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Exhibition on slavery begins in Accra


ACCRA, September 29 -- A Three-month exhibition on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade aimed at educating the public on the importance of the period opened on Thursday at the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) in Accra. The exhibition seeks to draw attention to important places of the trade in the country and to recount its uniqueness. The exhibition, which would run from 28th September to the 15th of December is in collaboration with the GMMB and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Exhibits include objects of slavery, photographs of sites and structures, models of European trade posts, maps and illustrations. Mr. Fritz Baffour, Chairman of the GMMB, noted the benefits that the exposure of forts and castles could bring to the country, especially in terms of tourism and the economic benefit to communities.

He said the slave trade is an "unavoidable" and "unfortunate" fact of history, saying "we must not remain silent about it no matter the enormity of the accompanying embarrassment". " Humanity must constantly be reminded of the atrocities of the slave trade. It is through such reminders that we succeed in keeping the world alert to avoid its past mistakes".

Mr. Baffour said punishment for the evil alone may not stop its perpetration but concerted condemnation and appeal to human conscience could go further. Ghana, he said wishes to be at the forefront of the tourism industry and the slave trade adding that, tourism sites both known and unknown markets and slave routes should be developed to show the link between Ghana and the Atlantic world.

The economic benefits to the communities should not be understated since it would attract the right infrastructure like access roads, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and employment. Mr. Baffour appealed to the government to recognise the importance of the nation's heritage to its economic advancement and to promote tourism like the cocoa and gold sectors.

" A government sponsored programme to develop and enhance tourism is needed promptly without fail". He stressed the need to restructure cultural institutions like the GMMB and said the Board with assistance from UNESCO, plans to set up a permanent slave museum at Jamestown.

Nana Akuako Sarpong, Chairman of the National Commission on Culture, said the issue of slavery should be open for debate saying, "This would prick the conscience of the perpetrators".

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