An African boxing legend will join the growing list of keynote speakers at RootsTech 2022, FamilySearch announced Wednesday.
Samuel Azumah Nelson, the winner of three featherweight world championships and a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, will tell about his life journey and heritage as part of the free, all-virtual family history conference scheduled for March 3-5.
“I need to show you where my courage and determination to succeed came from” Nelson said in a FamilySearch news release. “I am a proud Ghanaian with a Tabon DNA, power and spirit. You must be interested in your family history and to live the values it represents.”
As part of his pre-recorded message, the boxer explains that the Tabon people were former slaves in Brazil. After slavery was abolished in the late 1800s, his family joined with six others and returned to their African homeland from which their ancestors were taken. His family changed later changed their name to Nelson.
The group was welcomed home and sheltered by the ruling tribes. They forged new lives as tailors, architects and farmers, although earning a living was difficult.
Nelson, who was nicknamed “Zoom Zoom,” was forced to work at an early age to help provide for his large family and missed out on formal education opportunities. A life-changing encounter he had as a young boy with a man holding a pair of boxing shoes started Nelson on a path to boxing.
Although we come from different backgrounds and cultures, we are all family, Nelson said.
“Even with our different genealogy, we are part of the global family,” he said. “If only we can remind ourselves that regardless of political affiliation, race, tribe, gender, country and faith, we all belong to one big family of God, I believe the world will be a beautiful place to live in.”
Nelson joins actor Matthew Modine, French baker Apollonia Poilâne and Argentine singer and actor Diego Torres as keynote speakers at RootsTech.
Elder Ulisses Soares, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, will be the featured keynote speakers at event’s Family Discovery Day.
RootsTech 2022 will follow the same online model as it did in 2021. The event will feature internationally diverse keynote speakers and a mix of on-demand, livestream and interactive sessions where participants can connect with each other, ask questions and learn from experts.
Register for RootsTech 2022 at rootstech.org.