Door of no return
Trip Start Feb 21, 2010
21Trip End Apr 18, 2010
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This was the reality for more than 12,000 black men, women and children. Europeans got their taste of the profits that could be made from the sale of humans, a taste that wouldn't turn sour until the 19th century.
At any given time, 1500 people were held in the Cape Coast Castle waiting to be sold into slavery
The Cape Coast Castle is a 'must see’ during a visit to Ghana. This Saturday we went on the tour. When you first arrive it seems like a cheery place with music playing and little gift shops selling handicrafts and paintings, but once the tour begins, you are taken back into time and everyone becomes quite. The tour takes you through three claustrophobic dungeons with stone walls still marked with desperate scratches from those imprisoned, and markers to show the levels of human defecation that people lived amongst during their imprisonment. Our group of 20 was forced to stand close when entering the female and male dungeons and then we were told that at one point there were more than 500 people in that exact spot. Close to the female dungeon on the eastern side of the castle is a huge door that was the ‘Point of no return’. Once the slaves were traded, they were sent through the door, onto boats never to return to their families. The weak slaves were thrown overboard along with pregnant women and those who caused trouble. Sharks followed the boat from Africa to Europe.
A couple of years ago a symbolic invitation was issued to two decedents of slaves that saw them return through the ‘Point of no return’, thus effectively breaking the chain. There is a sign on the other side now that says ‘Door of Return’. In 2009 President Obama visited the castle with the
first lady and her mother, who are descendants of slaves from South Carolina. Speaking after a tour of the castle,Obama said the fort should be a source of hope as well as repository of painful memories. "It reminds us that as bad as history can be, it's always possible to overcome."
It’s hard to describe the feeling of walking though the castle knowing that at one point in time, so many people witnessed its atrocity. For me, the most beautiful part about the experience it is that although the days of slavery are not forgotten, Ghanaians welcome Abruni’s to their country, their villages and their homes with open arms.