America don't know that these options exist; they think they have to suffer because there's nowhere else to go. But no, there are other places," says Muhammida el-Muhajir, a digital marketer who moved to Ghana from New York City.

But what many think is a new trend has actually been going on for some time.

Over the past 200 years there have been several “back-to-Africa” movements. The American Colonization Society (ACS), founded in 1816, was established under the belief that black people would have better opportunities in Africa than in the United States. In fact, the Republic of Liberia started as a settlement of the ACS and the country’s first president, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, was an African-American from Virginia.

Though many in African countries are welcoming of the Americans in their midst, not everyone is thrilled by their new neighbours. As Barrett Holmes Pitner points out, some even claim African-Americans behave more like colonisers than returning family.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Muhammida el-Muhajir @waxprintmedia
Marketing and Media Consultant, Entrepreneur and Filmmaker

Litha Sokutu @RagerVin
Anthropologist and Social Literacy Consultant 

Barrett Pitner @BarrettPitner

Kaylan Reid Shipanga @aainafrica
Editor, African American in Africa

Read more: 

Why some African-Americans are moving to Africa - Al Jazeera 
African-Americans can't go 'home' - The Daily Beast 
9 things I wish I knew before moving to Africa - Go Abroad

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.