The Cape Coast Castle Museum Educator, Mr. Essel Blankson, who conducted the United States of America President, Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and children Sasha and Malia, round the historical monument has stated categorically that the event offered him an opportunity to talk to the world's most powerful leader.
Speaking to The Chronicle on Sunday, at the precinct of Cape Castle, Blankson said although he perceived the tour with President Obama and his family as doing his normal work as a museum educator, he did his job on that day as an enthusiastic African, because of Obama's fighting spirit which enabled him to ascend the American Presidency as an African. " I like the man because of his ability as an African to become President of the United States of America, and I was happy to conduct him and his family round the castle", Mr. Blankson told the Chronicle newspaper.
According him, it was a great opportunity to guide Obama and his family through the castle for almost one hour tour, explaining the history and heritage of the castle to his august visitors. Blankson revealed that Obama and his wife Michelle seemed to know the story about the slave trade, but the couple might have purposely visited the dungeon to introduce their children, Sasha and Malia to the historical remnant of the obnoxious slave trade that was perpetrated more than 500 centuries ago. "President Obama and Michelle seem to know about the history of the slave trade, and they shared a lot of information with Mr. Fritz Baffuor, an indigene of Elmina, he said.
Mr. Blankson emphasized that the Obamas wanted their children to experience the story of the slave trade and its relics at close hand, and he explained that the behaviour of the couple attested to the fact that it was their intention to expose the children to the reality of the barbaric act of mankind against his fellow human being. He said Obama was accompanied by his in-law and Michelle's auntie, as well as the two children.
He further stated that President Obama's visit has created awareness for the Cape Coast castle, the Central region and Ghana in both local and international circles. To him, people will soon flock to visit the castle. Mr. Blankson contended that although local patronage is higher than the foreign ones that they normally get, Saturday's visit by President Obama and his family might also boost local patronage.
The Cape Coast Castle Museum Educator told the paper that he was given a certificate of appreciation by a White House Staff who was among President Obama's entourage. Hon. Fritz Bafour explained in answer to a question that there was no need for the people of Elmina to feel envious of the mileage that Cape Coast had gotten out of Obamas visit, because Michelle specifically requested to visit the Cape Coast Castle. The American first lady was armed with information that her great-great ancestors were taken through the door of no return by slave ships to Virginia or South Carolina in America, where they worked on the sugarcane plantations and tobacco fields of Virginia.
According to history, Ships from Elmina sailed to Brazil and not to the United states, explained Fritz Bafour, an itinerant castle curator, in an interview with The Chronicle. There were undercurrents of jealousy which observers in Cape Coast felt particularly among the sub-chiefs and Asafo companies. Thankfully, it did not burst out in the open. Fritz, whose Father was a celebrated educationist, confirmed that he knew about the friction and said it was a wasted emotion.
In a usually sultry morning, the historic city of Cape Coast came face to face with the most charismatic man on the planet, who is a walking symbol of Black achievement and African hope, accompanied by Americas machismo, standing by with well sculpted biceps at the ready, reassuring Americans that they can relax. But this was no excursion. This was the defining moment for Michelle Obama, and her kids Malia and Sasha. And it took all of one hour. One hour of the Obamas time! By the time Beast 2 glided through the Castle, a morbid sense of expectation hung in the air. The chiefs, who had had a brief interaction with Obama, patiently sat close to the castle in their Sunday best, hoping that Obama will talk to them. They were disappointed. They had to make do with a hearty politicians wave.
Then it was straight to the main business of the day at the Castle. And Mr. Blankson, the Castle tour Guide was ready for them, with a helping hand from Hon. Fritz Bafour. They entered several recesses of the castle and took in a deep breath while they readied themselves for a plunge through the Door of No Return. By the time President Obama emerged, his face was no longer, wearing the bubbling countenance that the world knew and expected from him. There was no break down or anything like that, said Mr. Fritz Bafour, like Rita Marley or Stevie Wonder or countless American stars that had visited Cape Coast. The girls were very curios, he added, especially Sasha, who asked very pointed and searching questions.
For Obama, it was a very sombre look and melancholy voice that came through when he spoke to the microphones at the Castle. He said in a voice trembling with emotion: It reminds us of the capacity of human beings to commit great evil. One of the most striking things that I heard was that right above the dungeons in which male captives were kept, was a church, and that reminds us that sometimes we can tolerate and stand by great evil even as we think that we're doing well. Now, I think it was particularly important for Malia and Sasha, who are growing up in such a blessed way, to be reminded that history can take very cruel turns, and hopefully one of the things that was imparted to them during this trip is their sense of obligation to fight oppression and cruelty wherever it appears, and that any group of people who are degrading another group of people have to be fought against with whatever tools we have available to us.
So obviously it's a moving experience, a moving moment. We want to thank those who arranged for the tour and the people of Ghana for preserving this history. As painful as it is, I think that it helps to teach all of us that we have to do what we can to fight against the kinds of evils that, sadly, still exist in our world, not just on this continent but in every corner of the globe. And I think, as Americans, and as African Americans, obviously there's a special sense that on the one hand this place was a place of profound sadness; on the other hand, it is here where the journey of much of the African American experience began.
And symbolically, to be able to come back with my family, with Michelle and our children, and see the portal through which the diaspora began, but also to be able to come back here in celebration with the people of Ghana of the extraordinary progress that we've made because of the courage of so many, black and white, to abolish slavery and ultimately win civil rights for all people, I think is a source of hope. It reminds us that as bad as history can be, it's also possible to overcome.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|