9. Slavery: The Prequel
It’s 7:58 am the next morning. I’m sitting on a small wall in front of a big hotel on a quiet side street in the middle of a random neighborhood, in the sun. Every taxi that passes by slows and honks to see if I need a ride. Every time I signal that I’m not looking for a ride, I think to myself “No thanks bruh, I’m headed to Cape Coast with Sandra and friends.” Flash back to 2 days before I leave for Ghana. Liz notices that I have put out into the universe that my Ghana trip is definitely going to happen. She tells me that her friend Sandra and a group of her friends planned to take a 2 day trip to Cape Coast, Elmina castle and some other activities. She followed that by informing me that Sandra and I had met before at a party I had at my house. Sandra nor I remember this interaction, but we believe Liz. So here I sit on this wall at now 8:37 am, participating in 2 of the ongoing themes for this trip. Lots of humidity, lots of waiting.
I had zero intention of making an effort to do anything slave related while in Ghana. I watched a few videos of tours people took on YouTube and I decided that shedding tears watching these videos at home was enough for me. Also, I’m tired of being sad and somber at this point. Things have been rough enough. But despite all that, when Liz presented me with the opportunity, I could hear my dad’s voice in my head saying “You never know, OJ. Might not be what you think.” So now I’m off to see “Slavery: The Prequel” up close in real life with Sandra, Vee, Krissy, Shayna, Sabrina and Cyesha. I honestly could not have asked for a better group of complete strangers. They are part of a group of globe trotting Black women. They do stuff like this all the time in different parts of the world. Things like this are their normal swag. When I met everybody for the first time, I could immediately tell these are women who live like I live or better than me just like I suspected. Perfect. Our tour guide’s name is Felix. A local Ghanaian man and the owner of Ghana Eco Tours. An older man, almost 60, but you wouldn’t know that if he didn’t tell you. Our driver’s name, I don’t remember. He didn’t talk much, if at all. Sorry to that man.
The ride to Cape Coast Castle is 3 hours. But that’s not our first stop. Our first stop is Assin Manso, the last bath which is about 35 miles from Cape Coast. The purpose of going to Cape Coast first then to the slave bath is to show how far captives had to walk barefoot in chains, from the last bath to the castle. In the movie “Slavery: The Prequel” the opening scene would probably be Africans raiding African villages, kidnaping people who have been trying to avoid them and dragging them to the Assin Manso slave market to be sold to Europeans. If this movie was funded by the right people in Hollywood, they would definitely push that narrative that Black people sold each other into slavery and that America did not start slavery. They would also leave out the fact that back then “Africans” / “Black people” didn’t see themselves as the same as we do now, nothing close. Every tribe or nation saw themselves as different from one another. For example, if I’m from Tribe A and someone else is from Tribe B. The person from Tribe B is basically a White person in my eyes and it’s totally OK for me to capture said persons from Tribe B and sell them to Eurpoeans or anyone else. I’m also confident that this movie would highlight the fact that me, a slave raider from Tribe A, also ended up as a slave somehow, some way. Because it’s true. There are plenty of Black people walking around who are the descendants of slave raiders who ended up slaves themselves. A big “Yikes!” moment from me when I discovered this during the tour. It was a complicated situation. Luckily it was all explained to me while I was in Ghana.