Year in year out, tourists have bucket list of exciting destinations like waterfalls and beaches for summer trips. The non-traditional destinations, especially dark tourism locations are usually not top consideration especially because of the seemly taboo associated with them. They are historical and cultural places associated with disaster and death. They bring back to mind painful past, struggles, horror and harsh condition, some of which depicts man’s inhumanity to man.
These locations can, however, make perfect getaways and amazing summer trips for tourists who wish to observe real or recreated death. In Africa, a plethora of such locations exist and can be added to your bucket list this summer.
Nigeria: Badagry Black Heritage Museum
Badagry Black Heritage Museum is a reminder of one of the ancient barbaric practices in black Africa, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The museum, a storey building located in the ancient town of Badagry, houses objects dated back to the pre-slave era, slave era and post-slave era with records of no fewer than 550,000 African slaves that we exported through Badagry to America between the period of 1500-1787
Some of the objects in the museum that brings horrified graphic images to ones’ mind are the chains and mouth muzzles used to hold slaves throughout their life span. The sight alone is to run…. Down ones’ spine. The large drinking pot where the slaves drank from, a replica of a ship with an upper & lower deck for transporting the slaves are also present. The safe containing important slavery files, documents, and the money used for transactions are still there. The Island of No Return, a place where all hope is lost for salves could also be sighted from the museum.
The House of Slaves and Salaga Slave Market, Ghana
The house of slaves and its Door of No Return is another museum that sends one down the memory lane of the terror and greed linked to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in Africa. It …..the torture slaves go through before their final exit from Africa. History has it that the slaves were subjected to inhumane conditions leading to the death of many before they reached the ships. Captured slaves were chained down in dark, airless cells for days before finally shipped abroad.
At the Salaga market in the Salga town is the starting point of slaves journey to bleak futures. They were exchanged for good/items in the market and transported to the coast for export. In this present day, Salga slave market can only be identified by the signpost erected on the exact spot where slaves were tied to a tree and sold.
Murambi, Nyamata and Kigali Genocide Memorials, Rwanda
Murambi, Nyamata, and Kigali are three centers that tell the terrible tale of suffering and death dedicated to paying tribute to the slain victims, estimated 800,000 lost souls in the Rwandan Genocide. The 100 days massacre in 1994 left a bitter taste that is still felt today in Rwanda. The centers are remembrance and places prepared for the bereaved to bury their loved ones.
The Murambi Genocide Memorial was created on 21st April 1995. It houses the remains of more than 50,000 victims killed in the then technical school where the Tutsis of the region sought refuge. It is on record that only 34 people from this site survived the genocide.
Nyamata memorial is located around a former church which was a place of refuge for the Tutsi who locked themselves in during the genocide. The church walls today show how the perpetrators made holes in the wall and ceiling to gain entrance with the altar cloth still stained with blood. The clothing and identity cards of the diseased are still there for remembrance.
“Red Terror” Martyrs Memorial Museum, Ethiopia
The “Red Terror” Museum in Addis Ababa is a memorial house to those who lost their lives during the Red Terror under Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Derg government. It is a site of dry bones, skulls, coffins, clothes soaked in blood, instrument of torment and victims’ photographs
The Ethiopian “Red Terror” reached its peak between 1977 and 1978 as citizens who fought against the military regime were captured, tortured, and killed. Their remains littered the streets of Ethiopia.
The Capture site, South Africa
The capture site is a cultural and historical exhibition created by the Apartheid Museum, in partnership with the Kwa Zulu Natal provincial government to immortalize the capture of Nelson Mandela on his journey to Johannesburg. Mandela was captured at this same site in 1962 for his anti-Apartheid activism acts and this began his journey to his 27 years imprisonment.
These locations are extreme tangent to the modern tourist recreational destinations. They provide experiences that have remarkable impacts on lives. As death is brought to close proximity, tourists better understand mortality. Death is seen but not touched.