Ghana : Ghana: 'Brothers and sisters' in the Diaspora


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Feb 1, 2005
StreetNationEarth: Seattle
The Meek !Shall! Inherit the Earth.
'Brothers and sisters' in the Diaspora

Thousands of Diasporans are expected to visit Ghana this year for the Joseph Project and Panafest events of July and August. Already, the slave castles of the Central Region are a pilgrimage point for many hundreds of slave-trade descendants. But how are they met when they come to discover their roots? Mary Morgan looks at the uncomfortable marriage between two estranged peoples - those who went, and those left behind – and what is being done to bring them back together.

'Brothers and sisters' in the Diaspora
Mary Morgan , 05/04/2007


Many local people never go inside the Castle

INSIDE CAPE COAST CASTLE, Dakri Brown shakes his head, overwhelmed. "There's so much to do, so much to do… Where do we start?”

We have reached the end of our tour of the former slave castle: myself, and a group of African Americans from Houston, Texas. We have been down into the male dungeon, deep under ground, and seen the tiny peep holes through which the inmates had their only breath of air, their only contact with the world outside. In the female dungeon, we were told how the women were routinely taken for 'baths" and raped by the various officers at the Castle. Those discovered pregnant once on board were useless since no one would buy them; so their arms and legs were tied and they were thrown overboard, into the snapping jaws of the sharks which trailed the ship. At the Gate of Return, several of the group stand in tears – THESE are the doors through which their ancestors, centuries back, may well have passed, with no question of a return ticket for them. By the time we reach the Cell – the tiny, airtight capsule into which up to 30 rebellious slaves would have been locked up at a time and left to suffocate – there is not a dry eye in the group.


The experience has been an educational and exploratory one for all of them, learning about the past and also about themselves: “I think there is a problem of partial truth in America,” says Dakri. “Most African Americans see Africa as one slate. They are not really aware about their history, about slavery, or about Africa today. I would say that maybe 30 percent of African Americans are actively engaged with their history – if that.”

The others, he says, “don’t want to know, they don’t think in retrospect; they are okay to be ignorant.”

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