Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Lusaka, Zambia, a city in southern Africa, on March 31, for a diplomatic meeting with Zambia’s president. However, the visit turned personal as the VP visited the site where her maternal grandfather’s home used to be, according to AP News.
What is now the place that hosts an office building was where Harris’ grandfather, P.V. Gopalan, used to live in the 1960s. He was a member of the Central Secretariat Service, serving as the Director of Relief Measures and Refugees for the Zambian government.
Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema welcomed Harris as a “daughter of our own country,” which Harris described as “a homecoming.”
During her trip, Harris also traveled to Ghana and Tanzania, where leaders told her she was “home,” acknowledging her African roots.
Harris’ interaction with Hichilema and Zambia’s citizens proved the everlasting impact of the African diaspora and the connections between the US and Africa.
“She is the ambassador we need at the moment,” Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Vanderbilt University’s African American and Diaspora Studies chair, said. “That’s a joyous thing.”
She even took a tour outside Zambia’s capital to examine how they’ve advanced their farming techniques with new technology to combat the threat global warming could do to their food supply. Russia invading Ukraine also impacted their food prices.
The trip wasn’t all business. It was reported that Harris also took the time to celebrate the African Diaspora by inviting actors and other celebrities like Idris Elba and Sheryl Lee Ralph to the Vibration recording studio at the freedom skate park in Accra, Ghana, to emphasize the growth of African culture in music and film.
Harris also had dinner with Black American celebrities, activists and business people at the Ghanaian presidential palace, The Jubilee House.
During the dinner, she was given a Ghanaian name by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
“Since you were born on a Tuesday, I’m sure you would not mind the Ghanaian name Abena, the Akan name for all Tuesday born females, to your name,” Akufo-Addo said, raising his glass and toasting to “the honorable Kamala Devi Abena Harris.”