In Ghana, the descendants of slaves are getting close to themselves

In Ghana, the descendants of slaves are getting close to themselves


Ghanaians generally don’t feel resentment towards the Ashanti either. This group conquered other tribes to expand their kingdom and sell slaves to European settlers. But in the West, little attention is paid to Ghanaian resistance to the slave trade, for example by Builsa in northern Ghana, says African studies professor Samuel Ntoso of the University of Ghana. The story that everything heads They sold their people still stubborn. But the Ashanti made no secret of their involvement. As early as 1992, Ghana’s traditional leaders apologized for their contribution to slavery.

Adu-Ampong says this also helps the Ghanaian population to give this history a place. “It is frustrating that the pain of slavery is not being acknowledged, as it has been for so long in the Netherlands. It is precisely through recognition that people can get on with their lives.” During her visit to the central region of Ashanti, Agyeman Henn heard that the group of the same name finds it very important to get the right information from the diaspora. They want to do justice to history, to reconnect. King of Ashanti Otumfo Nana Osei Tutu II participates in global conversations about slavery.”

What also helps in accepting the past, says Adu-Ampong, is that Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was able to reunite the country that was so badly divided by the British after colonization and allowed separate peoples to live together. “For example, he introduced the policy in which high school students are sent to schools across the country. Children come into contact with other peoples at an early age. This forms a kind of shared view of the past.”

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In addition to the history of colonization, Starke and Agyeman Hin want to know more about the period leading up to it. Agyeman Henn: “Ghana’s history did not begin with colonization. The country was not ‘discovered’, it was already there.” Stark: “I don’t know my African name. Names are very important here. These are determined by, among other things, your clan, your people, your place in your family system. And they carry a mission in life.” For example, Irene’s full name is Irene Efua Agyeman Hen, which means: liberator who takes back her land.

The Dutch cabinet wants the descendants of slaves to be able to change their name from 2024 to one more in line with their African origin. “Not having this name is a great loss for the diaspora,” says Stark. On her next visit, she wants to perform a traditional naming ceremony, reclaiming her “original name”.

In Accra, the women visit the W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Center for Pan-African Culture, named after the American “Father of Pan-Africanism” (1868-1963), who spent his last years in Ghana. On the way back, Stark says her search is far from over. “On this trip I learned that a large part of the diaspora comes from northern Ghana. A good reason to visit this area next time and look for more.”

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