Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 7:57 AM
"Maafa is a Kiswahili word that means disaster, great calamity, damage, injustice, misfortune or catastrophe. It is used to describe the Holocaust and Great Suffering of people of African descent at the hands of Europeans."
My classmates and I recently read an article titled The Maafa: A commemoration of the transatlantic slave trade. In this article Hardiman (year unknown) states that, "If one knows the roots of a problem, one can save the family tree." In writing about the slave trade, the author quotes Lisa Ross who says, "the cauldron of cruelty and suffering of the Maafa is unconsciousable, and our legacy of survival amid this horror beyond comprehension, yet it speaks to our strength, faith and resiliency."
I want to share some photos I took while in Ghana in 2009. You will see three different places depicted: First is Assin Manso or Slave River. Follow the link to learn more about Assin Manso. It will lead you to a video where the history will be told orally from a Ghanaian at the river (which is SO awesome, I had the privilege of experiencing this). The ball and chain I hold in the photo below are real, they were recovered from the river. Also, there are photos below of Cape Coast and St. George's Castles, both former slave ports. It was at these ports and ports alike along the coast of Africa, that captured Africans reached after months and months of walking. After being held for more months in the dungeons, those who survived walked through the "doors of no return" and were shipped away and into slavery. Hardiman (year unknown) offers that "the total number of slaves stolen from Africa and exported throughout the Diaspora are unknown" but estimates 15 million between the 16th and 19th century.
...This experience was extremely heartbreaking but very empowering as well. I hope to go back with my family one day... and then, I dream about taking the whole hood too! I imagine, African Americans learning our history this way would be something powerful!
Click here to view the Slave River live.
Hardiman, J. (year unknown). The Maafa: A commemoration of the transatlantic slave trade.