Stevie on the Wonder of becoming a Ghanaian citizen

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Stevie Wonder Becomes a Citizen of Ghana

Stevie Wonder, the legendary singer-songwriter, has officially become a citizen of Ghana. This special event happened on Monday, which was also his 74th birthday. The president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, gave Wonder his citizenship certificate during a ceremony at the presidential palace. Along with the certificate, Wonder received a birthday cake decorated with the Ghanaian flag.

Wonder was thrilled and called the experience of becoming a Ghanaian citizen on his birthday an “amazing thing.” Born and raised in Michigan, USA, Wonder has always felt a strong connection to Ghana, even though it’s thousands of miles away from his American home.

A Long-Standing Connection to Ghana

Stevie Wonder’s interest in Ghana dates back to 1975, when he had already become a famous musician with several hit albums. During that time, he talked about wanting to leave music and move to Ghana, believing his ancestors might have come from there. Although he stayed in the United States and continued his music career, his bond with Ghana grew stronger over the years.

In the 1990s, Wonder performed at a music festival in Ghana and again expressed his desire to live there. On one of his trips to Ghana, he wrote his entire album, “Conversation Peace.” Just three years ago, he mentioned in an interview that he was planning to move to Ghana to escape racial injustice in the United States.

Memorable Moments in Ghana

Wonder’s affection for Ghana was fueled by the people he met there. One significant encounter was with the late Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings in the 1990s. President Rawlings even let Wonder co-pilot a flight, which allowed the singer to see the entire country from the air, from north to south. This experience left a lasting impression on him.

At the citizenship ceremony, Wonder was accompanied by his family and wore a traditional kente cloth scarf. He was visibly happy and proud to finally become a Ghanaian citizen.

Ghana: A Center of Pan-Africanism

Ghana has a long history of promoting pan-Africanism, a movement that encourages unity among people of African descent worldwide. The country’s founding leader, Kwame Nkrumah, called Ghana the “Black Mecca.” Many African-American icons have connected with Ghana’s message. For example, writer W.E.B. Du Bois moved to Ghana and was buried there in 1963. Civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali also visited Ghana to reconnect with their African roots.

In 2001, Ghana became the first African country to offer the descendants of Africans the right to stay permanently. Since then, Africans in the diaspora have been able to live and work in Ghana without needing to renew their visas or work permits. In 2019, the Ghanaian government launched the “Year of Return” initiative to encourage more Africans in the diaspora to relocate to Ghana. So far, over 300 people have been granted Ghanaian citizenship through this program.

Ghana’s interior ministry celebrated Wonder’s new citizenship, saying it marked an important step in the country’s efforts to attract Africans from the diaspora and recognize their contributions. Wonder himself is excited about his new role as a Ghanaian citizen. He plans to start initiatives that will create job opportunities for young people in Ghana. With about 38% of the population being young, he believes it’s essential to support and nurture their potential.

In his words, “The youngest generation is in Africa. We need to begin to think about how their greatness can shine.” Wonder’s commitment to Ghana and its youth shows his dedication to making a positive impact in his new home country.

Stevie Wonder’s journey to becoming a Ghanaian citizen is a touching story of reconnection and commitment. His love for Ghana, which began decades ago, has finally been formalized with his new citizenship. As he looks forward to contributing to the country’s growth and supporting its young people, Wonder’s story serves as an inspiration for many in the African diaspora. This milestone not only marks a significant moment in his life but also highlights Ghana’s ongoing efforts to welcome and embrace Africans from around the world.

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