It is quite ironic that the Slovenian-American wife of racist U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to visit the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana as part of her two-day tour of the country.
Her four-nation Africa tour in itself is a bit unsettling as her husband has viciously denigrated African countries and rejected migrants from the continent and beyond with strict laws and policies that resulted in the detention of women and children in cages and tents unfit for humans.
The Cape Coast Castle is one of the over two-dozen European-built castles in Ghana that held slaves before the torturous journey across the Atlantic to the Americas and Europe.
It serves as a reminder of a vicious history and gives African Americans a sense of hope as their ancestors left the castles as slaves and fought through different forms of oppression to these times of freedom that Trump wants to curtail.
The first black president of the United States, Barack Obama who served from 2009 to 2017 visited the Cape Coast Castle with his family on his first visit to Africa in 2009.
He toured the castle to learn about the oppression that African-Americans went through and to interact with his ancestral lineage, Obama said at the time as he reflected on the evils committed against humanity through the slave trade.
For Melania Trump, who is following the steps of the Obamas by choosing Ghana as the first country to visit in Africa, “this will be my first time travelling to Africa and I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent, while also learning about its rich culture and history.”
She had to leave the United States of America where Africans are being discriminated against by her husband and racially profiled by the police to learn about Africa and it children. Are the children in America any better than those in Africa?
The United States is also battling with a high infant mortality rate, child marriage, mental health problems, substance abuse and HIV that affect children. Also, minority groups and immigrants in the U.S. have little access to affordable health care as Trump has made the country an increasingly hostile social and political environment.
She could have been of immense help by convincing her husband to reverse his draconian policies that are eating up the fabric of society.
Maybe, the visit to the Cape Coast Castle could awaken her spirits to get her husband to care for all the people and not only the white American people.
Melania Trump at the Door of No Return at the Cape Coast Castle, Ghana. “I will never forget the incredible experience and the stories that I heard,” she said when asked about the visit. pic.twitter.com/5Ne71s8Pu7
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) October 3, 2018
What will Melania Trump learn at the Cape Coast Castle?
Cape Coast Castle was originally built by the Swedes in the 1650s and named Carolusborg after King Charles X of Sweden. It was built from the ground up by Hendrik Caerloff for the Swedish Africa Company to trade in timber and gold.
The Dutch took over the castle in the late 1650s for the Danes with the help of Caerloff who switched sides due to a dispute. The Dutch later took all the Danish possessions including the castle.
Carolusborg was later captured by the English in 1664 during the prelude to the Second Anglo-Dutch War and renamed it Cape Coast Castle. The English made Cape Coast their new capital on the Gold Coast.
Prior to the transatlantic slave trade, the castle had a dark history including the hanging of 52 men in 1772 who were crew of the pirate Bartholomew Roberts.
It was also damaged during the Seven Years’ War in 1757 when a French naval squadron attacked and nearly captured the castle.
The Cape Coast Castle was then demolished and rebuilt with an extensive spur ending in a tower built on the western side in 1762 and a high building along the north curtain erected in 1773.
A new tower that was built for defensive purposes was extended in the 1790s with two stories that were used as the governors’ apartments and a chapel. Below one of the bastions were newly built slave dungeons.
Cape Coast became a major point of export of slaves from West Africa and many Europeans flocked to the Castle for the most valuable commodity at the time in the Americas.
The dungeons were the last memory of Africa for slaves as they were held there in their thousands without any ventilation and toilets. They were starved, beaten, tortured and left to die when diseased while the European traders and governors lived comfortably above them and prayed in their chapel for God’s blessings.
The dungeons in the basement also signified the beginning of black people’s journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas as they were paraded through the “gate of no return” and loaded onto ships that were as worse as the dungeons.
After the abolition of the slave trade, the castle continued to be the seat of the British colonial government in the Gold Coast until it was transferred to the Christiansborg Castle in Osu, Accra.
Ghana gained independence in 1957 and the castle came under the care of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board. All the castles and forts in Ghana including the Cape Coast Castle were included on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.
This article written by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com