“That was so cruel” I exclaimed to my friend Markson upon my return from the famous Elmina castle apparently in disapproval of the inhumane treatment metted out to slaves there.
Markson, though a Nigerian had lived some part of his life in Ghana. Typical of Nigerians, he is adventurous and has exceptional skills and ideas for business.
I had the privilege of beginning my year with three great friends, Bethan and Sam (siblings from England) and of course, Markson in Cape Coast in the central region of Ghana.
After months of uninterrupted studies, coupled with community service (services preventive nurses render to mostly deprived communities while in school to improve learning), the life in me seemed to have been sucked out.
After about 6-7 hours of what seemed like a never-ending journey, we finally made it to cape coast late in the evening. It was December 31st, 2016. We checked into a somewhat wooden guest house only to discover later that the facility was called “BAOBAB GUESTHOUSE“. “This is surely going to be one hell of a time here”, i said to myself bursting with excitement. I knew I had to make every moment count.
We had two nights scheduled for the visit, heavy eyes and tired bodies was all we were left with after such a long travel but that was not enough justification to miss the evening amble. We caught a wink in baobab (the guesthouse we lodged) and later stroll the busy noisy streets of cape coast during this festive season.
This one experience I couldnt have shared until now. And because it has taken month before writing, I want to focus on more specific areas of that trip.
THE ELMINA CASTLE
The castle which is now 535 years old this year was said to be established by the Portuguese in 1482. The thickness and height of its walls depicts a magnificent industrial company but instead this was used to trade humans. I’ve been taught many times in school, heard many stories and read quite a number of literature relating to the slave trade but none can be compared to seeing, touching and walking in the very edifice this cold-blooded treatment took place. Seeing truly makes believing more concrete and easy.
We had a very brilliant chaperone who knew so much about the story and preached it just as it must be told. I was very touched and understood how that has contributed to the state of the African continent in present day. Human resource being the most relevant among other natural resources were swept off the continent into cruel and unequivocally detestable lifestyles.
Let me share some statistic I’ve researched on.
Destination of Enslaved Africans (1519–1867)
Destination and percentage
Portuguese America 38.5%
British America (minus North America) 18.4%
Spanish Empire 17.5%
French Americas 13.6%
British North Americas 6.5%
English Americas 3.3%
Dutch West Indies 2.0%
Danish West Indies 0.3%
Enslaved people imported to those regions that are part of present–day USA.
(Date and official” Numbers)
1620-1650 * 824
1651-1675 * 0
1676-1700 * 3,327
1701-1725 * 3,277
1726-1750 * 34,004
1751-1775 * 84,580
1776-1800 * 67,443
1801-1825 * 109,545
1851-1850 * 1,850
1851-1866 * 476
(Sourced from www.elminacastle.info )
Dont just analyze the numbers as you do to mathematical algebra. This numbers represent humans with blood in their veins and more importantly our great grandparents.
But the part I love most is this IT’S BEEN ABORLISHED!!
Now the black and the white race can learn to coexist as one people with none seeing the other to superior and the other less of a human. Lucky Dube nailed it well in his song Different colours.
It’s all history now-its time to move on and put what is past behind us. The presence of melanin in skin of one and absent in another is too less to counteract the billion similarities the black and white race have in common.
Sometimes all we really need as humans is to allow ourselves to mingle with nature. The breeze and sounds of the waves of the sea while at the beach can melt every bit of sadness and pain you’ve clinched to for a long time.The timing of the moment was perfect, music was all over the beach, hundreds of both citizens and foreigners flood the beach sand.
It was then I understood how Tony DeLiso was felt when he said Happiness is part of who we are and joy is the feeling.
There are not many times of fun we will have in our entire lifetime thats why every moment we get the chance to have it, we must make it count.
I appreciated the fact that we were three nationalities dwelling together in the same crevice. As a young writer, I appreciate pictures for the beauty and for how much alive they make a written work. I’ve attached a couple for your delight.
WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THIS ARTICLE?
This has simply taught me the importance of leisure. If foreigners could spend hundreds of cedis to visit our tourist attractions and to spend time with the people they love, what are we natives doing?
We can’t be busy working all the time. We’ve got to take some time off our so called busy schedules and rest the very bodies we incarcerate into doing such works.
I love leisure and its more worth it with the right people around.
Max.Sam,Bethan and myself Beks are still keeping touch and looking forward to more fun in the near future.