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Ketu South Launches Slavery Museum

Hedzranawo Slavery Museum, one of the three-town tourism projects in the Somé Traditional Area of the Ketu South Municipality, has been opened to the public.

The projects, apart from helping to put the three communities of Hedzranawo, Adzido, and Adafienu on the slave map, aimed to identify, research, and add value to all enslaved heritage sites on Ghana’s Eastern coastline.

Professor Wazi Apoh, a Development Archaeologist and initiator of the projects, in an address during the commissioning ceremony, acknowledged Gerda Henkel Stiftung, senior students of the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana (UG), Torgbui Sape Agbo V, his elders and the Community Project Committee members for their support.

He disclosed that the projects started when he and his colleague, Dr Mark Seyram Amenyo-Xa conducted research in 2018 to identify slave heritage sites in communities along Volta’s coast.

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Professor Apoh indicated that the discovery of a “rich array of painful histories, memories, spaces and relics of slavery” in the three-town communities compelled him to return to Hedzranawo to pursue the CVERP initiative.

Torgbui Sape Agbo V, the ‘Dufia’ of Hedzranawo, also the ‘Awaklasuga’ of Somé who, with the help of a wooden staircase experienced the dungeon, spoke to Ghana News Agency, saying, “Our forefathers suffered.”

“I was in there for less than two minutes but couldn’t breathe. Inside the underground vault which I will call the concrete water tank was dark and hot. It’s terrible. Those who engaged in this trade were inhumane,” he said.

Dr Gideon Agble, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Business and Integrated Development Studies in Wa, was grateful for the initiative, saying it would add on to the already existing historical sites.

“The biggest shock for me is the underground vault. This is a proper dungeon, unlike other sites where it is a walkthrough.”

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He said the fantastic nature of the site which made it different in architecture and design would go a long way to attract tourists who move to other known tourist sites.

The museum and two others, Hedzranawo-Adzido Slave Market, Memorial Centre, and Adafienu Palace Slavery Museum, are currently at different stages of completion with sponsorship from Gerda Henkel Foundation, started in 2019 under the Coastal Volta Enslaved Route Project (CVERP).

Community members still have remains of slavery like long chains and shackles at the Palace of Torgbui Dovoh of Adafienu.

There are also important relics such as the Treaty of Adafienu which was signed in 1852 to end slavery.

Others also include sword and staff with an embossed inscription of Her Majesty the Queen of England.

The rationale of the project was to focus attention on the slave relics of the areas as equally important heritage sites.

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Such a drive would also enhance the CVERP sites as alternative sites of slave heritage commiseration, reflection, education, and healing,” the Heritage Expert and Dean of the School of Arts,” UG said.

Each of the seven sessions of the museum features aspects of slavery in the three-town area with exhibition materials in the showcases inside the museum galleries being materials possibly involved in the trade such as ancient bottles containing alcoholic beverages, ceramic plates, glass, and beads in addition to an underground vault, and a centuries-old dungeon for keeping slaves.

The newly commissioned Hedzranawo Slavery Museum, a rehabilitation of a brick building that served as an ancient European Slave Post would be opened to local and international tourists every day of the week except on Mondays.

Source: GNA

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