21 June 2010

Cape Coasting By

I finally managed to find some time this past weekend to go to Cape Coast. I haven't been to too many places since I came to Ghana as work usually left me far too shattered to do anything else. My frequents trips to Koforidua aside, I think my fleeting trip to Kumasi is the only one I've undertaken. Another deterrent to these trips was not having anybody to go with. After last weekend, I really regret using this as an excuse. Next time I want to go somewhere, I'm just gonna do it. Screw waiting for other people to help me fulfill me heart's desires!

Anyway, back to Cape Coast. I was talking to a colleague who's doing a summer programme at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and I mentioned to him that it was a shame I'd never made it there. He suggested that I should come to visit and after "hmmming" and "erming" for a while (he fancies me) I jumped on an STC for an overnight visit. I was pleasantly surprised by the STC buses. They were air-conditioned, not too confining, and you could entertain yourself with a shit Nigerian film should you so desire. I didn't.

The trip took about two and a half hours as the bus was quite slow and I saw many of the famed Cape Coast boardings schools along the the way. The UCC campus is nothing like the Legon campus which is all white buildings and red clay. UCC seemed more green and "foresty" for a lack of a better word. Didn't do much that day as I arrived around 5:30 and all I wanted to do was watch the England match (colossal waste of time there!). So Saturday morning my colleague gave me a quick tour of the campus and we headed to Cape Coast castle for what I knew would be a depressing tour. Our tour guide, Oscar, was great with the seven people in our group and he was extremely patient and knowledgeable in answering any questions we threw at him. My colleague and I were the only Ghanaians in a group of Black Americans and strangely their reaction to the things we saw made me sadder to the things themselves. Does that make sense? I mean it was horrible seeing the conditions the slaves were held in but one of the American women completely lost her shit when we were shown a cell for dissenting slaves who were condemned to die. There were still marks on the floor and walls where the slaves had tried to scratch their way our with their shackles but the teeth marks where desperation had made them tried to gnaw their way out did it for me (and her). She sat on the floor and caressed the marks whilst sobbing uncontrollably. Man that was enough for me and I was glad when the tour ended soon after. Stupid me forgot to bring a camera so the camera on my phone had to do. I snapped some pics as best as I could.

The Door of No Return where slaves passed before they went on the ships.

The floor of the cell scratched my condemned slaves. The tiny window-less room
often had about eighty men stuffed into it, who were left to die. The slave masters didn't bother removing the dead bodies until the last slave had died.

I acted like a typical tourist and bought some cool paintings before I had lunch at the Castle Restaurant which is right next to the castle. Their seafood was amazing and coupled with an ice-cold Star beer and the amazing view, it was hard to think of anyplace I'd have rather been. The beach at Cape Coast was gorgeous and nothing like the filthy messes masquerading as beaches in Accra. Cape Coast is very much a fishing town and people were friendly in general. However, people trying to force you to part with your money is as common there as it is in Accra. Why are people always flipping begging for money, especially from the people they can single out as non-locals? I had to tell one man about himself after he spent 20 minutes pestering me to buy a Ghana hat I neither needed nor wanted. KMBT.

Anyway, I'm rambling now in what was intended to be a short post. I'll just add that I've never felt more peace in my life as I did sitting on that beach, staring at the sea. There's something about the sea that always calms me for some reason. It makes me realise just how amazing God is and also makes me kind of small (but in a good way). My planned to trip to Elmina Castle and Kakum National Park, just a few kilometres away from Cape Coast didn't happen as I wanted to catch the Ghana match and I had had enough depressing tours for the day. I know I'll definitely be back though so I'll do all the other touristy things then.

Here are the paintings I picked up after haggling for about half an hour.They were ridiculously cheap though and I love them so no complaints here!


Afrocentric said...


I totally emphasise with you on your experience in Cape Coast. I have also visited the slave fort. It was something i felt i needed to do, during my last trip to Ghana. It's one of the most saddest experienceS ever. What got me the most was how uncomfortably dark, hot and stuffy it was once the tour guide switched off the light in the cell. I felt I could literally hear the groanings of our ancestors - if we felt uncomfortable for being locked up for a couple of minutes, imagine the absoloute torture they went through.

I was also upset, and to be honest with you, pissed off, when we were shown where the slave masters held their church services, where they senT praises to God Almighty, with the shackled slaves in the God forsaken dingy cells directly beneath them!! Can you imagine??!!

I was personally affected, and I can honestly say I will NEVER forget my day at Cape Coast Castle.
A day at the castle really is the biggest test of forgiveness for everyone, whether black or white.

I too ate a the restaurant, the food was good, but it took forever (no suprises there then!)

I also agree with how much the immensity of God's greatness becomes apparent when by the sea. There is something humbling about it.

Well done for posting this, it actually brought back the emotions I felt on that day.

Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens said...

It is bad that I'd never really felt the pull to go to Elmina Castle, but funnily enough recently it has been crossing my mind. And I kinna feel like I should do the touristy thing and visit the places like the castle. It sounds so sad thou.

Love the painting by the way! Be wanting some for the flat! Mannnn, I need to learn how to haggle...

Markun taideblogi said...

It was to visit your blog. Such beatiful pics of your country which I have never visited. My blog includes art and photos of Finland. I’d be glad if checked them out. Autumn greetings from Markku Mäkelä, Finland

Rodney Jehu-Appiah said...
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