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November 9, 2010

Slave Castles in Ghana Part 2 – Living the nightmare

Click here if you missed Part One

Entrance to the dungeon - Cape Coast castle
Entrance to the dungeon

We walked into the room, about twenty of us, chattering and laughing. Our guide shepherded us into the stone walled room and, when we were all inside, he slammed the door shut.

The room was immediately pitch dark except for a single slim stream of light from a crack high up in the wall. A woman screamed. A little girl clung to her mother’s leg and began to cry. The air was stale almost immediately and the atmosphere was stifling.

The guide began to speak. The slave castle at Cape Coast was used to accumulate captured Africans, Africans who may not have committed any crime except for being in the wrong place or being of the “wrong” tribe. These men and women were held at the castle for weeks until they were shipped off to the West.

Inside a room where slaves were held, waiting for transfer to the West
Inside a room where slaves were held, waiting for transfer to the West

The cell where we stood in the dark, uncomfortable, even scared although we were only there for a few minutes, had been used to incarcerate insubordinate slaves. Up to sixty men would be packed into this room at a time and left without food, air and water. No one would leave the room alive and no bodies would be removed until the last man died. We could see gouges in the floor where the condemned slaves tried vainly to remove their shackles as they died a slow, torturous death.

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