Photo: students and staff of Morehouse immediately after the naming ceremony visited the home of W. E. B. Du Bois in Ghana / ©️ Morehouse College
Morehouse College located in Georgia (GA) in the United States (US) has always been a beacon of excellence among the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) family, and thanks to a collaborative effort of TheAfricanDream, Morehouse got to share its HBCU pride with Ghanaians in March of 2023.
TheAfricanDream network, an information and communication research media consultancy founded by Oral Ofori and based in the Washington, DC metro area of the US in a collaborative effort with the African Reform Movement ARM), founded by Dr. Nii Amu Darko teamed up to work on securing and ensuring a first-time-ever traditional Ghanaian naming ceremony for Morehouse students and faculty staff by the Osu Paramount Stool in Ghana’s capital city of Accra.
The naming ceremony, which was carried out on the principles of black empowerment was a symbol of the desire of all involved to connect with their respective ancestral roots.
When Mr. Ofori connected with Dr. Darko to assist in organizing the naming ceremony for Morehouse in Ghana on the sidelines of the HBCU’s 2023 annual International Spring Tour, after the college decided to undergo a traditional naming ceremony for its students and staff, “it was a momentous occasion that was not to be missed and to be done well in accordance with traditional customs and protocols” said Dr. Darko in an interview with TheAfricanDream.net from his base in Australia, where he is a medical practitioner.
Dr. Darko went on to reveal that: “the preparations for the event were extensive, but we were determined to make it a success. When TheAfricanDream network roped me into the process, the ARM quickly consulted with local chiefs and elders to ensure that the ceremony was conducted in accordance with traditional customs and protocols as this was something not to be taken lightly.“
On the day of the event, which was held March 12, 2023 at the George Padmore Research Memorial Library, the venue was a flurry of activity as the team of 19 Morehouse participants comprised of 13 students and 6 staff bustled about in anticipation and excitement for what was about to happen.
The ceremony, which was chaired by the Vice Chairman of the board of the Diaspora African Forum (DAF) in the person of Dr. Juliette M. Tuakli began with an opening prayer, after which the master of ceremonies introduced each participant to the assembled guests. Each participant was called forward and presented to the audience, who erupted in applause and cheers. Then, the master of ceremonies recited a series of traditional prayers and incantations, calling on the ancestors to bless all to recieve a name that would guide and protect them throughout their lives.
As each participant received their new names, they bowed their head in reverence and gratitude, acknowledging the importance and significance of the moment. The new names were carefully chosen to reflect the participants’ personalities, day of birth within the week, and their line in the birth order.
Respective traditional Ga names chosen for them also evoked the bearers aspirations and potential as well as bestowing on them great care, respect and blessings that ultimately welcomed them into the Osu clan and ancestry of the Ga people in Ghana.
Dr. Juliette M. Tuakli who represented Ambassador Dr. Erieka Bennett (DAF Mission Head), hailed the historic event, called for more of such from TheAfricanDream and said: “the African Diaspora is growing by the minute, adding that the countries that have large numbers of diasporans have not become world leaders until their respective countrymen have returned to their continent either in person, in resources or in ideas.”
She cited Israel and China as shining examples of this fact and encouraged the youths of Africa to be cognizant of this while she asserted her firm belief that the same can be true for the continent of Africa.
Team-Morehouse, which was led by Douglas Cooper, the school’s Executive Director for Career Development and Engagement under the Division of Student Services, who himself received the new name Nii Adam, said “the ceremony also served as a powerful bonding experience, bringing people from different backgrounds and cultures together in a shared celebration of African identity and pride” and went on to share the new names of the others which are listed starting with the staff/faculty and students.
|GHANAIAN NAMES GIVEN
|Douglas Cooper (Executive Director)
|Consuella Bennett (Professor)
|Priscilla Hubbard (Assistant Director)
|Brock Mayers (Dean of Students)
|Maria Gabriela Piscopo (Professor)
|Avery Williams (Professor)
|Ghanaian Names Given
|Barnes William Andrew
|Comer Hasani Emmanuel
|Kelly Markal Amari
|Perrin Mekhi N.
|Yessoufou Olufemi Edwera
|Dumas Demetrius Cornell
|Linus Divine Uchechukwu
|Nichols Mark Christian
|Nii Tetteh Bossa
|Duncan Bryan Isaac
|Greene Taylor Jaden
|Henry Michael Charles Billy
|Holt Jared Rashad
|Karibi-Whyte Odein Joaquim McKinley
Participants and guests remained engaged and enthusiastic throughout the ceremony and were treated to traditional music and popular Ghanaian foods. When it was all over, the Morehouse team expressed their appreciation to the almost 100 persons that were there to show support.
The significance of the traditional naming ceremony was not lost on anyone who attended. It was a powerful affirmation of African culture and tradition and a testament to the college’s commitment to empowering its students and staff by connecting them to their ancestral heritage. The ceremony also provided a sense of identity and belonging that was vital to their growth and development. It also opened the door to potential future collaboration between Morehouse and the Osu Paramount Stool of Ghana.
“The benefits of the ceremony will be evident in the weeks, months, and years to follow. Participants are going to feel a renewed sense of purpose and motivation, as well as a deeper connection to their fellow students and staff and the motherland,” said Oral Ofori of TheAfricanDream in a post-event interview.