By News Editor, Barotseland Post
LUSAKA. Zambia’s Tourism and Arts Minister, Ronald Chitotela, has called for the need to integrate and connect Black-African Americans, who have chosen to track and reconnect with their ancestral roots, to the rest of Zambia.
Mr Chotela said this when a 12 – member delegation of the Homecoming Project led by their president Eric Sheppard of the United States of America and Induna Namamba of the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) paid a courtesy call on him.
“Through this, the Americans behind the initiative will be able to appreciate what Zambia has to offer in terms of tourism and become tourism ambassadors for the country,” Mr Chitotela said.
He said his Ministry would support the project and ideas that come with it as it has the potential to promote Zambia as a tourist destination of choice for international travellers Worldwide.
The Minister said the Americans need to have a broader view of the country so that they can tell a detailed and sellable story when they go back home.
And Eric Sheppard said Diversity Restoration Solutions, the organization behind Homecoming Project, has established a strategic partnership between The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, a US Federal Government Agency, and Barotseland which needs to be turned into a tourism partnership.
Mr Sheppard said Zambia has been chosen because of the matching underlying landscape and the efforts of escaping from the slave trade.
He said Virginia in the USA has swamps similar to those of the Western Province, and it is in these swamps that some ancestors of the African – Americans escaped slavery to set up communities.
Meanwhile, Induna Namamba of the BRE said Western Province today (Thursday, 08 August 2019) awaits the arrival of the African-Americans coming home.
He said the BRE, working with the national organizing committee, has organized people of Western Province to receive the team adding that the entourage will have several stopovers on the way from Lusaka en route to Mongu.
The traditional authorities’ representative said his team has even gone ahead to teach the Americans some Silozi words.
The African-Americans are in Barotseland to commemorate 400 years since the first African slaves arrived in English America and to commission the construction of the Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS) Inc. multi-million US Dollar state of the art Restoration Center Headquarters for Africa at Sefula, Mongu.
Also to take place during the commemoration festivities will be the official recognition of Captain Moses Grandy and King Mulambwa of Barotseland for their respective roles in ending the slave trade!
Moses Grandy (c. 1786 – unknown), was an African-American author, abolitionist, and, for more than the first four decades of his life, an enslaved person while King Mulambwa of Barotseland is recognized for banning the Arab slave trade in his Kingdom and surrounding territories in the late 18th Century.