Comedian and television host Steve Harvey hasn’t been hosting his morning radio show recently, as he’s on a vacation with his family, traveling from Italian and French Riviera, Rome, and Croatia to Ghana’s cape coast. The highlight of their trip was, undoubtedly, the visit to Ghana’s slave castles, where Harvey and his wife, Marjorie Bridges, were reduced to tears.
Steve Harvey felt “real pain” as he walked through Elmina Castle, the most famous Ghana’s slave castles, along the coast of Ghana on Aug. 17, 2019. Like many other African American tourists, Little Big Shots host and his family visited the historic site in Elmina to find out more about their heritage.
In an emotional Facebook post, the 62-year-old comedian uploaded a video of the sobering visit, writing: “This was real pain I felt going back to Ghana’s slave castles…I could feel my ancestors on me… Powerful beyond words that I can explain.”
Ghana’s slave castles, with a very dark history, once housed countless Africans, who were tortured for the slave trade centuries ago. They were subsequently shipped off across the Atlantic, never to set foot in their homeland again.
“Exact figures are hard to come by, but it is generally estimated that around 12 million Africans, from Senegal to Angola, were shipped to the Americas over a period of 500 years. Around one million are thought to have perished during the journey; many more died in the forts’ dungeons while they waited for the ships,” BBC travel states.
The Elmina Castle, erected by the Portuguese in 1482, had 30,000 Africans passing through it each year while on their way to the Americas at the height of the slave trade. “This continued for nearly 300 hundred years in appalling conditions,” Pilot Guides reports.
Steve, dressed in a canary yellow tunic, looked sad and downcast as he learned about the castle’s haunting history from the tour guide.
European traders once confined slaves into the dark, poorly ventilated, cramped dungeons, where they spent up to three months living in these dire conditions prior to embarking on the arduous journey across the sea.
With no water or sanitation, the floor of the dungeon was covered in human waste. Male and female slaves were separated into different dungeons. Many of them fell severely ill, and horrifying, the female slaves were regularly raped by their captors.
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The tour guide also showed Steve and his family the shackles, whips, chains, and other devices applied on slaves. The Harvey family even tried them on.
Steven was apparently heartbroken knowing his ancestors had experienced such brutality at these fortified slave-trading posts before boarding the ship to America. At one moment, he sat down on the stone steps and lowered his head, as if in deep thought.
In some photos published online, Steven appeared to be weeping. His wife, Marjorie, had teary eyes as well.
Steve and his family were in Ghana on holiday and for the Year of Return. The Year of Return is an initiative by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, aiming to bring African-American diaspora to return to Ghana and the continent to commemorate 400 years since the first group of African slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia.
Other Hollywood celebrities who have returned to Ghana for the Year of Return include Cynthia Bailey, Boris Kodjoe, Anthony Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Michael Jai White, and Gabourey Sidibe.
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“I encourage as many of you as possible to go HOME for your ancestors. Their strength is in each of us and we must honor their ultimate sacrifice in all that we do,” Steve wrote.
Ghana’s slave castles, a popular destination among African American tourists, serves to remind us about the horrors and atrocities of the slave trade.
Watch the video:
This was real pain I felt going back to Ghana’s slave castles…I could feel my ancestors on me… Powerful beyond words that I can explain. I encourage as many of you as possible to go HOME for your ancestors. Their strength is in each of us and we must honor their ultimate sacrifice in all that we do. #TheYearofTheReturn 🎥: @madebycourtney
تم النشر بواسطة Steve Harvey في السبت، ١٧ أغسطس ٢٠١٩