Bagadry Slave Route
I had always wanted to visit Bagadry and trace the Slave route, but for some reason I never got round to it, this time, i made up my mind and nothing would deter me.I asked the taxi driver to pick me up early on Saturday Morning, I knew that traffic was really bad and didn’t know what to expect. So by 7 am there he was at my gate. We left soon after and the roads were more or less free! Whilst the taxi driver drove, I kept my eye on my Ipad’s Sat Nav, and I was happy to notice that names on streets did tally with the map. We arrived after a couple of hours and made our way to the main Museum, after stopping to ask for directions, It was unnervingly quiet, but it could not dampen my mood of feeling like the intrepid explorer all on my own, as Selina had chickened out for some reason!
We eventually arrived at the museum, and of course, it was all locked up. I thought this might happen, but as I had no numbers to call, I couldn’t find out if the museum would be open on a Saturday morning. Hence the need for this website!
The woman selling biscuits and meat pies said she would call the man who worked there to come open up for me. So we waited and waited until eventually he did show up.He opened up for us and I could see him having a quick sweep and dust around for us. When he was ready he called me and I called in my taxi driver in, to follow me on this enlightening journey, for I was pretty sure, he had never studied the Slave trade and, and he probably would not know much about it.
The photographs in the museum were pretty harrowing, there were photos, paper clippings, and artefacts, mainly chains and leg Irons. Once we finished in the museum, we set out on the next part of the excursion, the guide to took us across the water in a boat, to ” the point of no return” ,we followed in the path that enslaved people would have been taken on, and saw where they would have been taken to in order to be put onto waiting for slave ships, along the way ,we found the “well of Attenuation” where they were made to drink from a special well, as it was believed that drinking from this well, would make them forget themselves,and where they came from by some magical spells present in the water.
We walked to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and I tried to imagine what it must have been like. One minute you are walking along a free human being, the thinking thing your village is raided and you are captured. Shackled and tied up like an animal.
The plight of any enslaved person was made poignant at the Barracoon Slave compounds, one of which belonged to Chief Seriki Abbass, who had been taken as a slave himself at the age of 7, he had been groomed now as a slave trader as he learnt his trade from his master. He continued to keep and sell slaves in his compound where we now stood. Some items that were traded for human beings included ceramic plates, bottles of gin, guns, canon,and umbrellas. An Umbrella could have fetched up to 40 enslaved people. Some of these ornaments still remained, in very good condition and whilst others were slowly fading. The Brazillian Baracoons is the name given to the cells, where they were imprisoned pending exportation.The original “rooms” or cells remain where people kept, chained while waiting to be sold off.
Seriki Abass whose Original garments are displayed on the mannequin,shows us he was of a small frame and size.
After this, I really did not feel like seeing anywhere else. The trauma was too much for me and the idea of going to the slave market was just too much for me to bear. I decided to leave it for another day.
My taxi driver, on the other hand, was equally traumatised, especially after our guide, Mr Anago, had asked for volunteers to try out the double leg iron.He has chained himself to Godspower with the leg iron and now Godspower was upset and traumatised, he said the leg iron was painful and how could our own people sell off fellow human beings.
I don’t know I told him, unable to tell him that it was possible that even my own African ancestor had engaged in this practice.