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Beauty, Liberty & Hope: Finding Myself In Haiti, The First Black Republic

I first touched down in Africa in 2008. Looking out the airplane window at Kotoka International Airport, I was struck by the redness of the soil and thought of my ancestors whose blood was spilt on the land during slavery. 

In fact, the red colour in Ghana’s flag symbolises the bloodshed in the country’s fight for independence, the yellow represents the vast natural resources and mineral wealth while the green denotes its rich forests. The black star in the middle is a symbol of African emancipation from slavery. 

I spent five wonderful weeks in Ghana. My most poignant visit was a trip to the Elmina and Cape Coast slave castles. Set against a stunning coastal backdrop, an overwhelming sense of despair overcame me and I felt stifled inside the dungeons where enslaved people were held captive. The suffocating stench in the dungeon with its walls stained from human excretion are forever seared into my mind. I felt deep sadness looking through the famous ‘door of no return’ where my ancestors were shuffled through as they began the gruesome transatlantic journey, never to return to their beloved homelands.