Day 4 – seeking ‘redemption’ inside Cape Coast Castle

last nite i had a in depth conversation with my son and another brother about their life in Cape Coast as well as larger issues…


i ask them if it was the other way around, if Africans enslaved Europeans, would we (they) treat them any better? YES without a doubt is their response…i am intrigued…

this day i decide to return to Cape Coast Castle and go inside the spaces of my ancestors…
‘you came here for redemption’ is what i am told by the first staff member i speak to at the entrance….i wonder how many others can ‘read’ this on my face or inside my heart….


i take many pictures but am unable to say or write about the experience of being inside the male and female slave dungeons, cells, and spaces where they were held prior to going through the infamous ‘door of no return’…

outside the castle i walk around the area and see a slavery foundation site… on a white placard lists the address of the foundation and a quote by Marcus Garvey:
“No one knows when the hour of Africa’s redemption cometh. It is in the wind, it is coming. One day like a storm, it will be here. When that day comes, all of African will stand together.”

as i continue along a path that leads me to a historic part of Cape Coast, i catch an incidental march signalling the beginning of Panafest….tonite the grounds of Adisadel park will open with a marketplace and performances..

i stop by Adisadel en route to the hotel and meet C – the Panafest assistant who oversees the Festival…he and i talk about the disorganization of the festival and what may or may not be happening tonite as far as performances are concerned….

back at the hotel i have lunch and chat with V & J who begin to teach me Fanti – one of the local languages spoken:
wohotadin – ‘hello
boko – (i am) good
madamfo – my friend
may-do – i love you
may- bo seturik – i will slap you
(these are not a true spelling of the words, but as close as i could phonetically understand); besides Fanti i hear about Ewe and Ga (both the name of the other major ethnic groups and their respective languages) which neither V or J speak..

by nite i am too spent to go to Adisadel; having had deep conversations with the staff, my son and learning fanti …so instead i relax and prepare for a day in El Mina – neighboring town that hosts another major Slave Castle – St George

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Author: Barak adé Soleil

creative practitioner, independent consultant and curator. making dance, performance art and theatre. working within community.

3 thoughts on “Day 4 – seeking ‘redemption’ inside Cape Coast Castle”

  1. Are we looking for redemption or a resolution? For the children of the diaspora, I believe we’re looking for a resolution. A way to reconnect what was taken, severed, denied. Perhaps Ghana and Africa are looking for redemption, a way to be forgiven in their role, their complicity, in the slave trade.

    I mean no disrespect, but standing on this shore, acknowledging what bit I do know of my past, the word “redemption” doesn’t feel right. What have I or my immediate forebears done wrong to feel the need for redemption? I’m looking for a resolution, a means to resolve in myself and in my mind, what happened, how it happened and how to move forward with that information.

  2. i am intrigued by this thought of resolution over redemption …i went to the dictionary to clarify this word redemption– to redeem: to be free from what distresses or harms; to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental; to release from blame or debt; to change for the better . in many ways “inside that castle” i was looking to free myself from what distressed my ancestors and harmed them…to what distresses me as a child of the diaspora…at the same time i was looking to find clues to better connect me to their pain. in this regard to help me overcome my guilt for feeling so free when they had to endure such captivity.

    so perhaps redemption is what i wished for….resoulion is what i hope for….

  3. I am trying to visit cape coast next year. I am trying to raise funds to fund a school in Jamaica, were my husband lives. I am willing and hopeing that i can get support to be enslaved at cape coast to bring enlightment to people of today, that running away from the past can only bring more pain, can anybody out there help me or tell me if this mission would be allowed

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