Ghana’s Cape Coast Castle is one of the oldest historical sites on the country’s southern coast. Today, it has evolved into one of Ghana’s most popular tourist hubs and everyone wants to go.
Between influencers and celebrities like Michael Jai White, Anthony Anderson, Steve Harvey, RHOA’s Cynthia Bailey, President Barack Obama, and first lady Michelle Obama, the Year of the Return campaign saw an influx of frequent travelers and tourists returning Africa and reconnecting with their ancestral roots. 2019 alone brought in 200,000 visitors and a $1.9 billion boost to Ghana’s economy.
Thousands of guests are accompanied on a tour of Ghanaian culture and the slave castles during their annual events. Guests are able to view the cannons, tour the Dalzel Tower, and journey inside dark dungeons where slaves were held. Thousands took their last steps through the Door of No Return, one of the most known parts of the Cape Coast Castle, before being led onto ships during the Middle Passage.
Although it’s a beautiful sight to see, the historical and cultural impact of the castle’s history is inevitable.
The Year of Return marked the 400-year anniversary of the birth of the American slave trade, where enslaved Africans were brought to Virginia. Millions of Africans were captured on ships and sold as slaves to the Caribbean, South America, and the U.S., amongst other countries. The Elmina fort was the first European safehouse built by the Portuguese in 1482, according to Face to Face Africa.
As the slave economy grew, and more forts were built over the years, the property was seized back and forth between various European countries before the British obtained possession in 1664 and named it “Cape Coast Castle.”
Everyone was separated by gender and kept in dungeons called “slave holes” by the British. One can only imagine hundreds of individuals crammed together into one room, with barely any room to breath, surrounded by mass amounts of human waste.
A visit to the Cape Coast Castle is one that reminds us of what our ancestors had to endure in order for us to be here today. It tells a story of strength and perseverance. It’s a trip that every African American should make once in their lifetime.