Ghana 2015|Vlog # 3|Cape Coast Slave Castle

Happy Monday!

I am here with vlog 3 of my recent trip back home to Ghana.

So far, I am three vlogs in and this is my FAVORITE vlog. I also really enjoyed editing it. I like it for a few reasons.

  1. This particular day didn’t go as planned at all. First, we were taken to the wrong bus station.When we finally got to the second bus station which was still wrong but whatever we had to wait for the “bus” to be filled. It wasn’t even a charter bus, hence my sarcastic quotation. When it finally filled up and we finally left the bus station, it broke down. Mind you, Cape Coast is two hours away from Accra (the capital and where we were located) and we hadn’t been driving for 30 minutes when this happened. It literally broke down on the main road. A couple of men had to push it off to the side of the road. And then, *disclaimer TMI alert*  I was on my period bleeding like crazy, my shorts even got really stained. That made walking around very uncomfortable. When we FINALLY got to Cape Coast (after all the hiccups), it was very late. It was about 4pm ish or almost 5 pm which is super late (especially since I woke up at 5 am that day!) That was around the time we should’ve been heading back to Accra! We had to sleep at my Uncle Yaw’s house because my mom was too scared to take a late bus  back to Accra (she was scared of armed robbers being on the bus late at night, which sometimes happens).  Anywho, my mom bought from a side street vendor, a dress for me to wear while she washed my blood stained shorts. She also bought me some underwear from a local store as well as a toothbrush and towel.  Pictured below is the dress she bought for me.The dress I boughtDespite the mess I was in (literally and figuratively), I enjoyed staying at my uncle’s house in Cape Coast. He had extremely fast wi-fi and he fed us good! He truly came to our rescue and everything worked out the way it was supposed to and I even discovered a new yummy drink at his house called Cowbell coffee. The saying “You can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather” totally sums up that day! #Crazyday #ItswrittenALLovermyfaceCape Coast with my family
  2. It’s very informative. This vlog is very educational. Our awesome tour guide Kojo Kilson shares a tremendous wealth of knowledge about the slave castle and the Atlantic slave trade. We were blessed to have such awesome and knowledgeable tour guides throughout our time in Ghana. He was definitely the best! One thing he spoke on that stood out to me is that many Jamaicans are descendants of Ghanaian slaves. That’s always been obvious to me but he mentioned this because of the questions asked by one visitor. She asked if there were records of the slaves by their names. She also also asked if it was impossible for the descendants of slaves to trace back their family. UH YEAH. The slaves were not thought of as humans by their masters and captors. They were considered property. Anywho, Kojo mentioned how some people can trace their family back to a specific ethnic group based on cultural similarities. He used Jamaicans as a prime example of this and said that many of them share a lot of similarities with the Akan ethnic group in Ghana. I found this interesting because I watched a documentary here on YouTube about the Jamaican Maroons who speak the language Kromanti. It is similar to the Akan language in Ghana. I remember a former co-worker of mines (who is a first generation Jamaican) told me that Akua was a “Jamaican” name. It definitely is not, it is a Ghanaian name for a girl born on Wednesday. However, she didn’t understand that and she didn’t want to. This is a classic example of why it’s important to learn your roots. I have encountered many Caribbeans that disassociate themselves from Africa and anything having to do with the continent. It’s a shame because we’re more alike than we are different. You can see the initial question from the visitor and Kojo’s response starts at mark 17:52 in the video above.Touring Cape Coast
  3. The city of Cape Coast is beautiful! It’s right by the Atlantic Ocean. The air feels fresher and it’s not as hectic as Accra or Kumasi. My Uncle Yaw (pictured above) even said that. He has been living in Cape Coast for the past seven years. He also pastors a church there. His home (Methodist housing) and church are minutes away from the slave dungeon.Cape Coast is beautiful

The first time I went to Cape Coast slave castle was almost almost 10 years ago in June 2006 (see the picture below). You know it’s ages ago when I have a relaxer in my hair and I am wearing cargo capris. #Yikes! Oh yea and when I am carrying a purse with hearts all over it. Talk about #throwback.

At Cape Coast slave castle in 2006

I remember the first time I found out Ghana had slave castles. It was 2004 and I was a senior in high school. I was in my African American studies class and we were about to watch the film Sankofa which was partly filmed in Ghana. My teacher Mr.Swan mentioned that the film started off in the Cape Coast slave castle. He knew I was from Ghana and I don’t know how the conversation began with me but I remember him saying to me in front of the whole class You didn’t know that? Aren’t you from Ghana?He was referring to me not knowing that Ghana had slave castles and he look disgusted. I didn’t know much about Ghana in the twelfth grade. At the time, my last trip was summer of 1997 when I was just nine years old. Before then, my first trip was 1991 when I was three. I don’t remember the 1991 trip but everyone says I cried a lot. I do remember the 1997 because I didn’t do JACK and I missed the first week of fifth grade.

I remember coming home from school that day in 2004 and calling my mom at work. I asked her why she never told me Ghana had slave castles. She was like “oh yeah we have slave castles in Cape Coast”. LOL #ICant So freshman year of college, my mom called me and told me we were going to Ghana that summer for a month (2006) and she had just purchased my ticket. I told her that we MUST see the slave castle and we did! Then I went again with my brother  Kofi in 2010. He was born and raised in Ghana but he had never been there (though he did know it existed). I went again this trip because my sis-in-law and niece had never been there. My brother Kwaku (pictured above) went in 2006 with me.

So that’s the history of me and my three visits to Cape Coast slave castle. I feel so weird calling it a castle sometimes because that sort of glamorizes it. Anywho, see some more pictures from that day below.

Cape coast slave dungeon

 

Thanks for reading!

~Amma Mama

4 Comments
  • Ama Kyei
    July 28, 2015

    Amma, lovely lovely vlogs girl! Oh how I wish I thought of vlogging when I stayed and even revisited Ghana again. You did a good job at keeping it educational and the quality was pristine. Thanks for thinking of us!
    The anxiety of aunt flo and being in any vehicle in Ghana is real and unsettling. Your mom is the best at saving the day for you!
    And the point about not knowing about Ghana’s slave history is so real for us first gen kids. Our parents dismiss it so it’s never addressed in the homes and don’t even mention what is taught in public schools. Vlogs and posts like yours is a great way of staying connected and having something for your kids in the future.

    Well done and welcome back oooO!

    • ammamama
      July 29, 2015

      Aw thanks Mabel! Your comment has totally made my day!!! Like seriously! And yes you totally get and understand the first gen kid problems. Thank you so much for watching and reading my post. Yes my mom really came through! God bless her <3 You should def vlog on your next trip! I always enjoy watching Ghana vlogs. I always like to see Ghana through the eyes of my peers. I always like to identify the similarities and differences between our experiences back home. I also just like vlogs in general. Thank you so much again 🙂

  • ronald
    April 27, 2016

    i recently got back from Accra and i went from Accra to Cape Coast and back on the same day. here are my observations. as a prefatory remark, Amma deserves a lot of credit for her detailed video blog. it is quite an onerous task to do that amount of video recording while trying to do tourism at the same time. i’ll discuss the task of getting there in this posting and will discuss my observations at the slavery castle in a separate posting.

    one option for getting to Cape Coast from Accra is to hire a private taxi for the day. this option costs hundreds of US dollars. there are also multiple options to get to Cape Coast using public transportation. there are buses that depart from Kaneshie station (as Amma did and as i did), there are buses that depart from Seiko station, and there is the option of using the STC buses (STC is a state-owned bus company). to put this in context within Accra, Kaneshie is in the northwest, Seiko is next to Nkrumah circle and the STC bus station is about 1 mile west of Nkrumah circle off ring road west.

    at Kaneshie, there is the old terminal, where the full sized buses depart, and the new terminal, where 15-20 person capacity vans depart (basically, the size of a local trotro). since the buses at Kaneshie only depart when they are full, the obvious advantage of going to the new terminal is that the vans can fill up more quickly. at Seiko station the situation is pretty much the same as at Kaneshie although i only saw full sized buses but didn’t inquire about vans.

    unlike the buses from Kaneshie and Seiko, which are run by private bus companies, the STC buses operate on a schedule. there is 1 bus daily that departs Accra for Cape Coast at 8:00am. the private bus companies are not driven by schedule but by outcome: a bus does not depart until it is full, but when one bus leaves, another bus is made available, and when that second bus fills, it departs and the cycle repeats. so if you want to operate on a schedule, take the STC bus, but if you do take the STC bus to Cape Coast and want to get back to Accra the same day, you would have to take one of the private bus companies for the return trip because the daily STC bus from Cape Coast to Accra would have already departed before you arrive in Cape Coast.

    among the private bus companies, there are bus companies, like VIP, that operate buses that appear to be more upscale buses. there are other bus companies, like metromass that are much less luxurious. i took the metromass bus; the reason being that i figured that the metromass bus, being less expensive, would fill up more quickly than one of the more luxury buses would have.

    in terms of cost, on metromass a trip between Accra and Cape Coast is 11 Ghana cedis each way. just for comparison, on an occasion in which i was at Seiko station, i walked up to on of the VIP bus operators and inquired as to the cost of a trip to Cape Coast and he told me that the cost was 200 cedis. he advised me that the cost at Kaneshie might be different.

    as to the the route from Accra to Cape Coast, i don’t recall going through Nkrumah circle – from Kaneshie that would be going the wrong way because Nkruman circle is east of Kaneshie where Cape Coast is west. Nkrumah circle is undergoing *extensive* road construction and it looked nothing like what was shown in Amma’s video. the main road that runs through Kaneshie station, winneba road, merges into the Accra-Cape Coast road. so the bus that i rode took that route.

    the Accra-Cape Coast road is very good and allows you to drive at high speed the entire way. some of the passing maneuvers by the bus driver seemed pretty dicey to me. it is a toll road, so there are a couple of places where you have to stop to pay tolls. Amma mentioned a police check point on the way to Cape Coast, but while the police stopped cars, the police did not stop the bus on which i was riding.

    early in the trip a guy got up and there was preaching and singing on the bus, as was documented by Amma. after he finished, he was selling something. this seems to be a regular pattern because the bus that i took on the return trip to Accra had a sticker posted that said: “no preaching and selling allowed on this bus”.

    when i got to the Cape Coast metromass station, i took a cab to the Cape Coast slavery castle. the cost for the cab ride was 10 cedis.

    on the return trip to Accra from the Cape Coast metromass station, the buses likewise depart when they are filled. i was advised that the last bus leaving Cape Coast for Accra leaves at 4:30pm. so, if you wish to do a 1 day trip, as i did, keep this in mind so that you can plan your time at the slavery castle such that you don’t get stuck in Cape Coast, looking for overnight lodging, unless you want to stay overnight. of course, it would be a very good idea to ask when the last bus leaves just in case things change in the future. it is worth noting that a bus that leaves Cape Coast at around 4:30pm will arrive Kaneshie station in Accra at around 8pm (it is pretty much night time by 7pm).

    • ammamama
      April 27, 2016

      Thank you Ronald for recapping and sharing the details of your trip to Cape Coast. It will be very helpful to my readers.

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