Assin Manso, 3 April 2017 – Some 1000 students from three schools in Assin Manso in the Central region of Ghana joined the rest of the world this year to mark the International Day for the Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade with a tour of the Assin Manso river site and to reflect on the ordeal of slaves who were held there. The tour of the site was organized by UNIC Accra with support from the Department of Public Information Remember Slavery Programme.
Referred to as the Slave River, the Assin Manso River runs through the woods in Assin Manso, some 40 kilometers down the Cape Coast-Kumasi highway. It is believed that slaves from the Northern part of the country and from other West African countries were held at the Slave River, where they received their last bath, auctioned and branded before led to the slave castle in Cape Coast and transported out of the country.
The students, from Assin Manso Senior High School, Adankwaman Senior High School in Assin Darmang and Assin Nsuta Agriculture Senior High School in Assin Nsuta, were briefed by the Slave River site manager, Mr. Kwaku Addo. He explained the concept of slavery to the students and cautioned them against prejudices and injustice. The students later took turns to tour the site to gain a deeper understanding of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the agony of the slaves. For these students, reliving the moments of the slaves at the Slave River, was educative, informative and emotional. In an interview, 16-year-old Albert Dwumfor Sarpong remarks: “coming here helps us to know and appreciate the past and to honour our ancestors”. And 16-year-old Millicent Gyamfi adds: “I have learnt that we are all equal, we should denounce maltreatment and we should learn to work together for our common good”.
The tour of the Slave River site was preceded by a film screening of “They are We”, a story of survival and a remarkable reunion of a family driven apart for over 150 years by the transatlantic slave trade, and an exhibition titled “Remembering Slavery: Recognition, Justice and Development”. The exhibition highlights the 10th anniversary of the Remember Slavery Programme, the work of the International Decade of the People of African Descent and the concept of memory and the legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The occasion offered the students a better understanding of the significance of Remembering Slavery.
The Headmistress of the Assin Manso Senior High School, Madam Grace Ohemeng appealed to the United Nations Information Centre in Accra to hold regular outreach events for students to enable them learn and appreciate more the work of the UN. She also requested that exhibitions on specific occasions like the Remember Slavery be mounted on school campuses for a period of time to serve as a learning platform for the students. The peak of the events was a visit and tour of the Slave River by over a thousand students from three senior high schools.