Stevie Wonder on Acquiring Ghanaian Citizenship

Stevie discusses the wonder of becoming a Ghanaian citizen.

Stevie Wonder, the legendary singer-songwriter, has officially become a Ghanaian citizen.

The president of Ghana bestowed citizenship onto the US musical great on Monday, which happened to be his 74th birthday.

“This is it, congratulations!” At a celebration in the presidential palace, where Wonder was also given a birthday cake adorned with the Ghanaian flag, Nana Akufo-Addo informed the jubilant Grammy winner as he handed him a diploma. Wonder was visibly moved by the gesture.

Wonder described becoming a Ghanaian citizen as a “amazing thing” in an interview with the BBC.

Thousands of miles away from his birthplace of Michigan, the celebrity has always held a special place in his heart for Ghana.

With a run of popular albums under his belt, Wonder publicly declared his intention to give up music and relocate to Ghana in 1975. There, sources suggest, he thought his ancestry may be found.

Wonder continued to sing and remained in the US, but in the 1990s, following his headline performance at a Ghanaian music festival, he once more declared his intention to go there.

After writing the whole album Conversation Peace on a subsequent trip to Ghana, Wonder revealed in an interview conducted barely three years ago that he was leaving the US to avoid racial injustice.

Wonder fell in love with the nation because of the people he encountered there.

One of these meetings, was with late Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings, who had him stay at the presidential mansion in the 1990s.

“I remember the late President Rawlings, who let me to fly as a co-pilot,” Wonder added.

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We were able to fly from one end of Ghana to the other. It was breathtaking, the north to the south.”

Surrounded by his loved ones and wearing a vibrant scarf made of traditional kente cloth, Wonder was clearly overjoyed to have officially become a citizen of Ghana.

Ghana has always taken great pride in its role as a stronghold of pan-Africanism. Its founding leader, Kwame Nkrumah, famously referred to the West African state as a “Black Mecca”.

Wonder is just the latest African-American icon to embrace this powerful message. Writer W E B Du Bois relocated to Ghana and was laid to rest there in 1963, while Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Ali all made notable trips to the country to reconnect with their African heritage.

In 2001, Ghana made history by becoming the first nation on the continent to grant the descendants of Africans the right to remain in the country.

Ever since, Africans in the diaspora have had the freedom to live and work in Ghana without the hassle of renewing their visas or work permits.

In 2019, the Ghanaian government introduced the “year of return” initiative, aiming to attract Africans in the diaspora to consider relocating to Ghana.

Over 300 individuals from the African diaspora have been granted Ghanaian citizenship since then.

Ghana’s interior ministry released a statement expressing their appreciation for Wonder becoming a citizen, highlighting the country’s commitment to welcoming diasporan Africans and acknowledging their valuable contributions to the African diaspora.

The individual in question expressed his intention to pursue endeavours aimed at generating ample job prospects for the younger generation of Ghana, constituting approximately 38% of the total population.

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The youngest generation can be found in Africa. We should start considering how their exceptional qualities can truly shine,” he remarked.

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