60 students to tour Salaga heritage site as the world remembers victims of slavery

Accra, March 20, 2014 – The United Nations Information Centre, Accra will this year partner with the Ghana Museums and Monument Board (GMMB), UNESCO and the Ghana Education Service to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Salaga, Northern region on Tuesday, March 25, 2013.

About 60 students drawn from three Senior High Schools in the Northern region are expected to participate in an exciting educative tour of the Salaga Market, a slave heritage site where they will be made to understand the link between slavery in West Africa and Haiti and the Caribbean.

From the 18th to the 19th century, Salaga became the biggest slave market where humans were exchanged for cowries or by barter. Presently, remnants of the activities which took place still remain on the grounds.  They include slave wells which were used to wash slaves and spruce them up for a good price; and a huge cemetery where slaves who had died were laid to rest.

This initiative comes at a time when the GMMB is making all efforts to recognize the site as a museum. “The GMMB is keen to develop a museum in Salaga and it is in discussions towards that with several local stakeholders” says the Executive Director of the GMMB, Dr. Zagba Narh Oyortey. He adds that the exercise is “part of a wider project to reflect and project the history of the Northern Region and its contribution to modern Ghana”.

“I look forward to this opportunity of sharing information and knowledge about the heritage site, on slavery and the transatlantic slave trade and creating awareness on this year’s commemoration to the youth” says the National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms Cynthia Prah. “But most importantly it is to use the platform to instill in the youth a sense to abhor prejudice and racism” she adds.

The Day is under the theme “Victory over Slavery: Haiti and Beyond” and will be marked all over the world to pay tribute to the fight against slavery. Haiti was the first nation to become independent as a result of the struggle of enslaved men and women and 2014 marks 210 years since the Republic of Haiti was established on January 1, 1804.  This year also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, launched in Ouidah, Benin, in 1994, which seeks to break the silence surrounding the slave trade and slavery. The project denounces slavery through the safeguarding of cultural heritage of universal significance, as well as through such initiatives as the International Coalition of Cities against Racism and Discrimination.