Charleston mayor to back partnership with west Africa

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston Mayor Joe Riley announced Thursday he would be publicly supporting a partnership between the city and Ghana through a program called Project OKURASE.{}

The formal announcement from Riley is set for next Tuesday, according to a release.

According to the group, Ghana and Charleston have a longstanding affiliation dating back to when slave ships from West Africa landed on the shores of Sullivan's Island. As a result, West Africa has had a profound influence on Charleston's culture through arts, music, food, basketry and way of life.

Now, Project OKURASE is giving back to the village and bringing sustainable solutions to its people through education, skills training and health care.{}

"We're so appreciative of Mayor Riley's support, vision and tremendous respect for Charleston's West African heritage and what Project OKURASE means to all of us here in the Lowcountry," says Dr. Cynthia Cupit Swenson, co-director of Project OKURASE. "The rich African traditions have a tremendous influence on the Charleston community and Mayor Riley truly gets that we are circling back with hope."