African Diaspora returning home as outsiders in a coastal town in Ghana : Up First In the sleepy town of Asebu, a few miles inland from the Atlantic along Ghana's Cape Coast, a serene 5,000 acre rural settlement is rising out of the palm forests and farmland.

Pan-African Village is envisioned as an idyllic haven for settlers from the African diaspora. It was established in 2019, after a local chief announced that anyone from the diaspora could have plots for free. Hundreds of people, largely from North America and the Caribbean, have accepted the offer and are in the midst of building large homes.

They regard themselves as the first wave of settlers, carving a new life in their ancestral homeland, devoid of racism and repression. But while locals have tentatively welcomed returning diaspora, Ghana is also experiencing some of the worst economic conditions in decades. In Pan-African Village, brewing tensions over ownership and privileged access to the land are threatening to spill over into violence and unravel the promise of this diaspora haven.

This week on The Sunday Story, producer Andrew Mambo speaks with Emmanuel Akinwotu, NPR's West Africa Correspondent, about the complicated relationship between the diaspora settlers and the place they see as their ancestral home.

The Sunday Story: The Diaspora's Troubled African Dream

The Sunday Story: The Diaspora's Troubled African Dream

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Okatakyi Dr Amanfi VII is known as the paramount chief of Asebu and created the Pan African Village project there in Ghana. Jude Lartey for NPR hide caption

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Jude Lartey for NPR

Okatakyi Dr Amanfi VII is known as the paramount chief of Asebu and created the Pan African Village project there in Ghana.

Jude Lartey for NPR

In the sleepy town of Asebu, a few miles inland from the Atlantic along Ghana's Cape Coast, a serene 5,000 acre rural settlement is rising out of the palm forests and farmland.

Pan-African Village is envisioned as an idyllic haven for settlers from the African diaspora. It was established in 2019, after a local chief announced that anyone from the diaspora could have plots for free. Hundreds of people, largely from North America and the Caribbean, have accepted the offer and are in the midst of building large homes.

They regard themselves as the first wave of settlers, carving a new life in their ancestral homeland, devoid of racism and repression. But while locals have tentatively welcomed returning diaspora, Ghana is also experiencing some of the worst economic conditions in decades. In Pan-African Village, brewing tensions over ownership and privileged access to the land are threatening to spill over into violence and unravel the promise of this diaspora haven.

This week on The Sunday Story, producer Andrew Mambo speaks with Emmanuel Akinwotu, NPR's West Africa Correspondent, about the complicated relationship between the diaspora settlers and the place they see as their ancestral home.


This podcast episode was produced by Nic M. Neves. It was edited by Jennifer Schmidt. Our engineer was Josh Newell.

We'd love to hear from you. Send us an email at TheSundayStory@npr.org.

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