The UK Independent: The ocean views are stunning, but it’s the tragic past of Ghana’s rugged coast that is also drawing in visitors, thanks in part to America’s first black president.
Perched on the windswept edge of West Africa, the imposing whitewashed former slave trading fort known as Cape Coast Castle has seen a steady increase in visitors since US President Barack Obama and his family toured here in 2009.
The dark dungeons where untold numbers of people were kept before being shipped off as slaves serve as stark reminders of the brutality they endured – a point of view perhaps too often overlooked in the Western world.
….Obama, whose wife Michelle traces her ancestry to slaves, chose Ghana for his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as president in July 2009, and he and his family made sure to stop at Cape Coast Castle … A tour of the fort was “a moving moment”, Obama said then.
He added that “there is a special sense that on one hand this place was a place of profound sadness, on the other hand it is where the journey of much of African-American experience began.”
“Following President Obama’s visit we are seeing a consistent increase in international arrivals,” deputy Tourism Minister Kobby Akyeampong told AFP. Current arrivals are averaging 748,000 per year from 587,000 two years before and the aim is to hit a million thanks in part to the so-called “Obama effect”.
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