The Living Fruits
Published on Jun 20, 2015
Some thoughts: This trip was something. I travelled by road to Banjul where I caught a ferry (on foot) to Barra in the Gambia, Africa to an area called Niumi where the sparse Kunta Kinte village sits about a mile from the island. A place where the African Ancestors suffered for the sake of the greed and ignorance of the mentally unwell slave trader, the legacy of which still prevails today. It was horrific, shocking and at the same time grounding to learn first hand of this perfidious nature of the slave trader. Their fellow human beings, kings and queens, temporarily incarcerated on a island said to have been surrounded by sharks, alligators and crocodiles making it inescapable other than by suicide or death by diseases contracted from their very captors or the inhumane conditions. For those that survived the incarceration, well, the rest is (an untold) history.
It was eerie walking on the Island itself, which used to be called James Island after the Portugese founder of the set up. Apparently, the man is buried there, a stone marks the spot. Walking amongst the ruin, it felt as if my feet were passing over an important part of who I am as a Diasporan and for this reason I say it was also a grounding experience. It was because of the connection with the past that happened. The space between here and now somehow meeting for those moments for me to rise above.
It’s a daunting experience to contemplate, but that’s the thing, for me there was no contemplation or deep thinking about it, I was moved to go and so I did. I’m glad I did.