Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Europe and The West Can't Keep Us Apart

African American HistoryCameroon: Retracing Ancestry after Slave Trade

Christopher Jator
28 December 2010

The Co-Founder of the American DNA Company, who uncovered the Cameroonian Americans, is part of the delegation visiting Cameroon.  The President and Co-Founder of African Ancestry, an American DNA company, Gina Paige, has revealed that between 6,000 and 8,000 Cameroonian Americans have been uncovered, thanks to DNA technology. This number is just a few of the many Americans of Cameroonian ancestry living in the United States of America.

"There are possibilities that there are as many Cameroonians in Americas as in Cameroon today," said US-based Cameroonian Eric Chinje, Board Member of ARK Jammers Connection. "Think of what will happen if we make that connection between the two sides. This is what is behind the Ancestry Reconnection Programme fostered by ARK Jammers Connection," he added.

  Gina Paige explained that the DNA technology, which is highly credible and through which the Cameroonian Americans were identified, involves using cheek cells then looking at the DNA that is maternally or paternally inherited. "We compare it to the over 25,000 indigenous African lineages or DNA. If matching with a specific lineage, we conclude the person is from that ancestry," she went on. The scientist, who was speaking at a traditional reception by Sawa Chiefs at the Dika Akwa Palace in Douala yesterday, traced her ancestry to Nigeria, adding that her mother was Fulani and Father Hausa. She said she finds interest in the discovery because it is important known one's roots.

The 50 Afro-Americans, who are in Cameroon since Monday, were yesterday blessed by traditional Sawa Chiefs at the Dika Akwa Palace in Akwa Douala. During the reception ceremony, heavily attended by other traditional Sawa notables and the media, the approx. 40 Cameroonian Americans and ten other Afro-Americans were each given a pair of Sandals which constitute a part of the cultural Sawa dressing, the "kaba ngondo". The symbolic gesture was made shortly after a session of incantations symbolizing the blessings, according to the Sawa people.

ARK Jammers Connection, an organization that saw the light of day in Baltimore, USA, in June 2008, is the brain-behind the initiative. With the support of the American DNA Company which has identified many Cameroonian Americans after the slave trade period, ARK Jammers Connection brought together the African Americans into visiting Cameroon. The guests will be in the country until January 5, 2011, visiting other areas of the country.

One of the Cameroonian American, Regina Jackson, said she is proud being in her country of ancestry, Cameroon. "It's not enough to be in Africa but to have found my home. Most importantly is the exchanges our country's children will make with American children, as pen pals," she noted joyously. Avline Ava, President of ARK Jammers Connection, said an ARK Jammers branch will be set up in Cameroon in 2011 with the goal of promoting exchanges between African Americans in the USA and Cameroonians in at home. The guests and ARK Jammers officials later visited Bimbia in the South West Region, where other cultural heritages were gleaned for.

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