|Gate of No Return - A memorial to the slave port that was on the shores of Benin|
Another thing I found interesting was the deep connections they referred to with culture in Brazil, Haiti and Cuba and the parallels that exist today with religion, music, traditional dress… For instance, Benin has many salsa musicians and the dance lives strongly today. I believe that in the US we are taught that slaves lost all connections to the home countries and maybe in direct ways they did, but in larger ways the cultures have found ways to stay in touch. Former slaves came back to live back on the shores of Africa and countries keeping connected culturally.
I have always been interested in the history of slavery and visiting Ouidah was a very interesting way to experience the history more deeply and avoid the throngs of tourists that mob the other African slave ports. In fact, I also got a chance to visit Goree Island off the coast of Dakar, but Benin’s display was more powerful.
If you are interested in learning more I just found this NPR link to a story about Benin and the history of slavery there.