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Bridging cultures to settle black Americans

Friday, December 8th, 2023 03:30 | By
Bridging cultures to settle black Americans
Kea Simmons, an African-American entrepreneur. PHOTO/Print

Kea Simmons, an African-American entrepreneur, embarked on a journey to Kenya that transformed her life and sparked a mission. Initially visiting with friends, she fell in love with the country and made it her mission to share this connection with others.

It all started with Simmons leading a group of African Americans on a five-day safari in search of their African roots a decade ago, where she observed the genuine love she and her friends had for Kenya. This inspired her to co-found World View, a company aimed at bringing African Americans to the “cradle of mankind.”

Intense shift

Despite eventually parting ways with her initial partner, Simmons continued her mission through Traverze Culture, the vehicle she now uses to offer similar services.

She reveals an intense shift of identity, saying she no longer sees herself as merely American but embraces the term “African diaspora,” proudly stating, “We are the cousins of Africa.”

Simmons has already adopted a Kenyan name, Wakesho Akinyi, and has applied for Kenyan citizenship.

Describing the return to the cradle of life as an emerging concept, she refers to it as the “journey to Eden.”

Recently, Simmons received a symbolic 40-acre piece of land in Thika, that serves not only as a historic gesture but as an opportunity for African American tourists to invest in Kenya.

Taking inspiration from the historic promise of “forty acres and a mule,” she envisions an estate where Americans can live alongside their Kenyan counterparts. Mzee Gitu wa Kahengeri, the chairman of Mau Mau veterans, granted access to this land, which signifies a unique gift to black Americans.

Forty acres and a mule was part of Special Field Order No. 15, a wartime order proclaimed by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman on January 16, 1865, during the American Civil War, to allot land to some freed black families, in plots of land no larger than 40 acres (16 ha).

So, the phrase “forty acres and a mule” is usually meant to evoke the federal government’s failure to redistribute land after the Civil War and the economic hardship that African Americans suffered. As Northern armies moved through the South at the end of the war, blacks began cultivating land abandoned by whites.

“It is in this spirit that Mzee Gitu is enabling black Americans to build an estate where Americans can live side by side with their Kenyan counterparts,” she said.

With Githu’s promise, Simmons plans to expand the estate, dedicating 50 additional acres for farming and an extra 64 acres for an institution housing both Kenyan and American children. This ground-breaking project aims to create the first estate in Africa where Americans and Africans coexist.

As part of her business approach, Simmons seeks to go beyond traditional tourism experiences. Her unique package offers clients the opportunity to be tourists, investors, and potential re-locators all in one comprehensive journey.

She thinks that the tried and tested safaris and mountain climbing are okay, however, a more tangible benefit will always spice up travel and make more business sense.

Cultural understanding

“This means that the clients come for seven days first as tourists, then as investors and ultimately as re-locators all in one package.”

To foster cultural understanding and minimise conflicts, Simmons will take 30 Kenyans to South Carolina. This exchange aims to facilitate tough conversations and build bridges between the two cultures.

Acknowledging immigration challenges, Simmons, a resilient ex-military mother, is determined to navigate the complexities and ease transitions. Her extensive global travels, encompassing 47 countries, contribute to her confidence in asserting that Kenya and Nairobi are safe havens.

“While you think that Nairobi is Babylon, that is peanuts compared to what’s happening out there. That, coupled with Kenya’s friendly people, makes work easier for us.”

Targeting individuals earning over $80,000 with disposable income, Simmons envisions relocating 5,000 black Americans to Kenya. This strategic move not only aims to enrich the lives of those who make the journey but also seeks to tap into the estimated $1.9 trillion black American spending through a conscious trade and commerce deal.

Keail Simmons and Traverze Culture are at the forefront of forging a new path, bringing people together across continents, and fostering a unique cultural exchange that transcends borders setting the pace for a new order.

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