31.08.2004 General News

Conference look for evidence of slave trade

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Accra, Aug. 31, GNA - Participants at an International Conference on slavery on Tuesday discussed issues relating to research and evidence on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

The discussion would enable them to come up with the full story of the slave trade, as it happened to set the records straight.

"Its footprints are ever-present in archival sources, oral tradition, indigenous festivals, caves, slave baths and slave markets scattered all over the country and Africa," Professor James Anquandah, a member of the National Slave Route project, said.

He said until recently, there had been little importance attached to the history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, whose history needed to be revealed and told.

Professor Anquandah said such landmarks of the slave trade could be harnessed for tourism development of the slave trade. Researchers, historians and politicians from Africa and participants from the Diaspora, Europe among others, are attending the four-day conference, which began in Accra on Monday.

Dr Akosua Perbi of the History Department, University of Ghana, who spoke on the pre-colonial slave camps at Jenini in the Brong Ahafo Region, said Jenini still had a mass burial site where the slaves were buried.

She said there was evidence that in Jenini one could find human bones lying outside houses that had been built on the burial site. "As people sweep their compounds everyday they could see frames of skulls on the ground, and whenever it rains, a lot of bones are washed away."

Dr Perbi said these also gave evidence to the slave trade and the existence of a slave camp at Jenini.

Professor Michel Doortmont of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands also gave evidence that there were still some descendants of Van der Noot de Geeter, a Dutch slave merchant, who was involved in the slave trade and established a family in Africa.

"The existence of the many forts and castles, European monuments of war, plunder and militarised trade, forming a chain link across the West African Coast, are evidence of the reign of violent military might." The participants would also be looking at the legacies and expectations of the slave trade and its effect on Africa. 31 Aug. 04

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