“I don’t like America. I love Africa.”
At 50 years old, Imahkus Okofu left New York City for Ghana, West Africa, and never returned.
In the video segment above shot for the BBC in November, Okofu admits that as a native New Yorker, she had never had any desire to visit the continent of Africa, let alone live in one of its countries.
“I didn’t want to be no African,” Okufu says.
“The pictures that the media painted of Africa, the only Africa I saw was Tarzan and Jane… Would you want to come to Africa? I didn’t want to come to Africa at all, because there was nothing good that was told to us about Africa.”
But Okufu, who has now lived in Ghana for 25 years, has seen another side of the continent. The shift came after a trip to Elmina Castle in Cape Coast, where African slaves were held before being transported along the Middle Passage to the Americas.
“[I went into the women’s dungeon], and as I stood there… I remember being terrified,” Okufu explains. “Gradually, I could feel people touching me, soothing me, saying, ‘It’s alright. You’re home. You’re safe. Welcome back…’ I knew then that Ghana was going to be my home.”
After her experience, Okufu and her husband packed up their belongings, sold what they couldn’t sell, and moved to Ghana in 1990. Okufu’s story mirrors that of many African-Americans who have traveled or made the move back to Africa in an effort to better connect with their roots and ancestry. While Okufu emphasizes the fact that Africa isn’t perfect, she also insists that life in Africa isn’t as much of a struggle as it was in America.
“I don’t like America,” the expat says. “I love Africa.”