In February 2019 I visited Elmina Castle, a sprawling white-washed fortress close to Cape Coast in what is now Ghana. The Castle served as prison for men and women brought from across West Africa and destined to spend their lives in chains. One year on I remain unable to write about the history of this place or the number of people held captive. To reduce their story to dates and numbers, the ‘facts’ of slavery, is to neglect the horrors that Elmina represented – and continues to represent.
Breathe deep he says Prepare yourself for what is to come But nothing can prepare me for this We descend into the darkness To the place I stand The air is sucked from me I cannot breathe For here there is no life Only pain Separation Death Hands reach to comfort me But there is no comfort to be had In this place I stand on the dead Remnants of the past Traces of the future Blood Shit Tears I stand on the dead A life built on the backs of others Racism Injustice Inequality Then as now Now as then There are no ways to finish Because this is not over