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General News of Sunday, 2 August 1998

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Remains of two slave ancestors re-buried

The remains of Samuel Carson and Crystal, the two slave ancestors brought down from the United States and Jamaica, were re-buried yesterday at Assin Manso, the last stopping point of the slave route on their way to the Diaspora. The ceremony highlighted activities marking the first celebration of emancipation day in Ghana under the theme "emancipation our heritage our strength".

Hundreds of mourners made up of African Americans, other Africans from the Diaspora and Ghanaians flocked the burial grounds at the site of the former slave market to pay their respects to the two ancestors. The burial service, which followed final funeral rites, was attended by Mr Mike Gizo, Minister of Tourism and his deputy, Mr Owuraku Amofa, the chairman of the National Commission on Culture, Nana Akuoko Sarpong and the Central Regional Minister, Mr Kojo Yankah. Also present was Mr Kobby Koomson, Ghana Ambassador to the United States and other dignitaries.

Mr Gizo and his entourage later visited the Slave River where slaves received their last bath before being sent to the coast to be shipped off. Earlier at a durbar, the remains of the two ancestors were formally handed over to Obarima Nana Kwame Nkyi, Omanhene of Assin Apimanim traditional area and Mr Kojo Yankah and were laid in state amidst drumming and the singing of funeral dirges.

Speaking at the durbar, Nana Akuoko Sarpong said the re-burial of the two signifies a new chapter in the atonement process, which has its origins in the ''infamous'' slave trade. Nana Akuoko Sarpong, who is also the presidential staffer in charge of chieftaincy affairs said the event also serves as a symbol of honour to all who strove for the emancipation of all people of African descent adding that "we are combining mourning with appreciation of the gallantry of the sufferers and fighters".

Nana Akuoko Sarpong pointed out that the history of Africans will not be complete without a coherent record of past events and said it is the responsibility of this generation to record such events from which many lessons can be drawn. He said there is also the need to give "a revolutionary push" to the next stage of the struggle towards socio economic and industrial reconstruction of Africa.

Mr Yankah stressed the need for Africans on the continent and those in the Diaspora to cement their ties. Mr Minion Phillips and Mr Sonny Carson, relatives of the two ancestors described the event as ''a home coming for all peoples of African descent'' with Mr Carson expressing the hope that by the next emancipation day, more ancestors would have been brought home.

Nana Nkyi described the ceremony as a "prophecy come true" and proposed that a monument of return should be constructed on the tombs to serve as a place of pilgrimage for all people of African descent.