The Middle Passage


The Middle Passage

The misfortune of the man of colour is to have been enslaved.

The misfortune and inhumanity of the White man are to have killed man somewhere.

The fortified house represents the hundreds of fortresses built by European commercial companies along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea.

The most famous of these fortresses, Fort St Georges, built in 1482 in Elmina and which changed hands several times,

still exists near Accra in Ghana. It simultaneously held houses, transit camps and shops and,

in the time of intensive slave trade transit camps were added where slaves were gathered while waiting for ships.
In the bottom left, the prisoners are led towards the coast by precise routes, which are carefully monitored.

There they are prepared for the great journey. First they are locked in blind boxes, zombaϊ (which means “no fire, no light”) to accustom them to travel in the dark hold of the ships.

Then there undergo specific rituals, such as circling the pole of the forgotten (centre), which is supposed to help them “not regret anything from their past life”. Finally they walk around the tree of memory so that at their death, their souls can return to the land of their ancestors.

Thus detached from their origins, deprived of their humanity and transformed into goods, they are loaded onto ships, specifically designed for that purpose.

,,,/ extract chapter 7  © W. A. W