Reclaiming African History: Cape Coast Castle, a Slave Fort in Ghana

African Heritage

Cape Coast Castle (Wikipedia) Cape Coast Castle (Wikipedia)

The Cape Coast Castle is one of the 30 slave forts of Ghana. In 2009, the US president Barack Obama and his family, made a point to visit the Cape Coast Castle. So why should you learn about it?

Well, it took 50 years to build the three-story building that forms today’s Cape Coast Castle. It was originally built by the Swedes (the Swedish Africa Company), starting in 1653 (it was then known as Fort Carlsborg or Carolusborg) for timber and mineral exportation, and then taken over by the Dutch before the British wrestled it away. The original cannons, cannon balls, and mortars used to defend the fort can still be seen today, facing the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Coast Castle in 1682 Cape Coast Castle in 1682

The brick courtyard of the castle, which Ghanaians commonly refer to as Cape Coast Dungeon, has two 18-foot water…

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Reclaiming African History: Elmina Castle – West Africa’s Oldest Slave Fort

African Heritage

Elmina Castle Elmina Castle (Source: Ghana.nl)

Inner courtyard at Elmina Castle (Source: Ghana.nl) Inner courtyard at Elmina Castle (Source: Ghana.nl)

The Elmina Castle is one of the 30 slave forts along the coasts of Ghana. It was built in 1482 by Portuguese traders on the site of a town called Amankwaor Amankwakurom. It was the first European slave-trading post in all of sub-saharan Africa. The Portuguese gave it the name of São Jorge da Mina, or St. George’s of the mine, or simply “Elmina” (the mine). At four storeys high, it was one of the most imposing coastal forts, and for many years the largest one. It was originally build by the Portuguese as a warehouse to protect the gold trade, but later it became the center of the Dutch slave trade, after its capture by the Dutch in 1637. The British attacked the city in 1782

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Kim Kardashian doesn’t realize she’s the butt of an old racial joke

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Why the Name: Gaborone?

African Heritage

'The No1 Ladies Detective Agency' by Alexander McCall Smith ‘The No1 Ladies Detective Agency’ by Alexander McCall Smith

Many of you have probably heard about Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, from the book series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith.  The series follows Precious Ramotswe, the first female private detective in Botswana, and the mysteries that she solves; her agency is based in Gaborone.  Have you ever stopped to wonder what the name Gaborone actually meant?

Map of Botswana (Lonely Planet) Map of Botswana

Gaborone was the name of the Chief of the Batlokwa, Kgosi Gaborone, who left the Magaliesberg to settle in the area around 1880, and called the settlement Moshaweng.  Moshaweng meant ‘place where the river’s sand has washed out.’  Today, Moshaweng has been renamed Tlokweng, or Place of the Batlokwa, and is located on the east of the Notwane river, facing the…

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Taytu Betul: the Great Ethiopian Empress who Said ‘NO’ to Colonization

African Heritage

Empress Taytu Betul of Ethiopia Empress Taytu Betul of Ethiopia

After learning about the origin of the name Addis Ababa, from Empress Taytu Betul‘s visit to its location, I could not help but talk about the Empress herself.  Who was Taytu Betul?

Well, Taytu Betul was Emperor Menelik II‘s third wife and was thereby Empress of Ethiopia.  She was his confidante, a loyal wife, a commander, and a brilliant military strategist.

Taytu Betul (also Taitu Betul), whose name Taytu means Sunshine, was a sunshine for her nation when it was about to fall into the hands of the Italian colonizer.  Perhaps, there would not have been the famous Battle of Adwa on March 1, 1896, which marked the Ethiopian victory against colonialism, without Empress Taytu, for she inspired it.

Emperor Menelik II, of Ethiopia Emperor Menelik II, of Ethiopia

Empress Taytu Betul was born in Wollofrom a Christian and Muslim…

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Camille Paglia: The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil

TIME

The disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham two weeks ago is the latest in a long series of girls-gone-missing cases that often end tragically. A 32-year-old, 270-pound former football player who fled to Texas has been returned to Virginia and charged with “abduction with intent to defile.” At this date, Hannah’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown.

Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.

Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an…

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The Return of Steve Biko and Quotes

African Heritage

Steve BikoSteve Biko

I would like to share with you some quotes by Steve Biko himself.  When I read Biko’s words, I realize that he was a true African leader who wanted good for all; he was really ahead of his time.  I have also added, at the end, a documentary The Return of Biko‘ by Jeff Ogola. Enjoy!

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The greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”Speech in Cape Town, 1971

It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die.

“At the time of his death, Biko had a wife and three children for which he left a letter that stated in one part: “I’ve devoted my life to see equality for blacks, and at the same time, I’ve denied the needs of my…

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