Salaga Slave Heritage sites to be upgraded to attract tourists and preserve history

Salaga, March 25, 2014 – The East Gonja District Chief Executive, Mohammed Aminu Lukumanu says the District is working with the Ghana Tourist Board to upgrade the Salaga Slave Heritage sites to attract more tourists to the sites. He is therefore appealing to benevolent organisations for support towards this drive.  According to Mr. Lukumanu “we will be able to preserve and therefore transfer any knowledge on the history of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade to generations yet unborn if we are able to attract more visitors to the sites”.

Mr. Lukumanu was speaking at an event to mark the 2014 International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Salaga in the Northern region of Ghana. He commended the United Nations for choosing Salaga for this year’s commemoration of the Day adding that “we are honored to host the event”.

Students entering the Salaga Slave heritage site for the educative tour

Students entering the Salaga Slave heritage site for the educative tour

The event, which included an educative tour of the slave heritage sites for some 130 students selected from three schools in the area, was organized by the United Nations Information Centre, Accra, in collaboration with UNESCO, the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Museums and Monument Board.

The students were taken on a tour of a site which is studded with about a hundred hand-dug wells that served, during the period of slavery, as sources of water to bath slaves before they were sent to the market for sale.

About 100 of these wells are studded on the slave heritage site in Salaga

About 100 of these wells are studded on the slave heritage site in Salaga

Students being briefed on the history of the Salaga market

Students being briefed on the history of the Salaga market

These wells were hand dug by the slaves themselves.  The students also visited the infamous Salaga Slave market on which stands a baobab tree under which negotiations for the prices of slaves were made before they were sold. Though the original baobab tree has been felled, another has been planted to preserve the history. Students were also taken to the Salaga Slave cemetery.  Here there are no visible graves because the corpses of slaves were reportedly dumped on the grounds under a huge baobab tree for vultures to feed on and were later buried in mass pits. On the cemetery grounds still stands the massive baobab tree, the only “relic” in memory of the slaves who were buried there during the period.

Students gathered under the baobab tree which served as slave cemetery in Salaga

Students gathered under the baobab tree which served as slave cemetery in Salaga

The essence of the tour was to increase public awareness, to educate future generations of the dangers of racism and prejudice, to enhance understanding of the transformation of cultures as a result of slavery and to promote a culture of peace. The students, many of whom said it was their first time of experiencing such an event, thanked UNIC for organizing the tour and expressed the hope that it will be held every year.

The students’ views on the educative tour is also available on You Tube. You may also read about UNIC Accra’s NIO’s experience.