This is a very short story of how my being locked-up, in a small dark room, in a 500-year-old castle, far away in Cape Coast changed my narrative about Life. And maybe taught me a few things about Freedom.
These pictures were shot at the Elmina Castle, and no, it’s not your regular Glitz and Glam castle… No handsome Princes or Princesses, no banquet or missen Cinderella Glass slippers. Lol. Not those Disney stuff. Zilch
This castle has had it’s fair share of life’s cruelties.
So, the initial purpose of the Elmina Castle was actually to give support to captains by providing their vessels with a secure harbor.
Hmmmm.. that’s how somehow, the Elmina castle suddenly turned to a “slave factory”, where hundreds and hundreds of slaves were traded, tortured and helplessly RAPED.
These slaves were shackled and crammed in the castle’s poorly ventilated dungeons, with no space to lie down and very little light. Kindly note that the dungeons were without water or sanitation, and the floor of the dungeons were littered with human waste that made many of the captives fall seriously ill. I mean, I walked through these walls over 100 years later and I could still feel the stench of death and pain.
The governor’s and officers’ quarters were located upstairs in the self-same castle but shockingly felt like a completely different world. Their chambers were extravagant, airy and very spacious, with beautiful parquet floors and breathtaking views of the blue waters of the Atlantic.
The Governors, Officers and traders went about their normal day-to-day life completely detached from the unfathomable human suffering and misery they were consciously inflicting.
During our tour, there was this point in which our tour guide told us to go into a small dark room in the dungeon. We obeyed and went in. Our tour guide closed the door of the room behind him, and we heard the cold click of the locks. The room went so dark you could almost touch it. We did not last 15 seconds before the goosebumps bursting out on our skin sent cold shivers running down our spines. The scream for FREEDOM had escaped my mouth before I even realized my mouth was open.
Only then, in that very brief moment we felt the tiniest bit of what the slaves must have gone through from the 17th century till 1957.
This is 2019, the Elmina Castle is no longer a slave port, it is no longer a place where the governor of the house can rape the helpless female slaves mercilessly.
The Elmina castle is now a tourist attraction for people like me who didn’t even realise the value of being truly Free, the power we posses by being uncaged and unshackled, the capability we hold to change the world through our passion, craft, thoughts, actions and skills, because, we are actually legitimately Free – to Do, to Create, to Live.
The Elmina Dress was obviously inspired by the Elmina Castle.
The Elmina Dress was carefully designed and tailored with only one aim – to give ease, class and comfort to it’s wearer – Ok 3 aims, but you get.
The Elmina Dress created by FOLABOMI is dedicated to Freedom, Empowerment and Living life knowing that we can give life our best shot.
May the souls of the departed rest in peace.
P.S: We were able to hear from a few people on what Freedom means to them. And we will like to hear from you too.
What does Freedom mean to you?