Mon. Sep 26th, 2022
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Badagry is one of the twenty local government areas (LGAs) of Lagos State, Nigeria. The area’s headquarters are in the town of Ajara, and the LGA includes Oke-oko, Iworo-Ajido, Gbaji, Egan, Mowo, Ekunpa, Popoji, and Farasime, among other towns and villages.

The Yoruba ethnic division is the dominant tribal affiliation in Badagry LGA, which has a population of 325,512 people. Yoruba and English are the most widely spoken languages in Badagry, and Christianity and Islam are the most widely practiced religions, with a sizable number of traditionalists.

The Badagry Heritage Museum, the Mobee Slave Relic Museum, the Vlekete shrine, and the Agiya monument are all major tourist attractions in the area because of the LGA’s significant involvement in the slave trade history. The Badagry festival and the Gunuvi festival are two popular festivals hosted in Badagry.

In this coastal town in southwestern Nigeria, the sun shines through the tall palm trees and beautiful white clouds. The skin is caressed by a pleasant wind from the neighboring Lagos Lagoon.

Badagry, in Lagos state, has museums and monuments that date back to 1845 and tell the story of this region. During the Transatlantic Slave Trade, when thousands of captives were taken to the Americas and Europe, the town served as a significant station. The ancient sites in Badagry also reveal a wealth of information about life in colonial Nigeria and the country’s conversion to Christianity.

Tourists come to Badagry to learn about the town, which many Nigerians refer to as the “cradle of Western civilisation” in the country, according to Oke-tojinu Setonji, a guide and founder of Jinuset Travels and Tours, which conducts tours of the area’s landmarks.

History of Badagry slave trade

This guide pointed out that the majority of the African slave trade was carried out by Africans rather than Europeans. When the Europeans came in the 1400s, slavery was already a part of the culture; slaves were captured after conflicts or were criminals who were enslaved as punishment. Initially, the Europeans were only able to trade for existing slaves.

Africans were compelled to continue capturing and selling slaves due to rising European demand, which lasted well into the 1800s. In Badagry, a lively slave auction evolved, where captives were swapped for firearms, whiskey, and other European goods.

The museum’s second room is one of the original cells, and it’s easy to image how terrifying it must have been with only that one small window still there with people crammed in for weeks or months at a time, with no toilet or other hygienic facilities. Many died before even boarding the ships that would transport them across the Atlantic.

Badagry’s Brazilian baracoon

Seriki Williams Abass, the “baracoon’s” owner, was profiled in another room. He’d been a slave himself, taken to Brazil to work as a domestic slave. He had been trained to read and write, allowing his owner to return him to Africa, where he worked as a slave trader with his former owner. He remained a famous and respected chief in Badagry even after the slave trade ended.

The Nigerian government intends to transform the entire former “baracoon” into a museum, however it is now occupied by local families who will be evicted to make way for the museum. They still get their water from the original well. Because the building is owned by Abass’ descendants, it is currently a private family museum. His tomb is in the courtyard, along with the tomb of one of his many wives, possibly the first or favorite.

Badagry’s Mobee Slave Relics Museum

Another museum, the Mobee Slave Relics Museum, similarly deals with slavery and is family-owned by descendants of a traditional leader who was a renowned slave trader, like the Abass museum. High Chief Mobee was this one, and I liked the irony of his gravestone at this museum.

This museum is only one room, and the man who told us about the things in the room was, I believe, a family member. He showed us the noisemaker that was used to signal the coming of the chief, as well as telling us the same enslavement story that our guide had told us. This museum, like the other, displays artwork depicting how the captives were handled, as well as examples of chains and other enslavement and torture equipment.

The disparity between these two museums’ lessons that slavery was a nightmare for the captives and the obvious pride and wealth in being ancestors of notable slave traffickers is something that neither museum properly addressed. I was struck by the contradictory messages.

The Point of No Return in the Badagry slave trade

The slaves were carried out of the cells and shackled together single-file when the European ships arrived, with the exception of children who were bound to their mothers. They were transported by boat to Gberefu Island, which was only a short distance away. The slave dealers used a traditional wooden canoe to transport the slaves.

When the slaves arrived on the island, they were marched across a narrow route through a forest to the island’s ocean side. It’s not a long walk; It’s a scrubby, sandy path today. It would have been a hundred times worse for the hostages, who were already weak from their imprisonment and had to carry the extra weight of the chains that linked them together, as well as the fear and despair they must have felt.

A Memory That Cannot Be Erased, A Beach And Tourism In The Land Of Badagry

This location’s history is both disgusting and heartbreaking. The extent of pain produced by the slave trade over 400 years would be difficult to describe in any form. Unfortunately, the Point of No Return fails to adequately explain its significance.

The place where the slaves finished their journey across the island is commemorated by a memorial, however it does not appear to be as it was intended. The two vertical sections, which are bending inwards, were supposed to portray a man and a woman bound together, but the chain has disintegrated and fallen off the monument due to the salt water.

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