Cape Coast Castle – Ghana

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About the Castle:¬†Cape Coast Castle is one of Ghana’s Slave Castle which was built on the Gold Coast by Swedes for trade of Timber and Gold with a church also built within the castle. The Castle was then later used for the slave trade. For those who don’t know how slave castles were used, they were used for keeping African Slaves locked away after they were captured and held there until sold to the Americans. Some slaves were held there until death if they were not sold. The castle also had a Cell for the Slaves who fought or tried to escape.The female and male slaves were divided into separate dungeons as you will see from my pictures below. Each dungeon was dark, cold and with no lights, toilets or bed to sleep on. They had to sleep and go to the bathroom in the same area so you could imagine the torture they gone through. Slavery was and is one of the many horrible acts of cruelty by human beings. I started learning and reading about slavery from a very young age but when you enter one of the slave castles everything you read about or learned about then feels more real when you see where these poor souls were held and even died. The castle definitely had a cold hunted feel and as you are walking around and feeling and seeing how dark and cold the dungeons are you start to feel more emotional and realise just how horrific it really would have been for these innocent people. People say slavery is a thing of the past and should be left there, but for me, i like to educated people or tell people the stories of slavery and let it never be forgotten because although slavery was abolished i feel the innocent souls who died and were enslaved should never be forgotten and we should remember how lucky we were and still are…to not have faced the same thing they did.

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On my third day in Ghana i reached Cape Coast and of course it was a must to visit Cape Coast Castle not only because i am a huge fan of history but also because it is a beautiful castle despite the deep dark history that lies here.

I took a bus that dropped me off some minuets away from the castle so my sister and i walked to the castle and saw some lovely sights along the way. Below is a picture of the beautiful church just outside of the castle.

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We also met some lovely people outside of the castle including a girl carrying water on her head who was interested to know what brought us to Ghana. She also insisted that my sister carried her bucket on her head which was quiet funny to see my sister carrying something with her head haha

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The Front of the Castle

As we entered the castle there is a shop/market area where you can buy souvineers and different types of things including clothing. I Bought a beautiful Kente dress from one of the shops. We then reached the counter where you will pay for your ticket and also pay to take your camera in with you. 1 camera per group or person if you are alone.

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We were then joined with a group of other tourists and guided around the castle with a tour guide who tells everyone the story of the castle and what happened in each room of the castle etc. I took some videos while in the castle while the tour guide was telling the stories of the castle. I will upload them to my blog later for people to see.

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The picture above of cannon balls is what were used when intruders tried to intrude the castle or take over the gold coast. The cannon balls were shot at their ships to bring them down and stop them from entering.

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As i mentioned before, the Cells were used to keep what they called “stubborn Slaves”. Slaves who fought to free themselves or to free their wife’s/children. They were locked inside this cell as punishment as if they were not being punished enough! the cell was extremely small and dark.

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My sister and I inside the castle

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The Female Slave Dungeon – The dent in the middle of the ground was their “toilet” – in the same area they would sleep. All human wastage would flow down this area out into the Ocean. Leaving the innocent souls to either die through sickness, Disease or malnutrition if they were not shipped out and sold before then. The lights in the dungeon was only later installed when slavery was abolished – For tourism.

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View from the top floor of the castle.

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The Door of no return – The door that led the slaves to the ships where they were then transported to the Americans.

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The Door of Return

The Door of no return was of course because they would never return to Africa, but later the other side of the door was named “The door of return” apparently it was for those lucky enough to return – I’m not 100% sure if this is correct i am just speaking based on the information given by the tour guide.

As you can see, Cape Coast Castle is just one of many slave castles and is a huge tourist attraction in Ghana. I definitely recommend that everyone who visits Ghana should stop by Cape Coast and visit on of Africa’s many slave castles. You will leave feeling emotionally attached to Africa if you are not already. Don’t forget to show your respect when visiting and take a moment to remember the lost innocent souls not only of Ghana but of all those who died and suffered during the slave trade!

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Mungo Park (The First Westerner to explore The River Niger)

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I have wanted to write this for a while now but had other subjects in mind to write about first.. Anyway this post may not interest everyone but it interests me so i had to share it ūüôā

I came across the name Mungo Park after my boyfriend mentioned something about him.. so i took it upon my self to learn more about him as i am a major history freak when it comes to Africa lol.. it turns out i have a lot in common with him other than the fact that we share the same surname..

Mungo Park is also Scottish like me and also had a massive interest for Africa, again, like me lol He was a Scottish explorer of the African continent he was the first westerner to encounter the central portion of Niger River, or so i read.. He studied medicine and botany in Edinburgh university and later went on to do a course in Natural history..

I also read that he completed his studies by completing his exams in London. After studies he then started work and offered his services to The African Association. The African Association was a club dedicated to exploring West Africa.

Mongo Park set out for Africa and reached the Gambia River on 21st of June 1795,  he then chose the route crossing the upper Senegal basin and through the semi-desert region of Kaarta. He was captured and imprisoned for four months.. i am not entirely sure why but i will find out one day lol.. he then escaped on the 1st of July 1796, he had nothing but a horse and a compass with him. on the 21st of July he reached the long-sought Niger River at Segou, he was now the first European to reach river Niger. He followed the river downstream 80 miles to Silla, where he was obliged to turn back, as he was lacking the resources to go further.

On his journey back to Scotland he fell sick at Kamalia. A man then took him in for seven months and helped him. ¬†He was thought to be dead but then returned to Scotland with news of discovering the River Niger which brought a positive¬†reaction from the public. He then went on to write a very successful book called “Travels in the interior districts of Africa” which was about his travels all around Africa, how he survived and the people he met along the way which gave Europeans a idea of what Africa is really like. I am yet to read this book as its hard to find after all these yearz, but im looking into finding it.

Mungo was then invited back By the government to lead another expedition to the Niger. He accepted, and made his way to Gambia then to Bussa.  Mungo park died in Nigeria in 1806 after their ship hit a rock in Bussa and they were attacked with bow and arrows by people, mungo and others on the ship drowned.. One of the slaves who were on the ship, Survived.  He then went on to tell the final scene of mungo parks story..

Mungo parks son set out to find his father after being lead to believe he was being imprisoned . unfortunately mungos son died of fever soon after.

Mungo Park’s remains are buried along the banks of the River Niger in Jebba Nigeria. After mungo parks death, westerners then started to gain interest in Africa and they wanted to explore more.

I find this story very fascinating and could read about it all day! My family and friend like to joke that Mungo Park must be my ancestor lol I also joke about it too.. It is funny that i also have plans to move to Africa and explore Africa and planning to buy a house in Nigera.. Is Mungo park my ancestor? We are both Scottish, both have a huge interest in Africa with Nigeria at the top of the list and we share the same surname hehehe..

Anyway i read alot about him and if any of the information i wrote is incorrect, please feel free to correct me as i am happy to learn more and i am not an expert on Mungo Parks story.

This was a long post but i wanted to share this story as i found it very interesting and believe anyone else who loves African History will love it too.. I would also recommend reading his full story as it is more detailed than this post i wrote..

Thanks for ready and feel free to correct me on anything ūüôā

History of the Nigerian head wrap (Gele)

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I Personally LOVE the Nigerian Gele and have some of my own. I Love small head wraps and also big ones.

Head wraps have been part of Africa’s History and different Cultures for yearsssssssss. Starting as early as 1700. ¬†They come in many shapes and sizes. ¬†You cant just go and buy a Gele already made up lol. you have to tie it or get someone to tie it if you cant. Nigerian Gele head wrap is made of¬†colorful¬†cloths. You can get any color or design you want. As long as it is the correct material for Gele. ¬†I believe the Gele is a wonderful way of connecting with culture and history. If i am not mistaken, The Nigerian Gele originated with Yoruba’s.

The colors of Head wraps have different meanings and also for a man to wear a head wrap is different from a woman. Both have different meanings.  It is believed that some cultures used head wraps/Gele before the days of slavery so that men could show off their wealth and the level of their social status and so that women could prove that they were prosperous and spiritual. << Or so i read! The great thing about Head wraps is, you can adjust it any way you like. Big, small, short, tall! lol

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The Gele should cover the hair completely and ties at the back of the neck. A lot of modern day girls wear there Gele with some of their hair showing, i personally like to wear it with all my hair hidden. It feels and looks more traditional. I also once read that head wraps is a way of bringing out the beauty in our face and to avoid people looking ONLY at our bodies first!! lol

Weather you wear a Gele/head wrap or not, you should appreciate the beauty and culture that comes with them. To be serious, i think women look 1000 times more beautiful with a Gele than hair extension! lol << please take note girls :p

Thanks for reading. ūüôā