Worldwide, we are living in times in which we are honoring the people that made today possible. We are coming together to fight for the rights of freedom and equality. We are striving to achieve a peaceful and harmonious environment conducive for all human beings from all races. Benin is joining in by taking up the responsibility as an African country to honor its African ancestors. Restoring the places their ancestors were enslaved, for example, Ouidah.
The historical Richness in African Ancestors
Benin is a West African country enriched both historically and culturally. Ouidah, the Nations’s coastal town, dramatically contributes to the country’s history as it served as the main port where the shipping of African slaves took place. These happened during the transatlantic slave trade that lasted for almost 300 years in the 1600s.
It was this place that the Europeans in the 17th and 18th centuries took hold of over one million African men and women. Consequently, children were as well not left behind as they awaited being shipment across the Atlantic in detestable settings. Ouidah port played a significant role in acting as a pickup point for the slaves for the Americans.
However, the structural design of the port is in many comparisons with the slave ports of modern-day Ghana. And the swathe of central Africa. They are today comprehended in the states of Angola, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Embracing the past
In this context, it would be wise enough to say the past influences the present. That is why today we are having movements like ‘The Black Lives Matter.’ It is high time the Americans end the oppression of the black people. A decentralized movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against Black people that started on 13 July 2013. People from all corners of the world engaged through protests, murals, and social media critics to the injustices the black people are facing in the white countries. This was after the brutal killing of George Floyd in May 2020.
Significantly, Benin restoring Ouidah is a sign that they are honoring. And respecting what their ancestors underwent in the colonial period. Eric Accrombesi, a native and a tour guide in the town, affirms that Ouidah city is known for the history of African ancestors. Acknowledging this ensures that history does not fade, and its ancestors are not forgotten. Therefore, the coming generations need to understand what happened and, in so doing, honor their ancestors.
Tourism and culture
As much as history is being preserved, it is also a way of promoting tourism in the country. The minister of tourism, Jean-Michel Abimbola, says the government has set aside one billion euros in efforts of restoring the site. A budget that is postulated to cover the restoration of all monuments connected to depict the slave trade at the port at that time. However, the country has also requested France to give back objects that were plundered in colonial conflicts.
Aside from the religious attractions in the country, national parks, particularly the Pendjari National park is also undergoing some renovations as well. The Fort will be a significant milestone for the country’s tourism sector.