Archives for posts with tag: Ghana

Lutomia1
The Return
by Anne Namatsi Lutomia

In Ghana also once known as The Gold Coast
Exist twelve forts now world heritage sites
Built by the Portuguese, Dutch, British and an Ashanti King
Elmina Castle aka St. George of the mine castle was my point of return

Full of fear and curiosity, I visited Elmina Castle in Cape Coast
Leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the coastal town
Spying waves of the Atlantic Ocean smashing the black stones on the      beach
Was welcomed into a sad, empty, dirty whitewashed fort with brown roof      tiles

Now descendants return to see, smell, touch and pay homage to their      ancestors
Entering various doors in the castle
Doors where people and goods stolen, snatched, taken away were      exchanged
At the door of no return, people now slaves left for good

I entered the rooms at Elmina, rooms of a lived contradiction
Of a normalized life by the slave master
Rooms where life was enjoyed to the fullest
Rooms where misery was felt to the fullest

Above a church, kitchen, bedrooms and dining room
Rooms where deals were made
Rooms where rape took place
Rooms where the master lived

At the bottom dungeons and slave rooms
The female dungeon where I felt their spirits and smelled them
The solitary confinement where the guide shut me in – I screamed
And the door of no return where I saw the Atlantic Ocean and the boats

As I left the castle, I read the Elmina Castle plaque
A promise for similar injustice never occur
A memory of those who had died
An invitation to those who return

PHOTO: “Elmina Castle, 2016” by Anne Namatsi Lutomia.

licensed Nancy Haggarty

EDITOR’S NOTE: Elmina Castle was erected by the Portuguese in 1482 in a location known in the present day as Elmina, Ghana. The site was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, and the oldest European building in existence south of the Sahara Desert. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became a stop on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. Captives, both men and women, were imprisoned at the castle, and later branded, placed on a ship, and sent to a foreign land, where they were auctioned off, then sent to work for their owners. The Dutch seized the fort from the Portuguese in 1637. The slave trade continued under the Dutch until 1814. In 1872, the Dutch Gold Coast, including the fort, became a possession of Great Britain. The Gold Coast, which is now Ghana, gained its independence in 1957 from Britain, and assumed control of the castle. Elmina Castle is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.  (Source: Wikipedia)

PHOTO: Skull and crossbones mark the door to the dungeon at Elmina Castle for male slaves slated to be transported on ships and sold at auction. Credit: Nancy Haggarty, used by permission.

licensed sergey mayorov

Lutomia 2

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was inspired by a trip that I took to Ghana in 2016. Although I am not a descendant of slaves, I visited the castle to learn and to pay homage to those who had undergone this dehumanizing experience. My visit stayed with me and gave me greater understanding regarding African Americans and others whose ancestors were enslaved.

PHOTOS: Elmina Castle, Ghana, on Atlantic Ocean, by Sergey Mayorov, used by permission. Sign at Elmina Castle by Anne Namatsi Lutomia (2016).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Namatsi Lutomia is a budding poet and a member of Champaign Urbana (Illinois) poetry group. She enjoys writing poems about her lived experience and nature. She writes poems in Swahili on Twitter in malumbano style, where poets respond to each other through their poems. She has published poems with BUWA and recently published a poem in the Silver Birch Press Wearing a Mask Series.

gyasi
Monday Mornings
by Geosi Gyasi

Like a rush hour,
Begins the crying
Of the clock, vibrating
On the static wall
Till I arise. I move about,
The shock of abbreviated
Weekend, the onerous task
Of beginning anew,
This ordeal:
Collecting a bucket,
Running to the well,
Fetching water,
Standing on a chiseled stone,
Stooping to bath,
Brushing my teeth,
Wearing uniform.
When the horn from the bus
Sounds, grandmother flies me
In the air, hurrying to a sickly
Monday bus.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author as a child at Speech & Prize Giving Day, Universal Preparatory School, Koforidua, Ghana.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I lived with my grandmother when I was a child. Grandmother used to wake me up at 4.30 a.m. everyday and prepare me for school. As a grown-up, anytime I remember grandmother running with me to catch up the school bus, it puts smiles on my face.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Geosi Gyasi is a book blogger, reader, writer, and interviewer. His work has appeared or forthcoming in Visual Verse, The New Black Magazine, Nigerians Talk, African Writer, Kalahari Review, Linden Avenue, and elsewhere. He blogs at geosireads.wordpress.com.