If you ever decide to rent a car and drive, following the coast line of Ghana you will notice something standing out from the ordinary. A series of enormous white castles spread out along the coast. Many of these are Ghana’s most popular tourist attraction, heck just in Elmina and Cape Coast alone you have three castles, all located close to the shore line, all in good shape. Something that is quite amazing considering that most of these castles are up to 500 years old.
These castles are surrounded by humongous walls rising from the ground. Inside you’ll find offices, bedrooms, dining halls, churches, ammunition storages, torture chambers and dungeons. Dungeons used to contain African slaves. These castles were not designed as defensive stronghold from intruders as their main task, but first of all to effectively keep human beings before shipping them to colonies in the west to be sold like slaves to work on plantation farms or sugar factories. The whole infrastructure of the castle is built so that they could keep as many humans begins as possible. Torture them to see if they would be fit their new lives as slaves. Starved them so that they could fit more slaves on ships and in the castle. Raped the women to entertain bored officers.
The Elmina castle marks the city center. From here the market begins, hundreds of stands selling foods, fresh fish, clothes, data cash, shoes and other things that you can imagine. On the river that runs out from the lagoon, fishing boats are anchored up for repairs, or deliverance todays fresh catch. The big white castle is nothing more than a large white building that once ment something. A lot of the people who works in the marked do not know what the building is nor what it was. They know that a lot of tourist are coming there to walk along the old wall, take pictures with stuffed canons or selfies with the wonderful view in the background. And when they are finished with the tour they return on their busses and go back to the resort. The people in the marked gets merely a glance from the tourists through the bus window. So the castle just stands there, in the middle of a town, and its only use is to amuse tourists who are there for the urban phenomenon «dark tourism».
I have started to think of the landmark in a different way after both visiting and talking to the people in the Elmina marked. The big white castle always makes me shiver of the terrible past. I sometimes feel guilt, even though I was born 200 years after slavery was ended. It is a reminder of the horrific past that must never be repeated.