Year of Return: I’m here to inspire – WWE’s Kofi Kingston
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion, Kofi Kingston, has returned to Ghana for the first time in 26 years with a message to inspire the youth and Ghanaians to have big dreams and work toward them.
Born Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah, the first Ghanaian and African to become WWE Champion arrived in Accra on Thursday, 30 May 2019 and is expected to depart on Sunday, 2 June 2019.
His visit forms part of the government’s “Year of Return” initiative, which is a major landmark marketing campaign targeting the African-American and diaspora market to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown, Virginia.
African-Americans with Ghanaian descent are expected to return to the country as a means to boost tourism and ensure that Ghana’s hard-won pan-African reputation is not lost.
During his stay, Kofi Kingston would meet President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, visit both his paternal and maternal hometowns in Ejisu and Atwima Techiman, and the Manhyia Palace, where he would pay homage to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Thursday, 30 May 2019, the WWE superstar said winning the championship is a childhood dream fulfilled.
He said: “It’s been 26 years since I have been here in Ghana… and becoming WWE champion has been my dream since I was a child. I debuted in 2008, I never had a single title match for the WWE championship until WrestleMania 35. This has always been my dream. If I had won on my debut, it wouldn’t have meant this much. After eleven years [as a wrestler], I become WWE champion and this is the Year of Return out of all the years, so, I feel like everything happened for this moment and I’m so thankful that in coming here, I’ve been so welcomed…
“Above all else, when I was a kid, this was what I wanted to do, it’s awesome that I was able to achieve my childhood dream but what’s even more important than that is for me to come back and inspire people who might be exactly where I was as a little kid watching, hoping to be something that I am living, breathing proof that you can be whatever you want to be.
“I’m providing inspiration to people who want to do something but don’t know if they can do it. I’m here to provide inspiration that you can do it if you believe in yourself. So, I’m happy to be here to inspire other Ghanaians to go out and do great things in this world.”
Kofi Kingston is in the country with a documentary film crew that would capture his experiences on his return home.