It is not our intention to remind you of the dark clouds that hung over Ghana, then Gold Coast, when the tribe called “Slavery” laid its icy ones on our ancestors. We rather want to tell you how rich our culture is and how our ancestors were able to stand the test of time during tough times. We welcome you on board to join us in taking a stroll within the walls of Cape Coast and Elmina Castle.
Cape Coast Castle
Officially becoming a museum and monument in 1957 after Ghana gained its Independence. Cape Coast Castle is one of the few tourist attractions in Ghana designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The castle has a lot of unique features, which paints a vivid picture of how slavery was carried out in time past. Within the walls of the castle are three male and female dungeons capable of holding about 1300 slaves prior to being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to various destinations outside the country. One feature of the castle, which doesn’t fit into the jigsaw puzzle, is the church you will find right on top of one of the male dungeons.
Created in 1970, the Cape Coast Castle museum is a great point of reference for anyone who really wants to learn about slavery and the sort of interactions that existed between the locals and the whites when they landed on the gold coast. At the museum you are bound to find videos, pictures, swords and several artifacts that tell the story of slavery in Africa, and African history in general. One can’t pay a visit to Cape Coast Castle and not walk through the iconic ‘’Door of Return” originally known as the ‘’door of no return” which lead captives straight out of the castle to the future that awaits then-to be sold as slaves in a foreign land. The Cape Coast Castle is located on the Victoria Rd in Cape Coast and just as it was a transit point for slaves in the 90ths, it is a transit point in the 2000’s for anyone who wants to associate with his or her past and to know his or her roots.
Visit Cape Coast Castle and you well be marveled at what you will learn and see. U.S. President Barack Obama visited the castle with his family, saying: “We toured Cape Coast Castle, a place for centuries where men, women, and children of this nation and surrounding areas were sold into slavery. I’ll never forget the image of my two young daughters, the descendants of Africans and African Americans, walking through those doors of no return, but then walking back those doors of return. It was a remarkable reminder that while the future is unknowable, the winds always blow in the direction of human progress.”
Elmina Castle was established in 1482 by the Portuguese and is considered the first trading post established on the Gulf of Guinea and as a UNESCO World heritage site. During the era of slavery, the Elmina Castle was used as a major point through which captives were shipped to distant lands for sale as slaves. At the upper terrain of the castle one is likely to find a comfortable quarters built for whites and dungeons beneath it, which obvious was meant for captives. Each cell within a dungeon had the capacity to hold about 200 captives. Their is a saying, that a hunter is not really a hunter without his gun. Well just like the hunter, Elmina Castle can’t be called a castle if not been for the remnants of guns and balls, which were used to defend the castle from attack.
The governor who had his quarters situated in the castle had his staircase leading directly to the female dungeon, making it any female slave accessible to him whenever he chose. The Elmina Castle, like all other castles, had “a gate of no return” which at the end of the 18thn Century had been the exit point for over 30,000 slaves per year. Elmina Castle is a great castle that captures African history in a unique manner, the scenes at the castle speaks to your heart and soul and keeps you in awe as you are taken through various parts of the castle to relive the life of our ancestors, this time around not as a slave but as a person with a strong history and a story to tell.
Elmina Castle is situated within the town of Elmina located 6km west of Cape Coast and 150km from Accra, which is just a two and a half hour drive.
For more photos from our visit to Cape Coast and Elmina Castle click HERE.