Letter from Elmina Castle

Dear Esosa,

These words I send to you in a dream.

The voice of my broken self as I lie on this cold , rough floor.

Many moons have passed, since the white faced monsters snatched me and your sister as we went to the river.

I have prayed and hoped that our shouts alerted you and others in the village to run and hide.

That you are alive and well able to continue living.

The sad story of Arora’s death is an everyday nightmare.

Frail Black beauty of the Savannah kingdom.

She had never seen a life like this…dscn8395

Fetid, unclean water, cold all night on jagged stone floors dscn8399and the branding of the iron on a day she was chained outside in the hot sun – for refusing to mate with a pale faced devil.dscn8401

We were all chained.

We were all burned,

packed tightly together for many days.

The stench of our own selves ; a forced company.

Those of us who live hope for nothing good.

For the cells speak of evil and bloodshed from many generations.

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We sometimes hear songs , coming from the Western part of the place we were brought to… Someone said it is a church – a temple for worshipping God in the horrible castle we are being kept in.

We of many languages, who are learning to speak a common tongue…

Strange music, but still soothing.

I wonder if that is coming from the afterlife where Arora has now gone to.

Esosa,  I say to you ” Be strong”…

“Be free” and always “Be Brave”.

Like my grandfather whom you are named after; be the protector of the people who remain.

Hide if you must, but live to fight again another day.

For I know these monsters who do this,

capture us when we were unawares ;

can not win.

A day will come and and it will be time to break free…

It may not happen in my time…

But, time always births change.

I hope you will continue to teach your children and others.

The stories of our brave ancestors.

The glory of the kingdom and the beauty of our heritage.

Be well my son, and grow strong.


December was a month of many memories…

One  was from the visit to Elmina castle.

That home of many memories… sad memories… perhaps some happy.

Elmina castle is the holding cell that held many slaves as they were shipped from Cape coast to other lands during the terrible years of the Atlantic slave trade.

A formidable fortress built close to the waters of the Atlantic, Elmina castle is a contradiction of sorts…

Strong structure… defying the passage of time. Still it is a testimony that no human venture lasts forever, even less the ignoble ones…

This letter … though a song of hope. from Elmina. A translation of what a slave’s final moments in Elmina would probably look like.

I hope you read and reflected on how our human choices today would impact on the next generation.

Copyright . Onaoluwa Abimbola – 2017.


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