You are currently viewing Ndigbo Homeland-Diaspora Group Embarks on Igbo Reconnection Tour of Caribbean Islands, Central and South Americas

Ndigbo Homeland-Diaspora Group Embarks on Igbo Reconnection Tour of Caribbean Islands, Central and South Americas

The Ndigbo Homeland-Diaspora Group has formally released the itinerary of its upcoming Igbo Reconnection tour of the Caribbean Islands, Central and South Americas.

In a statement issued by Professor Chris Uchenna Agbedo and Dr Nwachukwu A. Anakwenze made available to Daily News Nigeria on Wednesday, the group said the first leg of its six-month tour of West Indies and the Americas is scheduled for March 10-17, 2024.

According to the duo, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze (Onowu Abagana) is expected to lead the delegation which is aimed at strengthening the cultural ties and fostering relationships with Igbo descendants in the region.

“In partnership with the Centre for Igbo Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the Council of Igbo States in the Americas (CISA), the Igbo World Assembly (IWA), and the University of Missouri, Columbia USA, this tour represents a significant step towards reconnecting with Igbo communities across the globe, especially direct descendants of Ndigbo, who were sold into slavery during the transatlantic slave trade”. the statement read.

According to the Director, Centre for Igbo Studies (CIS), University of Nigeria Nsukka, Professor Chris Uchenna Agbedo, the transatlantic slave trade stands as one of the darkest chapters in human history, marked by unspeakable suffering and unimaginable loss. Yet, amidst the agonies and pains endured by millions, there exists a glimmer of hope – a hope born from the resilience and spirit of those who survived and persevered against all odds.

Parts of the statement further read:

“As we reflect on this painful legacy, let us not dwell solely on the horrors of the past, but let us also envision a future filled with shared joys and renewed connections to our African roots. Let us dare to transform the echoes of suffering into a vibrant Renaissance of cultural revival and reconnection. For African Americans, descendants of those who endured the brutality of the transatlantic slave migration, the journey towards rediscovering their African heritage is both a personal and collective quest. It is a journey fueled by a deep yearning to reclaim what was lost, to honour the sacrifices of their ancestors, and to forge new bonds of kinship with the land of their forebears. In this pursuit of rediscovery, the Centre for Igbo Studies, University of Nigeria Nsukka emerges as a beacon of hope and enlightenment. With its dedication to preserving and promoting Igbo language, culture, and history, the Centre offers a pathway for African Americans to reconnect with their ancestral roots in meaningful and transformative ways. But the journey towards reconnection cannot be undertaken alone. It requires the collective efforts of governments, communities, and individuals across the globe. It requires a commitment to healing the wounds of the past and building bridges of understanding and reconciliation for future generations.

“In today’s interconnected world, the importance of understanding and preserving one’s cultural heritage cannot be overstated. For African Americans, particularly those of Igbo descent, this connection to their African roots holds profound significance. It is in recognition of this that this represents a prelude to the groundbreaking partnership initiative with the governments of the Caribbean Islands, Central and South American countries. At the heart of this initiative lies a shared commitment to rekindling the bonds between African Americans and the Ndigbo community, both in their homeland and across the Diaspora. Through cultural exchange, historical dialogue, and collaborative endeavours, this partnership aims to bridge the geographical and cultural divides that have separated these communities for far too long.

“This partnership initiated by Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze (Traditional Prime Minister of Abagana, Anambra State Southeast Nigeria), ably complemented by the Director, Centre for Igbo Studies, UNN, Prof Chris Agbedo, and Prof Kevin Hales, (University of Missouri), represents a beacon of hope for fostering understanding, unity, and prosperity.

“It is an integral part of a broader concept – the Centre for Igbo Studies (CIS), University of Nigeria Nsukka, Ndigbo Homeland & Diaspora, and African-American Reconnection Initiative.
“It is a bold effort, aimed at reconnecting African Americans, especially those of Igbo descent residing in the Caribbean Islands and elsewhere, with the Ndigbo community both in our homeland and in the Diaspora.

“This reconnection programme seeks to foster cultural exchange, historical understanding, and collaboration between these communities.

“To achieve these laudable goals effectively, the partners are seeking the cooperation and partnership of the esteemed Heads of Government of the Caribbean countries – Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Grenada, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, Virgin Islands, – The West Indies, Central America – Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Southern America – Belize, Guyana, Brazil, etc.

“Their anticipated involvement and support would be invaluable in facilitating meaningful connections and exchanges between the Igbo community and African Americans of Igbo descent in these regions. It is a mark of honour and pleasure to have Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze Onowu Abagana, Chairman of the Board of Presidents of the Council of Igbo States in the Americas (CISA) and the Igbo World Assembly (IWA), alongside Prof Chris Uchenna Agbedo (Centre for Igbo Studies, UNN) and Dr Kevin J. Hales (an African-American of Igbo descent and Professor of Communication Studies, University of Missouri, Columbia USA), as key facilitators in this partnership.

“It is hoped that through collaboration and mutual understanding, it would be possible to create enduring bonds that celebrate our shared heritage and promote prosperity for all involved.

“The Centre for Igbo Studies, with its rich academic resources and dedication to promoting Igbo language, culture, and history, serves as the perfect catalyst for this endeavour. By leveraging its expertise and networks, the Centre aims to empower African Americans of Igbo descent to reclaim and celebrate their heritage with pride. The involvement of the governments of the Caribbean Islands, West Indies, South and Central American countries adds a crucial dimension to this partnership.

“By lending their support and resources, these governments can help facilitate meaningful exchanges and collaborations that transcend borders and enrich both African American and Igbo communities. Through joint initiatives such as cultural festivals, educational programmes, and heritage tours, this partnership seeks to create opportunities for dialogue, learning, and mutual respect. By fostering a deeper understanding of their shared heritage, African Americans and Ndigbo can forge stronger bonds rooted in history, culture, and solidarity.

“The tour will include visits to Saint Vincent Island and Grenadines, where Dr. Anakwenze will engage in a number of traditional Igbo rituals such as invocation ceremonies involving kola nuts, nzụ, alligator pepper (ose ọjị), and palm wine to offer prayers to Chukwu Abịama, invoke and appease the ancestors, and bless their descendants. He will break the kola-nuts, draw the nzụ mark (ịka nzụ), and offer palm wine libation as token gestures of sacred practices that symbolise the rich cultural heritage and spiritual legacy of the Igbo people.

“Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, a respected leader within the Igbo community, expressed his enthusiasm for the tour, stating, “Our journey to the Caribbean Islands is not just a physical voyage, but a spiritual and cultural reawakening. It is an opportunity to honour our ancestors, reconnect with our roots, and forge enduring bonds with our brothers and sisters in the diaspora.” Continuing, the cultural enthusiast added, “as we embark on this journey of reconnection, we invite all stakeholders – governments, academic institutions, community organizations, and individuals – to join us in this noble endeavour. Together, we can build bridges that span continents and generations, uniting African Americans with their African roots in a spirit of friendship and kinship.” He further extended his Ndigbo Diaspora Group invitation to all members of the Igbo community and supporters of cultural heritage preservation to join them on this historic journey of rediscovery and renewal.

In his contribution, Prof Agbedo noted that the Centre for Igbo Studies, University of Nigeria Nsukka, in concert with Dr Anakwenze’s Igbo Diaspora Group, and Dr Kevin J. Hales stand ready to embark on this transformative journey with the governments of the Caribbean Islands, West Indies, Central and South American countries that are home to African-Americans of Igbo descent.

“Together, let us celebrate our shared heritage, embrace our differences, and pave the way for a brighter, more interconnected future. As we embark on this journey of rediscovery, I urge Ndigbo to draw inspiration from the resilience of our ancestors – those who endured unimaginable hardships yet never lost sight of their humanity and dignity. “Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of African culture, and let us embrace our shared heritage with pride and reverence. Together, let us transform the agonies and pains of the transatlantic slave migration into a Renaissance of shared joys and the nostalgic reconnection with our African roots. For in this journey of rediscovery lies the promise of a brighter, more inclusive future for all.”

The CIS Director expressed his strong conviction that the Onowu Abagana-led Ndigbo Homeland-Diaspora Group is set to create enduring bonds that celebrate our shared heritage and promote prosperity for all involved through collaboration and mutual understanding.

Leave a Reply