Yesterday, 2oth August 2019 was exactly 400 years since the first recorded slave ship arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in the United States.
It was the beginning of inhumane treatment of African being enslaved and shipped to labour in the west in what became known as the transatlantic slave trade.
In a Facebook post from the office of the Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III – Akwamumanhene, the King of Akwamu officially apologised for the role “our ancestors played in the human trade and I would like to use this platform to re-iterate that apology.”
This apology comes as a lot of people of African descent who are descendants of slaves are retracing their roots and coming back home for a full circle.
400 years since they were sent into slavery, they are coming back home to the land they call the motherland.
In the Facebook post, the king shared a brief history of the Akwamus and their involvement in the slave trade.
Read the full post below:
The Akwamus historically were notoriously skilled warriors with great entrepreneurial acumen.
Around the 16th century, the Danes were controlling the trade route along the coast with merchandise and slaves being exported from Accra. The Akwamu wanted to take control of trade and in doing so inevitably to control the way in which humans were transported abroad, perhaps by ensuring a more humane treatment in the unfortunate process.
Akwamus had always been mercenary fighters and like to be in control wherever they found themselves. This was one of the reasons why Akwamus led by Asomani decided to take over the Christainborg Castle from the Danes by a carefully planned internal coup. After successfully taking over the castle for the King of Akwamu (Basua) Asomani set about establishing trade opportunities for his people. When the Akwamu later had to return the castle to the Danes after more than a year’s negotiations, Akwamu kept the original keys of the Castle as a trophy which are held at the Bogyawe Palace at Akwamufie till this day.
Akwamus activities earned them many enemies from surrounding tribes who later joined forces to wage war against them. Their men were captured into slavery. But the Akwamu, being warriors will not serve, and in 1733, staged the famous revolt against the Plantation owners at the West Indies by capturing the fort at Coral Bay and taking control of almost the entire Island.
There are elements of Akwamu’s history that in hindsight are regrettable and during the Diasporan’s (The full circles) visit to the Bogyawe Palace early this year, I made a point in my speech to officially apologise for the role our ancestors played in trade in humans and I would like to use this platform to re-iterate that apology. We have come a long way in our chequered history but the time has come to bring back our kingsmen after 400years, and re-establish the bond of brotherhood that we share. This is why the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Danquah has declared this year (2019) as the Year of Return for all Diasporans of African descent to visit their roots by coming to Ghana.
We hope that as they journey back home, they will find the peace and sense of belonging they have been longing for.
In everlasting memory of the anguish of our ancestors. May those who died rest in peace. May those who return find their roots. May humanity never again perpetrate such injustice against humanity. We, the living vow to uphold this.